Indigenous Writes

A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada
by Chelsea Vowel

Grade: for all teachers
(6 customer reviews)


  • Softcover
  • eBook
  • Audiobook

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 the wider social beliefs associated with the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. In 31 essays, Chelsea explores the Indigenous experience from the time of contact to the present, through five categories – Terminology of Relationships; Culture and Identity; Myth-Busting; State Violence; and Land, Learning, Law, and Treaties. She answers the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger community.

Indigenous Writes is one title in The Debwe Series.



Chelsea Vowel presents a counternarrative to the foundational, historical, and living myths most Canadians grew up believing. She punctures the bloated tropes that have frozen Indigenous peoples in time, often to the vanishing point. Reading Indigenous Writes, you feel that you are having a conversation over coffee with a super-smart friend, someone who refuses to simplify, who chooses to amplify, who is unafraid to kick against the darkness. Branding Indigenous Writes as required reading would make it sound like literary All-Bran. It is not, and far from it. What this book really is, is medicine.
—Shelagh Rogers, O.C., Broadcast Journalist, TRC Honorary Witness

Indigenous Writes is a timely book…and contains enough critical information to challenge harmful assumptions and facilitate understanding. This is a book for everyone—but particularly for non-Indigenous people wishing to better understand their own place in the history of violence against Indigenous peoples, and to find ways to move toward true solutions and right relationships.
—Montreal Review of Books

Vowel’s voice and personality remain present throughout each essay. Her use of vernacular, humour, and at times, sarcasm add layers of meaning, underscore arguments and carry her and her readers through discussions of infuriating facts and difficult, often painful issues.
—McGill Journal of Education

Chosen as the inaugural title for the University of Manitoba campus and community book club,  “Unsettling Ideas”, an Indigenous Engagement initiative

Winner of the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award, Design Category

Among 49th Shelf’s A Great Canadian Read

Shortlisted for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction

Shortlisted for the Concordia University First Book Prize

ERAC Evaluated and Approved

Indigenous Writes is available as an eBook in ePUB, mobi, and PDF formats and as an audiobook. Select a format using the drop-down menu to the left and checkout as usual. You will be sent an email with instructions to download the file. 


6 reviews for Indigenous Writes

  1. Clare Devlin (verified owner)

    There are many stories about our indigenous peoples in the headlines. Some are enchanting and encouraging, some horrifying, and some foreboding for all of us on Turtle Island. When Attawapiskat first became a place name to read about, the articles and news coverage were confusing. What was happening, why was it happening , what were the issues? At that time, Chelsea Vowel’s blog was crucial to me, a newcomer to Canada of just more than fifty years. She writes clearly, comprehensively and critically. The justified grief and anger comes through the lines, presented, never imposed. Her book Indigenous Writes covers even more ground than her blogs and while yet more devastating is also sustaining. She tells us clearly and succinctly what we need to know and how we can, and must, talk about the need for change. The book is set up in a way that is very useful for classroom teaching with great links to more research. It is also excellent for everyday reading and for book clubs.

  2. Allison Jones

    Loved this book. Thank you for your amazing work. Will share with friends and family!

  3. Jeremy Pettitt

    This is an excellent book. It’s clear, concise, funny, educational and challenging.
    I found it a great introduction to a whole raft of issues. Superb.

  4. Lisa

    Excellent book! Loved her writing style and humour on a subject that is not very humerous

  5. Vera Enshaw

    This is such an awesome book. It’s more than well-written – it captured me and held on for dear life. I kept coming back to it, even when I had to take breaks because the information is hard to hear, to see, to learn. Thank you so much, Ms. Vowel.

  6. Devan

    This is an amazing book. it breaks down all the issues that Indigenous peoples of Canada deal with and has truly opened my eyes. I cannot give it enough praise.

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