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ReconciliACTION 2021 Gift Guide

Tansi Nîtôtemtik,

Books are among my favourite gift to give this time of year, especially to the littles in my life and I’ve started collecting children’s books by Indigenous authors to increase my white children’s exposure to Indigenous culture, tradition, and history. As we close out 2021 on ReconciliACTION, I leave you with some of our favourite books and some we’re eager to check out. Let’s call it the ReconciliACTION 2021 Gift Guide.

Follow along as Ida and her family move across the land with the seasons - spending winter on the trapline and summer at camp. A beautifully illustrated depiction of life on the land, this book gives kiddos a sense of the day-to-day experience. It also includes Woodland Cree words and phrases. As a bonus, if you like your Christmas books to feature Christmas - there’s a lovely retelling of the family’s Christmas celebration.

This is Ukpik’s story of “the Captain” who came on a big ship full of things to trade with her community. She’s particularly interested in the cutlery her dad trades his furs for. The story opens the door to many simple, but big, questions to think about with your kids.

For a Christmas treat, the author, an Inuit artist, also recorded a Christmas album - Dreaming of Home. (But her 1995 album, This Child, will always be my favorite.)

A beautiful teaching about the wolf spirit, this book turns the Western trope of the big bad wolf on its head. The illustrations by Julie Flett are gorgeous, and the story ends with an introduction to protocol and the gifting of tobacco. For a small book, it leaves a giant impression.

An illustrated poem about Rita’s experience at residential school, the heaviness of the subject and the words are matched by the power she describes in reclaiming her culture. While not the most joy-filled gift, the book is a great addition to your library and allows you to introduce the history of residential schools to young children in an age appropriate way, and build on their learning as they grow and engage with the poem in deeper ways.

This one came home from our school library recently (thank you Elk Island Public Schools!). Also beautifully illustrated by Julie Flett, the book follows the story of a young person travelling to their grandfather’s trapline with him for the first time in decades. It’s a wistful telling of time gone by, and time lost, but it is also filled with the hope of a culture that survived and a relationship with the land that cannot be broken.

An educational resource developed by the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, this collection of three books introduces children to the concept of treaty and to the history of the settlers’ arrival on Turtle Island.

This is a subscription box that we haven’t had a chance to try for ourselves, but we love the concept. The kids' boxes include 2-3 books written and/or illustrated by Indigenous artists and the adult boxes include Indigenous books and giftware. The price point is a bit high, but books are great to share, so there’s no reason not to split the cost with a friend or two! Raven Reads is owned and run by Indigenous women and gives back to their communities by supporting Indigenous artists and supplying Indigenous books to summer programs.

From all of us at Team ReconciliACTION to you, our dear readers, and yours - we wish you the peace and joy of the holiday season, and a New Year filled with the richness of communities come together on our shared journey of reconciliation. We’re grateful to be on this road with each of you.

Until next time,

Amanda, Amy, Casey, Gavin, Liz and Hero (who we can’t wait for you to meet soon!)

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