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Book Club Kits

Borrow a Book Club Kit for Indigenous History Month

To support our College community’s efforts towards indigenization and our learning about Indigenous perspectives and viewpoints, the Library has assembled a number of new book club kits featuring works by Indigenous authors.

In celebration of Indigenous History Month, we are releasing our first three kits, available to be requested online.  Each book kit bag contains 10 copies of the book and a print discussion guide with background information about the author, a few book reviews, and discussion questions. Borrow a book club kit and discuss these outstanding works with your colleagues or friends!

A History of My Brief Body
by Billy Ray Belcourt

Book cover: A History of my Brief BodyBilly-Ray Belcourt's debut memoir opens with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life in the hamlet of Joussard, Alberta, and on the Driftpile First Nation. From there, it expands to encompass the big and broken world around him, in all its complexity and contradictions: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it, first... loves and first loves lost, sexual exploration and intimacy, and the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve. What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward. With startling honesty, and in a voice distinctly and assuredly his own, Belcourt situates his life experiences within a constellation of seminal queer texts, among which this book is sure to earn its place. -- Provided by publisher.  

Borrow the Kit   Discussion Guide

Seven Fallen Feathers
by Tanya Talaga

Book cover: Seven Fallen Feathers

"From 2000 to 2011, seven indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home because there was no high school on their reserves. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred indigenous site. Jordan Wabasse, a gentle boy and star... hockey player disappeared into the -20° Celsius night. The body of celebrated artist Norval Morrisseau's grandson, Kyle, was pulled from a river, as was Curran Strang's. Robyn Harper died in her boarding-house hallway and Paul Panacheese inexplicably collapsed on his kitchen floor. Reggie Bushie's death finally prompted an inquest, seven years after the discovery of Jethro Anderson, the first boy whose body was found in the water. But it was the death of twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack that foreshadowed the loss of the seven. Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada's long struggle with human rights violations against indigenous communities." -- Provided by publisher.  

Borrow the Kit   Discussion Guide

21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph

21 things you may not know about the Indian Act

"This work is an essential guide to understanding the legal document and its repercussion on generations of First Nations, written by a leading cultural sensitivity trainer. Since its creation in 1876, the Indian Act has shaped, controlled, and constrained the lives and opportunities of First Nations, and is at the root of many enduring stereotypes. In the first 105 pages the... author writes with clarity about the history of this legislation that defines a First Nation person from birth to death. Using everyday language interspersed with humour he allows secondary level students as well as the general public access to a piece of legislation not many Canadians understand. The remainder of the book provides lists such as a chronology of residential school history, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action, and terminology. Also provided are selected classroom activities and discussion questions and selected quotes from John A. Macdonald and Duncan Campbell Scott." -- Provided by publisher.

Borrow the Kit   Discussion Guide

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground
by Alicia Elliott

Book cover: A Mind Spread Out on the GroundIn an urgent and visceral work that asks essential questions about Native people in North America while drawing on intimate details of her own life and experience with intergenerational trauma, Alicia Elliott offers indispensable insight and understanding to the ongoing legacy of colonialism. What are the links between depression, colonialism... and loss of language - both figurative and literal? How does white privilege operate in different contexts? How do we navigate the painful contours of mental illness in loved ones without turning them into their sickness? How does colonialism operate on the level of literary criticism? A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is Alicia Elliott's attempt to answer these questions and more. In the process, she engages with such wide-ranging topics as race, parenthood, sexuality, love, mental illness, poverty, sexual assault, gentrification, writing and representation. -- Provided by publisher.  

Borrow the Kit   Discussion Guide

Potlatch as Pedagogy
by Sara Florence Davidson and Robert Davidson

Book cover: Potlatch as Pedagogy

"In 1884, the Canadian government enacted a ban on the potlatch, the foundational ceremony of the Haida people. The tradition, which determined social structure, transmitted cultural knowledge, and redistributed wealth, was seen as a cultural impediment to the government’s aim of... assimilation. The tradition did not die, however; the knowledge of the ceremony was kept alive by the Elders through other events until the ban was lifted. In 1969, a potlatch was held. The occasion: the raising of a totem pole carved by Robert Davidson, the first the community had seen in close to 80 years. From then on, the community publicly reclaimed, from the Elders who remained to share it, the knowledge that has almost been lost. Sara Florence Davidson, Robert’s daughter, would become an educator. Over the course of her own education, she came to see how the traditions of the Haida practiced by her father--holistic, built on relationships, practical, and continuous--could be integrated into contemporary educational practices. From this realization came the roots for this book." -- Provided by publisher.  

Borrow the Kit   Discussion Guide

A Digital Bundle
by Jennifer Wemigwans

A Digital Bundle: protecting and promoting Indigenous knowledge onlineA Digital Bundle explores the potential of online and digital technologies to serve Indigenous resurgence by contributing to the goals of Indigenous... nation building. Based on interviews and discussions with active users of Four Directions Teachings, a website created by Jennifer Wemigwans, it makes a case for a new online social movement that embraces Indigenous perspectives. Key to this movement is the redefinition of online Indigenous knowledge projects as 'digital bundles,' thus elevating the cultural protocols and responsibilities that come with such a designation and grounding these projects within an Indigenous epistemological paradigm.--Provided by publisher.

Borrow the Kit  Discussion Guide

Jonny Appleseed
by Joshua Whitehead

Book cover: Jonny AppleseedOff the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the "rez"--and his former life--to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The seven days that follow are like a... fevered dream:  stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny's life is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages--and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life. Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of First Nations life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.
-- Provided by publisher.  

Borrow the Kit   Discussion Guide 

Life in the City of Dirty Water
by Clayton Thomas-Müller

Book cover: Life in the city of dirty water

"A memoir that braids together the urgent issues of Indigenous rights and environmental policy, from a nationally and internationally recognized activist and survivor. There have been many Clayton Thomas-Müllers: The child who played with toy planes as an escape from domestic and sexual abuse, enduring the... intergenerational trauma of Canada's residential school system; the angry youngster who defended himself with fists and sharp wit against racism and violence, at school and on the streets of Winnipeg and small-town British Columbia; the tough teenager who, at 17, managed a drug house run by members of his family, and slipped in and out of juvie, operating in a world of violence and pain. But behind them all, there was another Clayton: the one who remained immersed in Cree spirituality, and who embraced the rituals and ways of thinking vital to his heritage; the one who reconnected with the land during summer visits to his great-grandparents' trapline in his home territory of Pukatawagan in northern Manitoba. And it's this version of Clayton that ultimately triumphed, finding healing by directly facing the trauma that he shares with Indigenous peoples around the world. Now a leading organizer and activist on the frontlines of environmental resistance, Clayton brings his warrior spirit to the fight against the ongoing assault on Indigenous peoples' lands by Big Oil. Tying together personal stories of survival that bring the realities of Canada's First Nations into sharp focus, and lessons learned from a career as a frontline activist committed to addressing environmental injustice at a global scale, Thomas-Müller offers a narrative and vision of healing and responsibility." -- Provided by publisher.

Borrow the Kit   Discussion Guide

Additional Book Kits Coming Soon

  • Rehearsals for Living, by Robyn Maynard, Leanna Betasamosake Simpson 
  • The Strangers: A Novel, by Katherena Vermette