Stories & Features

Consider choosing an Indigenous option for your next book club or movie night

Image of books and tea
If you or someone in your home is a fan of books like The Hunger Games or Divergent, here's another read you might enjoy. Consider The Marrow Thieves, a post-apocalyptic story where most people in the world have lost the ability to dream.

More than ever, there are easy ways to add new voices to the culture you consume

National Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21. It's a day to celebrate and learn more about the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. This year, we're bringing the celebration to you, with resources and ideas of how you can celebrate at home.

Have you been searching for some new tunes lately? Need another book to make progress on your 2020 Goodreads challenge?

Why not challenge yourself to add some diversity to your next movie night?

We're sharing all kinds of great ideas for you to experience Indigenous culture, from contemporary music artists to Dragon's Den-approved beauty brands.

Whether you're heading to the campground or the couch this summer, consider adding some of these great reads by Indigenous authors to your reading list. From graphic novels to poetry, there's something for everyone.

Star Wars: Resistance Reborn

Rebecca Roanhorse (Indigenous group: Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo)

In this pivotal prequel to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the heroes of the Resistance — Poe Dameron, General Leia Organa, Rey, and Finn — must fight back from the edge of oblivion.

Race to the Sun

Rebecca Roanhorse (Indigenous group: Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo)

A Diné teen teams up with her younger brother and her best friend to battle monsters threatening their world. After seventh grader Nizhoni Begay senses a monster lurking in the stands during her basketball game, she tells her younger brother, Mac. Timeless themes such as the importance of family and respect for the land resonate in this funny, fast-paced, and exciting adventure set in the American Southwest.

The Sixth World Series

Rebecca Roanhorse (Indigenous group: Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo)

Twenty years in the future an environmental collapse causes what is known as The Big Flood and everything below an elevation of 3,500 feet across the Earth is under water. This ushers in The Sixth World and the return of magic in this post-apocalyptic series set against the backdrop of the Navajo nation.

The Marrow Thieves

Cherie Dimaline (Indigenous group: Metis)

Set in a dystopian future, most people have lost the ability to dream, with catastrophic psychological results. Indigenous people, who can still dream, are hunted for their marrow to create a serum to treat others. Frenchie, the protagonist, tries his best to avoid the hunters, known as Recruiters. Along the way north to safety, he falls in with a group led by an older man, Miigwans.

Moon of the Crusted Sun

Waubgeshig Rice (Indigenous group: Wasauksing)

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow.

The community leadership loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision.

Midnight Sweatlodge

Waubgeshig Rice (Indigenous group: Wasauksing)

Midnight Sweatlodge tells the tale of a group of strangers and family gathered together to partake in this ancient aboriginal ceremony. Each seeks healing from the ceremony and each character gives us a glimpse into their lives that is tearful and true.

Moonshot: The Indigenous Comic Collection

Various authors

Dozens of creators from North America come together to contribute comic book stories showcasing the rich heritage and identity of indigenous storytelling. From traditional stories to exciting new visions of the future, this collection presents some of the finest comic book and graphic novel work on the continent.

Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations

Richard Wagamese (Indigenous group: Ojibway)

Honest, evocative and articulate, Wagamese explores the various manifestations of grief, joy, recovery, beauty, gratitude, physicality and spirituality – concepts many find hard to express. But for Wagamese, spirituality is multifaceted.

In My Own Moccasins

Helen Knott (Indigenous group: Dane Zaa, Nichiyaw)

Helen Knott, a highly accomplished Indigenous woman, seems to have it all. But in her memoir, she offers a different perspective. In My Own Moccasins is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption.

You might have enjoyed delicious bannock in the past as a literal taste of Indigenous culture.

We've got a recipe for you to create your very own bannock right at home which includes ingredients you probably already own:

 

Navajo Fry Bread/deep fried bannock recipe

  • 3 cups of unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup milk mixed with 3/4 cup hot water (hot enough so mixed liquid is almost too hot to touch
  • 1 tbsp oil or shortening oil or shortening for deep frying (heated to 360°F)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in milk/water mixture and knead briefly with lightly oiled hands until smooth. Rub the remainder of the one tbsp of oil over the dough. Cover and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Pat or roll enough dough to fit in the palm of your hand in a circle about 1/8" thick (at least, a touch thicker is better). Deep-fry the dough in hot oil or shortening for about one minute per side, or until golden brown. Makes 10-12 pieces.

Not much of a cook? If you're located in Vancouver, Merritt, or West Kelowna – you're in luck. You can support local Indigenous restaurants and get some delicious take out.

From Spotify to Apple Music, many of us have access to a wider range of new artists and musicians than ever before. You might be familiar with artists like A Tribe Called Red or Buffy St. Marie. These great artists are just a few of the ones you can enjoy, however you consume your music.

If you've been looking for some new sounds to add to your daily soundtrack, we can get you started with suggested playlists and tunes from contemporary artists.

