Indigenous Storybooks

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you choose the resources to include on the Indigenous Storybooks site?

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.

See also

The article Evaluating Indigenous education resources for classroom use by Sara Florence Davidson in the May 2020 issue of BCTF Teacher magazine gives an overview of questions to ask when evaluating Indigenous teaching resources. It can be read online here (p. 22-23).

Where can I find resources to support bringing Indigenous stories into my classroom?

We have a resources section on our website. The resources that are included have been reviewed by our team to ensure that they include respectful representations of Indigenous peoples and have been respectfully gathered (except where noted).

  1. General resources provide general information regarding the use of Indigenous stories in education.
  2. Many Nations resources include resources that contain connections to multiple nations.
  3. Resources by Nation includes resources that pertain to a specific nation. We encourage educators to begin looking at resources that connect to the local territory where they teach.

How do you choose which open-access stories get translated into different Indigenous languages?

We are committed to supporting the community’s vision for their involvement in our project. Therefore, the communities choose which stories they would like to translate. This may be related to which stories they feel will be most useful and/or relevant for their community.

Why are you only translating open-access stories?

There are specific protocols associated with traditional Indigenous stories. Out of respect for these protocols, we only share translations of open access stories on our website.

If you are interested in learning more about working respectfully with traditional Indigenous stories, please visit our resource section where we have links for resources connected to these stories.

Where can I download the open-licensed content on this site?

All of the open-licensed text, images, and audio on this site are avaialable for download from our online repository.

To download the entire repository, just click on the green button labelled "Clone or download" near the top right of the page.

Please note that only stories and other content that have been released under an open license are available from our repository.