Operation Wormwood


Helen C. Escott - 2018
    John’s, setting off a chain of events that leaves doctors mystified. He is the first of many victims suffering from severe nosebleeds and excruciating pain. Dr. Luke Gillespie and Nurse Agatha Catania investigate their symptoms but are unable to diagnose them. The only thing they have in common is Sgt. Nicholas Myra, an investigator with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.Dr. Gillespie and Sgt. Myra join forces to solve this twisted mystery. But the story takes a critical turn when Sister Pius, a nun from Mercy Convent, informs them about Wormwood: a disease she believes is created by God to kill perpetrators of the most heinous crimes. Wormwood becomes an international media storm when parish priest Father Peter Cooke holds a news conference on the steps of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist and announces that God has unleashed a plague upon the earth.Is God truly punishing these criminals, or is a serial killer targeting them? Dr. Gillespie and Sgt. Myra race to find answers, while the Roman Catholic hierarchy starts bringing people back to the Church in droves . . . by cashing in on what it claims to be a miracle.

Where the Blood Mixes


Kevin Loring - 2009
    Though torn down years ago, the memories of their Residential School still live deep inside the hearts of those who spent their childhoods there. For some, like Floyd, the legacy of that trauma has been passed down through families for generations. But what is the greater story, what lies untold beneath Floyd’s alcoholism, under the pain and isolation of the play’s main character?Loring’s title was inspired by the mistranslation of the N’lakap’mux (Thompson) place name Kumsheen. For years, it was believed to mean “the place where the rivers meet”—the confluence of the muddy Fraser and the brilliant blue Thompson Rivers. A more accurate translation is: “the place inside the heart where the blood mixes.” But Kumsheen also refers to a story: Coyote was disemboweled there, along a great cliff in an epic battle with a giant shape-shifting being that could transform the world with its powers—to this day his intestines can still be seen strewn along the granite walls. In his rage the transformer tore Coyote apart and scattered his body across the nation, his heart landing in the place where the rivers meet.Floyd is a man who has lost everyone he holds most dear. Now after more than two decades, his daughter Christine returns home to confront her father. Set during the salmon run, Where the Blood Mixes takes us to the bottom of the river, to the heart of a People.In 2009 Where the Blood Mixes won the Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Original Script; the Sydney J. Risk Prize for Outstanding Original Script by an Emerging Playwright; and most recently the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama.

The Unnatural and Accidental Women


Marie Clements - 2005
    All the victims were found dead with a blood-alcohol reading far beyond safe levels, and all were last seen in the company of Gilbert Paul Jordan, who frequented the city’s bars preying on primarily middle-aged Native women. The coroner’s reports listed the cause of death of many of these women as “unnatural and accidental.”Marie Clements reconstructs the lives of these women as shaped by lost connections—to loved ones, to the land, to a way of life—lives of at times desperate, at times tender yearning for ties of communication, belonging and shelter gone dead. These are precariously vulnerable lives, so easily drawn to their end by the heat and light of a flame, lives that thirst for an end of searching in forgetfulness.

Someday


Drew Hayden Taylor - 1993
    The story in Someday, though told through fictional characters and full of Taylor's distinctive wit and humour, is based on the real-life tragedies suffered by many Native Canadian families.Anne Wabung's daughter was taken away by children's aid workers when the girl was only a toddler. It is Christmastime 35 years later, and Anne's yearning to see her now-grown daughter is stronger than ever.When the family is finally reunited, however, the dreams of neither women are fulfilled.The setting for the play is a fictional Ojibway community, but could be any reserve in Canada, where thousands of Native children were removed from their families in what is known among Native people as the "scoop-up" of the 1950s and 1960s. Somedayis an entertaining, humourous, and spirited play that packs an intense emotional wallop.Reviews: "One of the 50 Essential Canadian Plays"-- Toronto Star

