Books

Carleigh Baker recommends A Two-Spirit Journey by Ma-Nee Chacaby

Every day in June, an Indigenous writer will recommend a book they love by a First Nations, Métis or Inuit author from Canada.
Carleigh Baker is the author of the short story collection Bad Endings. (Callan Field/University of Manitoba Press)

June is Indigenous Book Club Month. CBC Books will publish a recommendation each day from an Indigenous writer for a book written by another Indigenous author.

Carleigh Baker recommends A Two-Spirit Journey by Ma-Nee Chacaby.

"A Two-Spirit Journey is a story about resilience, told with striking honesty and unadorned simplicity. The particulars of Chacaby's life, as well as the social and cultural context she provides, gives readers a nuanced look into Canada's recent past. To understand the lasting effects of colonialism, and particularly the gendered aspects of colonial structures, many voices must be heard, and we are lucky to have a generous and skilled storyteller like Chacaby to share hers.

Chacaby is straightforward and unflinching in the telling of her experiences with abuse, as well as her battles with alcoholism. Her analytical nature often takes the narrative into personal investigations of the effects of intergenerational trauma, and the support networks that she accessed to help her build a toolbox of coping strategies. But simply coping never seems to be enough for Chacaby, who, as an Elder, now takes a leadership role in many support and healing circles.

Let me be clear, this is not a niche book. Chacaby's story of endurance, and ultimately, hope, offers something for readers of any background."

Carleigh Baker is a Cree-Métis and Icelandic writer. Her first collection of short stories, Bad Endings, is hot off the press.

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