“Our story in our words”: National Indigenous Peoples Day Display

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. Established by the Government of Canada, this is a day for all Canadians to celebrate and recognize the diverse cultures, unique heritage, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.

To honour this day, as well as National Indigenous Heritage Month (June), we have curated a selection of memoirs and autobiographies by Indigenous authors that are now displayed in the Redpath Exhibition Case. This genre represents a powerful and personal way for Indigenous authors to transmit their stories and experiences: Dä kwändur Ghày Ghàkwadīndur (our story in our words), as described by the Kwanlin Dün First Nation in their richly illustrated book of traditional stories told by elders.

Cover of Dä kwändur Ghày Ghàkwadīndur by Kwanlin Dün First Nation

Many of the books on display highlight the individual triumphs and challenges faced by Indigenous Canadians. For example, Jody Wilson-Raybould’s recent book “Indian” in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power tells her story from being raised to be a leader in her home community of We Wai Kai in British Columbia to becoming Canada’s first Indigenous Minister of Justice and Attorney General in the Cabinet. Ma-Nee Chacaby’s A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder recounts her life story from a challenging childhood in a remote Ojibwa community to leading the first gay pride parade in Thunder Bay. Eddy Weetaltuk’s From the Tundra to the Trenches traces an Inuk’s experiences of military service and world travel.

Cover of "Indian" in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power
Cover of A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder

Other books on display are collections of stories from many individuals, such as Daughters of Aatentsic: Life Stories from Seven Generations which considers the lives of seven Weⁿdat / Waⁿdat women. Disinherited Generations: Our Struggle to Reclaim Treaty Rights for First Nations Women and Their Descendants recounts the struggles of two Cree women to secure legal rights for Canadian Indigenous women. And What We Learned: Two Generations Reflect on Tsimshian Education and the Day Schools includes the recollections of two generations, elders born in the 1930s and 1940s and the subsequent generation born in the 1950s and 1960s, on their experiences of attending day schools in northwestern British Columbia.

The display also includes some audio-visual sources, such as Des Muffins Pour Grand-Maman, a 2013 film in which several Indigenous elders recount their experiences in residential schools. Gently Whispering the Circle Back also shares the personal stories of survivors and allies from a Residential School Symposium series held in Alberta. Many more films by and about Indigenous Canadians and on diverse topics are available on DVD as well as streaming and can be found on the Indigenous Studies Research Guide.

We have compiled a list of Indigenous memoirs and autobiographies available through the McGill Library in both physical and electronic formats: physical items and electronic items.

You can also celebrate National Indigenous History Month by attending this year’s event series sponsored by the School of Continuing Studies.

Redpath Book Display: Quebec Fiction

by Kristen Howard and Michael David Miller

Whether you have summer travel plans or will enjoy a staycation, grab a novel or play set in La Belle Province to celebrate la Fête nationale (June 23)! This month’s bilingual book display celebrates fictional stories — ranging from romances to murders — set here in Quebec.

In the mood for a vintage mystery? Try David Montrose’s 1951 The Crime on Cote des Neiges, the first in a mystery trilogy.

Love historical fiction? Then Beverley Boissery’s Sophie’s Treason (available in print and as an eBook) is for you!

In the mood for a romance? Check out Zoe Whittall’s Bottle Rocket Hearts or Jeffrey Moore’s Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain.

Whatever your favourite genre, enjoy your summer reading!

For the full list of titles on display, check out our bibliography here

Cover of The Crime on Cote des Neiges
Cover of Sophie's Treason
Cover of Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain

Que vous ayez des projets de voyage pour l’été ou que vous prévoyez de ne pas voyager pendant les vacances, prenez un roman ou une pièce de théâtre se déroulant dans la Belle Province pour célébrer la Fête nationale (23 juin) ! Cette exposition de livres bilingues met en vedette des histoires – allant des romances aux mystères – qui se tiennent au Québec.

Est-ce que vous vous intéressez aux histoires historiques ? Essayez Em par Kim Thúy.

Est-ce que vous voulez savoir en plus sur le Red Light District de Montréal ? Ramassez La Shéhérazade des pauvres par Michel Tremblay.

Ou, essayez-vous une classique québécoise : Volkswagen Blues par Jacques Poulin.

Quel que soit votre choix, profitez de vos lectures d’été !

Pour obtenir la liste complète des titres exposés, consultez notre bibliographie ici.

