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Canadian Literature & Poetry
in English

Indigenous Literatures

Indigenous Stories & Literatures: Anthologies, History & Criticism

Read, Listen, Tell: Indigenous Stories from Turtle Island McCall, Sophie, et al., editors A range of Indigenous stories from across Turtle Island (North America): short fiction, narratives, illustrated stories, and personal essays. This collection explores core concepts in Indigenous literary expression, such as the relations between land, language, and community.
From Oral to Written: A Celebration of Indigenous Literature in Canada, 1980–2010 Highway, Tomson A study of Native literature published in Canada between 1980 and 2010, written in multiple Aboriginal languages, in French, and in English by the members of the Haida Nation on Haida Gwaii to the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island.
Kisiskâciwan: Indigenous Voices from Where the River Flows Swiftly Archibald-Barber, Jesse Rae, editor Rich oral narratives from Cree, Saulteaux, Nakoda, Dakota, Dene, and Metis cultures, early writings from Cree missionaries, speeches and letters by Treaty Chiefs, stories from elders, archival discoveries, and contemporary literary works in all genres. Historically and culturally comprehensive, voices include Big Bear, Thunderchild, Louis Riel, Gabriel Dumont, Edward Ahenakew, Maria Campbell, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Rita Bouvier, Harold Johnson, Gregory Scofield, Warren Cariou, Louise Halfe, and many more.
Ákaitsinikssiisti: Blackfoot Stories of Old Genee, Piitáákii Inge, et al., editors Eight Blackfoot stories told by Lena Russell, a fluent speaker of Blackfoot from the Kainai (Blood) reserve in southern Alberta.
Inuit Stories of Being and Rebirth: Gender, Shamanism, and the Third Sex Saladin, d’Anglure Bernard An in-depth, paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of stories on womb memories, birth, namesaking, and reincarnation.
Bawaajigan: Stories of Power Adler, Nathan Niigan Noodin, and Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith, editors A collection of Gothic and horror short stories by First-Nations authors. Contributors are Richard Van Camp, Lee Maracle, Katie-Jo Rabbit, Autumn Bernhardt, Brittany Johnson, Gord Grisenthwaite, Joanne Arnott, Délani Valin, Cathy Smith, David Geary, Yugcetun Anderson, Gerald Silliker Pisim Maskwa, Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith, Sara General, Wendy Bone, Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler, and Karen Lee White.
Tekahionwake: E. Pauline Johnson’s Writings on Native North America Fee, Margery and Dory Nason, editors A diverse range of Johnson’s writings on what was then called “the Indian question” and on the question of her own complex Indigenous identity. Six thematic sections gather Johnson’s poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, and a rich selection of historical appendices provide context for her public life and her work as a feminist and activist for Indigenous people.
Omushkego Oral History Project Bird, Louis A library of recordings of legends, mystery stories, and oral history of the Omushkegowak or “Swampy Cree” people of the Hudson and James Bay Lowlands of northern Manitoba and Ontario.
Why Indigenous Literatures Matter Justice, Daniel Heath Part survey of the field of indigenous literary studies, part cultural history, and part literary polemic, this book asserts the vital significance of literary expression to the political, creative, and intellectual efforts of Indigenous Peoples today.
Introduction to Indigenous Literary Criticism in Canada Macfarlane, Heather and Armand Garnet Ruffo, editors The essays in this volume explore issues that mark the study of Indigenous literature: appropriation of voice, stereotyping, traditional knowledge, language, land, spirituality, orality, colonialism, post-colonialism, gender, hybridity, authenticity, resistance, and ethical scholarship.
Literatures, Communities, and Learning: Conversations with Indigenous Writers Hanson, Aubrey Jean A collection of conversations with Richard Van Camp, Lee Maracle, Daniel Heath Justice, Marilyn Dumont, and others. They centre on the writers’ concerns, critiques, and craft, and how they navigate the challenge of storying their communities in politically charged terrain. The topics explored in the interviews include discourses of Indigenization, reconciliation, appropriation, and representation, as well as Indigenous publishing and literary studies.
Literary Land Claims: The “Indian Land Question” from Pontiac’s War to Attawapiskat Fee, Margery Examines John Richardson’s novels about Pontiacs War and the War of 1812 that document the breaking of British promises to Indigenous nations.
Activating the Heart Storytelling, Knowledge Sharing, and Relationship Christensen, Julia, et al., editors An exploration of storytelling as a tool for knowledge production and sharing to build new connections between people and their histories, environments, and cultural geographies. The collection pays particular attention to the significance of storytelling in Indigenous knowledge frameworks and extends into other ways of knowing in works where scholars have embraced narrative and story as a part of their research approach.
Learn, Teach, Challenge: Approaching Indigenous Literatures Reder, Deanna and Linda M. Morra, editors Organized into five subject areas: Position, the necessity of considering where you come from and who you are; Imagining Beyond Images and Myths, a history and critique of circulating images of Indigenousness; Debating Indigenous Literary Approaches; Contemporary Concerns, a consideration of relevant issues; and finally Classroom Considerations, pedagogical concerns particular to the field. Each section is introduced by an essay that orients the reader and provides ideological context.
