Authentic Indigenous Content for Middle Years and High School Classrooms

With the new school year just around the corner, we’ve heard from teachers like you looking to include Indigenous perspectives in your curriculum.

If you’re looking to incorporate more great literature from Indigenous authors into your classroom, this list is for you. These stories make great reads for older students with powerful touch points for learning.

Books for Bringing Indigenous Perspectives into the Classroom

Grades 7–12 are tumultuous years for all students, and a time when kids are especially vulnerable to bias. These titles help Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth process tough concepts while offering a more multi-dimensional understanding of Canada.

Surviving the City

High school is tough enough. On top of class work, best friends Miikwan and Dez must also struggle with grief for missing family members and the threat of being placed in a group home. When Dez doesn’t come home one night, Miikwan is distraught. Both girls must lean on their communities and the spirits of their ancestors to watch over them.

Surviving the City deals with the prejudicial treatment experienced by Indigenous teens. This eye-opening graphic novel is written by Tasha Spillett with captivating artwork by Natasha Donovan. 

Will Dez make it home? Find out by ordering your copy here.

The Reckoner Trilogy

Cole Harper is the hero Wounded Sky First Nation needs. In David A. Robertson’s page-turning trilogy, Cole and his friends must fight against the mysterious evils that threaten their community. 

The Reckoner trilogy can help spark a discussion on mental health. With a brilliant portrayal of what it’s like to live with an anxiety disorder, the three books—Strangers, Monsters, and Ghosts—are a superhero origin story like nothing you’ve read before. Look out for forthcoming graphic novel series, coming soon.

Once you meet Cole Harper, you won’t want to rest until you’ve learned what happened at  Wounded Sky First Nation. Start with the first book today.

Perception: A Photo Series

After a racist, high-profile tweet surfaced in artist KC Adams’s hometown, she decided to challenge people to “look, then look again” at Winnipeg’s Indigenous people. This brilliant collection of portraits was first displayed on billboards, buildings, and bus shelters around the city. Each image aims to replace dehumanizing assumptions with positive truths about the subjects’ identities.

With a foreword by Katherena Vermette and a critical essay by Cathy Mattes, Perception is a valuable resource for dismantling stereotypes and guiding conversations about bias and racism.

Look for yourself—then look again—by ordering Perception in hardcover.

A Girl Called Echo series

Thirteen-year-old Echo Desjardins is adjusting to her new reality; separated from her mother, living in a new home, and navigating the first few days of middle school. Her reality is hard enough—until she’s suddenly transported back in time. In this graphic novel series, Echo struggles to make sense of the present while learning more about her Métis heritage. 

With absolutely stunning artwork by Scott B. Henderson and Donovan Yaciuk, author Katherena Vermette’s series brings the history of the Métis Nation to life. 

The first two graphic novels in the series, Pemmican Wars and Red River Resistance, are available for purchase on the HighWater Press website. The third volume, Northwest Resistance, is slated for release in February 2020 and is available for pre-order now.

This Place: 150 Years Retold

Indigenous broadcaster and film critic Jesse Wente has called This Place: 150 Years Retold  “the graphic novel I’ve waited for my whole life, and the graphic novel Canada has needed for 150 years.” 

This Place is a groundbreaking graphic novel anthology that re-frames Canada’s history, present, and future through the perspectives of Indigenous peoples. Through the anthology’s 10 beautifully illustrated stories, young readers will encounter Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and even time travel.

Get a new perspective on the past 150 years—and beyond—by ordering your copy today

Recommended Teacher Resources

It can be daunting to communicate the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples in the classroom. To better understand these perspectives before you approach them with your students, we recommend adding Potlatch as Pedagogy: Learning Through Ceremony by Sara Florence Davidson and Robert Davidson, as well as Truth & Reconciliation in Canadian Schools by Pamela Rose Toulouse to your own reading list.

We also recommend Ensouling Our Schools: A Universally Designed Framework for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Reconciliation for actionable guidance on creating an inclusive, supportive learning environment. The book focuses on developing a classroom that accommodates your students’ mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Read more about these fantastic resources here, along with some of our recent titles for early years learners.

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