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Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada

(The Debwe Series)

4.73  ·  Rating details ·  354 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Delgamuukw. Sixties Scoop. Bill C-31. Blood quantum. Appropriation. Two-Spirit. Tsilhqot’in. Status. TRC. RCAP. FNPOA. Pass and permit. Numbered Treaties. Terra nullius. The Great Peace…

Are you familiar with the terms listed above? In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel, legal scholar, teacher, and intellectual, opens an important dialogue about these (and more) concepts and
Paperback, 290 pages
Published September 1st 2016 by HighWater Press
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4.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  354 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Ben Babcock
Sometimes you see a book and you just know that it’s the book you’ve been waiting for. That was my reaction when Chelsea Vowel, who blogs and tweets as âpihtawikosisân, announced Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada. You really should read her blog and follow her, because she her writing is clear and informative, and she is excellent at providing further resources. This continues in her book. I was extremely excited to get my hands on a copy, because it ...more
Rachel Hartman
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THE book for getting started understanding Indigenous issues in Canada. Highly recommended.
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What is an "American Indian"? Seems like an easy enough question. And I am sure we all have an idea in our mind.

And we are probably all wrong.

This book. This book should be read by everyone. It should be read by Canadians. It should be read by Americans. The rest of the world can read it too, if they want. The point is, this book breaks down and explains to the "settlers", to the children of colonialists, to the non-indigenous what Indigenous peoples are. And as Chelsea says:
The Canadian governm
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was a real eye-opener. I, like so many non-Canadians, have this rose-tinted view of Canada as a beacon of hope, sanity and humanity and I think it's too easy to forget that Canada's colonial history has left plenty of scars and heartache behind, especially for indigenous Canadians.
The author has an engaging, accessible style of writing with deft touches of humour thrown in for good measure. The book covers a broad range of topics well, but it doesn't read as if the major subjects are
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Essential if you're going to write about, read about, or live in Canada :) The tone was just right. The footnotes are a treasure. I need to buy a copy to have on hand.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think the first thing all Canadians need to have firmly rooted in their consciousness is that Indigenous peoples are not going away. Ever. Never, ever, ever. (p. 225)

Chelsea Vowel est catégorique: impossible d'avoir une conversation collective sur l'avenir des Premières Nations, des Métis et des Inuit sans rectifier un paquet d'affaires qui circulent à leur sujet. Dans Indigenous Writes, elle prend sur elle de poser les bases nécessaires à cet échange. Elle discute terminologie, elle déconstru
Friederike Knabe
Chelsea Vowel's book is, as the subtitle suggests, a study into First Nations, Metis and Inuit issues in Canada. It is a well presented tool for interested Canadians (and others) into indigenous languages, definitions of concepts, cultural traditions and wider political context. It is not a book you read from a-to-z in one go. Rather you select a chapter at the time and absorb its important substance. You will want to refer to it from time to time again and again. It is very well written and mai ...more
Witty, ultra-readable, and informative primer that does what it says on the tin (provides a guide to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit issues in Canada), but is so much more. I read a library copy but will buy my own and urge others to do the same, because it's incredibly helpful in providing necessary background to many important ongoing challenges. I also want to chase down many of the sources referenced in the thorough and helpful endnotes. I realize the foregoing doesn't make it sound very exc ...more
I feel like everyone needs to read this. or at least all us settler Canadians. I thought I knew stuff of indigenous issues because I knew about Residential Schools and the "Sixties Scoop" and the Highway of Tears but I knew so little! I know a tiny bit more, and hopefully after a get to some of the resources Vowel points to at the end of each chapter I'll be a little more knowledgeable about stuff.
Every Canadian needs to know the information contained in this book.
Kristine Morris
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indigenous
You should read this book. When you first get it, it looks a bit like a, dare I say it, boring academic textbook, but looks can be deceiving. The chapters range from 5-8 pages each. Perhaps author Chelsea Vowel recognizes that, nowadays, our attention span and desire to read anything longer than it takes to drink a latte is seriously compromised. Thank you for being succinct! The author often frames the discussion as if she is having a conversation with you directly; she gives you facts, why the ...more
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This was an excellent book written by a well-versed blogger and Tweeter. She is a Metis woman who has studied both law and education. She's lived in both Edmonton and Montreal. The book is written in a series of short chapters that are about the same length as blog posts. It's written in a plain speak, blog-like manner. Vowel debunks a lot of the myths about Indigenous Canada. If someone around you has ever made derogatory comments about indigenous people, and you want to counteract them with ha ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you’re looking for a primer on the issues that face Canadian Indigenous peoples, this is a great place to start. Using a conversational style, Vowel unpacks a lot of what’s going on in Canada right now. In the introduction, she tells her readers that a lot of this book comes from conversations that she had with white friends while she was in law school. To that end, she addresses a lot of myths and misconceptions that range from the benign to the actively harmful.

