Book club pick for March 23: Graphic Novels!

In March 23rd’s episode we’ll be discussing Dakwäkãda Warriors by Cole Pauls and A Girl Called Echo Vol. 1 by Katherena Vermette. Be sure to submit a comment or question! Your input might be read on the podcast (anonymously) AND you’ll be entered into our book club draw. You could win a copy of one of our selected books, and even some lovely jewelry. (Notes on how to participate follow the synopses.) Happy reading!


Dakwäkãda Warriors by Cole Pauls

As a young person growing up in Haines Junction YT, artist Cole Pauls performed in a traditional song and dance group called the Dakwäkãda Dancers. During that time, Pauls encountered the ancestral language of Southern Tutchone.

Driven by a desire to help revitalize the language, he created Dakwäkãda Warriors, a bilingual comic about two earth protectors saving the world from evil pioneers and cyborg sasquatches.Pauls’ Elders supported him throughout the creation process by offering consultation and translation. The resulting work is a whimsical young adult graphic novel that offers an accessible allegory of colonialism. Dakwäkãda Warriors also includes a behind-the-scenes view into the making of the comic and a full-colour insert featuring character illustrations by guest Indigenous Canadian artists.

A Girl Called Echo, Vol. 1., by Katherena Vermette

Echo Desjardins, a 13-year-old Métis girl, is struggling with her feelings of loneliness while separated from her mom and adjusting to a new school. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee’s history class turns extraordinary, and Echo’s life will never be the same.

During Mr. Bee’s lecture, Echo finds herself transported to another time and place—a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie—and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur-trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican Wars. Pemmican Wars is the first graphic novel in A Girl Called Echo, a series by Katherena Vermette, Governor General Award–winning writer and author of The Seven Teaching Stories (HighWater Press).

How to Participate:

Step 1: get the book from your local library, bookseller, or seek an audio version online

Step 2: READ or LISTEN

Step 3: Post comments and questions on Twitter @book_women or @IndigenousLSA or directly on the Book Women Podcast website.  We will discuss them during that book’s episode!

Get your comments in BEFORE March 20 to have your take included in the episode (to be published March 23). Plus, you’ll be entered to win some PRIZES!


Our Second Book Club Pick: 3 Inuit Picture Books!

In February 23rd’s episode we’ll be chatting about What’s My Superpower? by Aviaq Johnston, Elisapee and Her Baby Seagull by Nancy Mike, and The Walrus Who Escaped by Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley


What’s My Superpower?
by Aviaq Johnston

Nalvana feels like all of her friends have some type of superpower. She has friends with super speed (who always beat her in races), friends with super strength (who can dangle from the monkey bars for hours), and friends who are better than her at a million other things.

Nalvana thinks she must be the only kid in town without a superpower. But then her mom shows Nalvana that she is unique and special, and that her superpower was right in front of her all along. Recommended ages: 3-5

– 2017 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens

Elisapee and Her Baby Seagull
by Nancy Mike

When Elisapee’s father brings home a baby seagull, Elisapee falls in love with the bird right away. She feeds and cares for her new friend, named Nau, and even helps Nau learn how to fly!

Nau grows, and grows, and grows some more, until she’s big enough to fly all over town and play with the other seagulls. Soon, it seems like Nau is ready to leave home for good, and Elisapee has to learn how to say goodbye.

Based on the author’s childhood experience, this charming story about learning to care for animals will delight young readers. Ages 5–7

The Walrus Who Escaped
by Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley & Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley

In the past, Arctic animals did not look as they do today, but they could communicate just as well as humans can! In The Walrus Who Escaped, young readers learn that walruses once had spiralled, curly tusks, not the long, straight tusks we recognize.

When Raven came across Walrus expertly diving for clams, he quickly became jealous of Walrus’s great clam-hunting skills. So, as Walrus was about to surface with a tasty mouthful of clams, Raven cast a spell on the ocean, freezing Walrus in place! Walrus’s curly, twisting tusks became frozen in the enchanted ice. But Raven soon discovered that his magic was no match for Walrus’s great physical strength. Walrus managed to escape, but his tusks would never be the same!

This fun, dynamic animal tale pits two of the Arctic’s most popular animal characters against each other in a cheeky and amusing battle of wits.

How to Participate:

Step 1: get the book from your local library, bookseller, or seek an audio version online

Step 2: READ or LISTEN

Step 3: Post comments and questions on Twitter @book_women or @IndigenousLSA or directly on the Book Women Podcast website.  We will discuss them during that book’s episode!

