COLUMN: Authors, aboriginality, and you

Summer solstice. It’s June 21; the sun’s zenith is at its furthest point from the equator.

Eden Robinson and Thomas King are two aboriginal authors whose work can be found in the Nelson Public Library collection.

Summer solstice. It’s June 21; the sun’s zenith is at its furthest point from the equator. The days are long, the birds are singing late into the evening and it’s National Aboriginal Day.

June 21 was chosen as National Aboriginal Day in Canada because the longest day of the year has, historically, been a time when indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture.

This year, with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report out (and in our collection), it’s both a celebration and a sobering reminder of the work that must be done to build a better Canada.

Canada is a nation of many peoples (Multiculturalism Day follows on June 27), and it’s important that we honour our First Peoples. It’s about learning, talking, and understanding, and there are lots of ways we can do this.

Touchstones Museum of Art and History will celebrate all week with educational displays and activities in the front foyer. Upstairs, the beautifully designed permanent exhibition describes the historical presence of the Sinixt and Ktunaxa peoples in this region with photographs and artifacts. Everybody should make a point of visiting the museum’s second floor.

The library has helped the Touchstones event by creating a reading list for kids and adults, including great titles such as (for kids), A is for Aboriginal by Joseph Maclean and Brendan Heard, As Long as the Rivers Flow by Larry Loyie, and Owl Seeking Spirit: Kootenai Indian Stories.

For adults, there’s Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese and Me Artsy by Drew Hayden Taylor. Tracy Lindberg’s Birdie was a Canada Reads finalist, and The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King won the RBC Taylor Prize.

Indigenous authors rock.

Tomson Highway’s The Kiss of the Fur Queen draws a stark picture of residential school in a brilliant novel; Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road haunts me still, as does The Orenda.

Local volunteers recently recorded The First Wives Club: Coast Salish Style by Lee Maracle in order to create an audiobook for the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS), which provides reading materials for people with print disabilities.

The author generously provided pronunciations for words written in the Stó:lō language.

More books to read up on some of the greater region’s history include Geography of Memory: Recovering Stories of a Landscape’s First People by Eileen Delehanty Pearkes and Keeping the Lakes Way by Paula Pryce.

Autobiographies such as Drags Grizzly by Chris Luke offer an intimate window on First Nations experience.

Our collection includes poets and playwrights, YA and kidlit authors. Room magazine’s 14 aboriginal women writers to read this summer includes authors Marilyn Dumont and Eden Robinson, also in our collection; CBC’s reading list includes Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle, and They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars.

BC book champion Alan Twigg’s book Aboriginality offers insight into 170 aboriginal authors and illustrators, from Pauline Johnson to Mourning Dove, Gregory Scofield to Roy Henry Vickers.

If you’re thinking about who to read, it’s a great place to start.

Or, you can check out the library’s display of aboriginal books, audiobooks, and DVDs, a hand-picked sampling from our collection.

Take up our “Read Around the World” summer challenge by reading a book set in a Canadian province written by a descendant of that province’s First People.

Books by aboriginal authors are smart, thoughtful, funny, insightful, edgy, difficult, and beautiful. Just like the authors themselves! And we are so very lucky to have them in our midst.

Anne DeGrace is the adult services co-ordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to nelsonlibrary.ca.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Art as reconciliation: Ymir artist hosting BC Culture Days event

Damian John will lead a workshop titled Exploring Reconciliation Through Creativity

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Brittny Anderson seeks Nelson-Creston NDP nomination

Anderson is currently a member of Nelson city council

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

Kaslo art exhibit invites you to play in the forest

Hide and seek on the Kaslo River Trail

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read