The collections currently comprise approximately 12,000 items including about 6,000 books, 450 videos, 5,000 vertical file materials, curriculum resources, journals and newspapers, maps, posters, theses and dissertations, the G.A. (Bud) Mintz special collection, and some archival materials. The collections focus on First Nations in British Columbia, including contextual materials on Canadian First Nations, in addition to issues of national and international interest to First Nations and Indigenous peoples. X̱wi7x̱wa collects materials written from First Nations perspectives, such as materials produced by First Nations, First Nations organizations, tribal councils, schools, publishers, researchers, writers and scholars.
As Autumn begins at the same time as classes and longer nights, books of poems can help settle your mind as the day winds down. Below we’ve picked out a few books of poems that are available through Xwi7xwa & UBC Library’s online collection. If you’re looking for a physical copy of a book of poems or any other physical book, check out how to pick up physical materials at UBC campus and follow their easy steps.
Disintegrate/Dissociate: Poems by Arielle Twist unravels the complexities of human relationships after death and metamorphosis. In these spare yet powerful poems, she explores, with both rage and tenderness, the parameters of grief, trauma, displacement, and identity.
Hope Matters by Lee Maracle, Columpa Bobb, & Tania Carter is a collection of poetry written together as mothers & daughters that focuses on Indigenous history from colonial beginnings to reconciliation.
Hiraeth: poems by Carol Rose Daniels is about women supporting and lending strength and clarity to other women so they know that moving forward is always possible– and always necessary. Poems speak to the 1960’s “scoop up” of children and how this affected the lives of (one or thousands) of First Nations and Métis girls– girls who later grew to be women with questions, women with wounds, women who felt like they had no place to call home.
Runaway Dreams by Richard Wagamese describes his life on the road when he repeatedly ran away at an early age, and the beatings he received when the authorities tried “to beat the Indian right out of me”. Through it all, he offers poems of love and music, the language sensuous and tender.
The Pemmican Eaters by Marilyn Dumont aims to recreate a palpable sense of the Riel Resistance period and evoke the geographical, linguistic/cultural, and political situation of Batoche during this time through the eyes of those who experienced the battles, as well as through the eyes of Gabriel and Madeleine Dumont and Louis Riel.
Relationship to the land and traditional territory is often intertwined with government, activism, storytelling, spirituality, art, ceremony, traditional knowledge and other Indigenous cultural expressions. Here are 15 streaming videos that explore the connections between land, place and Indigeneity. Watch these streaming videos any time on McIntyre Media through UBC Library’s catalogue.
Visit X̱wi7x̱wa Library’s Indigenous Land Based Activism research guide for more information, too!
cə̓snaʔəm, the city before the city: Directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, cə̓snaʔəm, the city before the city commemorates five years since the resolution of a dramatic and compelling moment in the history of this place now known as Metro Vancouver. In late 2011, the Musqueam First Nation learned that a 108-unit condo development was being planned at one of their ancestral village sites without prior consultation with the nation. Not long after discovering the news of the planned condo development, Musqueam learned that ancestral remains were unearthed during an archeological “investigation” prior to development.
Cry Rock: The wild beauty of the Bella Coola Valley blends with vivid watercolor animation illuminating the role of the Nuxalk oral tradition and the intersection of story, place and culture. In English and Nuxalk.
Colonization Road: Since Europeans arrived on these shores, roads have been built to bring settlers across the country, connect them with resources to create industry and ultimately to establish a nation. Many of these interconnecting networks are called Colonization Roads. For Indigenous peoples, these roads embody a powerful and ironic reality; colonization is still so powerful, we name our roads after it. Join Anishinaabe comedian, Ryan McMahon as he travels across Ontario learning about Colonization Roads, the ways in which they have dispossessed Indigenous people of land and access to traditional territories while creating space for settlers in the colonial experiment that has become Canada.
