A Message from Chief Robert Joseph
Explore “Namwayut” by Chief Joseph and a curated collection of Indigenous literature in support of Truth and Reconciliation Day. This page is designed to assist independent bookstores in promoting these vital narratives. Dive into the world of “Namwayut” and discover other Indigenous-authored works that enrich our understanding of Indigenous culture and history. Join us in celebrating these stories that contribute to meaningful conversations and connections.
About Chief Robert Joseph
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, OBC, OC is a Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk people, Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, Chair of the Native American Leadership Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation, and the 2016 winner of the Indspire Lifetime Achievement Award. He has worked with social change leaders around the globe, including South Africa, Israel, Japan, and the US, was Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, and is an honorary witness to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Book Recommendations for Truth and Reconciliation Day
On the upcoming National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, consider featuring a collection of 10 impactful non-fiction books that celebrate the spirit of reconciliation. These recommendations, accompany our commemoration of Reconciliation Canada’s 10-year anniversary since the Walk for Reconciliation. They are thoughtful suggestions to engage and reflect upon courageous and visionary stories, including those of Ambassador Chief Robert Joseph, his son Chief Bob Joseph, and a network of inspiring individuals like Jody Wilson Raybould, Phyllis Webstad, and Carey Newman. Join us in honoring this momentous occasion and the power of reconciliation.
Reconciliation Canada’s 10-Year Anniversary Non-Fiction Book List
Namwayut A Pathway to Reconciliation – We Are All One by Chief Robert Joseph
Reconciliation belongs to everyone. In this profound book, Chief Robert Joseph, globally recognized peacebuilder and Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk People, traces his journey from his childhood surviving residential school to his present-day role as a leader who inspires individual hope, collective change, and global transformation.
Before we get to know where we are going, we need to know where we came from. Reconciliation represents a long way forward, but it is a pathway toward our higher humanity, our highest selves, and an understanding that everybody matters. In Namwayut, Chief Joseph teaches us to transform our relationships with ourselves and each other. As we learn about, honour, and respect the truth of the stories we tell, we can also discover how to dismantle the walls of discrimination, hatred, and racism in our society.
Chief Joseph is known as one of the leading voices on peacebuilding in our time, and his dedication to reconciliation has been recognized with multiple honorary degrees and awards. As one of the remaining first-language speakers of Kwak’wala, his wisdom is grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing while making space for something bigger and better for all of us.
Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality
We are all treaty people. But what are the everyday impacts of treaties, and how can we effectively work toward reconciliation if we’re worried our words and actions will unintentionally cause harm?
Hereditary chief and leading Indigenous relations trainer Bob Joseph is your guide to respecting cultural differences and improving your personal relationships and business interactions with Indigenous Peoples. Practical and inclusive, Indigenous Relations interprets the difference between hereditary and elected leadership, and why it matters; explains the intricacies of Aboriginal Rights and Title, and the treaty process; and demonstrates the lasting impact of the Indian Act, including the barriers that Indigenous communities face and the truth behind common myths and stereotypes perpetuated since Confederation.
Indigenous Relations equips you with the necessary knowledge to respectfully avoid missteps in your work and daily life and offers an eight-part process to help businesses and government work more effectively with Indigenous Peoples—benefitting workplace culture as well as the bottom line. Indigenous Relations is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to improve their cultural competency and undo the legacy of the Indian Act.
21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, Bob Joseph
The Indian Act, after 141 years, continues to shape, control, and constrain the lives and opportunities of Indigenous peoples and is at the root of many lasting stereotypes. Bob Joseph’s book comes at a key time in the reconciliation process when awareness from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities is at a crescendo. Joseph explains how Indigenous peoples can step out from under the Indian Act and return to self-government, self-determination, and self-reliance—and why doing so would result in a better country for every Canadian. He dissects the complex issues around truth and reconciliation and clearly demonstrates why learning about the Indian Act’s cruel, enduring legacy is essential for the country to move toward true reconciliation.
True Reconciliation: How to Be a Force for Change Jody Wilson Raybould
There is one question Canadians have asked Jody Wilson-Raybould more than any other: What can I do to help advance reconciliation? It is clear that people from all over the country want to take concrete and tangible action that will make real change. We just need to know how to get started. This book provides that next step. For Wilson-Raybould, what individuals and organizations need to do to advance true reconciliation is self-evident, accessible, and achievable. True Reconciliation is broken down into three core practices—Learn, Understand, and Act—that can be applied by individuals, communities, organizations, and governments.
The practices are based not only on the historical and contemporary experience of Indigenous peoples in their relentless efforts to effect transformative change and decolonization, but also on the deep understanding and expertise about what has been effective in the past, what we are doing right, and wrong, today, and what our collective future requires. Fundamental to a shared way of thinking is an understanding of the Indigenous experience throughout the story of Canada. In a manner that reflects how work is done in the Big House, True Reconciliation features an “oral” history of these lands, told through Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices from our past and present.
