Posted in Canada remembers, Reconciliation

Heavy Deep Words on my Shelf

The words lie deeply layered, like leaves littering the forest floor. The many layers of the story peeling away to give rise to indigenous life now and then. The story braids its way around the microscopic world and how that impacts the lives of those who lived by the land.

It never felt heavy but it was an intense deep read just like stripping layers from a tree and making a basket. The steps complex and intricate, time honoured and yet forgotten by many. Braiding Sweetgrass returned to the library before I had finished and so I’ve requested it again. It is definitely a book worth reading. It gives knowledge. It gives a sense of hope for mother earth. It gives a very in-depth look at indigenous people and cultures. It’s given me inspiration to try the 3 sisters intertwined next year.

Also giving knowledge and a very up close and personal look at indigenous culture but a difficult read was Up Ghost River. The pain and suffering, the cultural genocide, the Church and alcohol and the list goes on. Edmund Metatawabin spares no details of how difficult his life had been and yet, somehow, he finds hope and love and second chances. He’s opened up a better world for those around him and it’s inspiring that he did so given the past.

Our collective Canadian past. The one where residential schools “took the Indian out of the child”. The one where church figures raped, beat and abused children. Little children who grew up to be damaged individuals. Or worse yet they never got a chance to grow up.

Or those who grew up in a life gone sideways. Caught in the “bad girl Indian story” and can’t seem to escape. The report on the missing and murdered indigenous women speaks about this as does In Search of April Raintree. Although it’s fictional the writer has two sisters who died from suicide so while it speaks to that the deaths could have been drug overdoses or murder. Reading this book I cried in many places for the real children who were taken from their parents and became a case number. Drowning in a sea of foster homes unloved and seemingly forgotten.

Reading these books is necessary for my growth as a Canadian and so I can take steps towards truth and reconciliation. I can not however only read these books. I try to strike a balance of two deep and two easy.

My light reads have included The Beekeepers Daughter, City Wolves, Serena Singh Flips the Script (grew up here and I’ve known her mother for eons) and Nomadland.

Up next The Alice Network and The Atomic City Girls. Pulled both of these out of a little free library box when I dropped off a few I had cleared off my book shelf. Winter does allow for more reading time as do ski trips (all those hours driving there endlessly must be occupied with something).

Linking up with co-host Donna over @ retirementreflections and Deb @ the plus Sue at and Jo over @ who created a #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge.



I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

13 thoughts on “Heavy Deep Words on my Shelf

  1. Braiding Sweetgrass is very special to me because of its wonderful power, and because my dear friend Terri sent it to me just months before she died. Her story is woven into the book… And thanks, Bernie Lynn; I’ve noted some titles here to look at, both deep and light!


    1. I remember your friend Terri dying and how important your friendship with her was (I remember thinking how gutted I would be as I’ve yet to lose a close friend) I had forgotten the connection to Braiding Sweetgrass. What is the name of that post so I can go re read it? Thanks for stopping in and engaging here — I hope you enjoy the other titles that I recommended. Bernie

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Bernie – Thank you for joining us at #WOYBS with such powerful reads and a vitally important topic. I’ve recently read In Search of April Raintree and found its words to be brave, raw and heartwrenching. Braiding Sweetgrass and Up Ghost River are also on my TBR list. Thank you for sharing them (and thus moving them up on my pile)!


    1. Donna. Yes your words to describe In Search of April Raintree are so spot on — raw and heart wrenching. The other reads on your list are no easier really but must be read. Thanks for hosting. Bernie


    1. I am not surprised that you have read it. I can also understand why you bought your own. It hasn’t sparked quite the conversation that your Canadian Living Cookbook did but it certainly has gotten support from a number of readers. Good to hear from you as well Deb. Bernie

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting that it’s not really a “hard” read and yet it is so dense and weighty and multilayered that it really makes you settle in for a slow read. I think you will enjoy it. Bernie

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with you Bernie, 2 easy and 2 deep sounds like a good balance! I admire you for reading more to understand your growth as a Canadian. I have included your link in my post for #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge, thanks for joining us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deb. I truly feel it is important as a Canadian to step up to the plate and address the learning that needs to occur so the Truth can be heard and then we can work towards Reconciliation. Glad to join in. Bernie

      Liked by 1 person

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