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National Indigenous History Month

A blue circle with a green rim, Metis flag, Inukshuk figure, and medicine wheel.

A collection of resources for National Indigenous History Month. 

Where possible, immediate access to alternate formats for users with disabilities are provided, otherwise alternate format request options are provided.  Community members can learn about accessing Laurier Library resources.

2024

Mike Cywink's One Heart, One Mind, One Vision

40 foot mural on southwest wall . At base of the mural are roots at feet of two Indigenous figures. Bear cubs in trees. Above them is meandering Grand River on which rests a large turtle with two teepees and a fire on its back. Above it is the Dish with One Spoon Wampum. The mural continues upwards out of view. Link to symbolism and teachings in link that follows

Mike Cywink's One Heart, One, Mind, One Vision mural depicts multiple Indigenous teachings.  It is located on the exterior of the southerly wall of the Waterloo campus library facing the Heritage Walk grove of trees (maples, flowering crab) and the Nadjiwan Kaandossiwin Gamik (Indigenous Student Centre).

As indicated in this YouTube video (closed captions), through the mural "Together, we wanted to celebrate and amplify indigenous culture, art, and history on campus and in our region."

 

Christi Belcourt's Take Only What You Need Exhibition

A detail from Honouring My Spirit Helpers. Water and land meet. Roots from a tree extend into the water. A round lily pad with pointed tips on one end floats on the water surface. Flowers, stems, and strawberries bend and overlap above the water

In the Take Only What You Need exhibition, Christi Belcourt calls for self-reflection on nature’s symbolic properties and the earthly connections that intertwines human existence with the natural world. Image description provided for the blind and visually impaired.

Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) resources

Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is an index and full text database that provides information and resources on self-determination to assist Indigenous communities in decision making. It includes selected articles, tool kits, videos, voice messages, and community stories about FPIC and Consultation. The website is hosted by Deyohahá:ge, the Indigenous Knowledge Centre, at Six Nations Polytechnic in the territory of Six Nations of the Grand, Oshweken, Ontario, Canada. Deyohahá:ge (Two Roads): “is dedicated to bringing together two streams of consciousness – the ancestral Indigenous knowledge with the best of modern academic knowledge – in order to advance the overall well-being of all peoples.”

Latimer, M., Henderson, S., Pimlott, J., Wente, J., Henderson, G., Lee, A., Lennox, R., & Kotzia, R. (2022). Inconvenient Indian. National Film Board of Canada.

Inconvenient Indian dives deep into the brilliant mind of Thomas King, Indigenous intellectual, master storyteller, and author of the bestselling book The Inconvenient Indian, to shatter the misconception that history is anything more than stories we tell about the past. With winks to his cab driver Coyote along the way, King takes us on a critical journey through the colonial narratives of North America. He eloquently exposes the falsehoods of white supremacy and deftly punctures myths of Indigenous erasure to lay bare what has been extracted from the land, culture, and peoples of Turtle Island. In this time of momentous change and essential re-examination, Inconvenient Indian is a powerful visual poem anchored in the land and amplified by the voices of those who continue the tradition of Indigenous resistance. Artist activists, land protectors, hunters, and those leading cultural revitalization powerfully subvert the “inconvenience” of their existence, creating an essential new narrative and a possible path forward for us all.

Johnson (Tekahionwake), E. P., Capilano (Sahp-luk), J., Capilano (Lixwelut), M. A., & Shield, A. (2023). Legends of the Capilano. (1st ed.). University of Manitoba Press. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781772840193

Bringing the Legends home Legends of the Capilano updates E. Pauline Johnson’s 1911 classic Legends of Vancouver, restoring Johnson’s intended title for the first time. This new edition celebrates the storytelling abilities of Johnson’s Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) collaborators, Joe and Mary Capilano, and supplements the original fifteen legends with five additional stories narrated solely or in part by Mary Capilano, highlighting her previously overlooked contributions to the book. Alongside photographs and biographical entries for E. Pauline Johnson, Joe Capilano, and Mary Capilano, editor Alix Shield provides a detailed publishing history of Legends since its first appearance in 1911. Interviews with literary scholar Rick Monture (Mohawk) and archaeologist Rudy Reimer (Skwxwú7mesh) further considers the legacy of Legends in both scholars’ home communities. Compiled in consultation with the Mathias family, the direct descendants of Joe and Mary Capilano and members of the Skwxwú7mesh Nation, this edition reframes, reconnects, and reclaims the stewardship of these stories.

Hill, S. M. (2017). The clay we are made of: Haudenosaunee land tenure on the Grand River. In The clay we are made of: Vol. 20. (1st ed.). University of Manitoba Press.

