The Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis Webstad; Brock Nicol (Illustrator)When Phyllis Webstad (nee Jack) turned six, she went to residential school for the first time. On her first day at school, she wore a shiny orange shirt that her granny had bought for her, but when she got to the school, it was taken away from her and never returned. This is the true story of Phyllis and her orange shirt. It is also the story of Orange Shirt Day (an important day of remembrance for Indigenous people and all Canadians).
Call Number: PZ 7.1 W4225 O73 2018
Secret Path by Gord Downie; Jeff Lemire (Illustrator)Secret Path is a ten song digital download album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago. Secret Path is a ten song digital download album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago. Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to return home. Chanie's home was 400 miles away. He didn't know that. He didn't know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids--more than anyone will be able to imagine--he tried. Chanie's story is Canada's story. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be rewritten. We are all accountable. Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada's history--the long suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system--with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation. Every year as we remember Chanie Wenjack, the hope for Secret Path is that it educates all Canadians young and old on this omitted part of our history, urging our entire nation to play an active role in the preservation of Indigenous lives and culture in Canada. The next hundred years are going to be painful as we come to know Chanie Wenjack and thousands like him--as we find out about ourselves, about all of us--but only when we do can we truly call ourselves, "Canada."
Call Number: ML 54.6 D752 2016
Sugar Falls by David A. Robertson; Scott B. Henderson (Illustrator)BASED ON A TRUE STORY* A school assignment to interview a residential school survivor leads Daniel to Betsy, his friend's grandmother, who tells him her story. Abandoned as a young child, Betsy was soon adopted into a loving family. A few short years later, at the age of 8, everything changed. Betsy was taken away to a residential school. There she was forced to endure abuse and indignity, but Betsy recalled the words her father spoke to her at Sugar Falls -- words that gave her the resilience, strength, and determination to survive. Sugar Falls is based on the true story of Betty Ross, Elder from Cross Lake First Nation. We wish to acknowledge, with the utmost gratitude, Betty's generosity in sharing her story. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Sugar Falls goes to support the bursary program for The Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation.
Call Number: PN 6734 S83 R62 2011
When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson; Julie Flett (Illustrator)A young girl notices things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak Cree and spend so much time with her family? As she asks questions, her grandmother shares her experiences in a residential school, when all of these things were taken away. Also available in a bilingual Swampy Cree/English edition. When We Were Alone won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award in the Young People's Literature (Illustrated Books) category, and was nominated for the TD Canadian's Children's Literature Award.
Call Number: PZ 7.1 R62 W44 2016
Non-Fiction Books on Residential Schools
Broken Circle by Theodore FontaineNow an approved curriculum resource for grade 9-12 students in British Columbia and Manitoba. Theodore (Ted) Fontaine lost his family and freedom just after his seventh birthday, when his parents were forced to leave him at an Indian residential school by order of the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of Canada. Twelve years later, he left school frozen at the emotional age of seven. He was confused, angry and conflicted, on a path of self-destruction. At age 29, he emerged from this blackness. By age 32, he had graduated from the Civil Engineering Program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and begun a journey of self-exploration and healing. In this powerful and poignant memoir, Ted examines the impact of his psychological, emotional and sexual abuse, the loss of his language and culture, and, most important, the loss of his family and community. He goes beyond details of the abuses of Native children to relate a unique understanding of why most residential school survivors have post-traumatic stress disorders and why succeeding generations of First Nations children suffer from this dark chapter in history. Told as remembrances described with insights that have evolved through his healing, his story resonates with his resolve to help himself and other residential school survivors and to share his enduring belief that one can pick up the shattered pieces and use them for good.
