June is National Indigenous History Month

June is National Indigenous History Month and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day.

National Indigenous History Month is a time for all Canadians (Indigenous, non-Indigenous, and newcomers) to learn about the histories of Indigenous Peoples. It is a time to reflect upon the history, resilience, and ongoing struggles faced by many Indigenous peoples throughout Canada's past and present.

It is also a time for celebrating the diverse cultures of Indigenous Peoples, a time to celebrate the contributions Indigenous peoples have made to their communities, a time for all of us to learn and grow together. 

Throughout June, themed weeks will highlight various aspects of Indigenous history and perspectives.

Here are the 2024 weekly themes:

June 1 to 9: Environment, traditional knowledge and territory

June 10 to 16: Children and Youth

June 17 to 23: Languages, cultures and arts

June 24 to 30: Women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people

How to get involved

There are many ways to participate, such as attending a community event or reading books, watching films, listening to music created by Indigenous creators.

Feel free to explore the following books available at Red Deer Public Library:

Environment, Traditional Knowledge and Territory

Becoming Kin by Patty Krawec (Anishinaabe)

"We find our way forward by going back.  Weaving her own story with the story of her ancestors and with the broader themes of creation, replacement, and disappearance, Krawec helps readers see settler colonialism through the eyes of an Indigenous writer. Settler colonialism tried to force us into one particular way of living, but the old ways of kinship can help us imagine a different future.  Braiding together historical, scientific, and cultural analysis, Indigenous ways of knowing, and the vivid threads of communal memory, Krawec crafts a stunning, forceful call to "unforget" our history. This remarkable sojourn through Native and settler history, myth, identity, and spirituality helps us retrace our steps and pick up what was lost along the chances to honor rather than violate treaties, to see the land as a relative rather than a resource, and to unravel the history we have been taught."

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Potawatomi)

"As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return."

Iwígara by Enrique Salmón (Rarámuri)

"The belief that all life-forms are interconnected and share the same breath—known in the Rarámuri tribe as iwígara—has resulted in a treasury of knowledge about the natural world, passed down for millennia by native cultures. Ethnobotanist Enrique Salmón builds on this concept of connection and highlights 80 plants revered by North America’s indigenous peoples. Salmón teaches us the ways plants are used as food and medicine, the details of their identification and harvest, their important health benefits, plus their role in traditional stories and myths. Discover in these pages how the timeless wisdom of iwígara can enhance your own kinship with the natural world."

Medicine Wheel for the Planet by Jennifer Grenz (Nlaka‘pamux)

"Building on sacred stories, field observations, and her own journey, Dr. Grenz invites readers to share in the teachings of the four directions of the medicine the North, which draws upon the knowledge and wisdom of elders; the East, where we let go of colonial narratives and see with fresh eyes; the South, where we apply new-old worldviews to envision a way forward; and the West, where a relational approach to land reconciliation is realized."

Remembering Our Relations by Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

"Wood Buffalo National Park is located in the heart of Dénesułıuné homelands, where Dene people have lived from time immemorial. Central to the creation, expansion, and management of this park, Canada's largest at nearly 45, 000 square kilometers, was the eviction of Dénesułıuné people from their home, the forced separation of Dené families, and restriction of their Treaty rights. Remembering Our Relations tells the history of Wood Buffalo National Park from a Dene perspective and within the context of Treaty 8. Oral history and testimony from Dene Elders, knowledge-holders, leaders, and community members place Dénesułıuné voices first. With supporting archival research, this book demonstrates how the founding, expansion, and management of Wood Buffalo National Park fits into a wider pattern of promises broken by settler colonial governments managing land use throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries."

Fiction Book Spotlight

Bad Cree by Jessica Johns (Cree)

Paranormal Fiction

"A haunting debut novel where dreams, family and spirits collide. Mackenzie, a Cree millennial, wakes up in her small, one-bedroom Vancouver apartment clutching a pine bough she had been holding in her dream just moments earlier. When she blinks, it disappears. But she can still smell the sharp pine scent in the air, the nearest pine tree a thousand kilometres away in the deep prairies of Treaty 8. Desperate for help, Mackenzie returns to her mother, sister, cousin, and aunties in her small hometown in Alberta. And together, they work to uncover what is haunting Mackenzie before something irrevocable happens to anyone else around her. Haunting, fierce, an ode to female relations and the strength found in kinship, Bad Cree is a gripping, arresting debut by an unforgettable voice."

A Broken Blade by Melissa Blair (Anishinaabe)

Fantasy Fiction

"Keera is a killer. As the King's Blade, she is the most talented spy in the kingdom. And the king's favored assassin. When a mysterious figure moves against the Crown, Keera is called upon to hunt down the so-called Shadow.

She tracks her target into the magical lands of the Fae, but Faeland is not what it seems...and neither is the Shadow. Keera is shocked by what she learns, and can't help but wonder who her enemy truly is: the King that destroyed her people or the Shadow that threatens the peace?

As she searches for answers, Keera is haunted by a promise she made long ago, one that will test her in every way. To keep her word, Keera must not only save herself, but an entire kingdom."

A Grandmother Begins the Story by Michelle Porter (Métis)

Psychological Fiction

"Five generations of Métis women argue, dance, struggle, laugh, love, and tell the stories that will sing their family, and perhaps the land itself, into healing in this brilliantly original debut novel. Carter is a young mother, recently separated. She is curious, angry, and on a quest to find out what the heritage she only learned of in her teens means. Allie is trying to make up for the lost years with her first born, and to protect Carter from the hurt she herself suffered from her own mother. Lucie wants the granddaughter she's never met to help her join her ancestors in the Afterlife. Genevieve is determined to conquer her demons before the fire inside burns her up, with the help of the sister she lost but has never been without. Mame, in the Afterlife, knows that all these stories began with her, and that she must hold on to the tellings until all her daughters and their daughters find the paths they need to be on. This extraordinary novel, told by a chorus of distinctive, sharp, funny, confused, wise characters that include the descendants of the bison that once freely roamed the land, heralds the arrival of a stunning new voice in literary fiction."

My Heart Is A Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones (Blackfoot)

Horror Fiction

"On the surface is a story of murder in small-town America. But beneath is its beating heart: a biting critique of American colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and gentrification, and a heartbreaking portrait of a broken young girl who uses horror movies to cope with the horror of her own life." 

VenCo by Cherie Dimaline (Métis)

Paranormal Fiction

"Lucky St. James, orphaned daughter of a bad-ass Métis good-times girl, is barely hanging on to her nowhere life when she finds out that she and her grandmother, Stella, are about to be evicted from their apartment. One night, dejectedly doing laundry in the building's dank basement, Lucky feels an irresistible something calling her. Crawling through a hidden hole in the wall, she finds a tarnished silver spoon depicting a storybook hag over letters that spell out S-A-L-E-M—a spoon whose otherwordly energy soon connects her to a teeming network of witches who have been anxiously waiting for her."

Check Out This NIHM Booklist for More Resources

National Indigenous History Month - Adult & Young Adult Non-fiction

List created by RDPL_CTLG

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, an opportunity to learn about the cultures, traditions and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. It's a time to honour the stories, achievements and resilience of Indigenous Peoples, who have lived on this land since time immemorial and whose presence continues to impact the evolving Canada. Here you will find non-fiction resources for Adults and Teens

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