Indigenous Storybooks

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you choose the stories to share on the Indigenous Storybooks website?

We are committed to respectful sharing of stories on Indigenous Storybooks. The following questions are considered, based on the available information, when we review the stories and resources that appear on our website:

  1. How did the story come to be known?
  2. How has the community and/or Nation participated in the development and/or telling of the story?
  3. Have the cultural protocols for sharing this story been honoured? Who gave permission for the story to be shared?
  4. How are Indigenous history, worldviews, and values represented?
  5. How does the story acknowledge the diversity of Indigenous peoples?

We recognize that it is not always possible to answer all of these questions and our knowledge is limited to the protocols with which we are familiar, so if you find stories and/or resources on our website that you consider disrespectful, please contact us.

Adapted from: Iseke-Barnes, J. (2009). Unsettling Fictions: Disrupting Popular Discourses and Trickster Tales in Books for Children. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 7(1), 24-57 & UBC/EDX Massive Open Online Course (2015). Reconciliation through Indigenous Education.

How can we respectfully retell stories?

We recommend that you use public stories to retell or ensure that you have permission to retell a story before you do so.

How are Reading Levels assigned within Indigenous Storybooks?

LevelDescriptionWords per story
Level 1One or two short, simple sentences per pageUp to 75 words
Level 2A few sentences per page76–250 words
Level 3A short paragraph per page251–500 words
Level 4One paragraph per page501–799 words
Level 5A long paragraph per page800 words or more

What are other examples of criteria to evaluate Indigenous resources?

Adapted from the First Nations Education Steering Committee Authentic First Peoples Resources

To develop their Authentic First Peoples Resources (K-9), the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) included the following considerations to determine the suitability of resources to be included in the guide.

This list was adapted from the Evaluation Form developed by FNESC for the Authentic First Peoples Resources (K-9). For a full list of evaluation criteria, please see Appendix 1 on pages 127-134.

Adapted from the Oyate Criteria for Resource Evaluation

The following criteria is designed to help discern honest portrayals of First Nations peoples in children’s books, traditional stories, and contemporary stories and representations.

  1. Look for stereotypes and tokenism: Are First Nations peoples and societies oversimplified and generalized?
  2. Look for loaded words: Are there insulting overtones to the language used in the book?
  3. Look for distortion of history: Is there manipulation of words to justify European conquest of tradition homelands?
  4. Look for victimization: Does the story encourage belief that First Nations peoples accepted defeats passively or that heroes are limited to those who aided Europeans in their conquests?
  5. Look at lifestyles: Are cultures presented in a condescending manner? Are First Nations peoples only discussed in the past tense? Are there distinctions between “them” and “us”?
  6. Look at the author’s or illustrator’s background: Do their backgrounds suggest they are able to write about First Nations peoples accurately and respectfully? What is their relationship to the story? Do they acknowledge or pay tribute to the source of the story?

This list was adapted from the How to Tell the Difference and Additional Criteria from Oyate.