If one seeks to understand Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) history, one must consider the history of Haudenosaunee land. For countless generations prior to European contact, land and territory informed Haudenosaunee thought and philosophy, and was a primary determinant of Haudenosaunee identity. In The Clay We Are Made Of, Susan M. Hill presents a revolutionary retelling of the history of the Grand River Haudenosaunee from their Creation Story through European contact to contemporary land claims negotiations. She incorporates Indigenous theory, Fourth world post-colonialism, and Amerindian autohistory, along with Haudenosaunee languages, oral records, and wampum strings to provide the most comprehensive account of the Haudenosaunee’s relationship to their land. Hill outlines the basic principles and historical knowledge contained within four key epics passed down through Haudenosaunee cultural history. She highlights the political role of women in land negotiations and dispels their misrepresentation in the scholarly canon. She guides the reader through treaty relationships with Dutch, French, and British settler nations, including the Kaswentha/Two-Row Wampum (the precursor to all future Haudenosaunee-European treaties), the Covenant Chain, the Nanfan Treaty, and the Haldimand Proclamation, and concludes with a discussion of the current problematic relationships between the Grand River Haudenosaunee, the Crown, and the Canadian government.

Alfred, T., Rogers, A., & Palmater, P. (2023). It’s All about the Land : Collected Talks and Interviews on Indigenous Resurgence. (1st ed.). University of Toronto Press.  

Illuminating the First Nations struggles against the Canadian state, It’s All about the Land exposes how racism underpins and shapes Indigenous-settler relationships. Renowned Kahnawà:ke Mohawk activist and scholar Taiaiake Alfred explains how the Canadian government’s reconciliation agenda is a new form of colonization that is guaranteed to fail. Bringing together Alfred’s speeches and interviews from over the past two decades, the book shows that Indigenous peoples across the world face a stark choice: reconnect with their authentic cultures and values or continue following a slow road to annihilation. Rooted in ancestral spirit, knowledge, and law, It’s All about the Land presents a passionate argument for Indigenous Resurgence as the pathway toward justice for Indigenous peoples.

Boyer, Y., & Chartrand, L. (2022). Métis Rising: Living Our Present Through the Power of Our Past (1st ed.). University of British Columbia Press.

Métis Rising draws on a remarkable cross-section of perspectives to tell the histories, stories, and dreams of people from varied backgrounds, demonstrating that there is no single Métis experience - only a common sense of belonging and a commitment to justice. The contributors to this unique collection, most of whom are Métis themselves, examine often-neglected aspects of Métis existence in Canada. They trace a turbulent course, illustrating how Métis leaders were born out of the need to address abhorrent social and economic disparities following the Métis-Canadian war of 1885. They talk about the long and arduous journey to rebuild the Métis nation from a once marginalized and defeated people; their accounts ranging from personal reflections on identity to tales of advocacy against poverty and poor housing. And they address the indictment of the jurisdictional gap whereby neither federal nor provincial governments would accept governance responsibility towards Métis people. Métis Rising is an extraordinary work that exemplifies how contemporary Métis identity has been forged by social, economic, and political concerns into a force to be reckoned with.

 

Fiola, C. (2021). Returning to Ceremony : Spirituality in Manitoba Métis Communities. University of Manitoba Press.

Returning to Ceremony is the follow-up to Chantal Fiola’s award-winning Rekindling the Sacred Fire and continues her ground-breaking examination of Métis spirituality, debunking stereotypes such as “all Métis people are Catholic,” and “Métis people do not go to ceremonies.” Fiola finds that, among the Métis, spirituality exists on a continuum of Indigenous and Christian traditions, and that Métis spirituality includes ceremonies. For some Métis, it is a historical continuation of the relationships their ancestral communities have had with ceremonies since time immemorial, and for others, it is a homecoming – a return to ceremony after some time away. Fiola employs a Métis-specific and community-centred methodology to gather evidence from archives, priests’ correspondence, oral history, storytelling, and literature. With assistance from six Métis community researchers, Fiola listened to stories and experiences shared by thirty-two Métis from six Manitoba Métis communities that are at the heart of this book. They offer insight into their families’ relationships with land, community, culture, and religion, including factors that inhibit or nurture connection to ceremonies such as sweat lodge, Sundance, and the Midewiwin. Valuable profiles emerge for six historic Red River Métis communities (Duck Bay, Camperville, St Laurent, St François-Xavier, Ste Anne, and Lorette), providing a clearer understanding of identity, culture, and spirituality that uphold Métis Nation sovereignty.
 