Dehcho Ndehe Gha Nadaotsethe “Fighting for Our Land”: Dehcho Ndehe Gha Nadaotsethe “Fighting for Our Land” tells the history of the land, people and culture of Denendeh from pre-contact up to the present. In the video, our history is spoken by many different voices from all of the communities in the Dehcho, This community based video was initiated by the Dehcho First Nations and produced and directed by Rebecca Garrett. The goal of the project was to inform and educate, and to promote unity within Dehcho First Nations communities.
Estuary: Estuary is a compositional work by Tyler Hagan (Métis) shot on super 16mm that takes the viewer into a pensive cinematic state where they are allowed to view a familiar environment – a river landscape – in a completely new way. Shot at the mouth of the Fraser River, in Steveston, B.C., Canada.
Fractured Land: With some of the world’s largest fracking operations on his territory, a young Indigenous leader and lawyer confronts the fractures within his community and himself as he struggles to reconcile traditional teachings with the law to protect the land.
How A People Live: Documentary of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation, which the Canadian government forcibly relocated from its traditional territories on the coast of British Columbia in 1964.
In the Similkameen: In the Similkameen is a short experimental film which interrogates ideas of landscape and place by placing the viewer in the position to engage with the experience of being. Set on the Lower Similkameen Indian Reserve lands in the Southern Okanagan, the central conflict of the work subtly exists between the ‘natural’ landscape and ‘man-made’ incursions–namely a turn of the 20th Century missionary chapel, St. Ann’s. While the church and its relationship to its surroundings represent the larger history of conflict between the smelqmix people of the syilx (Okanagan) nation and Canadian settlers, In the Similkameen focuses on the visceral impact that it has as a part of the landscape. As Upper Similkameen Elder Ramona Allison related to me what her father had told her as a child, “We used to pray under the trees. Then the white man came, cut ’em all down, and now we pray in the trees.” This perspective reminds us that the dichotomy of ‘natural’ and ‘man-made’ is a construct of western thought, and encourages us to think, and experience our world as whole–as an ecosystem. In the Similkameen is the expression of attempting to embody such a perspective. It is an invitation to look, to listen, and to reflect.
‘Namegan’s om dłu’wans awinagwisex = We are one with the land: Namgis Nation has traditionally lived in the ‘Namgis Valley on the shores of Gwa”ni River, Vancouver Island. In 1997 ‘Namgis Nation have signed a statement of intent to negotiate a modern-day treaty with the federal and provincial governments. This process will provide them with a platform to gain access and control over their land and resources to become a self governing Nation. This film highlights their journey to their land in the summer of 2009.
The Oldest Tree In The World: Interweaving Leanne Simpson’s poetics, song, and stories of the land, while honouring the oldest maple tree in this region of Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg Territory, “The Oldest Tree in the World” is a love song to the oldest sugar maple in the region, living just outside of Nogojiwanong (Peterborough) in Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park. This grandmother tree, one of our oldest living relations, has lived through over 500 years of history.
On The Line: The Northern Gateway Pipeline Project is a proposal by Calgary’s Enbridge Corporation to construct a 1,170 km oil pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. The pipeline would cross 773 watercourses and bring supertankers to B.C.’s pristine north coast for the first time ever in order to deliver tar sands bitumen to Asian markets. In the summer of 2010, filmaker Frank Wolf and his friend Todd McGowan biked, hiked, rafted and kayaked the GPS track of the pipeline in order to uncover the truth about the proposal. Through the voices of people they meet along the way, their rough and tumble journey reveals the severe risk and consequences associated with this 5.5 billion dollar mega-project
St’at’imchalh: Spirit of the People: The caretakers of the land! Rich with cultural and scenic pictures this beautiful film explores the strength and history of First Nations and how they have managed the land, for thousands of years, as their “garden”. Thru personal interviews and precious archival footage we are delighted to meet the keepers of the garden.
