2022 is the second year that Canada is observing the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
September 30 is also celebrated as Orange Shirt Day, in honor of Phyllis Webstad’s experience at a boarding school, honoring the children who never returned home, their families, communities and survivors.
The best way to learn about Aboriginal stories is to read what they have written.
St. Catharines Public Library has compiled a list of five books to read before September 30:
“LIFE IN THE CITY OF DIRTY WATER” BY CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER
The Cree climate change activist traces his journey, from a child grappling with the legacy of his family’s experiences in the school system, to an Indigenous youth in a big city facing racism and violence, to a teenager in and from youth his current role in the environmental justice movement.
“FIVE LITTLE INDIANS” BY MICHELLE GOOD
Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie, and Maisie were snatched from their families when they were very young and sent to an isolated Church-run boarding school. They are barely out of their infancy when they are finally released after years of incarceration. Alone and without skills, support, or family, the teens find their way into the decrepit and alien world of downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they stick together and strive to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them.
“SEVEN FALLEN FEATHERS” BY TANYA TALAGA
Presents the story of seven Indigenous high school students who died in Thunder Bay, Ontario between 2010 and 2011. They were removed hundreds of miles from their families because there was not an adequate high school on their reserves.
“UNRECONCILIATED” BY JESSE WENTE
Anishinaabe writer and arts attorney Jesse Wente exposes the lies and myths that affect relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Part memoir, part manifesto, Unreconciled is a rousing call to arms to bring the truth about the flawed concept of reconciliation and forge a new, respectful relationship between the nation of Canada and indigenous peoples. Jesse Wente remembers the precise moment he realized he was a certain kind of Native American—a stereotypical cartoon Native American. As a child, he played softball when the opposing team started yelling when he was at bat. It was just one of many incidents that shaped Wente’s understanding of what it means to be a modern indigenous person in a society that is still overwhelmingly colonial in attitudes and institutions.
“JONNY APPLESEED” BY JOSHUA WHITEHEAD
“You’re going to need a rock and a lot of medicine” is a mantra repeated to himself by young Two-Spirit/Indigiquer Jonny Appleseed in poet Joshua Whitehead’s vivid and utterly captivating debut novel. Off the reservation and looking for ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself to make a living. Jonny’s world is a series of fractures, appendages and connections – and as he prepares to return home, he learns how to put the pieces of his life together. “Jonny Appleseed” is a unique, harrowing vision of aboriginal life, full of grit, glitter and dreams.