March: Indigenous Literature: An Introduction

Welcome to March! When we planned out this year’s monthly themes, Indigenous Literature was one of the first (possibly the first) themes we proposed and (vocally and) unanimously agreed upon.

The word Indigenous within a Canadian context encompasses First Nations and Inuit and Métis peoples.

Indigenous Literature in North America was once almost exclusively written by white settlers, who, with or without permission from the knowledge-keepers and elders of a community (usually without) published stories that belonged to a community they were not part of. Some of these authors had good intentions; some did not. Even more frequently, Indigenous characters appeared in settler stories only as stereotypes: one-dimensional figures whose sole purpose in existence was to teach the white (usually male) protagonist secret knowledge or to be defeated by him.

Fortunately, through the long advocacy of Indigenous authors and artists, #ownvoices stories are reclaiming their place and displacing harmful narratives. You can look forward to some pretty fantastic stories this month in a range of genres and for a variety of ages, written by authors of different nations, ages, and experiences.

Nafiza, who is definitely the most organized of us all, has a few picturebook reviews scheduled as well as a collection of poetry. Keep your eyes open for Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk and illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis; Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel, and What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned by Sherman Alexie.

Jane has some Indigenous baby board books she’s excited to talk about, and more picturebook reviews lined up. Looking for a light-hearted story to read to a child? Jane has recommendations. Lots of recommendations. (Can you tell she’s a librarian?) You may exceed your borrowing limit, but hey! the kids will thank you.

Janet has a string of middle grade novels she’s trying to choose between (IT’S HARD); the stories she doesn’t cover this month will appear in other months if they *fingers crossed* fit the themes. And even if they don’t. Heh heh.

Yash, mysterious as ever, is keeping her cards close to her chest. Her reviews have a tendency to make us rush to put books on hold at our local libraries -we’re looking forward to it!

Yuri is also keeping his plans a secret, so you might want to catch up on your favourite webcomics before he introduces you to new favourites.

Happy reading!