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A reading list from Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Chair on Truth and Reconciliation in Canada for Lakehead University


Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Chair on Truth and Reconciliation in Canada for Lakehead University, presented the talk “Deconstructing the Reconciliation Conversation” at FIFSW’s Introduction to Social Work Conference on September 8th.

A member and resident of the Chippewa of Georgina Island First Nation in Ontario, Wesley-Esquimaux has dedicated her life to building bridges of understanding between peoples. In 2014, she was inducted as a “Honourary Witness” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2014. She is also the Chair of the Governing Circle for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. Click here to read her full bio.

At the close of her talk to new students, Wesley-Esquimaux promised to provide a reading list for all those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the issues associated with Truth and Reconciliation. With her permission, we have shared it below.  

Suggested reading list, from Dr. Cyntia Wesley-Esquimaux:


Alec, Elaine (2020) Calling My Spirit Back, TellWell Talent Publishing

Bird-Wilson (2021) Probably Ruby, Double Day Canada.

Cardinal, Colleen (2018) Ohpikiihaakan-ohpihmeh (Raised somewhere else): A 60s Scoop Adoptee’s Story of Coming Home, Roseway Publishing.

Sinclair, Raven, Michael A. Hart and Gord Bruyere (2009) Wicihitowin: Aboriginal Social Work in Canada, Fernwood Publishing: Winnipeg.

Thistle, Jesse (2019) From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way, Simon & Schuster Publishing.



Bussidor, Ila and Ustun Bilgen-Reinhart (1997) Night Spirits: The Story of the Relocation of the Sayisi Dene, University of Manitoba Press: Manitoba.

Highway, Tomson (1998) Kiss of the Fur Queen, Double Day: Canada.

Jiles, Paulette (2003) North Spirit: Travels among the Cree and Ojibway Nations and their Star Maps, Anchor Canada.

Miller, J.R. (2006) Shingwauk’s Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools, University of Toronto Press: Toronto.

Stannard, David E. (1992) The Conquest of the New World: American Holocaust, Oxford University Press.



Belanger, Yale (ed.) (2014) Ways of Knowing: An Introduction to Native Studies in Canada, Nelson Education Limited

Dickason, Oliva P. (2006) A Concise History of Canada’s First Nations, Oxford University Press: Canada.

Williamson, Pamela and John Roberts (2004) First Nations Peoples, 2nd Edition, Emond Montgomery Publications Limited: Toronto.



Highway, Tomson (2021) Permanent Astonishment: a memoir, Doubleday Canada.

Kinew, Wab (2015) The Reason You Walk, Penguin Books.

Robertson, David A. (2020) Black Water family, legacy, and blood memory, HarperCollins Publisher

Ross, Rupert (2014) Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths, Penguin Books Limited.

Tagaq, Tanya (2018) Split Tooth, Viking Publishers.

Whitehead, Joshua (2018) Jonny Appleseed, Arsenal Pulp Press.

Wiebe, Rudy and Yvonne Johnson (1998) Stolen Life: Journey of a Cree Woman, Alfred A. Knopf: Canada.



King, Thomas (2014) The Back of the Turtle: A Novel, HarperCollins Publishers.

Phare, Merrell-Ann (2009) Denying the Source: The Crisis of First Nations Water Rights, RMB: Victoria, B.C.

Sandford, Robert William and Merrell-Ann Phare (2011) Ethical Water: Learning to Value What Matters Most, RMB, Victoria, Canada.



Friesen, Joe (2016) The Ballad of Danny Wolfe: Life of a Modern Outlaw, Signal Publications.

Razack, Sherene (2015) Dying from Improvement: Inquests and Inquiries into Indigenous Deaths in Custody, University of Toronto Press.

Reber, Susanne and Robert Renaud (2006) Starlight Tour: The Last Lonely Night of Neil Stonechild, Vintage Canada.

Ross, Rupert (2006) Dancing with a Ghost: Exploring Indian Reality, Penguin Canada

Ross, Rupert (2006) Return to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice, Penguin Canada.

Talaga, Tanya (2018) All My Relations, The Massey Lectures.

Talaga, Tanya (2018) Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City, House of Anansi Press.

Tatz, Colin (2003) With Intent to Destroy: Reflecting on Genocide, Verson: New York.

Waldrum, James B. (1997) The Way of the Pipe: Aboriginal Spirituality and Symbolic Healing in Canadian Prisons, Broadview Press: Ontario.

Walkem, Ardith and Halie Bruce (2003) Box of Treasures or Empty Box? Twenty Years of Section 35, Theytus Books.

Wheatley, Margaret J. (2006) Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World, Berrett-Koehler Publishers: San Francisco.



Doidge, Norman M.D. (2015) The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity, Penguin Books.

 Harris, Naomi Burke (2018) The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Hollow Water (Video) (2000) The Story of Hollow Water: When an Individual confronts the spectre of abuse, we consider it an act of courage.  When an entire community attempts the same thing, we call it a miracle, National Film Board.