Red River Girl: The Life and Death of Tina Fontaine


Joanna Jolly - 2019
    It was wrapped in material and weighted down with rocks. Red River Girl is a gripping account of that murder investigation and the unusual police detective who pursued the killer with every legal means at his disposal. The book, like the movie Spotlight, will chronicle the behind-the-scenes stages of a lengthy and meticulously planned investigation. It reveals characters and social tensions that bring vivid life to a story that made national headlines. Award-winning BBC reporter and documentary maker Joanna Jolly delves into the troubled life of Tina Fontaine, the half-Ojibway, half-Cree murder victim, starting with her childhood on the Sagkeeng First Nation Reserve. Tina's journey to the capital city is a harrowing one, culminating in drug abuse, sexual exploitation, and death. Aware of the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Jolly has chronicled Tina Fontaine's life as a reminder that she was more than a statistic. Raised by her father, and then by her great-aunt, Tina was a good student. But the violent death of her father hit Tina hard. She ran away, was found and put into the care of Child and Family Services, which she also sought to escape from. That choice left her in danger. Red River Girl focuses not on the grisly event itself, but on the efforts to seek justice. In December 2015, the police charged Raymond Cormier, a drifter, with second-degree murder. Jolly's book will cover the trial, which resulted in an acquittal. The verdict caused dismay across the country. The book is not only a true crime story, but a portrait of a community where Indigenous women are disproportionately more likely to be hurt or killed. Jolly asks questions about how Indigenous women, sex workers, community leaders and activists are fighting back to protect themselves and change perceptions. Most importantly, the book will chronicle whether Tina's family will find justice.

Life in the City of Dirty Water: A Memoir of Healing


Clayton Thomas-Muller - 2019
    As a child, he endured the intergenerational trauma that resulted from his family attending residential school. Growing up Cree in downtown Winnipeg, Canada, Clayton faced systemic racism and violence in school and on the streets, which led him to use his fists to defend himself and earn his livelihood. He escaped the hold that drugs and alcohol had on his life by reconnecting with his Cree heritage. For twenty years, he has been a campaigner with organizations including the Indigenous Environmental Network and 350.org, on the front lines of stopping the assault of industry on Indigenous peoples' lands. Using a nonlinear, oral storytelling style, Life in the City of Dirty Water offers the reflections of a man in midlife, telling his inner child, "I'm here now and I'm going to keep you safe."

Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls


Jessica McDiarmid - 2019
    The highway is known as the 'Highway of Tears', and it has come to symbolize a national crisis.Journalist, Jessica McDiarmid, investigates the devastating effect these tragedies have had on the families of the victims and their communities, and how systemic racism and indifference have created a climate where Indigenous women are over-policed, yet under-protected. Through interviews with those closest to the victims--mothers and fathers, siblings and friends--McDiarmid offers an intimate, first-hand account of their loss and relentless fight for justice. Examining the historically fraught social and cultural tensions between settlers and Indigenous peoples in the region, McDiarmid links these cases to others across Canada--now estimated to number up to 4,000--contextualizing them within a broader examination of the undervaluing of Indigenous lives in this country.Highway of Tears is a powerful story about our ongoing failure to provide justice for missing, and murdered, Indigenous women, and a testament to their families and communities' unwavering determination to find it.

Starlight


Richard Wagamese - 2018
    A profoundly moving novel about the redemptive power of love, mercy, and compassion--and the land's ability to heal us.Frank Starlight has long settled into a quiet life working his remote farm, but his contemplative existence comes to an abrupt end with the arrival of Emmy, who has committed a desperate act so she and her child can escape a harrowing life of violence. Starlight takes in Emmy and her daughter to help them get back on their feet, and this accidental family eventually grows into a real one. But Emmy's abusive ex isn't content to just let her go. He wants revenge and is determined to hunt her down. Starlight was unfinished at the time of Richard Wagamese's death, yet every page radiates with his masterful storytelling, intense humanism, and insights that are as hard-earned as they are beautiful. With astonishing scenes set in the rugged backcountry of the B.C. Interior, and characters whose scars cut deep even as their journey toward healing and forgiveness lifts us, Starlight is a last gift to readers from a writer who believed in the power of stories to save us.

NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field


Billy-Ray Belcourt - 2019
    He aims an anthropological eye at the realities of everyday life to show how they house the violence that continues to reverberate from the long twentieth century. In a genre-bending constellation of poetry, photography, redaction, and poetics, Belcourt ultimately argues that if signifiers of Indigenous suffering are everywhere, so too is evidence of Indigenous peoples’ rogue possibility, their utopian drive.In NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, the poet takes on the political demands of queerness, mainstream portrayals of Indigenous life, love and its discontents, and the limits and uses of poetry as a vehicle for Indigenous liberation. In the process, Belcourt once again demonstrates his extraordinary craft, guile, and audacity, and the sheer dexterity of his imagination.

