New book club brings together non-Indigenous and Indigenous people for important conversations

an open book

The Indigenous Community Members Book Club, a new event where non-Indigenous and Indigenous people can come together to learn through conversations and readings, will make its debut on Thursday, March 31 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Cover of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott
Cover of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

The book club will feature Indigenous guest speakers discussing Indigenous literature and topics that are meaningful to them, their nations and communities. It is a space for faculty, staff and students to get to know Indigenous community members at York University and in neighbouring communities. The intention is to cultivate learning about the diverse histories, ways of knowing, ways of being, lived experiences, identities and visions for the future of Indigenous Peoples.

Presenting at the inaugural book club meeting will be Autumn Epple and Sheila Wheesk in dialogue about the award-winning book A Mind Spread Out on the Ground (Doubleday, 2019) by Tuscarora writer Alicia Elliott.

Epple is a York PhD student in the Faculty of Graduate Studies with a focus on history, specifically she is studying the wars of colonial North America from a Haudenosaunee perspective. She is of Indigenous and settler (English/German) heritage, with family connections to the Mohawk community of Akwesasne. Epple is passionate about material culture, Indigenous representation in media and decolonizing practices in everyday life.

Wheesk is a member of the Muskwa clan and is from the western part of James Bay. She grew up in Moosonee and is currently a master’s student in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. As a Omushkegowuk woman from Moosonee, she lives under Canada’s colonialist regime. Her research focuses on the impact of colonialism on the First Nations. She is also pursuing community-based research and investigating the Omushkegowuk women’s historical role in traditional governance. The evidence indicates the Indian Act 1876 and Treaty No. 9 1905 undermined these important women’s roles.

This event is open to any member of the York University community and is offered at no charge. Interested participants should register at