The Fast: The Fast follows Doreen Manuel into the Rocky Mountains for a 4-day no food or water fasting ceremony in search of storyteller power. Doreen has worked for over 20-years to develop the story about her father George Manuel, an Indigenous leader whose leadership and vision could inspire this generation to take Indigenous people into the Fourth World. The stakes are high, the story needs to be told, but Doreen is stuck and unable to tell the story. Listening to the voices of her ancestors, Doreen is guided to the same sacred site where her father participated in ceremony, so that she may start at the beginning. Out of this journey, she discovers the answer is simple but the path is difficult and she lays the spiritual groundwork for her next journey as a filmmaker. – from runninwolf.ca
This Place Is Part Of Our Spirit: Elders and Knowledge keepers share their views on current Archaeology practices. Curve Lake First Nation in Central Ontario are the stewards of the Peterborough Petroglyphs which has been a special spiritual place since time immemorial.
Tu Suhudinh: It’s 2008. Water is the most precious commodity on Earth. A powerful corporation controls most of the resources and is trying to control more. Directed by Helen Haig-Brown.
Artwork takes many different forms across cultures and across time. Xwi7xwa Library has a whole section of works of art books in our collection, but with the current pandemic, some of those books are not as easily available. Below, we’ve rounded up 12 different videos, streaming anytime on McIntyre Media through UBC Library, that illustrate the different forms of art in Indigenous cultures.
Making of a Haida Totem Pole is Kelvin Redvers’s portrayal of Don Yeomans is a contemporary Haida carver who was commissioned by the Vancouver Airport Art Foundation to make two 40 foot totem poles for the building linking domestic and international terminals at YVR. Follow the making of these unique poles-from log to installation-and listen to insight into the carver’s creative process, his relationship with family and culture, and his philosophy about art and tradition.
Carrying on the Tradition follows April Churchill and Gladys Vandal, highly gifted and talented Haida artists, both of whom have worked to preserve the Haida weaving tradition. The eldest daughter of legendary teacher Delores Churchill, April discusses why safeguarding tradition is important to her. Gladys Vandal also has roots deep in the basketry that grows out of the cedar tree.
Argillite Carver is a documentary on artist Christian White who carves elaborate Haida stories, imbued with a sense of tradition, into an indigenous slate known as argillite in Masset, British Columbia . The mystery of his art, however, does not unfold until a quiet conversation about his latest panel pipe brings out his passion.
Cedar Hat Weaving tells the story of cedar, how the bark is stripped from the cedar tree and prepared for cedar weaving (hats) and discusses the art of cedar weaving and the affect this workshop had on the participants.
Art of Drum Making : First Nations making a Drum shows a step-by-step process on how to build a drum and shares stories and teachings taught by Jorge Lewis from the Snuneymuxw First Nation in B.C.
From Hand to Hand documents how Charles Edenshaw played an enormous role in preserving his people’s ancient art forms at a time when their very survival was in question. In this powerful documentary, his descendants Robert Davidson, Carmen Goertzen and Christian White, celebrated artists in their own right, discuss his legacy as Haida Elders have passed it down to them.
Killer Whale and Crocodile In this film, watch a First Nations carver from Canada travels into the jungles of Papua New Guinea and a New Guinea carver travels to urban Canada. Together, they share each other’s cultures and learn about the myths and legends that inform their individual artistic styles. The Coast Salish carvings include killer whales, ravens and eagles; the Sepik pieces include crocodiles, cassowaries and hornbills. But both speak of culture, tradition and art.
Life and Work of the Woodland Artists is a film on the work of the “Indian Group of Seven”, made up of First Nation artists Daphne Odjig, Norval Morrisseau, Jackson Beardy, Carl Ray, Joseph Sanchez, Eddy Cobiness and Alex Janvier. The film traces the pivotal transition in Canadian and Aboriginal consciousness of native art, created by the canvases of these artists, through candid interviews with the group’s surviving members, family members and art critics.
