Back to Top

4 Summer Must-Reads about Indigenous Justice

As I listened to the various reports from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, I became intrigued with the stories and lives of Indigenous people. Listening to the soft, yet brilliant voice of the Commission head Murray Sinclair, I realized all my preconceived notions were off base and steeped in white culture traditions. I set off to read some books written by Indigenous authors and learn more about the cultures, the pain, the past, and the future of our neighbours. These are some of my newest discoveries:

Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King

A new “history” book written from the native view. Prepare to have your mind blown by this Greek/Cherokee author and to question all you learned in school. He uses story telling techniques, weaving through a world that has passed with its’ colourful characters and events. He also uses humour to look at the portrayal of the “red skin” in film and pop culture of today. Great read.

Life Among The Qallunaat by Mini Aodla Freeman

In 1956, a young 18 year old Inuit woman moved from James Bay to Ottawa (800 miles south) to become a translator for the Canadian Government. From wilderness trap lines to city buses, the culture shock was almost overwhelming. She was shy and frightened but eager to learn. Laugh with her as she figures out how to cross a street using a traffic light or even how to operate an elevator. A delightful, light summer reading – good for the beach.

Stolen Sisters by Emmanuelle Walter

An official report revealed that since 1980, 1,200 Canadian Aboriginal women have been murdered or have gone missing. This is a national tragedy and rather than gloss over the whole failure of our legal system,  Ms. Walter tells the story of two young women,  Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander. These two have been missing since September 2008 from Western Quebec. Using personal stories, newspaper clippings, and other documents, these women come alive and we can see how Canada has failed our First Nation communities. Difficult to read.

Amik loves School by Katherena Vermette

This is a book for children about a young boy named Amik, who learns about residential schools from his Moshum (the Anishinaabemowin word for grandfather). It was written by Winnipeg-based Métis author and educator to help introduce young children to the history of residential schools and to possibly begin dialogue about our history and how we can move forward. Although it is for children, I found it sweet and is part of a series of books highlighting The Seven Teaching of the Anishinaabe -- love, wisdom, humility, courage, respect, honesty, and truth.

Other books on my “to read list” this summer are:

Birdie by Tracey Lindberg

Neither Wolf or Dog by Kurt Nerburn

The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King


The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

In order to steward ministry shares well, commenting isn’t available on Do Justice itself because we engage with comments and dialogue in other spaces. To comment on this post, please visit the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue’s Facebook page (for Canada-specific articles) or the Office of Social Justice’s Facebook page. Alternatively, please email us. We want to hear from you!

Read more about our comment policy.