Hubl, Thomas (2020) Healing Collective Trauma: a process of integrating our intergenerational and cultural wounds, sounds true, Boulder, Colorado

Johnson, Harold (2016) Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People (and yours), University of Regina Press.

Karr-Morse, Robin and Meredith S. Wiley (2012) Scared Sick: The Role of Childhood Trauma in Adult Disease, Basic Books.

Perry, Bruce D. & Maia Szalavitz (2011) Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential and Endangered, William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition.

Perry, Bruce D. & Maia Szalavitz (2006) The Boy who was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist, Basic Books.

Ross, Rupert (2014) Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths, Penguin Canada.

Solomon, Andrew (2001) The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, Simon & Schuster publishing house

Stein, Steven & Howard E. Book (2000) The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and your success, Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint.

Urschel, Harold C. (2009) Healing the Addicted Brain, Source Books.

van der kolk, Bessel (2015) The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Penguin Books.

Waldrum, James B., D. Ann Herring and T. Kue Young (2006) Aboriginal Health in Canada: Historical, Cultural, and Epidemiological Perspectives, University of Toronto Press.

Waldram, James B. (2004) Revenge of the Windigo: The Construction of the Mind and Mental Health of North American Peoples, University of Toronto Press: Canada.

Watters, Ethan (2010) Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, Free Press.

Wesley-Esquimaux, Cynthia and Magdalena Smolewski (2004) Historic Trauma and Aboriginal Healing, Aboriginal Healing Foundation, Ottawa.



Geddes, Gary (2017) Medicine Unbundled: A Journey Through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care, Heritage House Publishing.

Lux, Maureen Katherine (2016) Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s-1980s

Redvers, Nicole, ND (2019) The Science of the Sacred: Bridging Global Indigenous Medicine Systems and Modern Scientific Principles, North Atlantic Books, Publishers



Cardinal, Harold (1969/1999) The Unjust Society, The Red Paper, Douglas & McIntyre, University of Washington Press: USA.

Coates, Ken (2015) #IDLENOMORE: And the Remaking of Canada, University of Regina Press. 

Daschuk, James (2014) Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the loss of Aboriginal Life, University of Regina Press.

Dennis, Darrell (2014) Peace Pipe Dreams: The Truth about Lies and Indians, Douglas & McIntyre 

Derrickson, Grand Chief Ronald M. (2020) Fight or Submit, Standing Tall in Two Worlds, ECW Press, Toronto.

Forbes, Jack D. (1979) Columbus and other Cannibals, Seven Stories Press.

Hughes, Lotte 1st and 2nd editions (2003 & 2012) the NO-NONSENSE guide to Indigenous Peoples, New International Publications: Canada.

Joseph, Bob (2018) 21 Things you may not know about the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality, Indigenous Relations Press, BC.

King, Thomas (2013) The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, Anchor Canada; Ninth edition (Aug. 13, 2013). 

King, Thomas (2005) The Truth About Stories, Massey Lecture Series, Dead Dog Café Productions, Inc.

Kino-nda-niimi-Collective (2014) The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, the Future and the Idle No More Movement, Arp Books: Winnipeg 

LaDuke, Winona (2002) The Winona LaDuke Reader: A Collection of Essential Writings, Theytus Books 

Lear, J. (2006) Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation, Cambridge Press: Massachusetts.

Mann, Charles C. (2006) 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus, Vintage Books: New York (and 1493 is a later book he published)).

Manual, Arthur (2015) Unsettling Canada, Between the Lines Publishing.

Miller, J.R. (2000) Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens: A History of Indian-White Relations in Canada, 3rdEdition, University of Toronto Press: Canada.

Murphy, Emmett C. & Michal Snell (1993) The Genius of Sitting Bull: 1 Heroic Strategies for Today’s Business Leaders, Prentice Hall. 

Rice, Brian (2005) Seeing the World with Aboriginal Eyes, Aboriginal Issues Press.

Saul, John Ralston (2014) The Comeback: How Aboriginals Are Reclaiming Power and Influence, Viking; First Edition (Oct. 28, 2014)

Spielmann, Roger (2009) Anishnaabe World: A Survival Guide for Building Bridges between Canada and First Nations, Your Scrivener Press: Sudbury. ISBN: 978-1-896350-37-0

Vowel, Chelsea (2016) Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Metis and Inuit Issues in Canada, Highwater Press.

Widdowson, Frances and Albert Howard (2008) Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation, McGill-Queen’s University Press: Kingston.  (Please get this one from the library we are NOT supportive of purchasing this text and endorsing racism).



Dimaline, Sheri (2017) The Marrow Thieves, Dancing Cat Publishing.

Dimaline, Sheri (2021) Hunting by Stars, Penguin Random Books.

Rice, Waubgeshig (2018) Moon of the Crusted Snow, ECW Press.