Call Number: E 96.5 F66 2010
Canada's Residential Schools - The Legacy by Truth and Reconciliation Commission of CanadaBetween 1867 and 2000, the Canadian government sent over 150,000 Aboriginal children to residential schools across the country. Government officials and missionaries agreed that in order to "civilize and Christianize" Aboriginal children, it was necessary to separate them from their parents and their home communities. For children, life in these schools was lonely and alien. Discipline was harsh, and daily life was highly regimented. Aboriginal languages and cultures were denigrated and suppressed. Education and technical training too often gave way to the drudgery of doing the chores necessary to make the schools self-sustaining. Child neglect was institutionalized, and the lack of supervision created situations where students were prey to sexual and physical abusers. Legal action by the schools' former students led to the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2008. The product of over six years of research, the Commission's final report outlines the history and legacy of the schools, and charts a pathway towards reconciliation. Canada's Residential Schools: The History, Part 1, Origins to 1939 places Canada's residential school system in the historical context of European campaigns to colonize and convert Indigenous people throughout the world. In post-Confederation Canada, the government adopted what amounted to a policy of cultural genocide: suppressing spiritual practices, disrupting traditional economies, and imposing new forms of government. Residential schooling quickly became a central element in this policy. The destructive intent of the schools was compounded by chronic underfunding and ongoing conflict between the federal government and the church missionary societies that had been given responsibility for their day-to-day operation. A failure of leadership and resources meant that the schools failed to control the tuberculosis crisis that gripped the schools for much of this period. Alarmed by high death rates, Aboriginal parents often refused to send their children to the schools, leading the government adopt ever more coercive attendance regulations. While parents became subject to ever more punitive regulations, the government did little to regulate discipline, diet, fire safety, or sanitation at the schools. By the period's end the government was presiding over a nation-wide series of firetraps that had no clear educational goals and were economically dependent on the unpaid labour of underfed and often sickly children.
Call Number: E 96.5 T783 2016
Following the Good River: the life and times of Wa'xaid by Briony PennBased on recorded interviews and journal entries this major biography of Cecil Paul (Wa'xaid) is a resounding and timely saga featuring the trials, tribulations, endurance, forgiveness, and survival of one of North American's more prominent Indigenous leaders. Born in 1931 in the Kitlope, Cecil Paul, also known by his Xenaksiala name, Wa'xaid, is one of the last fluent speakers of his people's language. At age ten he was placed in a residential school run by the United Church of Canada at Port Alberni where he was abused. After three decades of prolonged alcohol abuse, he returned to the Kitlope where his healing journey began. He has worked tirelessly to protect the Kitlope, described as the largest intact temperate rainforest watershed in the world. Now in his late 80s, he resides on his ancestors' traditional territory. Following upon the success of Wa'xaid's own book of personal essays, Stories from the Magic Canoe, Briony Penn's major biography of this remarkable individual will serve as a timely reminder of the state of British Columbia's Indigenous community, the environmental and political strife still facing many Indigenous communities, and the philosophical and personal journey of a remarkable man. Wa'xaid passed away at the age of 90 on December 3, 2020.
Call Number: E 99 H23 P45 2020
Picking up the Pieces : residential school memories and the making of the Witness Blanket by Carey Newman; Kirstie Hudson"Will educate and enlighten Canadians for generations to come. It's a must-read for anyone seeking to understand Canada's residential-school saga. Most importantly, it's a touchstone of community for those survivors and their families still on the path to healing."--Waubgeshig Rice, journalist and author of Moon of the Crusted Snow Picking Up the Piecestells the story of the making of the Witness Blanket, a living work of art conceived and created by Indigenous artist Carey Newman. It includes hundreds of items collected from residential schools across Canada, everything from bricks, photos and letters to hockey skates, dolls and braids. Every object tells a story. Carey takes the reader on a journey from the initial idea behind the Witness Blanket to the challenges in making it work to its completion. The story is told through the objects and the Survivors who donated them to the project. At every step in this important journey for children and adults alike, Carey is a guide, sharing his process and motivation behind the art. It's a personal project. Carey's father is a residential school Survivor. Like the Blanket itself, Picking Up the Piecescalls on readers of all ages to bear witness to the residential school experience, a tragic piece of Canada's legacy.
Call Number: E 96.2 N49 2019
Residential schools and reconciliation : Canada confronts its history by J.R. MillerSince the 1980s successive Canadian institutions, including the federal government and Christian churches, have attempted to grapple with the malignant legacy of residential schooling, including official apologies, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). In Residential Schools and Reconciliation, award winning author J. R. Miller tackles and explains these institutional responses to Canada's residential school legacy. Analysing archival material and interviews with former students, politicians, bureaucrats, church officials, and the Chief Commissioner of the TRC, Miller reveals a major obstacle to achieving reconciliation -- the inability of Canadians at large to overcome their flawed, overly positive understanding of their country's history. This unique, timely, and provocative work asks Canadians to accept that the root of the problem was Canadians like them in the past who acquiesced to aggressively assimilative policies.