Canadian artists

Genre Artist Indigenous group
Hip-hop Christie Lee Musqueam
Hip-hop Keliya Sto:lo
Throat singing Tanya Tagaq Inuit
Folk rock Buffy St. Marie Piapo
Folk rock Quantum Tangle Various
Country Crystal Shawanda Wikwemikong
Country William Prince Pegius
Country George Leech Sta'atl'imc
Pop, dance, hip-hop Inez Jasper Sto:lo, Ojibway and Metis
Electric A Tribe Called Red Various
Traditional Jeremy Dutcher Tobique
Traditional Laura Grizzlypaws St'at'imc


Looking for your next great film or binge-worthy show? Consider tuning into one of the below films and TV shows to be entertained while also learning about Indigenous culture.

TELUS Optik TV subscribers can check out a featured section this month called Celebrating Indigenous Storytelling which includes a list of 72 movies to choose from.

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Caption: With an impressive 82% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5-star rating on iTunes, The Grizzlies is one film not to miss. It tells the story of a group of Inuit students in a small Arctic town.

Film

The Grizzlies – iTunes (rent $5.99, buy $12.00)

In a small Arctic town struggling with the highest suicide rate in North America, a group of Inuit students' lives are transformed when they're introduced to the sport of lacrosse.

Indian Horse – iTunes (rent $5.99, buy $4.99)

Follows the life of Native Canadian Saul Indian Horse as he survives residential school and life amongst the racism of the 1970s. A talented hockey player, Saul must find his own path as he battles stereotypes and alcoholism.

Smoke Signals – Amazon (rent $3.99, buy $9.99)

Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversized glasses and telling stories no one wants to hear. His parents died in a fire in 1976, and Thomas was saved by Arnold. Arnold soon left his family (and his tough son Victor), and Victor hasn't seen his father for 10 years. When Victor hears Arnold has died, Thomas offers him funding for the trip to get Arnold's remains, but only if Thomas can also go with him. Thomas and Victor hit the road.

Edge of the Knife – iTunes (rent $6.99, buy $12.99)

When a man accidentally causes the death of the son of his best friend, the man is wracked by grief and runs off into the woods.

Blood Quantum – iTunes (rent $5.99, buy $9.99)

The dead are coming back to life outside the isolated Mi'gMaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are strangely immune to the zombie plague.

Dance Me Outside – iTunes (rent $4.99, buy $14.99)

A story of life on a First Nations reserve in Ontario: Silas and Frank are trying to get into college to train to be mechanics but they find themselves having to deal with girls, family... and murder.

TV

Molly of Denali – CBC GEM (free)

Check out this kid's show where you can join Molly, an Alaska Native girl, her dog Suki, and friends Tooey and Trini on their adventures in epically beautiful Alaska. And along the way, Molly’s life is enhanced, kept on track, and flat-out SAVED by maps, guide books, websites, weather reports, and more.

The Wild Ones – History Channel (watch on cable or free when signing in using your TV provider)

A 10-part documentary series released on History Canada brings the relationship between the wild horses of the Nemaiah Valley and their Indigenous protectors to a mass audience. "The Wild Ones" tells the story of the Xeni Gwet'in First Nation members who manage the wild horse population along with non-Indigenous ranchers.

Mohawk Girls – APTN (subscribe, try for free)

Mohawk Girls is a half- hour dramatic comedy about four young women figuring out how to be Mohawk in the 21st century. The series centers around four twenty-something Mohawk women trying to find their place in the world.

Tribal – APTN (subscribe, try for free)

The controversial new Chief of Tribal Police is forced to partner with a big-city cop amid allegations of corruption from the federal government.

First Contact – APTN (subscribe, try for free)

First Contact takes six Canadians on a 28-day journey intended to challenge attitudes and shed a light on the true Indigenous experience. The travellers, all with ignorant views about Indigenous People, have been invited to leave their everyday lives behind and embark on a unique journey, travelling deep into the Indigenous communities throughout Canada.

From bath bombs to beauty products, Indigenous-owned businesses from across Canada offer a wide range of amazing products. They make great gifts – or treat yourself.

Wellness products

Sister's Sage: Gitxaala, Nisga'a, Metis

Self-care products made from traditional ingredients

Up the Hill at Loakin: Secwepemc

Indigenous personal and medicinal care herbal products

Cheekbone Beauty: Ontario

Makeup brand featured on Dragon's Den

Yukon Soaps Company: Mayo, Yukon

Handmade soaps made from scratch

Clothing

Ay Lelum: Nanaimo

Clothing and fabrics

Wolf Pack Apparel: Various

Clothing showcasing authentic Indigenous art and designs

Art and jewelry

Cedar Hill Long House

Prints from various Indigenous artists

Lady Bear Designs: Mohawk, Ojibway and Cayuga

Handcrafted jewelry