June is National Indigenous History Month and staff have compiled a great list of recent releases by First Nations, Inuit and Métis authors from across North America that highlight the diversity of experiences and the common need for continued acts of reconciliation.

A staff-created list with even more of our recent favourites can be found on our online catalogue

Book cover image of North of Nowhere

Memoir: North of Nowhere: Song of a Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner by Marie Wilson

The incomparable first-hand account of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada told by one of the commissioners who led it. With the skills of a journalist and the insights of a life as the spouse of a residential school survivor, Commissioner Wilson guides readers through her years witnessing survivor testimony across the country, providing her unique perspective on the personal toll and enduring public value of the commission. Part vital public documentary, part probing memoir, North of Nowhere breathes fresh air into the possibilities of reconciliation amid the persistent legacy of residential schools. It is a call to everyone to view the important and continuing work of reconciliation not as an obligation but as a gift.

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Book cover image of The Knowing

Non-Fiction: The Knowing: The Enduring Legacy of Residential Schools by Tanya Talaga

Anishinaabe author Tanya Talaga, one of Canadas top investigative journalists, retells the history of this country as only she can – through an Indigenous lens, by tracing the life of her great-great grandmother and family as they lived through this government- and Church-sanctioned genocide. Talaga is of Polish and Indigenous descent. Her great-grandmother was a residential school survivor, her great-grandfather was an Ojibwe trapper and labourer, and her grandmother is a member of Fort William First Nation.

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Fiction: Real Ones by Katherena Vermette

A heartrending story of two Michif (Métis) sisters who must face their past trauma when their mother is called out for false claims to Indigenous identity. Katherena Vermette pays homage to the long-fought, hard-won battles of Michif people to regain ownership of their identity and the right to say who is and isn’t Metis. Vermette is a best-selling Michif (Red River Métis) writer from Treaty 1 territory, Winnipeg, MB.

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Book cover image of Prairie Edge

Fiction: Prairie Edge by Conor Kerr

The Giller Prize-longlisted author of Avenue of Champions returns with a frenetic, propulsive crime thriller that doubles as a sharp critique of modern activism and challenges readers to consider what “Land Back” might really look like through the actions of two Métis cousins. For readers drawn to the electric storytelling of Morgan Talty and the taut register of Stephen Graham Jones, Conor Kerr’s Prairie Edge is at once a gripping, darkly funny caper and a raw reckoning with the wounds that persist across generations.

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Book cover image of The Truth According to Ember

Fiction: The Truth According to Ember by Danica Nava

A Chickasaw woman who can’t catch a break serves up a little white lie that snowballs into much more in this witty and irresistible #ownvoices rom-com by debut author Danica Nava.

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Book cover image of Coexistence

Short Stories: Coexistence, by Billy-Ray Belcourt

A collection of intersecting stories about Indigenous love and loneliness from a Giller-longlisted author and member of the Driftpile Cree Nation. Across the prairies and Canada’s west coast, on reservations and university campuses, at literary festivals and existential crossroads, the characters in Coexistence are searching for connection. Bearing the compression, crystalline sentences, and emotional potency that have characterized his earlier books, Coexistence is a testament to Belcourt’s mastery of and playfulness in any literary form.

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Book cover image of Burning Cold

Graphic Novel: Burning Cold: An Inuit and Dene comics collection by Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsleyis, Sean Qitsualik-Tinsleyis and Richard Van Campis

A collection of stories by Northern authors from the award-winning Moonshot volumes. Time travel on the back of a wolverine, swim with shapeshifters beneath the ice, and travel through the skies with aliens. From traditional stories to reimagined futures, this collection showcases the best of Northern storytelling. ​

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Book cover image of Looking for Smoke

Young Adult Fiction: Looking for Smoke by K.A. Cobell

A moving #ownvoices YA debut from a member of the Blackfeet Nation that focuses on the real-life problem of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW). Told from multiple POVs, this was a layered, compelling and twisty murder mystery that sees different teens trying to prove their innocence when the body of a girl they were all last seen with turns up dead. This book is perfect for fans of true crime podcasts and authors like Angeline Boulley and Jen Ferguson.

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Book cover image of The Other Side of Perfect

Juvenile Fiction: The Other Side of Perfect by Melanie Florence and Richard Scrimger

Two kids from two different worlds – one a wealthy Indigenous girl, one an abused and neglected Caucasian boy – form an unexpected friendship in this lens into the interworking of empathy. Told in alternating narratives, The Other Side of Perfect is infused with themes of identity, belonging, and compassion, reminding us that we are all more than our circumstances, and we are all more connected than we think.

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Book cover image of Why We Dance

Picture Book: Why We Dance: A Story of Hope and Healing by Deidre Haverlock; illustrated by Aly McKnight

A young Indigenous girl’s family helps calm her nervous butterflies before her first Jingle Dress Dance and reminds her why she dances. Emerging historically in response to the global influenza pandemic of 1918-19, the Jingle Dress Dance is a ceremonial dance of healing and prayer that still thrives today in many Indigenous and First Nations communities across North America. Lyrically written and lushly illustrated, ‘Why We Dance’ is a joyous celebration of a proud Indigenous tradition that inspires hope, resilience, and unity. Deidre Havrelock is a member of Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, Canada.

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Book cover image of Dad, I Miss You

Picture Book: Dad, I Miss You by Nadia Sammurtok; illustrated by Simji Park

Told in the voice of a boy and his father in turns, this book takes a thoughtful and heartfelt look at the emotional toll of a child being taken from their family and community to attend residential school. Nadia Sammurtok is an Inuit writer and educator originally from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

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