Tag Archive for: indigenous people

We are the Water Protectors

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, this story is a rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption. This bold and colourful picture book is best suited for readers aged three to seven.

 

Read our Librarian’s top climate choices for children here.

The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginal people still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change.

It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright’s previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning bestseller.

It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale, has Oblivia Ethylene in the company of amazing characters like Aunty Bella Donna of the Champions, the Harbour Master, Big Red and the Mechanic, a talking monkey called Rigoletto, three genies with doctorates, and throughout, the guiding presence of swans.

 

Read our Librarian’s top climate change fiction picks by heading to our Fiction section

The Falling Sky is a remarkable first-person account of the life story and cosmo-ecological thought of Davi Kopenawa, shaman and spokesman for the Yanomami of the Brazilian Amazon.

‘A revelatory and passionate cosmo-ecological life story. He is a really extraordinary human, and this book is a more truthful account of environmental devastation than many of our more compromised attempts here in the ‘merchandise’ societies. It’s a book like no other.’ ~ Max Porter, guest contributor to March 2022’s Hot Reads

Representing a people whose very existence is in jeopardy, Davi Kopenawa paints an unforgettable picture of Yanomami culture, past and present, in the heart of the rainforest–a world where ancient indigenous knowledge and shamanic traditions cope with the global geopolitics of an insatiable natural resources extraction industry. In richly evocative language, Kopenawa recounts his initiation and experience as a shaman, as well as his first encounters with outsiders: government officials, missionaries, road workers, cattle ranchers, and gold prospectors.

He vividly describes the ensuing cultural repression, environmental devastation, and deaths resulting from epidemics and violence.

To counter these threats, Davi Kopenawa became a global ambassador for his endangered people.

The Falling Sky follows him from his native village in the Northern Amazon to Brazilian cities and finally on transatlantic flights bound for European and American capitals.

These travels constitute a shamanic critique of Western industrial society, whose endless material greed, mass violence, and ecological blindness contrast sharply with Yanomami cultural values. Bruce Albert, a close friend since the 1970s, superbly captures Kopenawa’s intense, poetic voice.

This collaborative work provides a unique reading experience that is at the same time a coming-of-age story, a historical account, and a shamanic philosophy, but most of all an impassioned plea to respect native rights and preserve the Amazon rainforest.

 

Read more of Max’s recommendations in March 2022’s Rebel Library Hot Reads

Purchase The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman from Hive Books