Call Number: E 96.5 M53 2017
Suffer the Little Children : genocide, Indigenous nations, and the Canadian state by Tamara Starblanket; Ward Churchill (Preface by)Winner of The Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy, Simon Fraser UniversityOriginally approved as a master of laws thesis by a respected Canadian university, this book tackles one of the most compelling issues of our time--the crime of genocide--and whether in fact it can be said to have occurred in relation to the many Original Nations on Great Turtle Island now claimed by a state called Canada. It has been hailed as groundbreaking by many Indigenous and other scholars engaged with this issue, impacting not just Canada but states worldwide where entrapped Indigenous nations face absorption by a dominating colonial state.Starblanket unpacks Canada's role in the removal of cultural genocide from the Genocide Convention, though the disappearance of an Original Nation by forced assimilation was regarded by many states as equally genocidal as destruction by slaughter. Did Canada seek to tailor the definition of genocide to escape its own crimes which were then even ongoing? The crime of genocide, to be held as such under current international law, must address the complicated issue of mens rea (not just the commission of a crime, but the specific intent to do so). This book permits readers to make a judgment on whether or not this was the case.Starblanket examines how genocide was operationalized in Canada, focused primarily on breaking the intergenerational transmission of culture from parents to children. Seeking to absorb the new generations into a different cultural identity--English-speaking, Christian, Anglo-Saxon, termed Canadian--Canada seized children from their parents, and oversaw and enforced the stripping of their cultural beliefs, languages and traditions, replacing them by those still in process of being established by the emerging Canadian state. She outlines the array and extent of the destruction which inevitably took place as part of the effort to bring about such a wrenching change--forcible indoctrination by means of massive and widespread death by disease and dilapidated living conditions, torture, forced starvation, labor, and sexual predation--collateral damage to Canada's effort to absorb diverse original nations into one larger, alien and dominating body politic. The cumulative effects of genocide continue to be exhibited by the survivors and their descendants who suffer from the trauma and dysfunction, primarily in healthy proper parenting, which results in ongoing forcible removals via the child welfare systems to this day.
Call Number: KE 7722 I58 S73 2018
The Education of Augie Merasty by Joseph Auguste (Augie) Merasty; David Carpenter (Contribution by)Named the fourth most important "Book of the Year" by the National Post in 2015 and voted "One Book/One Province" in Saskatchewan for 2017, The Education of Augie Merasty launched on the front page of The Globe and Mail to become a national bestseller and an instant classic. A courageous and intimate memoir, The Education of Augie Merasty is the story of a child who faced the dark heart of humanity, let loose by the cruel policies of a bigoted nation. A retired fisherman and trapper who sometimes lived rough on the streets, Augie Merasty was one of an estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children who were taken from their families and sent to government-funded, church-run schools, where they were subjected to a policy of aggressive assimilation. As Augie recounts, these schools did more than attempt to mould children in the ways of white society. They were taught to be ashamed of their heritage and, as he experienced, often suffered physical and sexual abuse. But even as he looks back on this painful part of his childhood, Merasty's sense of humour and warm voice shine through. "In this book I have seen horror through eyes of a child." - James Daschuk, author of Clearing the Plains "A story in which our entire nation has an obscure and dark complicity." - David Carpenter, co-author of The Education of Augie Merasty and author of The Gold and other books
Call Number: E 96.65 S27 M47 2017
They Called Me Number One: secrets and survival at an Indian residential school by Bev SellarsBC Book Prize, Non-Fiction, Bev Sellars, They Called Me Number One (Finalist) Burt Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature: Bev Sellars, They Called Me Number One (Third Prize winner) Like thousands of Aboriginal children in Canada, and elsewhere in the colonized world, Xatsu'll chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential school. These institutions endeavored to "civilize" Native children through Christian teachings; forced separation from family, language, and culture; and strict discipline. Perhaps the most symbolically potent strategy used to alienate residential school children was addressing them by assigned numbers only--not by the names with which they knew and understood themselves. In this frank and poignant memoir of her years at St. Joseph's Mission, Sellars breaks her silence about the residential school's lasting effects on her and her family--from substance abuse to suicide attempts--and eloquently articulates her own path to healing. Number One comes at a time of recognition--by governments and society at large--that only through knowing the truth about these past injustices can we begin to redress them.