Magic Weapons: Aboriginal Writers Remaking Community After Residential School McKegney, Sam A major survey of Indigenous writings on the residential school system: Rita Joe (Mi’kmaq) and Anthony Apakark Thrasher (Inuit), Basil Johnston (Ojibway), and Tomson Highway (Cree).
Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy and Healing Espikenew, Jo-Ann Analyzes contemporary autobiography, fiction, and drama to reveal how these texts respond to and critique public policy, and how literature functions as medicine to help cure the suffering inflicted by the colonial legacy.
The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative King, Thomas
(Ad)dressing Our Words: Aboriginal Perspectives on Aboriginal Literatures Ruffo, Armand G., editor A critical anthology of essays by Aboriginal academics provides an in-depth analysis of literature by Aboriginal authors. The contributors study the works of their peers with an insightful understanding of the significance of contemporary literature within Aboriginal cultural paradigms.
Looking at the Words of Our People: First Nations Analysis of Literature Armstrong, Jeannette, compiler The first collection in Canada of literary analysis on Native Literature written by First-Nations scholars. The book includes reviews, poetry analysis, overviews of Native literatures. The contributors are Marilyn Dumont and Kimberly Blaeser, among other writers.
Troubling Tricksters: Revisioning Critical Conversations Morra, Linda M., and Deanna Reder, editors A collection of theoretical essays, articles, interviews, fiction, personal essays, poems, and stories that provide a revisioning of trickster criticism.
When the Other is Me: Native Resistance Discourse 1850– 1990 LaRocque, Emma An interdisciplinary study of the Native literary response to racist writing in the Canadian historical and literary record from 1850 to 1990.
The Homing Place: Indigenous and Settler Literary Legacies of the Atlantic Bryant, Rachel Bryant explores how colonized and Indigenous environments occupy the same given geographical coordinates even while existing in distinct epistemological worlds through the analysis of a wide range of northeastern texts, including Puritan captivity narratives, Wabanaki wampum belts, and contemporary Innu poetry.
Unhomely States: Theorizing English-Canadian Postcolonialism Sugars, Cynthia C., editor An excellent critical introduction to the place of postcolonial theory in Canadian literary criticism. Includes essays by George Grant, Northrop Frye, Margaret Atwood, Dennis Lee, Robert Kroetsch, Linda Hutcheon, Diana Brydon, Thomas King, Terry Goldie, Arun Mukherjee, Smaro Kamboureli, Stephen Slemon, and Roy Miki.
Cultural Grammars of Nation, Diaspora, and Indigeneity in Canada McCall, Sophie, et al., editors Considers how the terms of critical debate in literary and cultural studies in Canada have shifted with respect to matters of race, nation, and difference.
Tropes and Territories: Short Fiction, Postcolonial Readings, Canadian Writing in Context Dvořák, Marta and W.H. New, editors Analyzes the influence of postcolonial criticism on the reading, writing, and status of short fiction: Métis narratives, Maori myth, and stories by Thomas King, Alice Munro, Salman Rushdie, Alistair MacLeod, Mavis Gallant, and Emily Carr.
Listening to Old Woman Speak: Natives and Alter Natives in Canadian Literature Groening, Laura Examines the historical context of the portrayal of Native characters in Canadian literature, including the prose of Anna Jameson and Susanna Moodie and the poetry of Duncan Campbell Scott.
Transatlantic Upper Canada: Portraits in Literature, Land, and British-Indigenous Relations Hutchings, Kevin Examines the writings of Haudenosaunee leaders John Norton and John Brant and Anishinabeg authors Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, Peter Jones, and George Copway, as well as European figures John Beverley Robinson, John Strachan, Anna Brownell Jameson, and Sir Francis Bond Head. Hutchings argues that, despite their cultural differences, many factors connected these writers, including shared literary interests, cross-Atlantic journeys, metropolitan experiences, mutual acquaintance, and engagement in ongoing dialogue over Indigenous territory and governance.
Luminous Ink: Writers on Writing in Canada McWatt, Tessa, et al., editors A collection of original pieces by some of Canada’s best known writers. The essays ask, and attempt to answer, what it means to be a writer in Canada, what the literature of today can tell us about Canada’s social arrangements, its political and aesthetic shapes, and its preoccupations. Contributors include Margaret Atwood, George Elliott Clarke, Camilla Gibb, Rawi Hage, Lawrence Hill, Greg Hollingshead, Lee Maracle, Lisa Moore, Michael Ondaatje, Marie-Helaine Poitras, Pascale Quiviger, Nino Ricci, Eden Robinson, Madeleine Thien, Judith Thompson, M.G. Vassanji, Rita Wong, and others.
Here is Queer: Nationalisms, Sexualities and the Literatures of Canada Dickinson, Peter Considers how the interconnected concepts of nationalism and sexuality have helped shape the production and reception of Canadian and First-Nations literatures.
Northern Experience and the Myths of Canadian Culture Hulan, Renée An investigation of the idea of the “North” as an element of Canada’s national identity and the development of this theme in Canadian culture and Canadian literature.
Echoing Silence: Essays on Arctic Narrative Moss, John, editor In this 1995 symposium on Arctic narrative, storytellers, politicians and academics assembled at the University of Ottawa to celebrate the Arctic’s folk customs, its landscape and its literary traditions. The essays present northern legends, accounts of the Franklin Expeditions, the oral narrative traditions and the interaction between the southern and northern Canadian cultures.
Far off Metal River: Inuit Lands, Settler Stories, and the Making of the Contemporary Arctic Cameron, Emilie Explores how Samuel Hearne’s account of the Bloody Falls massacre has shaped the ongoing colonization and economic exploitation of the North.
The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Literature Sugars, Cynthia, editor A comprehensive, authoritative guide to many different genres, topics, and aspects of Canadian literary history, including Indigenous literatures, poetry, oral traditions, Métis literature, and Indigenous women’s writing.
The Cambridge Companion to Canadian Literature Kröller, Eva-Marie A comprehensive introduction to major writers, genres and topics in Canadian literature, including Indigenous writing.
The Cambridge History of Canadian Literature Howells, Coral Ann and Eva-Marie Kröller, editors A complete history of Canadian writing from its beginnings, including Indigenous literatures and poetry.
Canadian Literature Hammill, Faye Critical study of Canadian literature, placing internationally successful Canadian authors in the context of their national literary history. While the focus of the book is on twentieth-century and contemporary writing, it also charts the historical development of Canadian literature and discusses important eighteenth- and nineteenth-century authors. The chapters focus on four central topics in Canadian culture: colonization, race, ethnicity; wildernesses, cities, regions; desire; and histories and stories. Authors chosen for close analysis include Thomas King, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Alice Munro, Leonard Cohen, and Carol Shields.
Canadian Literature at the Crossroads of Language and Culture: Selected Essays by Barbara Godard, 1987–2005 Godard, Barbara Godard is recognized as one of the most influential scholars in the area of Canadian Studies. This anthology of her collected essays includes “The Politics of Representation: Some Native Canadian Women Writers,” first published in 1990.
Native North American Literature: Biographical and Critical Information on Native Writers and Orators from the United States and Canada from Historical Times to the Present Witalec, Janet et al., editors Part I, “Native American Oral Literatures,” examines different aspects of oral literatures, such as oratory, the trickster, dreams and songs, and revitalization movements. Part II, “The Historical Emergence of Native American Writing,” is federal government policy, autobiography, women’s autobiography, and humour. Part III, “A Native American Renaissance: 1967 to the Present,” studies critical responses to Native American literature, approaches to teaching, the literature of Canada, fiction, theatre, and the depiction of Native characters in Anglo-American literature. Coverage of both historical and contemporary Canadian First Nations writers and poets: Beth Brant, Maria Campbell, Peter Blue Cloud, Tomson Highway, Basil H. Johnston, E. Pauline Johnson, Peter Jones, Lee Maracle, Thomas King, Markoosie, Beatrice Culleton Monsier, Daniel David Moses.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography The Biography provides authoritative biographical information about significant figures of Canada’s past who died between the years 1000 and 1930, or whose last known date of activity falls within these years. There are detailed articles on Canada’s major historical figures, and short articles on minor personages who have hitherto found no place in reference works or general histories.
Indian-Inuit Authors: An Annotated Bibliography National Library of Canada Summary of the contributions of northern writers to 1972 who produced texts in various topics, from literary to political: books, anthologies, articles, conferences, reports, poetry and songs, studies, theses, and periodicals.
Z 1365 .O7 Reference
Ethnic and Native Canadian Literature: A Bibliography Miska, John An older book (published in 1990), but it remains an excellent resource for locating poetry, fiction, and drama authored by foreign-born authors residing in Canada.
Five-Part Invention: A History of Literary History in Canada Blodgett, E.D. Composed of five parts: immigrant communities, English Canada, French Canada, First-Nations communities, and Inuit communities.

Major Scholarly Journals

ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature no. 1 (1970)–present Scholarly criticism of literatures in English, with particular focus on the influence of colonization on literature. Peer-reviewed.
The Canadian Journal of Native Studies vol. 1 (1981)–present Articles, bibliographies, book reviews, and discussions related to all cultural aspects of Indigenous Peoples, including literature. Peer-reviewed.
Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review no. 171 (2001)–present no. 1 (1959)–present Includes articles, interviews and commentaries on Canadian writing. Peer-reviewed.
Journal of Canadian Studies vol. 27 (1992)–present vol. 1 (1966)–present Includes articles on a wide range of studies on Canada: literature, arts, architecture, anthropology, community planning, culture, the economy, education, history, Indigenous issues, politics and public affairs, and sociology. Peer-reviewed.

reviewed & updated 11 November 2021 | compiled by Agatha Barc, MI