The best Indigenous plays that give the audience a window into the people and community

Drew Hayden Taylor Author Of The Night Wanderer
By Drew Hayden Taylor

Who am I?

Drew Hayden Taylor is an award-winning playwright, novelist, journalist, and filmmaker. Born and raised on the Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario (Anishnawbe), Drew has had over a hundred productions of his plays and enjoys spreading the gospel of Indigenous literature across the world. 

I wrote...

The Night Wanderer

By Drew Hayden Taylor,

Book cover of The Night Wanderer

What is my book about?

Nothing ever happens on the Otter Lake reservation. But when 16-year-old Tiffany discovers her father is renting out her room, she’s deeply upset. Sure, their guest is polite and keeps to himself, but he’s also a little creepy. 

The mysterious Pierre L’Errant is actually a vampire, returning to his tribal home after centuries spent in Europe. But Tiffany has other things on her mind: her new boyfriend is acting weird, disputes with her father are escalating, and her estranged mother is starting a new life with somebody else. Tiffany threatens drastic measures and flees into the bush. There, in the midnight woods, a chilling encounter with L’Errant changes everything... A mesmerizing blend of Gothic thriller and modern coming-of-age novel, The Night Wanderer is unlike any other vampire story.

The books I picked & why

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The Rez Sisters

By Tomson Highway,

Book cover of The Rez Sisters

Why this book?

Perhaps one of the most seminal plays to come out of the First Nations community, if not the Canadian theatre community in general. It starts off with the simplest of plots, seven Indigenous women plan to leave their community on Manitoulin Island to participate in the world's largest bingo game in Toronto. It’s funny, tragic, and a wonderful introduction to the colourful world which we come from. 

Almighty Voice and His Wife

By Daniel David Moses,

Book cover of Almighty Voice and His Wife

Why this book?

A historical play that tells the story of a single Cree warrior doing battle with the Canadian military. Each of the two acts approaches the story differently. The first is more linear and poetic, the second more lyrical and surreal. Many have said they loved the first act and hated the second. And vice versa. Whatever you may feel, an excellent exploration of colonization as seen through the eyes of a poet.

Copper Thunderbird

By Marie Clements,

Book cover of Copper Thunderbird

Why this book?

An amazing play about an amazing man, artist Norval Morrisseau. Surreal and yet very real, the play deals with three very important periods in this groundbreaking artist's life as he created a whole genre of Canadian art. The audience is given a window into the man's highs and lows, and how in the end, he became rose above it all and became a legend.

Where the Blood Mixes

By Kevin Loring,

Book cover of Where the Blood Mixes

Why this book?

An amazing play that explores the repercussions of Residential schools on the Indigenous population, and how its effects are frequently intergenerational. Winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award for Best Drama, this play spares no one as it sheds light on the damage and healing happening in Indigenous communities across the country. 

The Berlin Blues

By Drew Hayden Taylor,

Book cover of The Berlin Blues

Why this book?

Many of the plays written by Indigenous playwrights are usually dark and critical. This play is a little different. It’s an unabashed comedy celebrating the Indigenous sense of humour. Essentially, the play is about two German entrepreneurs who travel to a First Nations community planning to build the world’s largest Native theme park, called Ojibway world. The play deals with stereotypes and the global marketing of culture. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in First Nations, Canada, and British Columbia?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about First Nations, Canada, and British Columbia.

First Nations Explore 9 books about First Nations
Canada Explore 200 books about Canada
British Columbia Explore 32 books about British Columbia

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond: In Search of the Sasquatch, The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia, and The Dunsmuir Saga if you like this list.