Summer is upon us! And while this summer already feels quite different from years past, there are familiar things that I am looking forward to—and one of those things is sitting back and digging into a new book or two or three. We may not be able to travel as far or take part in the same summer activities we may be used to, but the restrictions we are under have given us the opportunity to do some personal reading and learning and reflecting.
For that reason (among others), this week’s update is a simple reconciliation-focused summer reading list. It is made up of all the books that The Federation’s Reconciliation Book Club has read to date. (In related news, the book club is about to begin its third year—you can learn more and sign up to participate here.)
As an organization, The Federation is committed to reconciliation and Indigenous resurgence. But we will not be able to move forward and make meaningful or lasting change with the mindsets and ways of thinking that got us to this point. We will not be able to fix the problems we are facing with the systems and stories that created those problems in the first place. Reconciliation, social justice, and anti-racism demand new ways of thinking.
Reading and talking about Indigenous stories, histories, and ideas is one small step in the direction we need to go. And for many, reading is the easiest place to start. It’s a way to take responsibility for learning (and un-learning) without burdening Indigenous community members with the work of teaching us.
And the truth is that sometimes I think we forget how simple and enjoyable reading is. For me, reading is the most accessible way to understand and explore other perspectives and points of view—experiences and ways of thinking that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to encounter. More than just stories, good books contain countless gifts that take the form of insights, ideas, advice, and questions. Plus, purchasing these books is a direct way of supporting Indigenous artists and their families and communities and you can also support Indigenous-owned bookstores like Massy Books or Iron Dog Books.
I encourage you to take a look at our summer reading list and pick a couple of the titles to dig into over the coming months. And consider joining the Reconciliation Book Club and encourage your staff and colleagues to sign up.
We have a lot of work ahead of us to make a society that is more just and equal and compassionate. And no matter where you are in your personal journey, I know you will find something on this list that will help you move forward.
Rebecca Ataya Lang
Associate Executive Director