Rock Paper Sex: The Oldest Profession in Canada's Oldest City


Kerri Cull - 2017
    John s is known as a flourishing port city, a cultural gem, and popular tourist destination: a picturesque city of pubs and restaurants, music and colourful houses. But a thriving sex trade quietly exists beneath that polished conception, a trade few are aware of or even understand. In an engaging journalistic style, Kerri Cull respectfully reveals the people who make up the city s surprisingly diverse sex industry and, in the process, makes a compelling humanistic argument for understanding before judgment."

Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies


Leanne Betasamosake Simpson - 2020
    Mashkawaji (they/them) lies frozen in the ice, remembering a long-ago time of hopeless connection and now finding freedom and solace in isolated suspension. They introduce us to the seven main characters: Akiwenzii, the old man who represents the narrator’s will; Ninaatig, the maple tree who represents their lungs; Mindimooyenh, the old woman who represents their conscience; Sabe, the giant who represents their marrow; Adik, the caribou who represents their nervous system; Asin, the human who represents their eyes and ears; and Lucy, the human who represents their brain. Each attempts to commune with the unnatural urban-settler world, a world of SpongeBob Band-Aids, Ziploc baggies, Fjällräven Kånken backpacks, and coffee mugs emblazoned with institutional logos. And each searches out the natural world, only to discover those pockets that still exist are owned, contained, counted, and consumed. Cut off from nature, the characters are cut off from their natural selves.Noopiming is Anishinaabemowin for “in the bush,” and the title is a response to English Canadian settler and author Susanna Moodie’s 1852 memoir Roughing It in the Bush. To read Simpson’s work is an act of decolonization, degentrification, and willful resistance to the perpetuation and dissemination of centuries-old colonial myth-making. It is a lived experience. It is a breaking open of the self to a world alive with people, animals, ancestors, and spirits, who are all busy with the daily labours of healing — healing not only themselves, but their individual pieces of the network, of the web that connects them all together. Enter and be changed.

Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway ... and More


Russell Simmons - 2003
    Among them: Suheir Hammad, Beau Sia, Steve Colman, Stacyann Chin, Mayda del Valle, Georgia Me, Poetri, and other well-established and up-and-coming Slam artists who have forever changed the face of poetry and offer a fresh, exuberant, insightful, and comedic look at who we are as Americans today.

Leaving Home


David French - 1972
    The first part of what has come to be known as the Mercer Series, Leaving Home tells the story of a Newfoundland family that has emigrated and lost all sense of its place in the world.Leaving Home was named one of the "100 Most Influential Canadian Books" by the Literary Review of Canada.

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada


Chelsea Vowel - 2016
    Sixties Scoop. Bill C-31. Blood quantum. Appropriation. Two-Spirit. Tsilhqot’in. Status. TRC. RCAP. FNPOA. Pass and permit. Numbered Treaties. Terra nullius. The Great Peace…Are you familiar with the terms listed above? In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel, legal scholar, teacher, and intellectual, opens an important dialogue about these (and more) concepts and the wider social beliefs associated with the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. In 31 essays, Chelsea explores the Indigenous experience from the time of contact to the present, through five categories – Terminology of Relationships; Culture and Identity; Myth-Busting; State Violence; and Land, Learning, Law, and Treaties. She answers the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger community.Indigenous Writes is one title in The Debwe Series.

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground


Alicia Elliott - 2019
    She engages with such wide-ranging topics as race, parenthood, love, mental illness, poverty, sexual assault, gentrifcation, writing and representation, and in the process makes connections both large and small between the past and present, the personal and political--from overcoming a years-long battle with head lice to the way Native writers are treated within the Canadian literary industry; her unplanned teenage pregnancy to the history of dark matter and how it relates to racism in the court system; her childhood diet of Kraft Dinner to how systemic oppression is directly linked to health problems in Native communities.With deep consideration and searing prose, Elliott provides a candid look at our past, an illuminating portrait of our present and a powerful tool for a better future.