New Masters features three leading carvers from the new generation, some of the last apprentices who worked with the late Haida Master Bill Reid. Tim Boyko and Garner Moody work out of the same carvers’ shed in Skidegate, British Columbia, a structure originally built by one of their elders. Working alone, Clayton Gladstone carves on wood and precious metals, and shares his views about contemporary and traditional art.
On the Trail of Property Woman tells the story of Freda Diesing, who in the 1960s was among the vanguard of Haida artists whose talents sparked a revival of her culture’s artwork. At the age of 42 she took up carving and established herself as not only an exceptional carver, but also an enthusiastic teacher and mentor.
Portrait of a Mask Maker allows the viewer to join Reg Davidson in his studio to watch him carve and share his views about Haida art. Reg does not consider himself an artist, though he has produced an impressive body of work and enjoyed a demand for his many masks. A singer and dancer of Haida traditional compositions, his unique personality allows for a broad, often comical, theatrical presentation of dance.
Robert Davidson: Eagle of the Dawn is a documentary about Guud San Glans (“Eagle of the Dawn” in Haida), or Robert Davidson, stands apart internationally with his innovative and staggering output of high art. In his quest to make beautiful objects, Robert has inspired a new approach to Haida art, becoming a master of several media and pursuing a lofty cultural objective.
Spruce Root Weaver: Isabel Rorick takes the viewer to Masset B.C., where Isabel uses spruce roots to make some of the most intricate and beautiful hats and baskets in the Pacific Northwest. Related to both Florence Edenshaw Davidson and Selina Peratrovich, Isabel comes from a long line of artists. Her great-grandmother was the legendary weaver, Isabella Edenshaw. Taking a personal journey to North Beach on Haida Gwaii, Isabel harvests her own roots.
Haida jewelers follows Carmen Goertzen and Frank Paulson who are two contemporary carvers who specialize in silver and gold. Both are motivated to pursue jewelry making by a desire for independence. They discuss their own processes and inspirations, how Haida jewelry fits into the larger tradition Haida art, and in a highly competitive marketplace, the need to maintain a profile with the city’s galleries and private collectors.
Looking for more information on Indigenous artwork? Check out these resources below from UBC Library:
First Nations and Indigenous Art Research Guide from the Music, Art, & Architecture Library
Indigenous New Media Research Guide from Xwi7xwa Library
Have you streamed a documentary or film through UBC Library’s McIntyre Media subscription before? There are almost 200 videos that are Indigenous focused or produced on a variety of topics like art, language, education, and land use issues. Plus more! Below, we’ve rounded up 5 titles that are about two-spirit and LGBTQIA+ issues or created by two-spirit and LGBTQIA+ directors.
Visit X̱wi7x̱wa Library’s “Two-Spirit and Indigenous Queer Studies” research guide for more information on this subject.
Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things documents a small group in Nunavut, Canada preparing for a seminal LGBT Pride celebration in the Arctic. The film explores how colonization and religion have shamed and erased traditional Inuit beliefs about sexuality and family structure and how, 60 years later, a new generation of Inuit are actively “unshaming” their past.
“Sex Spirit Strength follows Michael and Jack, two young Indigenous men, as they shed the stigma and shame associated with their sexual health and gender identity. Michael, a former addict who lived a high-risk lifestyle that left him with permanent scars, hopes his activism work will discourage other young people from going down the same path. Jack, a transgender gay man, is committed to bringing pride back to two-spirit identity through education and activism. With a compassionate lens, Sex Spirit Strength takes a candid look at the challenges and triumphs of these two brave young men as they reconcile their past, embrace their identities, and strive to make a positive difference in their communities.” –APTN Website.
