Indigenous Reading for Reconciliation–and Enjoyment!

Here are some of many fiction and non-fiction literary works by Indigenous, available at bookstores and online.

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Indigenous Tourism BC encourages reconciliation through truth-learning and hearing firsthand stories from Indigenous storytellers.  We also encourage you to expand your Indigenous canon! Indigenous literature spans all genres, age groups, and subject matter. Curl up with #Indigelit. Sit with both the uncomfortable truths and the expansive creativity and expression of contemporary Indigenous writers in Canada.

Readers can learn a great deal about the dark truth of Canadian history from Indigenous authors who share personal perspectives with readers on surviving residential institutions, 60s Scoop, and other measures by the Canadian government intended to separate Indigenous children and families from each other, their lands, and their cultures.

We can also learn about everything from plant knowledge to lived experience as a two-spirited person. We can share brilliant works of futurism and science-fiction with the young adult readers in our lives or immerse ourselves in the works of Indigenous poets, comedic playwrights, or observant podcasters. Indigenous storytelling is about more than Indigenous trauma. It is also about seeing the beauty, complexity, humour of all experience through an Indigenous lens. 

 The work of Indigenous writers spans all genres and all age groups. This year, we challenge readers to continue learning about uncomfortable truths from Indigenous writers. We also encourage you to read works that reflect Indigenous triumph, innovation, creativity, and personal expression You are invited to create a personal reading list or public book club with Indigenous literature. 

Here are some of many fiction and non-fiction literary works by Indigenous authors, available at bookstores and online. Let’s grow this list and celebrate Indigenous knowledge and storytellers together. We invite you to send your favourite titles to us at [email protected]

For more Indigenous reading recommendations, visit Indigenous-owned Raven Reads or Massy Books.


Held by the Land: A Guide to Indigenous Plants for Wellness

By Leigh Joseph

Written by an ethnobotanist from Squamish Nation, this is a beautifully illustrated essential introduction to Indigenous plant knowledge.Plants can be a great source of healing as well as nourishment, and the practice of growing and harvesting from trees, flowering herbs, and other plants is a powerful way to become more connected to the land.

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Phyllis's Orange Shirt

By Phyllis Webstad

Phyllis’s Orange Shirt is an adaptation of The Orange Shirt Story for readers aged 4-6. Phyllis Webstad reflects on inspiring Orange Shirt Day and starting a movement that has inspired thousands of people to honour residential school survivors and their families.

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The Marrow Thieves

By Cherie Dimaline

The story is set in a dystopian future in which 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. Winner of the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award for Young People’s Literature.


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RED, a Haida Manga

By Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

RED is the tragic story about a young girl named Jaada and her brother Red. They live together in a village on the west coast of Haida Gwaii. One night, pirates sneak into the village! Red calls out the alarm and everyone flees, but Jaada is captured. Years pass, and Red becomes a chief. He begins to search for his sister… 

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Sixties Scoop 

By Inez Cook

For decades, “scooping up” (forcibly taking) Indigenous children from their families for placement in foster homes or adoption, was commonplace in the 1950’s and 1960’s onward. This is the story of one of those 20,000 children who lost their name and connection to heritage.

Namwayut – We Are All One: A Pathway to Reconciliation

By Chief Dr. Robert Joseph

Reconciliation belongs to everyone. In this profound book, Chief Robert Joseph, globally recognized peacebuilder, and Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk People, traces his journey from his childhood surviving residential school to his present-day role.  He is a leader who inspires individual hope, collective change, and global transformation.

Calling my Spirit Back

By Elaine Alec

Indigenous Peoples have always carried the knowledge necessary to heal. When our people heal, our families heal, our communities heal, and our land will heal. You cannot have one without the other. These stories are teachings, prophecy and protocols shared throughout the years by elders, language speakers, medicine people and helpers. 

They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School

By Bev Sellars

Former Xatśūll Chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential school. These institutions endeavored to “civilize” Indigenous children through Christian teachings; forced separation from family, language, and culture; and strict discipline. Perhaps the most symbolically potent strategy used to alienate residential school children was addressing them by assigned numbers only – not by the names with which they knew and understood themselves.

Monkey Beach

By Eden Robinson

Tragedy strikes a Native community when the Hill family’s handsome seventeen-year-old son, Jimmy, mysteriously vanishes at sea. Left behind to cope during the search-and-rescue effort is his sister, Lisamarie, a wayward teenager with a dark secret. Infused with darkness and humour, Monkey Beach is a spellbinding voyage into the long, cool shadows of B.C.’s Coast Mountains, blending teen culture, Haisla lore, nature spirits and human tenderness into a multi-layered story of loss and redemption.

The Comeback

By John Ralston Saul

Saul calls on all of us to embrace and support the comeback of Indigenous peoples. He says this is the great issue of our time–the most important missing piece in the building of Canada. What is happening today between Indigenous and non-Indigenous is not about guilt or sympathy or failure or romanticization of the past. It is about citizens’’ rights. It is about rebuilding relationships that were central to the creation of Canada.

Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.