Nahanni Shingoose (Saulteaux)
A good book for reluctant readers, this story follows River, who grew up with her mother and stepfather on a farm in Ontario. Part Ojibwe and part white, River was teased about her Indigenous heritage as a young girl. She has felt as if she doesn’t belong for many years and continues to struggle with her identity.
Now 18 and just finished high school, River travels to Winnipeg to spend the summer with her Indigenous father and grandmother where she sees firsthand what it means to be an “urban Indian.”
River learns more than she expects about the lives of Indigenous people and the hardships many continue to struggle with. But River also discovers a deep respect for and connection with the land and her cultural traditions.
The highlight of her summer is attending the annual powwow with her new friends. At the powwow after party, however, River drinks too much and posts photos online that anger people. Soon her right to identify as an Indigenous person is called into question.
As River struggles with figuring out who she is, she has the wisdom of her grandmother to help guide her:
“Everyone is on a different path, and in a different place within that learning journey.”