Indigenous Storybooks Canada is a website for teachers, parents, and community members that aims to promote bilingualism and multilingualism in Canada. It makes stories from the Little Cree Books collection available in Cree, English, and French, as well as community translations into the major immigrant and refugee languages of Canada. A story that is read in English or French at school can be read in the mother tongue by parents and children at home. In this way, Indigenous Storybooks Canada helps children to maintain the mother tongue in both oral and print form, while learning one of Canada’s official languages. Similarly, the audio versions of the stories can help beginning readers and language learners make the important connection between speech and text.
All of the stories on the Indigenous Storybooks Canada website come from the Little Cree Books project in Alberta, Canada – a groundbreaking digital initiative promoting literacy in the Cree language. The stories are openly licensed, which allows the Indigenous Storybooks Canada team to repurpose and translate them into other languages together with a modern, responsive web design for reading the stories. We are very grateful to Little Cree Books for making these stories freely available under an open license.
There are several other websites that offer Indigenous stories. First Voices has over 60 communities documenting a wide variety of Indigenous languages, while the Legends Project documents First Nations and Inuit stories from coast to coast. The South Slave Divisional Education Council has stories and other resources in Chipewyan, Cree, and Slavey. Math Catcher has mathematics stories in in English and several Indigenous languages. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada has several stories in English, some with audio recordings.
Sara Florence Davidson is a Haida educator with a PhD in Literacy Education. She is currently a research associate in the Department of Language and Literacy, UBC to support her work with Indigenous Storybooks Canada. Her research interests include: Indigenous education, the use of traditional Indigenous stories in K-12 education, and culturally responsive teaching and research practices. Website: saraflorence.ca
Bonny Norton, FRSC, is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBC. She is the research advisor for Indigenous Storybooks Canada. Her research focuses on identity and language learning, critical literacy, and international development. Website: faculty.educ.ubc.ca/norton
Liam Doherty is a PhD candidate in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBC, under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Duff. He is the technical advisor for Indigenous Storybooks Canada and a strong advocate for open educational resources.
We thank Jo-Ann Archibald and Jan Hare for helpful conversations, and warmly invite other Indigenous scholars for comment and collaboration.