This is easy to read, and eas
Sarah King
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars - I know I’m reading a good book when I get itchy for highlighters and sticky notes so I can mark all the passages I want to come back to. But, then again, if I did that with this book, I’d mark every single passage. Every settler Canadian should read this book and keep it on hand to help respond to every bigoted, racist, ignorant comment about Indigenous folks we encounter. This is a real manual for true allyship, with digestible and tangible information about the colonial past and pres ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There's a lot of information packed in here, but Vowel writes in a style that's conversational and easy to read. I can't recommend this highly enough. I grew up in Southern Manitoba (Treaty 1 territory) and I like to think I've been paying attention, but I was saddened by how much of this book was new to me.
Jenna (Falling Letters)
Review originally published 19 December 2017 at Falling Letters.

I followed Vowel on Twitter for some time before I picked up her book. If you’re new to learning about Indigenous experiences, her Twitter feed may seem overwhelming. Not so her book Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nation, Inuit, and Métis Issues in Canada. Vowel writes in a casual, conversational tone and doesn’t assume the reader to be familiar with the topics she explores.  Although the cover looks somewhat textbook-y, this b
Big Al
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amazing resource, especially if you are new to a lot of these topics. Should be used as a textbook for all Canadian high school students!
Elaine Corden
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Chelsea Vowel writes with an engaging, lively, and authoritative voice that is easy and fun to read. Despite this dealing with some very dark and disturbing aspects of Canada's past and present treatment of Indigenous, Metis and Inuit peoples, this book is ultimately uplifting, as it truly works hard to create a safe space for the reader to interrogate their own misconceptions. Vowel anticipates reader criticisms and resolves them with compassion, generosity, and facts, taking care to provide re ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading. Clear, compelling, profoundly informative, with lots and lots of "read more" endnotes in every chapter. Also funny and just generally easy and fun to read.

Seriously - essential reading for any settler Canadian who wants to know what they can do to advance reconciliation. Education and deep understanding is a critical first step. This book is hugely helpful in getting there and getting past surface understanding, stereotypes, and myths about First Nations in Canada.

Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly important book for all Canadians. Accessible to the newbie but detailed and well-researched enough to provide valuable new information and resources to those who think they already know it all. If you want to learn more about our relationship with Indigenous peoples but don’t know where to start - start here. This book is a take down of just about every myth about Indigenous peoples I have ever heard and the definitive resource for arguing with your racist uncle. The inform ...more
Keira Edwards-Huolohan
This book was easy to read, although the topics are not as easy. It's broken down into sections about various areas that the Canadian settler-state needs to work on in regards to its treatment/relationships with Indigenous peoples. I learned a lot and could also see many parallels between the Canadian and Australian contexts. I think that even if you're not in Canada this is still an important read.
Janet Hutchinson
A clearly written and informative book. I'm pretty sure that I am simply scratching the surface of understanding. But her essays (succinct and wryly humorous in parts) seek to set out the issues and tackle them one by one. Excellent resources at the end of each chapter that, should you want to delve deeper into a topic,will let you do so.
Heidi Archer
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
White folks in Canada: read this. And then again. And again after that.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my textbooks for uni, but it didn't feel like I was reading a textbook. It was like having a conversation with a very sarcastic friend.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm hoping to have time to write a more thorough review later, but the short version is: this is a really good, extremely readable primer on the sociological aspects of indigenous issues in Canada, and I honestly think everyone should read it.
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much. I'll be reading this again, and recommending it to everyone.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Must read for all Canadians.
Nick Carraway LLC
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
1) "For the most part, when I do need to refer specifically to 'the non-Indigenous peoples living in Canada who form the European-descended sociopolitical majority,' I've decided on the term settler. I feel it is the most accurate relational term and helps to keep the conversation more focused than the term White.
[...] I pointed out that I feel settler is a relational term, rather than a racial category, which is another way in which it is more useful. Since I have chosen this term, I suppose I
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful must read that every Canadian citizen should read if they want to try to understand our problematic history. And hopefully to try and make changes going forward.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
If you are a non-Indigenous Canadian, please read this, period.

Possibly the best and most succinct introductions to a broad range of Canadian Indigenous issues out there. Every non-Indigenous person in the country should know everything in this book. Yes, sometimes her sarcasm is unnecessary and distracting--her simple, clear tone is perfect and when she veers into irony it detracts from the effect of her voice--but the things she's saying are absolutely critical either way, even if they WAY the
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Chelsea Vowel is Métis from manitow-sâkahikan (Lac Ste. Anne) Alberta where she and her family currently reside. She has a BEd and LLB and is mother to three girls, step-mother of two more.

Chelsea is a public intellectual, writer and educator whose work intersects language, gender, Métis self-determination and resurgence. She has worked directly with First Nations researching self-government, part

Other books in the series

The Debwe Series (7 books)
  • Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water
  • The Gift Is in the Making: Anishinaabeg Stories
  • Three Feathers
  • Blanket of Butterflies
  • The Stone Collection
  • Fire Starters