Turtle Island Reads takes its inspiration from CBC’s Canada Reads, and shares that program’s goals of discussing and celebrating books. The objective of TIR, first and foremost is to connect readers with Indigenous stories. Each year, during a public event, three advocates each discuss one book of fiction written by an Indigenous Canadian author. In each of the past two years TIR has been part of SEDE McGill’s Indigenous Awareness Week. The event celebrates Indigenous Canadian fiction with a panel discussion on three books that are debated in front of a live public audience at McGill as part of a CBC Montreal broadcast and Facebook Live event.
The objective of TIR is to have people, and especially adolescent readers, connect with Indigenous novels because very often through literature readers can more easily connect to issues on an emotional level and relate in a profound way. In the six books that have been discussed and debated in the two previous years, the authors have tackled difficult themes – colonialism, racism (internal and external), violence, sex and drugs. It must be noted, these books don’t exploit trauma but open a space where readers can find humour and warmth that connects and invites people in to the First Nations experience.
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