Improve your Indigenous IQ and EQ with books, art, and music

September 27, 2021

September 30th is being recognized as the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation across the land now known as Canada. In recognition, we invite you to spend time learning about the issues affecting Indigenous Peoples and Nations. With the wisdom and guidance of As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation (Kelly Lake Cree Nation), we’re sharing their selection of inspiring books, podcasts, films and art that you’re sure to find valuable and enriching.


Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada by Chelsea Vowel
A must-read that breaks down common stereotypes about Indigenous Peoples and unpacks political and legal issues in an easy-to-digest manner. It’s the book you wish your family had to read before sitting down to holiday gatherings.

Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
As'in'i'wa'chi Ni'yaw Nation citizen Tracey wrote this bold and unforgettable book as a love letter to the women in her family.

North End Love Songs by Katherena Vermette
2013 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry winner Vermette’s beautifully elegant writing allows pauses for readers to think, feel and be moved.


Monkey Beach
Director Loretta Todd’s 2020 interpretation of Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nation’s writer Eden Robinson is rich, evocative and nuanced. Robinson’s beautiful relationship with community and land is reflected in Todd’s telling. A must-see.

National Film Board’s Indigenous Cinema
NFB’s large online catalogue of titles addressing issues and understandings related to Indigenous Peoples makes for great family viewing and discussion.

Top 10 Indigenous films of all time
Jesse Wente, public intellectual and current Chair of the Board of the Canada Council, shares his top ten favourite Indigenous films.

arms outstretched
Visiting Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre is a great way to immerse yourself in Indigenous culture and support their people. Photo by Logan Swayze.


There is magic in each of these recordings. The power and vibrancy from all four artists will inspire and move you.

Tanya Tagaq, Retribution (2016)
Jeremy Dutcher, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa (2018)
Celeigh Cardinal, Stories from a Downtown Apartment (2020)
Iskwe’, The Stars (2020)

Smart thinkers and talk abound whether discussing Indigenous feminism, daily Indigenous news or the violence facing many Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Kaniehtiio Horn, Coffee with My Ma
Matika Wilbur and Adrienne Keene, All My Relations
Connie Walker, Missing and Murdered
Chelsea Vowel and Molly Swain, Métis In Space


Christie Belcourt
One of the most well-known Indigenous artists of this generation. Her work is touching, gently cast and holds emotional impact with its tenderness.

George Littlechild
George’s contribution to Indigenous art numbers in the thousands. His use of colour and relationships as themes in his work are rich and feel epic.

Nadya Kwandibens
An Anishinaabe photographer who sees her subjects as awe-inspiring and deserving of respect. Under her loving lens, you see Indigenous peoples as seen by their families.

Before you dig in, we leave you with a message from Chief Kwarakwante Cliff Calliou of the As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation (Kelly Lake Cree Nation):

bruce and chief
Chief Kwarakwante Cliff Calliou and our very own leader Bruce Poon Tip

“This has been an especially heavy and painful year for Indigenous peoples/nations across the world and particularly in what is now known as Canada. Our communities continue to be reminded of the atrocities of the past and as a result we have bonded together, more than ever before, to support each other as we come to terms with the ongoing sense of loss.

“It’s this sense of community that will ultimately unite us. Canadians have an obligation to the next generation to come together to reconcile the truths of the past, and move forward united in the pursuit of shared understanding and compassion. The time is now to create meaningful change, and while the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation is just one day on the calendar, it presents an opportunity to start to create a better future for, and with, Indigenous peoples and nations.”

Header photo of Squamish Lil-Wat nation taken by: Logan Swayze

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