Join the Windsor Public Library in celebrating Aboriginal Awareness Week, May 20-23. This week was made to honour the Aboriginal people of Canada and to bring attention to issues affecting the Native and Indigenous members of our community. Interested in learning more about this important part of our Canadian mosaic? Visit your local branch of WPL to browse our collection of books and DVDs dedicated to Canada’s Aboriginal culture and peoples. The following list is just a small sample of works that WPL carries dedicated to the subject.
Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples From Earliest Times (2009) is a comprehensive history of Canada’s original inhabitants. This book offers a distinct vision, separate from the traditional settler telling of Canada’s history. Included are contemporary topics ranging from the Ipperwash Inquiry to the Caledonia land claims dispute. Also recommended is Arthur J. Ray’s An Illustrated History of Canada’s Native People (2010) which charts the history of Canada’s Aboriginal people from first contact to current land claims.
Hidden in Plain Sight: Contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to Canadian Identity and Culture (2005) focuses on the extraordinary contributions Natives have made and continue to make in the fields of science, politics, literature and art. From the roots of the fur trade through the writing of Maria Campbell, this anthology celebrates the role that Aboriginal people have had in defining Canada and its culture.
Hollywood has an unfortunate record of misrepresenting Native people and their cultures. The documentary Reel Injun (2010) delves into the history of Aboriginal representation in film, tracing the subject from the silent era to the modern day. Features interviews with filmmakers and activists such as Clint Eastwood, Jim Jarmusch and Russell Means.
First Voices: An Aboriginal Women’s Reader (2009) explores many of the struggles that Aboriginal women face within Canada. Subjects addressed in this book include treatment by the Canadian criminal justice system, inclusion in self-government, and issues of safety for Aboriginal women. A thought-provoking read that depicts an ongoing struggle for equality.
For two years Deborah Ellis travelled across Canada and the United States interviewing Aboriginal children aged nine to eighteen. In Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids (2013) Ellis shares her experience with the Aboriginal youth she encountered and relays their stories, dreams and thoughts to the reader.
Oka: A Political Crisis and Its Legacy (2010) recounts the violent clash between Mohawk protesters and Oka residents who planned to turn disputed land into a golf course. Author Harry Swain, deputy minister of Indian Affairs throughout the 78-day standoff, provides a deep analysis of the conflict, exploring the representations of the Mohawk people by the media, the involvement of the Canadian military and the galvanizing affect this event had on Aboriginal people coast to coast. An insightful look into how the Mohawk experience reflects the collision between European and Aboriginal cultures.
In Aboriginal Law: Commentary and Analysis (2012) Thomas Isaac highlights the most important aspects of Canadian law as it impacts Aboriginal peoples and their relationship with the wider Canadian society. Important issues are covered such as treaty rights, constitutional issues, land claims, self-government, provincial and federal roles in dealing with Aboriginal peoples. Issac also highlights the role of government in reconciling Aboriginal interests with the needs of Canadian society as a whole. Although it is a law book, it is designed for use by anyone needing to understand Aboriginal legal issues and is presented in a neutral way.
Regan Paulette recounts the history of Canada’s notorious residential schools in Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada (2010). Paulette argues that settlers must relinquish the persistent myth of themselves as peacemakers and acknowledge the destructive legacy of a society that has stubbornly ignored and devalued Indigenous experience. The book is a compassionate call to action to begin healing the wounds of the past.
Visit Windsor Public Library for these and many more titles that provide information on Aboriginal Culture and people. Look next week for our final post celebrating Aboriginal Awareness Week, which will focus on fiction and literature written by Aboriginal authors.