Couverture de em par Kim Thuy
Couverture de La Shéhérazade des pauvres par Michel Tremblay
Couverture de Volkswagen Blues par Jacques Poulin

The Eras Tour: a Taylor Swift Retrospective in Books

Written by Marianne Lezeau

In honour of The Eras Tour ™, here is a retrospective of Taylor Swift’s discography through books, one for each album. Taylor Swift is known for storytelling in her music, for creating narratives and being inspired by literature (The Great Gatsby! Pride and Prejudice! Romeo and Juliet!). What better way to celebrate that than to select some items from our catalogue that reflect her discography’s vibes?

Taylor Swift (Debut):

An album that is about discovering yourself and being on the cusp of adulthood, while still being a child. This album, to me, sounds like Stardust, by the one and only Neil Gaiman. It’s a twist on fairy tales – a fantasy novel for when you’re too old for the Grimms brothers, but you still want to read about love, loyalty, and magic.

Featured quote: “Anyone who believes what a cat tells him deserves all he gets.”

Listen to: Mary’s Song (Oh My My My).

Fearless (Taylor’s Version):

Fearless  is about running into things headfirst, the euphoria and pain of growing up, and discovering what you want from love and life. That’s what The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon, is all about. It’s the story of a single day in a big city, with two lives overflowing into each other and the steady sense of time running out.

Featured quote: “I don’t believe in love.”
“It’s not a religion,” he says. “It exists whether you believe in it or not.”

Listen to: Jump then Fall.

Speak Now:

This album is a dreamy, escapist fantasy about past, present and future: what maybe happened, what could be happening now, and what could maybe happen tomorrow. Dreamy escapist fantasies are a dime a dozen, it’s true, but one of the best is The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. It’s a story about stories, dreams, swirling music and tragically beautiful encounters. When you finish it, you’ll never look at a red scarf in the same way again.

Featured quote: “and there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep going on, they overlap and blur, your story is part of your sister’s story is part of many other stories, and there is no telling where any of them may lead.”

Listen to: Enchanted.

Red (Taylor’s Version):

Red is the coming-of-age album, the one with the heartbreak and the exhilaration and the rollercoaster of emotions. Normal People, by Sally Rooney, is that ordinary heartbreak that you feel when you’re stuck in a rut of the same mistakes, over and over again – but hoping for the best, and working towards it.

Featured quote: “… the snow keeps falling, like a ceaseless repetition of the same infinitesimally small mistake.”

Listen to: All Too Well (10 min version)


This album is chaotic young adulthood in a nutshell. It’s the feeling of being under pressure but at the top of the world, living it up in a big city. The City We Became, by NK Jemisin, is a similarly fast-paced urban fantasy novel, full of Lovecraftian horror and a found family trope to warm your heart.

Featured quote: “these people are always gonna tell themselves that a little fascism is okay as long as they can still get unlimited drinks with brunch!”

Listen to: “Out of the Woods”


Rep is angry, sarcastic, and vengeful. It’s also about stepping into your own power, and learning to let yourself love after being hurt. Both of those conflicting directions permeate The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, a massive adventure epic about betrayal, hope, revenge, and mercy.

Featured quote: “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you”.

Listen to: I Did Something Bad.


It’s about love (surprise!), about adulthood, fighting for peace and being afraid of losing it. The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon, is also a massive epic that has all of these themes and more. War! Sapphics! Witchcraft! Friendship! Dragons!

Featured quote: “My evening star. If the sun burned out tomorrow, your flame would light the world.”

Listen to: The Archer.


The first part of the pandemic, full of cottagecore warmth, whimsy, and fantasies about escaping into nature. The Anne of Green Gables series, by LM Montgomery, is an escapist and comforting read about found family in the countryside, and a young girl dreaming big.

Featured quote: “Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”

Listen to: Seven


The second half of the pandemic, once we all got cabin fever. If I had to put a label on it, it would be sad, yearning, dark academia.  It pairs perfectly with rainy days and On Earch We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong; a devastatingly beautiful work that covers trauma, class and racial dynamics and asks what it means to look for joy and healing in darkness.

Featured quote: “In Vietnamese, the word for missing someone and remembering them is the same: nhớ. Sometimes, when you ask me over the phone, Có nhớ mẹ không? I flinch, thinking you meant, Do you remember me?
I miss you more than I remember you.”

Listen to: Tolerate It.


A retrospective montage about trying to find closure and ascribe different meanings to our past. In the same vein, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is a short read that combines a slice-of-life style, the multiverse, and all the ways in which our small daily decisions combine to make our lives.

Featured quote: “Is happiness the aim?”
“I don’t know. I suppose I want my life to mean something. I want to do something good,”

Listen to: “Would Have, Could Have, Should Have”