Listed below are selected teacher resources, picture books, and chapter books related to creation and origin stories in Indigenous literature and education.
In our own words: Bringing authentic First Peoples content to the K-3 classroom, by the First Nations Education Steering Committee
Grades: K-3. This resource provides an array of ideas and suggestions that can be applied in whole or in part to incorporate First Peoples content into a K-3 classroom. Includes specific information on incorporating creation and origin stories into the classroom in a respectful and authentic way. By using this resource and remaining open to respectful dialogue and consultation with members of the local First Peoples communities, teachers will benefit their students and expand their own comfort with this material.
Culturally Relevant Aboriginal Education, by Nicole Bell and Terrylynn Brant
Grades K-12. Provides teacher candidates and in-service teachers with relevant information to help them integrate Aboriginal, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit content, customs, and traditions into the classroom, providing students with a broader perspective of Canada and its population.
Creation story – Sky Woman, written by Michelle Corneau, illustrated by Monica Wysotski
A long time ago, the world was just water – there was no land! Then a curious woman fell from the sky world and with the help of the birds and animals created a land to live on. This Kanyen’kehà:ka (Gan-yeh-ga-ha-ga) story is about the origin of the land where we live today. The Kanyen’kehà:ka is one of Six Nations that together are the Haudenosaunee. Part of the Kanyen’kehà:ka series.
Sukaq and the Raven, written by Roy Goose and Kerry McCluskey, illustrated by Soyeon Kim
Sukaq loves to drift off to sleep listening to his mother tell him stories. His favourite story is the tale of how a raven created the world. But this time, as his mother begins to tell the story and his eyelids become heavy, he is suddenly whisked away on the wings of the raven to ride along as the entire world is formed!
Cloudwalker, written by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd, illustrated by Roy Henry Vickers
On British Columbia’s northwest coast lies the Sacred Headwaters–the source of three of British Columbia’s largest salmon-bearing rivers. These rivers are the source of life for all creatures in the area. But what gave life to the rivers themselves?
Raven brings the light, written by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd, illustrated by Roy Henry Vickers
In a time when darkness covered the land, a boy named Weget is born who is destined to bring the light. With the gift of a raven’s skin that allows him to fly as well as transform, Weget turns into a bird and journeys from Haida Gwaii into the sky. There he finds the Chief of the Heavens who keeps the light in a box. By transforming himself into a pine needle, clever Weget tricks the Chief and escapes with the daylight back down to Earth.
The blind boy & the loon, written by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, illustrated by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and Daniel Gies
A retelling of a traditional Inuit story that explains the origin of the narwhal, an arctic whale known for its distinctive spiral tusk, while cautioning listeners against the dangers of seeking revenge.
How things came to be: Inuit stories of creation, written by Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, illustrated by Emily Fiegenschuh and Patricia Ann Lewis-MacDougall
Grades: 2-4. Shares eight classic Inuit creation stories from the Baffin region. From the origins of day and night, thunder and lightning, and the sun and the moon to the creation of the first caribou and source of all the Arctic’s fearful storms, this book recounts traditional Inuit legends in a poetic and engaging style.
The legend of lightning & thunder, written by Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt, illustrated by Jo Rioux
Grades: 2-4. Two siblings steal from their fellow villagers and in an attempt to escape punishment they escape to the sky as lightning and thunder. This illustrated traditional legend weaves together elements of an origin story and a traditional cautionary tale, giving young readers an accessible window into centuries-old Inuit mythology that is specific to the Kivalliq region of Nunavut.
How the moon came to be, written and illustrated by Leah Marie Dorion
Grades: 4-6. A beautiful traditional Métis story about the creation of the moon. How did Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon come to be named as they are? Do you know why you have the name you were given? Part of the Strong Stories: Métis series.
Returning the Feathers: Five Gitxsan stories, written by M. Jane Smith, illustrated by Ken N. Mowatt
Grades: 4-6. Returning the Feathers includes four traditional stories: the origin of the Gitxsan people; how the blue jay and the mosquito came to live in northwestern BC; and the time when the porcupine first discharged its quills. The fifth in the anthology is an original story, inspired by the appearance of an egret at the author’s smokehouse. These stories serve to connect the author to her ancestors, and give readers a taste of the rich cultural heritage of the Gitxsan people.
People of the land: Legends of the four host First Nations, by Johnny Abraham and other contributors
Grades: 4-9. An anthology of the sacred legends of the four host First Nations, the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh. Legends included range from creation stories to naming stories and are accompanied by maps and photographs of the four host First Nations. Also includes artwork representing the ancestral voices of the legends and paying tribute to each nation.
Finding More Resources
To find more resources in this area, try the following:
- Consult the Xwi7xwa Library’s guide to Indigenous Children’s Literature.
- Search using the General tab on the UBC Library website to look for material in all UBC Library branches.
- Search using “Search Education Resources” box in the left hand bar on the Education Library website to limit your results to physical materials in the Education Library.
- To find lesson plans, include “lesson plans”, “lesson planning”, or “activity programs” in your search terms.
- To find picture books, include “children’s books”, “juvenile literature”, “juvenile fiction” or “picture books in your search terms.
- Use specific search terms to narrow your results, such as “First Nations”, Indigenous, Aboriginal, Musqueam (or any nation), Legends, “Legends–British Columbia–Juvenile literature.”
For more help with searching, please visit the Library Service Desk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.