Six Indigenous-Authored Books to Break Open this Fall
Words By Ally Geist
Many governments around the world are currently focused on reconciling with their country’s Indigenous people. Whether you live in Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, or anywhere else with a history of colonialism, the importance of reconciliation cannot be understated. Here at Brink, we love to see communities come together and uplift one another by raising their voices and sharing stories of resilience. Indigenous communities have always been a hub for beautiful storytelling. Recently, many Indigenous-authored books have caught my eye, and these books are too good not to share!
Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq
Tanya Tagaq is an acclaimed Inuit throat singer from Nunavut. Split Tooth is her debut novel. This was one of the best books I have read in recent years. Tagaq’s style is unique and breathtaking. Part memoir, part poetry, part prose, and laden with heartbreakingly beautiful imagery, this unforgettable book is a must-read. In it, Tagaq blurs the line between the real and the imagined as she explores the relationships between good and evil, animal and human, and family and love.
Nîtisânak by Jas M. Morgan
Jas M. Morgan is “a Cree-Métis-Saulteaux curator, editor, writer, SSHRC doctoral scholarship recipient, and McGill Art History PhD student.” This memoir is an exploration of blood relatives and chosen family, and how to honor both of them equally. According to GoodReads, it is a “groundbreaking memoir spanning nations, prairie punk scenes, and queer love stories.” Morgan uses a cyclical narrative throughout their book as they explore the grief surrounding the loss of their mother.
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
Waubgeshig Rice is the host of Canadian radio show “Up North,” and he recently released this post-apocalyptic thriller. In Moon of the Crusted Snow, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark just before winter. With supplies dwindling up north, people start to panic. The band council, aided by some community members, try to keep the peace, until an unexpected visitor arrives. As society starts crumbling further south, people begin flocking to the northerner’s community.
Disintegrate/Dissociate by Arielle Twist
Arielle Twist is a Cree Two-Spirit poet based in Eastern Canada. Her debut poetry collection, Disintegrate/Dissociate, explores human connection after death. It considers all of the emotions, trauma, and displacement the deceased leave behind, and depicts the life of an Indigenous trans woman as she dreams about the future.
For a Girl Becoming by Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo is the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States. She is a member of the Mvskoke Nation, and has written nine poetry collections, two children’s books, and acclaimed plays. She also performs the saxophone and flutes, both solo and with the Arrow Dynamics Band. For a Girl Becoming is an image-rich, poetic story of a girl’s journey from birth, to adolescence, to adulthood
When Sun and Moon Collide by Briar Grace-Smith
Briar Grace-Smith (Ngāpuhi) is an award-winning playwright and short fiction writer. She also writes radio and television scripts. Her book, When Sun and Moon Collide, follows protagonist Isaac as he runs a tearoom in a middle-of-nowhere town, watching life pass him by from the window. Two of his customers meet by chance, after which Isaac finds himself in the middle of a sinister situation.
All of these writers explore what it means to be Indigenous—and what it means to be human—in insightful, authentic, and empowering ways. Cozy up with one of these books and a soft blanket, and read the night away!