Scottie, J., Bernauer, W., & Hicks, J. (2022). I Will Live for Both of Us: A History of Colonialism, Uranium Mining, and Inuit Resistance (1st ed., Vol. 9). University of Manitoba Press.

Born at a traditional Inuit camp in what is now Nunavut, Joan Scottie has spent decades protecting the Inuit hunting way of life, most famously with her long battle against the uranium mining industry. Twice, Scottie and her community of Baker Lake successfully stopped a proposed uranium mine. Working with geographer Warren Bernauer and social scientist Jack Hicks, Scottie here tells the history of her community's decades-long fight against uranium mining. Scottie's I Will Live for Both of Us is a reflection on recent political and environmental history and a call for a future in which Inuit traditional laws and values are respected and upheld. Drawing on Scottie's rich and storied life, together with document research by Bernauer and Hicks, their book brings the perspective of a hunter, Elder, grandmother, and community organizer to bear on important political developments and conflicts in the Canadian Arctic since the Second World War. In addition to telling the story of her community's struggle against the uranium industry, I Will Live for Both of Us discusses gender relations in traditional Inuit camps, the emotional dimensions of colonial oppression, Inuit experiences with residential schools, the politics of gold mining, and Inuit traditional laws regarding the land and animals. A collaboration between three committed activists, I Will Live for Both of Us provides key insights into Inuit history, Indigenous politics, resource management, and the nuclear industry

 

Hill, R. W., & Coleman, D. (2019). The Two Row Wampum-Covenant Chain Tradition as a Guide for Indigenous-University Research Partnerships. Cultural Studies, Critical Methodologies, 19(5), 339–359. https://doi.org/10.1177/1532708618809138

This co-authored article examines the oldest known treaty between incoming Europeans and Indigenous North Americans to derive five basic principles to guide healthy, productive relationships between Indigenous community-based researchers and university-based ones. Rick Hill, Tuscarora artist and knowledge keeper from the Six Nations of the Grand River, publishes for the first time here the most complete oral history that exists today of that ancient treaty, from the early seventeenth century, known as the Two Row Wampum or the Covenant Chain agreement. Interspersed with Dr. Hill’s reflections, Daniel Coleman, a settler professor of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, outlines five principles for research partnerships derived from the discussions of the Two Row Research Partnership seminars that Hill and Coleman have been hosting at Deyohahá:ge: Indigenous Knowledge Centre for the past four years. Formed between the Hodinöhsö:ni’ confederacy and Dutch merchants arriving near Albany, New York in 1609, the Two Row Wampum-Covenant Chain treaty set the precedent for nation-to-nation treaties between European colonial powers and Indigenous peoples with two parallel rows representing the Hodinöhsö:ni’ canoe and the Dutch ship sailing down the shared river. Each party agreed to keep their beliefs and laws in their separate vessels, and on this basis of interdependent autonomy, they established a long-lasting friendship. This article suggests that by renewing our understanding of the Two Row Wampum-Covenant Chain treaty, Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers alike can rebuild relationships of trust and cooperation that can decolonize Western presumptions and re-establish healthy and productive research partnerships.

Kenuajuak, B., & Lamothe, N. (2011). My Village in Nunavik. National Film Board of Canada.

Bobby Kenuajuak was born in 1976 in the village of Puvirnituq on the shores of Hudson Bay in northern Quebec. He won a National Film Board contest for Indigenous filmmakers at the age of 23, which allowed him to learn his craft at the NFB's Montreal headquarters, where he spent 18 months producing this film. Shot during three seasons, Kenuajuak's documentary tenderly portrays village life and the elements that forge the character of his people: their history, the great open spaces and their unflagging humour. Though Kenuajuak appreciates the amenities of southern civilization that have made their way north, he remains attached to the traditional way of life and the land: its vast tundra, the sea teeming with Arctic char, the sky full of Canada geese. My Village in Nunavik is an unsentimental film by a young Inuk who is open to the outside world but clearly loves his village.


 Wapos Bay : All’s Fair. National Film Board of Canada.

Wapos Bay is an award-winning stop motion animated family drama comedy series. It was  created by Denis Jackson (Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation) and Melanie Jackson (Métis/Saulteaux).

In this episode, tryouts for the Aboriginal Winter Games hockey team are taking place when a new student, an Inuit boy named Elue Wetaluk, comes to Wapos Bay. T-Bear feels threatened by the newcomer's athletic ability and becomes very competitive. Meanwhile, Talon befriends Elue's visiting cousin, Jordin Tootoo, and invites him to the trap line by dog sled. A snowstorm delays their return, and T-Bear and Elue must put aside their differences to rescue Jordin and Talon.

 

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Last Updated: June 2, 2024 9:08am