This has been an incredible year for Indigenous story-tellers, including the film adaptation of Monkey Beach, which swept the American Indian Film Festival earlier this autumn and was an official selection at both the Vancouver and Toronto International Film Festivals. Though Monkey Beach is not yet available at home, we’d like to highlight a number of story-tellers whose work is available to stream. Even as we stay at home this December, we can still share and be inspired by these stories.

Film and Television

Trickster

Another captivating story adapted from the works of Eden Robinson. This supernatural drama series is available to stream through CBC Gem.

 

Lesser Blessed

Based on the novel by Richard Van Camp, this beautiful coming-of-age story is available to stream through the UBC Library.  Before you get started, please refer to our guide to streaming media through UBC.

 

Short Films by Amanda Strong

Amanda Strong is an Indigenous filmmaker based out of the unceded Coast Salish territory in Vancouver, British Columbia. A collection of Amanda Strong’s mesmerizing short films are available to stream through our library. See behind the scenes of her stop-motion animation process here.

Live Performances and Recordings

Tanya Tagaq

Watch performances and talks by Inuit author and throat singer Tanya Tagaq. Her remarkable first novel, Split Tooth, is also available through X̱wi7x̱wa.

 

Tomson Highway

This recording features legendary storyteller, playwright, and musician Tomson Highway perform a selection of his songs on piano, along with commentary and conversation.

December is the perfect time to stay home, get cozy, and share the story-telling tradition with your family. Oral storytelling is an important tradition in Indigenous communities across North America, and reading aloud to the next generation is a beautiful way to honour that tradition.

Check out the resources below available through our library, the National Film Board, and beyond.

Picture Books Available Online

Claire and Her Grandfather = Claire et son Grand-Père

  • “The story of Claire and her Grandfather is designed to enhance young people’s awareness of some of the many contributions and inventions by Aboriginal people. The story is meant to be a versatile teaching tool for children ages 7-12, although older students might enjoy the story and its images. Teachers of children in the target age group can use the story to initiate a broader examination of the many historical and contemporary contributions of First Nations and Inuit to Canada and the world.”

Further Reading

How Things Came To Be by Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley

Cloudwalker by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers

Kiss by Kiss by Richard Van Camp

May we have enough to share by Richard Van Camp

My heart fills with happiness = Ni sâkaskineh mîyawâten niteh ohcih by Monique Gray Smith

 Not My Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton 

 

Streaming Media through the National Film Board

Before you get started, please refer to our guide to streaming media through UBC.

 

Wapos Bay

Maq & Spirit of the Woods 

 

Happy storytelling!

 

 

In Canada and in many other places around the world, November 11th commemorates the end of the First World War. We take this day to honour the men and women of Canada who fought in the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953), along with all those who continue to serve.

On November 8th, we also celebrate Aboriginal Veterans Day here in Canada. While this is not a federal holiday, it is important to commemorate and honour the sacrifices made by the thousands of Indigenous, Métis and Inuit people who served. We are proud to house some of their stories in The X̱wi7x̱wa Library.

 

The Scout: Tommy Prince by David Robertson

This graphic novel tells the story of Tommy Prince, a decorated Indigenous war hero, and his exploits on the European battlefields of the Second World War.

 

Nickel Trip: A Second World War Bomber Pilot from Boissevain, Manitoba Shares His Experiences with His Youngest Son by Brad Bird

Recounting his experiences as a bomber pilot in the Second World War, F.C.C. Bird combines a vivid picture of wartime valour and a young man’s dream of flight.

 

Forgotten Warriors

This documentary introduces us to thousands of Indigenous Canadians who enlisted and fought alongside their countrymen and women during World War II, even though they could not be conscripted. Ironically, while they fought for the freedom of others, they were being denied equality in their own country and returned home to find their land seized. Available through the National Film Board with UBC login.

 

From the Tundra to the Trenches by Eddy Weetaltuk

In 1951, Eddy decided to leave James Bay. Because Inuit weren’t allowed to leave the North, he changed his name and used this new identity to enlist in the Canadian Forces and headed off to fight in the Korean War. In 1967, after fifteen years in the Canadian Forces, Eddy returned home.

 

Sounding Thunder : the stories of Francis Pegahmagabow by Brian D. McInnes

This biography follows the life of Francis Pegahmagabow (1889-1952), a member of the Ojibwe nation, who was born in Shawanaga, Ontario. Enlisting at the onset of the First World War, he served overseas as a scout and sniper and became Canada’s most decorated Indigenous soldier.

 

Sioux Code Talkers of World War II by Andrea M. Page

The incredible contributions made by code talkers of the Sioux nation during WWII are illuminated in this book which is part historical study and part family narrative.

 

For King and Kanata by Timothy C. Winegard

The first comprehensive history of the Indigenous First World War experience on the battlefield and the home front. Timothy C. Winegard reveals how national and international forces directly influenced the more than 4,000 Indigenous men and women who voluntarily served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force between 1914 and 1919, and how subsequent administrative policies profoundly affected their experiences at home, on the battlefield, and as returning veterans

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