If anyone knows me, I love reading, ranging from Indigenous, business, wellness, history and so much more. I quite frequently get asked, "what are your recommended readings" and I swear I am not withholding my reading list, I am simply too busy reading!
Anyhow, see my top reading recommended readings for 2021 (in no particular order):
Decolonizing Trauma Work by Renee Linklater
Have you heard about creating a culturally safe or trauma-informed environment? I believe this book would be a good starting point in being aware, understanding, and competent. If you work, serve, or represent Indigenous peoples, it is important to understand the roots and ensure you are supporting pathways for Indigenous peoples to move forward.
Linklater does a great job in unravelling history, bringing a trauma informed lens, and writing from a supportive place that embeds culture, tradition and understanding. The book mostly speaks towards health, well-being, and wellness, but I believe these are pillars for any community regardless of what sector or field.
The Gathering: Re Imagining Settler Relations by Shirley Hager and Mawopiyane
Although not entirely West Coast and slightly dated, this book provides great insight to:
- Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations
- Individual and collective participation/understanding
- Cultural documentation/participation
The book opens the door to ceremony, engagement, and relationship-building. It gives insight to a shared and collective experience which takes time, respect, and trust. I see an opportunity to use this as a framework for community engagement and relationship building, especially as a planner. I will note, the book isn't entirely academic, but should it be? Food for thought.
Indigenomics by Carol Ann Hilton
First, an amazing book that is flagged, tabbed, and highlighted. One of the quotes that will continuously inform my practice and is used as an opening in Chapter 13 is:
We have described for you a mountain,
We have shown you the path to the top.
We call upon you to do the climbing.
- Senator Murray Sinclair
Second, Carol Ann Hilton is an amazing presenter, as I was afforded the opportunity to attend one of her speaking events at Housing Central with BCNPHA. I also able to meet her at an AHMA function however, I was too nervous to fan girl over her books and presentations. Anyhow, the book greatly invites Canada to re-think economics, incorporate the Indigenous worldview, unravel the true history and de-bunk many misconceptions. I believe Indigenonmics is very timely and appropriate, as we continue to navigate DRIPA, Calls to Action and UNDRIP, and many other important topics. If you are in the profession of business, finance, planning, environment, natural resource sector, or live in "Canada" this is a MUST read. I encourage you to track recent court cases, environmental protection, #LandBack and potentially ask yourself, why are there so many finance job postings lately? Jump into #Indigenomics. 10/10
Feminist City by Leslie Kern
Sections of this book were required readings for my planning courses, so I took it upon myself to read the book in its entirety. I will admit, the book was slightly triggering being an Indigenous female, who has had many personal experiences and knowledge of other peoples' experience living in cities and/or enduring colonization. It is a good starting point for understanding feminism however it does not give adequate attention to Indigenous feminism or BIPOC, which is acknowledged in the book. 6/10
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmerer
I highly recommend. It is taking me time to get through the book as the environment, ecology and other sciences is not my strong suit. Nonetheless, the book is inviting and brings a wealth of traditional ecological knowledge. This book has been referenced several times throughout Indigenous scholar's works so it was a must have on my list.
Jump into the Indigenous worldview and see how the environment is our relative, teacher and provider.
The Trusted Advisor by David Maister
A required reading for one of my planning courses however, a required reading for anyone who is seeking develop strong client relations or building strong business partnerships. Once I started the book, I could not put it down as I am always looking for practical tools to help build my practice. I also believe that regardless of what industry or sector you are in, you will always be providing a service or delivering results, so dive into this read and develop your professional practice.
Research is Ceremony by Shawn Wilson
If you are doing Indigenous research, drop everything and grab this book! Also, if you are feeling disconnected to regular research methods and want to build greater meaning and understanding, I also invite you to grab this book. This book was challenging to read over the summer; however, I was able to gain a lot of important information that will support my thesis work over the next few months. Wilson's work is a pillar and a pathway for other Indigenous scholars and research. Bringing Ceremony back to research allowed me to understand, research is not solely for academics that it is essentially a way of life and whether you realized it or not, we are always in the process of gathering information, engaging in research, and sharing information. I also challenge other professors, scholars, and researchers to incorporate this book into your curriculum and practice. 8/10
Making Space for Indigenous Feminism edited by Joyce Green
This book is helping me define the next chapter of my life, as I engage in thesis work that unravels housing, feminism, Indigenous feminism, Indigenous women, reconciliation and MMIWG2S. I will admit, my understanding of this topic was very weak, but as I dived deeper in the chapters and references, everything started to make sense. Suddenly, I felt a greater sense of empowerment and collective understanding with the writers of the book. I am thrilled to unravel the untold history, culture, traditions and impacts of colonization of Indigenous women, and the negative impacts it has had on our communities, families, and homes. The history is much darker, the strength is not given enough attention, the issues are still prevalent, and no it is not solely an "Indigenous issue", it is a collective issue. My recommendation does not give book enough justice. 10/10
High Performance Habits by Brendon Buchard
I will admit, I have a weakness for business books that help develop my skills and abilities that is why I was over the moon when I found this book at my local thrift store. What I liked about this book is that it was not one of those books that was going to drive you to the ground in the crazy 9-5 corporate culture (although if that is what you are after, by all means). It was a reflective book that allowed you to identify your core aspirations, build your purpose and create an environment for success, whatever that may be. 8/10
Embers by Richard Wagamese
How do I stay grounded in a world of reconciliation and decolonization? Taking time to ground myself in stories, meditations, prayers, and reflections of Wagamese. The book is filled with insight, imagery, and perspectives that help me ground myself professionally, personally and academically. As I am about knee deep in thesis writing, this quote stands out to me:
"You stoke the fires of creativity with humility, gratitude and awareness. You need to ask for the gift to be directed. Writing is a spiritual process. To be a creator you need to connect with creator" - Wagamese
Be Water My Friend by Shannon Lee
I have a keen interest in philosophy, mindfulness, and personal development. When not at school, working, baking, or spending time with family, you can most likely find me reading. This is one of my new favourite books.
If you interested in personal growth, mindfulness, and trying to understand how a legendary actor and martial artist came to be, run do not walk to your local bookstore.
Take time to empty your mind and dive deep into this book as Bruce Lee's daughter explores his writings and inherits his legacy.
Research is Reconciliation edited by Shawn Wilson, Andrea Breen and Lindsay Dupre
To be honest, I do not think I would be as far as I am on my graduate journey if it was not for Wilson and other Indigenous scholars. Being an Indigenous person and pursuing academia deserves 100 gold stars (give yourself a big pat on the back if you are also and Indigenous scholar). The table is big enough to also support Indigenous allies, please come join us!
If you are an Indigenous student considering graduate studies, I highly encourage you to start your research journey with this book. The dialogue, story, imagery, and connection to culture and ceremony, is extremely helpful, while trying to navigate dated and colonial works that give no reference to Indigenous ways of being.
Also, reconciliation appears to be a trending word (not to minimize the importance) however, what is the theory behind this significant term and what does this mean to Indigenous peoples? So many questions and probably more questions than answers. I'll leave the rest to you!
Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making by Sam Kaner
A comprehensive and resourceful organizational and community text that breaks down participation and decision-making into an operational framework. I am likely to use this text throughout my career and will make modifications to ensure it is Indigenized.
I am interest in learning about your favourite reads of the year. Drop your recommendation into the comments!