Over the past couple of months, IndigiNews has been exploring what it might look like to decolonize the shelves for kids and teens – but what about for adults? Decolonize the library
Child welfare and education storyteller Jenessa Joy Klukas has compiled a list of five books by Indigenous authors, across all genres, worth adding to your home library.
Son of a crook
By Eden Robinson
This is a coming-of-age novel that explores the complexities of being an Indigenous teenager in a small town. He also looks at the social issues of poverty, substance abuse, and family dynamics. This is the first volume of a trilogy with Trickster’s Drift and The return of the cheater.
Eden Robinson is from the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations.
By Jesse Thistle
This heartbreaking memoir traces Jesse Thistle’s life as an Aboriginal person. As he and his brothers enter the foster care “placement” system, Thistle struggles with memories of his father living with drug addiction. It also follows Thistle’s own struggles with substance use, his experiences of homelessness, and how he eventually found his way back to himself. It’s a story of courage, community and intergenerational strength awakening.
Jessie Thistle is Métis/Cree and Assistant Professor at York University.
By Katherena Vermette
river woman is Vermette’s second book of poetry, which explores and celebrates love as “postcolonial action”. These poems explain how her personal relationship with trauma has changed over time and how she searches for moments that have been lost.
Katherena Vermette is a Métis poet and novelist from Treaty 1 territory.
By Tanya Tagaq
This book is a coming-of-age story that crosses the genres of fiction and memoir. The story follows the life of a young girl from Nunavut in the 1970s as she discovers the wonders of the world around her, through ice, sky and animals, as well as the hardships that alcoholism and violence bring. When she becomes pregnant, she is forced to face an overwhelming reality. Split Tooth is a beautiful weave of narratives and genres, and blurs the lines between myth and reality.
Tanya Tagaq is an Inuk writer and musician.
five little indians
By Michelle Bon
five little indians follows the lives of five young people as they leave “boarding school” for adulthood. After being held captive for so long, these five characters learn to navigate the unfamiliar outside world, while trying to come to terms with the trauma of their childhoods. Harper Collins Publishing says, “With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward.”
Michelle Good is a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.