Get your comments in BEFORE February 20 to have your take included in the episode (to be published February 23). Plus, you’ll be entered to win some PRIZES!


Our First Book Club Pick: SPLIT TOOTH

Our first book club pick is Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq. 


Fact can be as strange as fiction. It can also be as dark, as violent, as rapturous. In the end, there may be no difference between them.

A girl grows up in Nunavut in the 1970s. She knows joy, and friendship, and parents’ love. She knows boredom, and listlessness, and bullying. She knows the tedium of the everyday world, and the raw, amoral power of the ice and sky, the seductive energy of the animal world. She knows the ravages of alcohol, and violence at the hands of those she should be able to trust. She sees the spirits that surround her, and the immense power that dwarfs all of us.

When she becomes pregnant, she must navigate all this.

Veering back and forth between the grittiest features of a small arctic town, the electrifying proximity of the world of animals, and ravishing world of myth, Tanya Tagaq explores a world where the distinctions between good and evil, animal and human, victim and transgressor, real and imagined lose their meaning, but the guiding power of love remains.

Haunting, brooding, exhilarating, and tender all at once, Tagaq moves effortlessly between fiction and memoir, myth and reality, poetry and prose, and conjures a world and a heroine readers will never forget.

How to Participate:

Step 1: get the book from your local library, bookseller, or seek an audio version online

Step 2: READ or LISTEN

Step 3: Post comments and questions on Twitter @book_women or @IndigenousLSA or directly on the Book Women Podcast website.  We will discuss them during that book’s episode!

The first episode will be published on February 9th, so get your comments in BEFORE February 6th. (Hint: we’ll be giving away a FREE copy of the book to someone who comments!)

Content Warning:

Readers should know that Split Tooth is a work of staggering beauty and originality that also engages with extremely challenging subjects, including childhood sexual abuse.

Please take care of yourself as you are reading this book. 

If at any point, you find yourself triggered, consider visiting these resources:


Season 3 – BOOK CLUB!

ILSA and the three snag-a-licious aunties from masinahikan iskwêwak podcast have joined forces for an exciting, all-Indigenous book club leading up to the annual ILSA gathering at Congress this spring! Inspired by this year’s theme, “Northern Relations,” Tanya, Kayla, and Sheila have chosen a variety of contemporary NDN texts that we will read together, discuss together, and love together in a way that connects us all, no matter how far apart and isolated we might be right now. We are covering texts from many genres, so please encourage your friends, family, and even your little ones to join in on these readings! 

Of course, while promoting the awesome literature being produced by Indigenous Peoples right now is our jam, our goal is also to create a sense of online community so that YOU readers can engage in the conversations throughout the coming months. We will frequently be updating our websites and social media pages so that anyone and everyone who wants to participate can throw questions, comments, emojis, marriage proposals, steamy gifs, and NDN memes our way throughout the process.

If you feel like jumping on this cedar canoe with us, the dates to have these books read are:

  1. (Intro Week) February 2nd: Book Women chat about what’s the come for Season 3!
  2. (Novel Week) February 9th: Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq (difficult content warning)
  3. (Picture Books) February 23rd: What’s My Superpower? Aviaq Johnston, Elisapee and Her Baby Seagull by Nancy Mike, and The Walrus Who Escaped by Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley
  4. (Graphic Novel) March 23rd: Dakwäkãda Warriors by Cole Pauls and A Girl Called Echo Vol. 1 by Katherena Vermette
  5. (Poetry) April 23rd: it was never going to be okay by jaye simpson
  6. (YA Novel) May 23rd: Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline


Episode 7: Podcasting with Métis in SPACE SPAce space

Indigenous podcasting is really picking up speed. There are so many great ones to listen to from Media Indigena to Coffee with My Ma. There’s even an Indigenous podcasting network: Indian and Cowboy ! Check them all out. You won’t be disappointed.

Podcasts are a fantastic medium for anyone to pick up and run with. If we can do it, you can do it.

For this episode, we sit down with Chelsea Vowel and Molly Swain, hosts of Métis in Space , a podcast that is “OTIPÊYIMISIW-ISKWÊWAK KIHCI-KÎSIKOHK. UNAPOLOGETICALLY INDIGENOUS, UNABASHEDLY FEMALE & UNBLINKINGLY NERDY.”

