Saara Itkonen is the chief librarian at the Creston Valley Public Library. (Photo by Brian Lawrence)

Saara Itkonen is the chief librarian at the Creston Valley Public Library. (Photo by Brian Lawrence)

Lit: Celebrate Indigenous Peoples History Month

Now is a good time to read stories from Indigenous, Inuit, and M├ętis authors

By Saara Itkonen, Director of the Creston Valley Public Library

June is Indigenous Peoples History Month. To celebrate this important time, I’d like to share some of the new stories from Indigenous, Inuit, and Métis authors available at our library. All descriptions are from the publisher.

• Di-bayn-di-zi-win = To own ourselves : embodying Ojibway-Anishinabe ways by Jerry Fontaine and Don MacCaskill

A collaboration exploring the importance of the Ojibway-Anishinabe worldview, use of ceremony, and language in living a good life, attaining true reconciliation, and resisting the notions of indigenization and colonization inherent in Western institutions.

• Dempsey Bob: In his own voice

Gorgeous photos adorn this book based on the first full-scale solo museum exhibition of this extraordinary Tahltan-Tlingit artist, one of the finest living carvers of the Northwest Coast.

• Red paint : an ancestral autobiography of a Coast Salish punk by Sasha taqweseblu LaPointe

An Indigenous artist blends the aesthetics of punk rock with the traditional spiritual practices of the women in her lineage in this bold, contemporary journey to reclaim her heritage and unleash her power and voice while searching for a permanent home.

• Speaking my truth : reflections on reconciliation & residential school selected by Shelagh Rogers, Mike DeGagné, Jonathan Dewar

A collection of stories that looks at the history of residential schools and possibilities for reconciliation from the perspective of First Nation, Inuit and Metis peoples.

• Life in the City of Dirty Water : a memoir of healing by Clayton Thomas-Muller

A gritty and inspiring memoir from renowned Cree environmental activist Clayton Thomas-Muller, who escaped the world of drugs and gang life to take up the warrior’s fight against the assault on Indigenous peoples’ lands—and eventually the warrior’s spirituality.

• My privilege, My Responsibility : a memoir by Sheila North

In September 2015, Sheila North was declared the Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), the first woman elected to the position. Known as a “bridge builder”, North is a member of Bunibonibee Cree Nation. North’s work in advocacy journalism, communications, and economic development harnessed her passion for drawing focus to systemic racism faced by Indigenous women and girls. In her memoir, North shares the stories of the events that shaped her, and the violence that nearly stood in the way of her achieving her dreams. Through perseverance and resilience, she not only survived, she flourished.

• Fresh Banana Leaves : healing Indigenous landscapes through Indigenous science by Jessica Hernandez

An Indigenous environmental scientist breaks down why western conservationism isn’t working–and offers Indigenous models informed by case studies, personal stories, and family histories that center the voices of Latin American women and land protectors.

• Borders by Thomas King (graphic novel)

A masterfully told story of a boy and his mother whose road trip is thwarted at the border when they identify their citizenship as Blackfoot. Refusing to identify as either American or Canadian first bars their entry into the US, and then their return into Canada. In the limbo between countries, they find power in their connection to their identity and to each other. Borders explores nationhood from an Indigenous perspective and resonates deeply with themes of identity, justice, and belonging.

• How I Survived: Four Nights on the Ice by Serapio Ittusardjuat (graphic novel)

Serapio Ittusardjuat recounts the traditional skills and knowledge he leaned on to stay alive after his snowmobile broke down halfway across the sea ice on a trip home from a fishing camp.This harrowing first-person account of four nights spent on the open sea ice—with few supplies and no water—shows young readers the determination and strength necessary to survive in the harsh Arctic climate, even when the worst occurs.

• The Reckoner series by David Alexander Robertson

When Cole Harper is compelled to return to Wounded Sky First Nation, he finds his community in chaos: a series of shocking murders, a mysterious illness ravaging the residents, and reemerging questions about Cole’s role in the tragedy that drove him away 10 years ago. With the aid of an unhelpful spirit, a disfigured ghost, and his two oldest friends, Cole tries to figure out his purpose, and unravel the mysteries he left behind a decade ago. Will he find the answers in time to save his community?

All titles are available at the Creston Valley Public Library. Visit us in person or contact us by phone at 250-428-4141 or email for more information.

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