The ultimate and attainable goal of True Reconciliation is to break down the silos we’ve created that prevent meaningful change, to be empowered to increasingly act as “inbetweeners,” and to take full advantage of this moment in our history to positively transform the country into a place we can all be proud of.
Beyond the Orange Shirt by Phyllis Webstad
Beyond the Orange Shirt Story is a unique collection of truths, as told by six generations of Phyllis Webstad’s family that will give readers an up-close look at what life was like before, during, and after their Residential School experiences. In this book, Survivors and Intergenerational Survivors share their stories authentically and in their own words. Readers of this book will become more aware of a number of challenges faced by many Indigenous peoples in Canada. With this awareness comes learning and unlearning, understanding, acceptance, and change. Phyllis’s hope is that all Canadians honour the lives and experiences of Survivors and their families as we go Beyond the Orange Shirt.
Artist Carey Newman created the Witness Blanket to make sure that history is never forgotten. The Blanket is a living work of art―a collection of hundreds of objects from those schools. It includes everything from photos, bricks, hockey skates, graduation certificates, dolls, and piano keys to braids of hair. Behind every piece is a story. And behind every story is a residential school Survivor, including Carey’s father. This book is a collection of truths about what happened at those schools, but it’s also a beacon of hope and a step on the journey toward reconciliation.
Valley of the Birdtail: An Indian Reserve, a White Town, and the Road to Reconciliation, by Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Douglas Sanderson
Divided by a beautiful valley and 150 years of racism, the town of Rossburn and the Waywayseecappo Indian reserve have been neighbors nearly as long as Canada has been a country. Their story reflects much of what has gone wrong in relations between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians. It also offers, in the end, an uncommon measure of hope.
Valley of the Birdtail is about how two communities became separate and unequal—and what it means for the rest of us. In Rossburn, once settled by Ukrainian immigrants who fled poverty and persecution, family income is near the national average and more than a third of adults have graduated from university. In Waywayseecappo, the average family lives below the national poverty line and less than a third of adults have graduated from high school, with many haunted by their time in residential schools.
This book follows multiple generations of two families, one white and one Indigenous, and weaves their lives into the larger story of Canada. It is a story of villains and heroes, irony and idealism, racism and reconciliation. Valley of the Birdtail has the ambition to change the way we think about our past and show a path to a better future.
Final Report and What We Have Learned and the NCTR Calls to Action Booklet
This is the Final Report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its six-year investigation of the residential school system for Aboriginal youth and the legacy of these schools. This report, the summary volume, includes the history of residential schools, the legacy of that school system, and the full text of the Commission’s 94 recommendations for action to address that legacy.
This report lays bare a part of Canada’s history that until recently was little known to most non-Aboriginal Canadians. The Commission discusses the logic of the colonization of Canada’s territories, and why and how policy and practice developed to end the existence of distinct societies of Aboriginal peoples. Using brief excerpts from the powerful testimony heard from Survivors, this report documents the residential school system which forced children into institutions where they were forbidden to speak their language, required to discard their clothing in favor of institutional wear, given inadequate food, housed in inferior and fire-prone buildings, required to work when they should have been studying, and subjected to emotional, psychological and often physical abuse. In this setting, cruel punishments were all too common, as was sexual abuse. More than 30,000 Survivors have been compensated financially by the Government of Canada for their experiences in residential schools, but the legacy of this experience is ongoing today.
This report explains the links to high rates of Aboriginal children being taken from their families, abuse of drugs and alcohol, and high rates of suicide. The report documents the drastic decline in the presence of Aboriginal languages, even as Survivors and others work to maintain their distinctive cultures, traditions, and governance. The report offers 94 calls to action on the part of governments, churches, public institutions, and non-Aboriginal Canadians as a path to meaningful reconciliation of Canada today with Aboriginal citizens. Even though the historical experience of residential schools constituted an act of cultural genocide by Canadian government authorities, the United Nation’s declaration of the rights of aboriginal peoples and the specific recommendations of the Commission offer a path to move from apology for these events to true reconciliation that can be embraced by all Canadians.
In this Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail
What is real reconciliation? This collection of essays from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous contributors from across Canada welcomes readers into a timely, healing conversation—one we’ve longed for but, before now, have had a hard time approaching.
These reflective and personal pieces come from journalists, writers, academics, visual artists, filmmakers, city planners, and lawyers, all of whom share their personal light-bulb moments regarding when and how they grappled with the harsh reality of colonization in Canada and its harmful legacy. Without flinching, they look deeply and honestly at their own experiences and assumptions about race and racial divides in Canada in hopes that the rest of the country will do the same.
Featuring a candid conversation between CBC radio host Shelagh Rogers and Chief Justice Sinclair, this book acts as a call for all Canadians to make reconciliation and decolonization a priority and reminds us that once we know the history, we all have the responsibility—and ability—to make things better.
Sacred Instructions, Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change, by Sherri Mitchell
Drawing from ancestral knowledge, as well as her experience as an attorney and activist, Sherri Mitchell addresses some of the most crucial issues of our say, such as environmental protection and human rights. For those seeking change, this book offers a set of cultural values that will preserve our collective survival for future generations.