Indigenous reads for your holiday break Part of an ongoing series by the Indigenous Student Association


Just like you, we are doing our best to cram all of our notes together as the term comes to a close and exams begin to flood over us. We’re looking forward to that sugary-sweet end of the term with our train tickets in hand so we can see our family and friends, with our grades for better or for worse as we leave campus. We know a lot of you like to hunker down with a good page-turner while the snow falls and the cookies rise in the oven. So, book-loving members of the Indigenous Students Association have suggested a small variety of books written by Indigenous folks for you to devour during your well-deserved break:

Islands of Decolonial Love—Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, suggested by Abryna Bulford, 2A English.

This book features a collection of short stories that center around the ideas of love, community, and belonging, while also discussing the difficulties of living in this colonial landscape. The prose was absolutely stunning, each story leaving you with something to really think about and reread. The poetry-like style is captivating and pulls you into the world of Simpson’s own Nishinaabeg nation.

Split Tooth—Tanya Tagaq, suggested by Katie Turriff, 4B Planning

These words sent me to Nunavut in the 1970s to experience a teenager’s maturation in a way that rocked me back and forth in both violent and soft ways. Tanya’s words were purposeful and chilling, just like the land she wrote them from, and I felt truly connected to a landscape and a time that I have never experienced before. I highly recommend this book for a cathartic and emotional story.

Medicine Walk—Richard Wagamese, suggested by Abryna Bulford.

A heartbreakingly real and powerful book about a boy reconnecting with his estranged father. A graceful and compassionate piece of prose that shows not only the difficulties and strife one has to go through in life, but also the love and good that can come from connection. An honestly very good read. Made me cry a few times. Definitely recommend.

Birdie­—Tracey Lindberg, suggested by Abryna Bulford.

A very raw portrayal of the difficulties of healing through intergenerational pain, Lindberg shows a gritty reality for many Indigenous people, but also the beauty that comes with finding a spiritual connection with family. It is a tale about perseverance in the face of danger. Although it was sometimes difficult to read, this book is definitely worth it. Truly life-changing and eye-opening about the nuanced issues many Indigenous women experience.

Onigamiising: Seasons of an Ojibwe Year—Linda LeGarde Grover, suggested by Sydney Hannusch, 4B Women’s Studies and Theatre and Performance.

This was a very beautiful book that follows the cycles of a year through each season from the author’s personal stories and memories. The stories come from a lifelong journey of learning traditional knowledge, ceremony, and the Ojibwe experience. Always going back to Mino Bimaadiziwin (the living of the good life).

The Right To Be Cold—Sheila Watt-Cloutier, suggested by Abryna Bulford

A very informational and interesting read about the author’s personal stories and triumphs against issues of Indigenous rights, cultural decimation, environmental crisis, and personal identity. An evocative read that dives into the history of persecution of Inuit people as well as the culture that has survived. I very much enjoyed learning about the author’s experiences and the detailed ways that colonial society actively harms Inuit ways of living.

From all of us to all of you, we sincerely hope you enjoy your break.


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