Today is National Author’s Day! Celebrate by curling up and reading a book by your favourite Indigenous author.
Storytelling has always been an essential and key part of keeping the language, history, and values of our communities alive and well.
"Our Indigenous families spent many months alone in the harsh boreal forest, in the wilderness, away from the rest of the tribe during the winter months. This was necessary to survive. The Indigenous communities needed to break up into splintered family groups and head out in the wilderness to survive. “During this time, the family spent time together. The family bond grew and so did the teachings of the culture, community, family values and language. “For entertainment and amusement before bedtime, it was time for storytelling. One of the favourites was legends. This was particularly interesting because the stories contained a funny and amusing character called Nanaboozhoo in the Ojibwe legends and Weesakayjac for the Ojicree and Cree cultures."
- Roger Fobister Today, young people are being pulled in so many directions. They are inundated with stories, voices and information through the tiny screens, devices, and apps they spend hours sifting through. Therefore, it has become more important than ever for Indigenous youth to have access to the knowledge of their Languages, communities, peoples, and histories as told by their Elders and other Indigenous people in mainstream media and in the various mediums they enjoy. Authentic representations of Indigenous peoples are more important than ever for today's Indigenous youth, helping them to find their footing in this world and ground themselves in their own identities. Kwayaciiwin staff recommends eight authors that take on the task of sharing their knowledge, unique experiences, culture, and voices with today's youth and the world. These authors are keeping up the tradition of storytelling and sharing in prolific and important ways.
David A. Robertson
DAVID A. ROBERTSON (he, him, his) was the 2021 recipient of the Writers’ Union of Canada Freedom to Read Award. He is the author of numerous books for young readers including When We Were Alone, which won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award and the McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People Award. The Barren Grounds, the first book in the middle-grade The Misewa Saga series, received a starred review from Kirkus, was a Kirkus and Quill & Quire best middle-grade book of 2020, was a USBBY and Texas Lone Star selection, was shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Award, and was a finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award. His memoir, Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory, was a Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire book of the year in 2020, and won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction as well as the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award at the 2020 Manitoba Book Awards. On The Trapline, illustrated by Julie Flett, won David's second Governor General's Literary Award and was named one of the best picture books of 2021 by the CCBC, The Horn Book, New York Public Library, Quill & Quire, and American Indians in Children's Literature. Dave is the writer and host of the podcast Kíwew, winner of the 2021 RTDNA Praire Region Award for Best Podcast. He is a member of Norway House Cree Nation and currently lives in Winnipeg.
Ruby Slipperjack is a member of the Eabametoong First Nation and she is fluent in her Anishinabe language. She was born in Whitewater Lake, Ontario, and spent her formative years there on her father’s trapline. Her family later moved to a community along the railway mainline. Slipperjack learned traditional stories and crafts from her family and has retained much of the traditional religion and heritage of her people, all of which inform her writing. In the 1960s she attended Shingwauk Residential School in Sault Ste. Marie for several years, and later, attended high school in Thunder Bay. She has written seven novels for middle grade and teen readers. Her first novel, Honour the Sun, about a young girl growing up in a tiny Ojibwa community in northern Ontario, is widely used in schools. Slipperjack is also an accomplished painter. She lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and recently retired as a professor in the Indigenous Learning Department at Lakehead University.
(Source: Writer's Trust of Canada)
Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation. His first short story collection, Midnight Sweatlodge, was inspired by his experiences growing up in an Anishinaabe community, and won an Independent Publishers Book Award in 2012. His debut novel, Legacy, followed in 2014. A French translation was published in 2017. His latest novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was released in October 2018 and became a national bestseller.
Waub got his first taste of journalism in 1996 as an exchange student in Germany, writing articles about being an Anishinaabe teen in a foreign country for newspapers back in Canada. He graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program in 2002. He’s worked in a variety of news media since, reporting for CBC News for the bulk of his career. In 2014, he received the Anishinabek Nation’s Debwewin Citation for excellence in First Nation Storytelling. His most recently role was host of Up North, CBC Radio’s afternoon show for northern Ontario. He left CBC in May 2020 to focus on his literary career.
His proudest roles are as dad to Jiikwis and Ayaabehns and husband to Sarah. The family splits its time between Sudbury and Wasauksing.
WAB KINEW is the bestselling, award-winning author of Go Show the World and The Reason You Walk. An Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and a follower of the Anishinaabe way of life, he is a former journalist, hip-hop artist and television host who was named by Postmedia News as one of "9 Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know." Kinew, who is a provincial politician in Manitoba, lives in Winnipeg with his family.
Aaron Paquette is a Canadian writer, artist, speaker and politician who currently serves on the Edmonton City Council, representing Ward Dene in the city's northeast. He was first elected to the Edmonton City Council on October 16, 2017.
He was a winner of the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature in 2015 for his debut young adult fantasy novel Lightfinder (Kegedonce Press). As a painter, his most notable work is a public art mural at Edmonton's Government Centre station (formerly Grandin station.) He also created several iconic images used in the Idle No More movement. His work may also be found in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. His murals are also present the walls of many Edmonton schools and public locations.
He is featured in the documentary program, "From the Spirit."
Tasha Spillett (she/her/hers) draws her strength from both her Inninewak (Cree) and Trinidadian bloodlines. She is a celebrated educator, poet, and emerging scholar. Tasha is most heart-tied to contributing to community-led work that centres on land and water defence, and the protection of Indigenous women and girls. Tasha is currently working on her Ph.D. in Education through the University of Saskatchewan, where she holds a Vanier Canada Award.
EDEN ROBINSON has matriarchal tendencies. Doesn’t have a pressure cooker, but knows how to jar salmon. Her smoked salmon will not likely kill you. Hobbies: Shopping for the Apocalypse, using vocabulary as a weapon, nominating cousins to council while they’re out of town, chair yoga, looking up possible diseases or syndromes on the interwebs, perfecting gluten-free bannock and playing Mah-jong. Be warned, she writes novels and tends to be cranky when interrupted.
Richard Van Camp
Richard Van Camp is a proud member of the Dogrib (Tłı̨chǫ) Nation from Fort Smith, NWT, Canada. He is a graduate of the En’owkin International School of Writing, the University of Victoria’s Creative Writing BFA Program, and the Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.
He is an internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author. His novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a movie with First Generation Films and premiered in September of 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival. He is the author of five collections of short stories, six baby books, three children’s books, five comics and much more.
KERC has a carefully curated collection of over 150 books by Indigenous authors for the classroom. We also have two novel studies available: The Case of Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson for Grade 7/8 classrooms and Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice for Grade 10 classrooms. If you are interested in either one of these resources, contact Kate at email@example.com.