Reads for the Head and Heart, October 2022

These monthly summaries are intended to bring together my reading on intellectual, pscychological, spiritual, theological, and self-help themes that may or may not make it into my weekly posts. This month my reading on these themes continued the previous couple months’ focus on Indigenous writings and reconciliation.


The Language Warrior’s Manifesto, Anton Treuer (2020)

As you may have noticed, I’m a big proponent of not only Settler-Indigenous reconciliation, but also Indigenous cultural and political resurgence. I’ve been privileged in my life to have been surrounded by Indigenous peoples and languages, long before reconciliation became a political issue in Canada: My toddler years were spent in a majority Indigenous community in the Canadian North (where the traditional language, Kaska, was being taught in schools only a decade after the closing of the area’s Residential School); my elementary school in Whitehorse offered classes in three different Indigenous languages (Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, and Tlingit); my junior high school in rural Alberta had signage in Cree; and my undergraduate program in Linguistics at the University of Victoria regularly brought in guests from local Indigenous groups and provided me with the opportunity to take a course in Lushootseed Salish and to spend a summer as a research assistant examining Franz Boas’s field notes of the Wakashan language Lower Chehalis. All this is to say that Indigenous languages have a special place in my heart.

This 2020 release by Ojibwe knowledge-keeper, language teacher, and advocate Anton Treuer is a powerful witness to the challenges and possibilities of language revitalization efforts in Indigenous communities, as well as a practical ‘how to’ for communities looking to start their own programs. It is a wonderful and inspirational read and I have to send a great big Miigwech! to Dr. Treuer for all of his hard work on behalf of his people.


“[T]here’s more at stake than what’s happening in Native communities and our capacity to be good, healthy neighbors and productive citizens. The rest of the world needs our ideas. Everyone needs to heal and interrupt the colonial process which dehumanizes us all.”

Read this if you’re interested in:

  • Indigenous Perspectives
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Language Revitalization
  • Indigenous Resurgence
  • Ojibwe/Anishinaawbemowin Language
  • Reconciliation

My Rating, 10/10

Monthly Roundup:

  • The Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0, Brenda Salter McNeil (2020), 9/10: This is an excellent and practical introduction to racial reconciliation within organizations and communities, through a Christian worldview. It provides a helpful framework and lots of practical tools and advice for making change — and making change stick. (Racism, Social Issues, Reconciliation, Christian Theology)
  • One Drum, Richard Wagamese (2019), 8/10: See my October 15 post for my review of this exploration of traditional Anishinaabe values (intended to be about all of the Seven Grandfather Teachings, but cut short by the author’s death).
  • Dancing on our Turtle’s Back, Leanne Simpson, 2011, 8/10: See my October 22 post for my review of this exploration of the possibility of a decolonized and Indigenized approach to life and scholarship.
  • Ojibway Heritage, Basil T. Johnston (1976), 8/10: This is the book on Ojibwe/Anishinaabe cultural renewal and resurgence that started them all. Johnston explores traditional Ojibwe values, lifestyles, and ceremonies primarily through the lens of his people’s stories. While I’ve encountered more recent texts that I found to be more accessible and better structured than this one, it deserves to be read for its importance and influence if nothing else. (Indigenous Perspectives, Anishinaabe Culture, Myths and Legends)

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