Three Indigenous On Deck Books (Native American Reads)

Three Indigenous On Deck Books (Native American Reads)

When I was in grade 2 or 3, I had a student-teacher who took an interest in me. I was the child who adored school and adored books. I told her I was Mi'kmaw and she came to school one day with a picture book that had a Native American girl in it, and I remember how excited I was to have a book with that had someone like me. I was always the only "Indian" in the class, and I didn't know much about my culture growing up in the city. I just knew I was Mik'maw and no one else identify as Indian. I can still remember bringing this book home and showing my parents. It wasn't until post-secondary education that I had access to more Native American authors. I love seeking out Indigenous authors because I can honestly tell you that I always learn something new in each book that I read. When you study a particular time and place, you don't get the 'feel' just the particulars. When you read books, fiction or nonfiction you're transported to the time and place and you can really feel the surroundings. Today, I want to bring you three Indigenous reads that are on my "on deck" reading pile.

DreadfulWater by Thomas King (Goodreads)

I've read a few Thomas King books and I've been watching some of his interviews on Youtube the last few days and I decided to start his mystery series. Thomas King always weaves in humour into his writing and I enjoy this style. The first book is called DreadfulWater and the main character is Thumps DreadfulWater, a Cherokee ex-cop who is trying to make a living as a photographer in Chinook. The Indian band has built a luxury condo building and he learns that a dead body has been discovered. Thumps soon finds himself deeply entangled in this mystery and he can't help but try to unravel it. This series does have 5 books, and I've never read a mystery book by an Indigenous author. King mentions in one of the interviews that he always assumes his audience is Indigenous I'm interested in reading this genre from him.

In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience by  Helen Knott (Goodreads)

Helen Knott is a Dane-Zaa and Nehiyaw woman from Prophet River First Nations in British Columbia. She is a writer, activist, poet and in her memoir, we see an "unflinching account of addition, intergeneration trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family and the possibility of redemption." Memoirs can be very powerful, and I've been trying to increase my nonfiction reading this year. I'm really hoping to pick up this one soon.

Chasing Painted Horses by Drew Hayden Taylor (Goodreads)

Drew Hayden Taylor is another author that I keep my eye open for. Chasing Painted Horses is said to have a magical, fable-like quality. A story of four unlikely friends who live on a reserve north of Toronto. The Goodreads description states "Ralph and his sister, Shelley, live with their parents. On the cusp of becoming teenagers, they and their friend William befriend an odd little girl, from a dysfunctional family. Danielle, a timid 10-year-old girl, draws an amazing, arresting image of a horse that draws her loose group of friends into her fantasy world. But those friends are not ready for what that horse may mean or represent. It represents everything that’s wrong in the girl’s life and everything she wished it could be. And the trio who meet her and witness the creation of the horse, are left trying to figure out what the horse means to the girl, and later to them. And how to help the shy little girl."

Each of these books seem very different from each other, and I'm excited to give them a try. At the very least, maybe I have introduced you to three new Native authors and you can explore their other works. I do have a review coming up for Drew Hayden Taylor's Motorcycles and Sweetgrass novel.

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