Call Number: E 96.6 S154 S44 2013
A National Crime : The Canadian Government and the Residential School System by John S. Milloy; Mary Jane Logan McCallum (Foreword by)?I am going to tell you how we are treated. I am always hungry.? ? Edward B., a student at Onion Lake School (1923)"[I]f I were appointed by the Dominion Government for the express purpose of spreading tuberculosis, there is nothing finer in existance that the average Indian residential school.? ? N. Walker, Indian Affairs Superintendent (1948)For over 100 years, thousands of Aboriginal children passed through the Canadian residential school system. Begun in the 1870s, it was intended, in the words of government officials, to bring these children into the ?circle of civilization,? the results, however, were far different. More often, the schools provided an inferior education in an atmosphere of neglect, disease, and often abuse. Using previously unreleased government documents, historian John S. Milloy provides a full picture of the history and reality of the residential school system. He begins by tracing the ideological roots of the system, and follows the paper trail of internal memoranda, reports from field inspectors, and letters of complaint. In the early decades, the system grew without planning or restraint. Despite numerous critical commissions and reports, it persisted into the 1970s, when it transformed itself into a social welfare system without improving conditions for its thousands of wards. A National Crime shows that the residential system was chronically underfunded and often mismanaged, and documents in detail and how this affected the health, education, and well-being of entire generations of Aboriginal children.
Honouring the Strength of Indian Women : Plays, Stories, Poetry by Vera Manuel; Michelle Coupal (Editor); Deanna Reder (Editor); Joanne Arnott (Editor); Emalene Manuel (Editor)This critical edition delivers a unique and comprehensive collection of the works of Ktunaxa-Secwepemc writer and educator Vera Manuel, daughter of prominent Indigenous leaders Marceline Paul and George Manuel. A vibrant force in the burgeoning Indigenous theatre scene, Vera was at the forefront of residential school writing and did groundbreaking work as a dramatherapist and healer. Long before mainstream Canada understood and discussed the impact and devastating legacy of Canada?s Indian residential schools, Vera Manuel wrote about it as part of her personal and community healing. She became a grassroots leader addressing the need to bring to light the stories of survivors, their journeys of healing, and the therapeutic value of writing and performing arts.A collaboration by four Indigenous writers and scholars steeped in values of Indigenous ethics and editing practices, the volume features Manuel?s most famous play, "Strength of Indian Women"?first performed in 1992 and still one of the most important literary works to deal with the trauma of residential schools?along with an assemblage of plays, written between the late 1980s until Manuel?s untimely passing in 2010, that were performed but never before published. The volume also includes three previously unpublished short stories written in 1988, poetry written over three decades in a variety of venues, and a 1987 college essay that draws on family and community interviews on the effects of residential schools.
Magic Weapons : Aboriginal Writers Remaking Community After Residential School by Sam McKegney; Basil Johnston (Foreword by)The legacy of the residential school system ripples throughout Native Canada, its fingerprints on the domestic violence, poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide rates that continue to cripple many Native communities. Magic Weapons is the first major survey of Indigenous writings on the residential school system, and provides groundbreaking readings of life writings by Rita Joe (Mi?kmaq) and Anthony Apakark Thrasher (Inuit) as well as in-depth critical studies of better known life writings by Basil Johnston (Ojibway) and Tomson Highway (Cree). Magic Weapons examines the ways in which Indigenous survivors of residential school mobilize narrative in their struggles for personal and communal empowerment in the shadow of attempted cultural genocide. By treating Indigenous life-writings as carefully crafted aesthetic creations and interrogating their relationship to more overtly politicized historical discourses, Sam McKegney argues that Indigenous life-writings are culturally generative in ways that go beyond disclosure and recompense, re-envisioning what it means to live and write as Indigenous individuals in post-residential school Canada.