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As we approach Canada Day, let us celebrate the stories of the people who were here first. This list of books written by Indigenous authors offers readers a range of stories to dive into again and again. 

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The Reason You Walk – Wab Kinew

Kinew was the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize winner for Non-Fiction in 2016, so we’re extra-pleased to kick off the list here.

When his father was given a diagnosis of terminal cancer, Kinew decided to spend a year reconnecting with the accomplished but distant Aboriginal man who’d raised him.

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The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline

Shortlisted for CBC's Canada Reads this year, The Marrow Thieves tells the story of Indigenous people who are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. 

See Cherie speak about the book here and read our blog about the book here

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Medicine Walk – Richard Wagamese

By the celebrated author of Canada Reads Finalist Indian Horse, this stunning novel has all the timeless qualities of a classic, as it tells the universal story of a father/son struggle in a fresh, utterly memorable way, set in a dramatic landscape of the B.C. Interior. 

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Monkey Beach – Eden Robinson

In the first English-language novel to be published by a Haisla writer, Eden Robinson offers a rich celebration of life in the Native settlement of Kitamaat, on the coast of British Columbia.

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The Break – Katherena Vermette

This debut novel took Canada by storm when it came out in 2016, grabbing the attention of multiple prize juries and winning awards aplenty. A powerful intergenerational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette’s abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting voice in Canadian literature.

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Birdie – Tracy Lindberg

Monkey Beach meets Green Grass, Running Water meets The Beachcombers in this wise and funny debut novel by a Cree author. Birdie is a darkly comic and moving novel about the universal experience of recovering from wounds of the past, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions. 

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Bearskin Diary – Carol Daniels

Raw and honest, Bearskin Diary gives voice to a generation of First Nations women who have always been silenced, at a time when movements like Idle No More call for a national inquiry into the missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

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Hiawatha and the Peacemaker – Robbie Robertson

Born of Mohawk and Cayuga descent, musical icon Robbie Robertson learned the story of Hiawatha and his spiritual guide, the Peacemaker, as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. Now he shares the same gift of storytelling with a new generation.

Want more book suggestions? Read 150 books that tell the story of Canada