A booklover’s guide to Peterborough bookstores: Indigenous Awareness Week

Photo of the Native Studies section in Scholar's Bookstore by Jenny Fisher.
Photo of the Native Studies section in Scholar’s Bookstore by Jenny Fisher.

Book and Things (Water St. between Hunter and Simcoe):

Two great pieces of non-fiction can be found here for Indigenous Awareness Week. The first is Dee Brown’s seminal Bury My Hear At Wounded Knee: An Indian History Of The American West helped usher the history of genocide, betrayal, and land theft in American history into the broader political discourse when it was first published in 1970, and remains an important text in Native Studies (which is where you’ll find it at Books and Things).

Sitting right below is Ruby Wiebe and Yvonne Johnson’s Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman ($10) details her struggle with childhood sexual abuse and the events that led to her conviction in the 90’s for first degree murder in the killing of a man accused of being a child molester by her cousin when a fight broke out in their home.

While published in 1995, the book paints a grim portrait of a Canadian justice system in which, according to the  University of Saskatchewan Report in 1999, “a female Indian is 131 times as likely to be admitted to a provincial jail than a non-native”.

Dixon’s Bookstore (Water St. between Hunter and Simcoe):

Departing from Indigenous issues in North America, Serbian born B. Wonger spent most of his literary career writing about the devastation and dislocations wrought on the Aboriginals of Australia, and Gabo Djara ($4.95) is one of his most notable contributions.

In the same section, you’ll find Keri Hulme’s The Bone People ($5.95). This 1985 winner of the Booker McConnell Prize, centres around a mixed-race Maori family coping with not only the struggles of integration and identity in post-colonial New Zealand, but their seven year-old, non-verbal autistic son.

Scholar’s (Water St. between Simcoe and Hunter):

In the Native Studies section, you’ll find the interesting looking The Gift Of The Gila Monster And Other Navajo Ceremonial Tales by Gerald Hausman as well as 2012 UBC Anthropologist Leslie Robertson’s 2012 study Standing Up With Ga’axsta’las: Jane Constance Cook and The Politics Of Memory, Church And Custom, chronicling the titular figure’s role and legacy as advocate for First Nations justice and rights in the wake of the 1876 Indian Act and the increasingly oppressive measures of the Canadian government in the the late 1800’s.

Knotaknew (George St. at the corner of Sherbrooke):

Native American novelist, Sherman Alexie’s 1996 American Book Award winning Reservation Blues is in the fiction section along with critically acclaimed One Native Life by Richard Wagamese (of the Ojibway Wabasseemoong Nation of Northwestern Ontario).

Mark Jokinen’s (George St. between King and Sherbrooke):

Thomas King’s One Good Story, That One is hovering around the fiction section, as is Australian Aboriginal author’s spectacularly imaginative work of magical realism, Plains Of Promise.