We talk a lot about how to get started and these useful resources:

Once you’ve got the basics, you can also check out Audacity, an open source software. It’s what we use to edit our podcasts. Since it’s open, it’s FREE to download and there are a ton of tutorials on youTube.

Whatever your interests are, there is someone out there just as nerdy as you. Let your freak flag fly and start recording your story!

Streaming available on our Episodes page.

Listening in your apps? Keep checking in as the episode gets indexed.


Episode 6: What is Predatory Publishing?

Since we are all trained librarians, it’s our job to educate others about protecting their information.

When thinking about publishing your work, you must be aware of predatory publishing. What is that?! You’ll have to listen and see…

After checking out this episode, we suggest that you look at these sources. They will help you to decipher whether or not you are being scammed:

Did we miss anything important? Let’s work together to make a comprehensive list!


Episode 5: Illustrating Picture Books with Gabrielle LaMontagne

Did you know that the three of us are art school drop outs?

Surprise! We all failed.

Luckily, we have Gabrielle LaMontagne to school us on illustrations. We sat down together, ate a ton of chocolate, and talked art.

Currently, you can view Gabrielle’s art in Rutherford Library South at the University of Alberta for the “Creations and Relations” exhibit. While you’re there, check out some other fantastic artists.

For now, here’s a sneak peek into the picture book that Gabrielle is working on: a story about Lac Ste. Anne fishing.

Click through the gallery.

Just. Do. It.

PS. She has an Instagram Account. Keep up with her work @gabreezelle!

Bird's Nest

Image 1 of 4

Streaming available on our Episodes page.

Listening in your apps? Keep checking in as the episode gets indexed.


Episode 4: Relating to Research with Paul Gareau

Another week, another episode.

This episode features some key insights into Indigenous writing, editing, and publishing. If you haven’t heard this before, relationality is key to working WITH Indigenous Peoples.

For this episode, we visit Paul Gareau (our “Academic Dad”) to talk about editing and writing Indigenous research. Other highlights include: Métis experiences of religion, kinship relationships, collaboration, teaching, ownership of work, etc.

This episode makes me laugh because it reminds me of the Métis kitchen. It’s the centre of our culture because it’s where all the visiting happens. Our conversation with Paul reminds me of kitchen visits: lots of laughs and tangents.


Streaming available on our Episodes page.

Listening in your apps? Keep checking in as the episode gets indexed.


Episode 3: Writing Memoirs with Tammy Ball

I don’t know if you knew this yet, but Métis families do things together. Believe me. If there is a family upset two provinces away, you better believe we will hop into the car and make the 15+ hour trip to make sure they’re okay. Same thing goes for podcasting! That being said, there was no better person to include in our interviews than my Mom: Tammy Ball.

This episode marks a personal journey between my Mom and I. As you will hear in the interview, she has a lot of stories to tell. Many of these stories I haven’t heard until these last few years. It’s been an incredible experience reading through them as it has given me a lot of insight into her history and how it has affected how she raised my sister and I.

Without spoiling the book, these stories range from Métis cultural practices to intergenerational trauma. All are brilliantly intertwined with Tammy’s unique voice, which is marked by sassy and serious moments. Call me biased, but I can’t wait for this one to be published!

Ps. If you hear growling in the audio, you might be hearing my fur sisters (pictured below).

Our extra guests (left to right): Maddy, Little Bit, and Roxy

Streaming available on our Episodes page.

Listening in your apps? Keep checking in as the episode gets indexed.


Episode 2 – Making Zines with Ambrose

July 1st is a complicated day for Indigenous Peoples. Mainstream society calls it “Canada’s Birthday” to denote the anniversary of the Constitution Act, 1867. This Act brought the provinces together to form what we now know as Canada.

As Indigenous Peoples, we know that the Land and the people have been here since time immemorial. To us, “Canada Day” is a reminder of the wounds we have suffered from colonization, which is still present today.

With this in mind, we were conflicted about whether we should release an episode for our podcast on this day. As a group (including our interviewee), we decided that the only way to do it in a good way would be as a statement of resistance.

With this episode, we would like to draw your attention to the problems behind this day and how it might affect your Indigenous friends and family. Instead of celebrating the colonial history of this Land, reclaim this day for the resilience, resistance, and resurgence of Indigenous Peoples.

Consider this episode a gift for Anti-Colonial Day.

Sit back, relax, and decolonize your ears!

Streaming available on our Episodes page.

Listening in your apps? Keep checking in as the episode gets indexed.