Angus, Charlie (2022) Cobalt: Cradle of the Demon Metals Birth of a Mining Superpower, Anansi

Cleary, Paul (2021) Title Fight: How the Yindjibarndi Battled and Defeated a Mining Giant, Black, Inc.

Gallagher, Bill (2012) Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources, Bill Gallagher Publishing.

Hayden-Taylor, Drew (2021) Me Tomorrow: Indigenous Views on the Future, Douglas & McIntyre.

Helin, Calvin (2006) Dances with Dependency: Indigenous Success through Self-Reliance. Orca Spirit Publishing: Vancouver.

Johnson, Harold (2015) Corvus, thistledown press 

King, Thomas (2021) Sufferance, HarperCollins Publishers.



Absolon, Kathleen E. (Minogiizhigokwe) (2011) Kaandossiwin: How We Come to Know, Fernwood Publishing.

Deloria, Vine Jr. (2006) The World We Used to Live In: Remembering the Powers of the Medicine Men, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden Colorado.

Fiddler, Thomas and James R. Stevens (2003) Killing of the Shaman, Penumbra Press: Canada.

Kaefer, Florence and Edward Gamblin (2014) Back to the Red Road: A Story of Survival, Redemption and Love, Caitlin Press.

Peacock, Thomas and Marlene Wisuri (2006) The Four Hills of Life: Ojibwe Wisdom, Minnesota Historical Press.

Peacock, Thomas and Marlene Wisuri (2002) Ojibwe Waasa Inaabidaa: We Look in all Directions, Afton Historical Society Press: Minnesota.

Sefa Del, George, Budd Hall and Dorothy G. Rosenberg (eds.) (2002) Indigenous Knowledges in Global Contexts: Multiple Readings of Our World, University of Toronto.

Wagamese, Richard (2021) What Comes from Spirit, Douglas & McIntyre



Barreiro, Jose (2010) Thinking in Indian: A John Mohawk Reader, Fulcrum Press, Colorado.

Jiles, Paulette (1996) North Spirit: Travels Among the Cree and Ojibway Nations and Their Star Maps, Doubleday: Canada.

Kimmer, Robin Wall (2013) Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants, Milkweed Publishers.

Mishenene, Rachel and Pam Toulouse (eds.) (2011) Strength and Struggle: Perspectives from First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples in Canada, McGraw-Hill Ryerson. 

Mohawk, John (2010) Thinking in Indian: A John Mohawk Reader, Fulcrum Publishing (October 19, 2010)

Mohawk, John C. (2000) Utopian Legacies: A History of Conquest and Oppression in the Western World, Clear Light Publishers: New Mexico.

Porter, Tom (2008) And Grandma Said…Iroquois Teachings, as passed down through the oral tradition, Xlibris Corporation: United States.

Rice, Brian (2005) Seeing the World with Aboriginal Eyes: Ways of Doing, Aboriginal Issues Press.

Wagamese, Richard (2009) Indian Horse (book and film), Anchor Canada.

Wagamese, Richard (2006) Keeper ‘n Me, Anchor Canada.

Wagamese, Richard (2003) Joshua, Anchor Canada.

Warrior, Robert Allen (1995) Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Waziyatawin and Michael Yellow Bird (2012) For Indigenous Minds Only: A Decolonization Handbook, School for Advanced Research Press, Sante Fe.

Weatherford, Jack (1988) Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World, Crown/Archetype.



Angus, Charlie (2015) Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada’s Lost Promise and One Girl’s Dream, University of Regina Press.

Morris, Alexander (1880-1991) The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of Manitoba and the North-West Territories including the Negotiations on which they were based, Belfords, Clarke & Co, Toronto.



Maracle, Lee (2017) My Conversations with Canadians, Book Thug, Toronto.

McIvor, Bruce (2021) Standoff: Why Reconciliation Fails Indigenous People and How to Fix it, Nightwood Editions.

Niezen, Ronald (2013) Truth & Indignation: Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools, University of Toronto Press.

Rogers, Sheila, Mike Degagne, Glen Lowry & Sara Fryer (2014) Reconciliation & The Way Forward: Collected Essays & Personal Relections, Hignell Printing, Winnipeg.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2016) A Knock on the Door: the Essential History of Residential Schools from the TRC, University of Manitoba Press.

Wadden, Marie (2008) Where the Pavement Ends: Canada’s Aboriginal Recovery Movement and the urgent need for reconciliation, Douglas & McIntyre Limited: British Columbia.

Wesley-Esquimaux, Cynthia, Ronan MacParland and David Berkal (2009) “Shielded Minds” a video documentary of an eight-day journey across the Canadian Shield with twenty Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth to explore identity, truth and reconciliation, and to discover the Aboriginal truth and reality that Canadian have been shielded from in their education.  

Wesley-Esquimaux, Cynthia, Ronan MacParland and David Berkal (2010) “Journey to Oz” a video documentary of a nine-day visit to the Mishkeegogamang First Nation in Northern Ontario, Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Territory, with 12 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth to explore “what is right about this community” in the face of negative media representation.