“Reclamation” is a documentary-style imagining of a post-dystopic future in Canada after massive climate change, wars, pollution, and the after effects of the large scale colonial project which has now destroyed the land. When Indigenous people are left behind after a massive exodus by primarily privileged white settlers who have moved to Mars, the original inhabitants of this land cope by trying to restore and rehabilitate the beautiful planet they belong to. Starring Lacey Hill, Cherish Violet Blood, and Elwood Jimmy, these three 2 Spirit people describe the reclamation projects they are a part of including community gardens, farms of abandoned cows, The Baby Club daycare, and educational projects. Tinged with bitterness at colonization, these hopeful people are also wary of the possibility of the colonizers returning after all is cleaned up”. — vtape website
In My Sister, two thoughtful young friends openly discuss their relationship with their sisters, both of whom are mentally challenged. A film by Thirza Cuthand. X̱wi7x̱wa Library also streams several other films by Thirza Cuthand through McIntyre Media. Check out X̱wi7x̱wa Library’s list of streaming media to find more.
In Casualties of Modernity celebrity artist and humanitarian Miss Chief Eagle Testickle (Kent Monkman) tours a hospital specializing in the treatment of conditions afflicting Modern and Contemporary Art. Led by the Doctor of Fine Arts (Quinton Neufeldt), and closely supervised by the no-nonsense head Nurse (Gillian Edwards), Miss Chief encounters romance, tragedy and triumph. X̱wi7x̱wa Library also streams several other films by Kent Monkman through McIntyre Media. Check out X̱wi7x̱wa Library’s list of streaming media to find more.
Being able to tell your own story is powerful. Below, we have pulled out a few memoirs we have at Xwi7xwa Library and available online through UBC catalogue that illustrate the power of Indigenous People telling their own stories.
Halfbreed by Maria Campbell depicts the realities that Campbell endured and, above all, overcame. Maria was born in Northern Saskatchewan, her father the grandson of a Scottish businessman and Métis woman–a niece of Gabriel Dumont whose family fought alongside Riel and Dumont in the 1885 Rebellion; her mother the daughter of a Cree woman and French-American man. This extraordinary account, originally published in 1973, bravely explores the poverty, oppression, alcoholism, addiction, and tragedy Maria endured throughout her childhood and into her early adult life, underscored by living in the margins of a country pervaded by hatred, discrimination, and mistrust.
Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma.
From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way by Jesse Thistle is the winner of the 2020 Indigenous Voices-Memoir category. It is an heartwarming and heartbreaking exploration of what it means to live in a society surrounded by prejudice and racism and to be cast adrift, and in the end, about how love and support can help one find happiness despite the odds.
Bobbi Lee, Indian Rebel by Lee Maracle is a gritty portrait of a turbulent home life and harrowing adventures on the road, from the mud flats of North Vancouver to the farm fields of California and the fringes of the hippie subculture in Toronto. Renowned author Lee Maracle’s groundbreaking biographical novel captures the spirit of Indigenous resistance during the Red Power movement of the 60s and 70s, chronicling a journey towards political consciousness in the movement for self-determination.
In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience by Helen Knott is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption.
Creating Space: My Life and Work in Indigenous Education by Verna J. Kirkness reveals the challenges and misgivings, the burning questions, the successes and failures that have shaped the life of this extraordinary woman and the history of Indigenous education in Canada.
One Story, One Song by Richard Wagamese invites readers to accompany him on his travels. His focus is on stories: how they shape us, how they empower us, how they change our lives. Ancient and contemporary, cultural and spiritual, funny and sad, the tales are grouped according to the four Ojibway storytelling principles: balance, harmony, knowledge and intuition.
Devil in Deerskins: My Life with Grey Owl by Anahareo; edited by Sophie McCall captures Anahareo’s and her husband Grey Owl’s extensive travels through the bush and their work towards environmental and wildlife protection. This autobiography covers the daily life of an extraordinary Mohawk woman whose independence, intellect, and moral conviction had direct influence on Grey Owl’s conversion from trapper to conservationist.
Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir by Ernestine Hayes is told in layers that blend Indigenous stories and metaphor with social and spiritual journeys, this enchanting memoir traces the author’s life from her difficult childhood growing up in the Tlingit community, through her adulthood, during which she lived for some time in Seattle and San Francisco, and eventually to her return home.