It's been another stellar year for Indigenous literature.
CBC's Duncan McCue published The Shoe Boy, his memoir of a season spent hunting on a northern Quebec trapline as a teenager. While Rosanna Deerchild, host of CBC's Unreserved, released Calling Down the Sky — a collection of poetry that delves into her mother's story at a residential school.
Our selection could be much longer, but here are five books to add to your holiday reading list.
The Break by Katherena Vermette
This debut novel by Métis author Katherena Vermette takes us into Winnipeg's North End and the resilience and strength of Indigenous women who live there.
- CBC BOOKS: The Break by Katherena Vermette
- CBC Unreserved: Indigenous Reads book club
- Indigenous Reads: Panel discussion on The Break
The Break is a powerful family saga told by an all-female cast — plus one male Métis police officer — and has been shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. It is also on the Canada Reads 2017 long list.
Missing Nimama by Melanie Florence and illustrator François Thisdale
The devastating issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women gets a haunting yet remarkably tender treatment in this children's book from author Melanie Florence and illustrator François Thisdale.
- How Melanie Florence and François Thisdale wrote a picture book about MMIW
- Melanie Florence, François Thisdale win $30K TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
Missing Nimama tells the tale of a Cree girl named Kateri whose mother has gone missing. The story alternates between Kateri, who wonders what happened to her lost loved one, and her mother, who maintains an invisible presence throughout Kateri's life.
Witness, I Am by Gregory Scofield
Divided into three gripping sections, this collection of contemporary poetry by Gregory Scofield addresses identity and belonging, the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and his own mixed ancestry.
- CBC BOOKS: Witness, I Am
- Poet Gregory Scofield on telling untold stories and urgent truths
- Gregory Scofield shares the best writing advice he ever received
A deeply personal collection, Scofield's poems speak to the injustices experienced by his mother, Dorothy Scofield, and his aunt, Georgina Houle Young, who was murdered in 1998.
Take Us To Your Chief by Drew Hayden Taylor
If you've ever wanted to read Indigenous sci-fi, Ojibway author Drew Hayden Taylor has you covered.
- CBC BOOKS: Take Us To Your Chief
- Indigenous Reads: Our panel discusses Take Us To Your Chief
- Indigenous Reads: Drew Hayden Taylor blends science fiction with Indigenous story
The nine stories in this collection span traditional topics of science fiction — from peaceful aliens to hostile invaders; from space travel to time travel; from government conspiracies to connections across generations — all with a distinctly Indigenous twist.
Will I See? by David Robertson and isKwe, illustrated by GMB Chomichuk
This unique collaboration tells the story of an Indigenous teenager named May who encounters objects in her life that embody the spirits of Indigenous women who have died.
The illustrations are bold and dark, with occasional splashes of striking colour — and the novel is part of a larger multimedia project that includes a music video by isKwe.