June 21 is Indigenous People’s Day in Canada. So here are some recommendations for books I’ve loved by Indigenous authors. Some of these books are speculative, some literary, some non-fiction, some poetry. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the amazing Indigenous literature that has come out in the last few years and beyond – just some recent titles to check out. Add your own favourites in the comments!
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
Waubgeshig Rice’s MOON OF THE CRUSTED SNOW is a near-future post-apocalypse (though it’s more like a during-apocalypse) but it feels so real and current, the intimate details of community collapse creating a foreboding pressure. It’s one of the most intense books I’ve read in a while.
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
FUTURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD by Louise Erdrich is about a pregnant adoptee reconnects with her birth family & community as the world around them both ecologically devolves and descends into reproductive fascism. The connections Erdrich makes with this book’s many angles are stunning.
Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
ISLANDS OF DECOLONIAL LOVE by the brilliant scholar, writer, poet, musician Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a perspective-shifting narrative and poetic journey, a vulnerable opening to intense intimacy. Also a fascinating hybrid project with an accompanying album.
A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt
A HISTORY OF MY BRIEF BODY by Billy-Ray Belcourt is a queer memoir that is so rich that it feels almost academic, but like how academic texts should be: profoundly vulnerable, using narrative and emotion to slowly draw the reader into both a history of ideas & new ways of thinking.
A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott
A MIND SPREAD OUT ON THE GROUND by Alicia Elliott is a collection of essays which connect pop culture with its deeper implications. There is a wide range of topics presented here – parenthood, mental illness, poverty, etc – but each is delivered with raw honesty and a touch of generative rage.
Havoc In Silence by Tiffany Morris
Finally, I want to give a a shout out to the wonderful
Tiffany Morris, whose chapbook HAVOC IN SILENCE stuns with its visceral imagery and experimental language and structures. I felt like I read this whole short chapbook while holding my breath. Get a copy here.