Over the years, many people have asked us to put together a package of information on Aboriginal literature that is suitable for different age groups. That task, however, is not particularly easy. An extensive array of material is available nowadays, but should it all be included in such a list? Considerable debate surrounds what is sometimes called “appropriation of voice” – when a person, no matter how sympathetic, depicts someone from another culture. We can only say that we have tried our best to be selective, and appreciate any feedback that people might have about our list.
We started by looking primarily for Canadian materials, but we knew that was limiting. Some of the materials that programs use extensively are not Canadian, and provide a valuable Aboriginal perspective. Besides, and perhaps most importantly, boundaries among Aboriginal peoples do not conform to provincial, territorial or national boundaries. Many of the traditions and the stories are common or similar across cultural groups.
We tried first to identify materials that Aboriginal people had written and/or illustrated. We also looked for traditional stories that people had collected. We did this by consulting various databases of Aboriginal literature to see what others had included. In particular, we relied heavily on the services of http://www.GoodMinds.com/, a native-owned and operated business that deals in educational resources on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario.
We have included books that may be out of print – for several reasons: