6 resources to help you learn more about Indigenous culture
Originally published June 17, 2020, updated June 16, 2021.
Podcasts, books, and everything else you need to introduce yourself to Indigenous culture
If you've finished your book, cleared out your podcast library and your watch list is running low, then you're in need of some new recommendations. Before you spend hours scrolling mindlessly through Netflix, we're here to help you skip the middle man and go straight to finding the good stuff.
We have a massive responsibility as Canadians to understand the history of the land we live on, so we've put together a list of resources to help you educate yourself about Indigenous people, their history, and culture.
Listen and learn
Whether you're on a drive home or just want something to listen to while checking off your to-do list, audio resources are a great way to learn while multitasking.
CBC Radio's podcast Unreserved hosted by Rosanna Deerchild introduces listeners to Indigenous culture through storytelling. Rosanna interviews influential leaders, movers, and shakers across the country to help listeners gain an understanding of the rich and distinctive history of Indigenous people throughout North America.
If you're wondering what a soulful mashup of Indigenous music and modern sounds is like, A Tribe Called Red could be what you're been looking for. The DJ duo takes inspiration from traditional powwow music and adds an electronic twist to create a unique blend of sounds using the familiar First Nations powwow mixed with urban electronica.
Watch the stories unfold
If you're looking for storytelling resources with a bit more of a visual component, we found some films that share powerful stories.
Following the life of a Canadian First Nations boy in 1950s Ontario, Indian Horse tells the story of Saul Indian Horse who experiences the cruelty of residential schools, racism and alcoholism. Despite his hardships, Saul finds salvation in his love for hockey and connection to his culture. The trailer even features A Tribe Called Red, the musical group we mentioned earlier.
The Road Forward
If you're a musical buff, this musical documentary, The Road Forward, will be right up your alley. The Road Forward by Canadian Metis, Marie Clements, tells the story of Indigenous nationalism in the 1930s and its connection to a pivotal moment in Canada's civil rights history.
Learning through media is great and all, but sometimes you just want to settle down the old fashioned way and pick up a book. Here are a couple revered books that'll definitely capture your interest and help you get started with a better understanding of Indigenous history.
The Orange Shirt Story
The founder of Orange Shirt Day, Phyllis Webstad, shares her story about her experience in a residential school. On top of the trauma she experienced at the school, they didn't let her wear her favourite orange shirt that her grandmother bought for her. Ever since, she's associated the colour orange with the trauma of living in a residential school. She took this dark history and turned it into a children's book, transforming it into a story of hope and education.
The Marrow Thieves
If you're more interested in a dystopic fiction read, Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves tells a compelling story of the loss of humanity and a nationwide hunt for the bone marrow of Indigenous people of North America. Their bone marrow holds the secret to recovering the ability to dream, something the rest of the population has lost after the world is destroyed by global warming.