The Court of Better Fiction: Three Trials, Two Executions, and Arctic Sovereignty by Debra Komar

The Court of Better Fiction is a concise, scathing, and at the same time, sympathetic account of a travesty of justice committed against the Indigenous peoples living above the Arctic Circle.

Doug Knockwood, Mi’kmaw Elder: Stories, Memories, Reflections by Doug Knockwood & Friends

Less than one month after publishing these memoirs, Mr. Knockwood died on June 16, 2018 at the age of 88. He suffered from pneumonia and heart failure, which is not surprising, as he had only one lung, having lost the other to TB years ago. This book, published by Roseway Publishing (an imprint of Fernwood Publishing), will remain as a testament and eulogy to the man who helped so many people, Indigenous and otherwise, on the long road to recovery.… Continue reading

Nirliit by Juliana Léveillé-Trudel

On the back cover of Nirliit (2018, Véhicule Press) there is a quote by Dorothée Berryman of La Presse that perfectly sums up how I felt about reading this small, but transcendent novel: “I’m about to reread this book because its powerful beauty haunts me.” I did reread the book, but only after I was almost finished it and I felt I needed to go back to recapture the mood of the book; I felt I was reading it too fast and not absorbing the acute perceptions of the author regarding her time spent in the northern Quebec Inuit village of Salluit.… Continue reading

Following the River: Traces of Red River Women by Lorri Neilsen Glenn

Towards the end of Lorri Neilsen Glenn’s enthralling memoir-like journey of discovery Following the River: Traces of Red River Women (2017, Wolsak & Wynn), she states:

“When we consider countless horrors in the world, innumerable disasters and catastrophes, a ship consumed by fire on a late summer night is but only one. Unremarkable, yet its dark stroke colours lives for generations.”

The ship in question was the SS Premier, a ship that plied the waters of Lake Winnipeg, carrying people and cargo south to north, north to south.… Continue reading

The Sweet Bloods of Eeyou Istchee by Ruth DyckFehderau

According to the Diabetes Canada website, there are 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. Every three minutes, another Canadian is diagnosed. For the James Bay Cree living in the territory of Eeyou Istchee in Northern Quebec, “fully one-third of the adults have been diagnosed with type 2 or gestational diabetes and more remain undiagnosed.”

The Sweet Bloods of Eeyou Istchee was produced by creehealth.org in order to educate and inform the Cree and other Indigenous peoples of the dangers of eating too much of the wrong foods

and not getting enough exercise.… Continue reading

Why Indigenous Literatures Matter by Daniel Heath Justice

Laurier University Press (WLU Press) publishes an Indigenous Studies series of which I have reviewed Rachel Bryant’s The Homing Place, which is one of my “Very Best!” reads of 2018. So I returned to WLU Press’ website to look at their other titles. Daniel Heath Justice’s book Why Indigenous Literatures Matter has been very well received in literary circles, so I thought I would investigate it, as I enjoyed (and was very educated by) The Homing Place.… Continue reading