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Books, censorship and what happens when Indigenous Lit goes mainstream

Every year more and more Indigenous writers break out of the CanLit margins and into the mainstream spotlight, but while this is being celebrated, it's also being challenged. This week we're talking about books, censorship and what happens when Indigenous literature goes mainstream.
David Alexander Robertson's book Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story was placed on an Alberta education not recommended list. (Gary Solilak)
Listen to the full episode49:21

Every year more and more Indigenous writers break out of the CanLit margins and into the mainstream spotlight, but while this is being celebrated, it's also being challenged. This week we're talking about books, censorship and what happens when Indigenous literature goes mainstream. 

David Alexander Robertson is a Cree author based in Winnipeg, whose children and YA novels have received a lot of accolades. But recently he found out that his books Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story and 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga were featured on two Alberta-based lists that would keep them out of the hands of young readers. 

Debbie Reese is the founder and publisher of American Indians in Children's Literature, where she reviews Indigenous books written for young people. Hear what she has to say about Indigenous books being placed on "not recommended" lists.

It was a controversy that shook up the Can-lit community. Back in April, Book*hug pulled a poetry book from publication. Who Took My Sister? was about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. But the author, Shannon Webb-Campbell, didn't ask permission from families to write about their loved ones. After reworking the book with author Lee Maracle, Webb-Campbell is still trying to find her way back and undo the damage she caused. Her new book, I am A Body of Land will be released soon.

It all started with a tweet. When Tracey Lindberg posted a wish to get herself, Cherie Dimaline and Katherena Vermette together to talk about their experiences as finalists on Canada Reads, race and representation. That conversation was recorded in late October at the Toronto Public Reference Library, moderated by Ali Hassan. 

This week's playlist: 
Jully Black.

Brandon Baker - Revolution

Jully Black - Queen