Residential School/Project of Heart

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To deepen and support your understanding of what the Indian Residential School experience was and its impact on Canada please download this document, They Came For the Children:

Click here to download: They Came For the Children

Project of Heart” is an inquiry based, hands-on, collaborative, inter-generational, artistic journey of seeking truth about the history of Aboriginal people in Canada. Its purpose is to:

Examine the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada and to seek the truth about that history, leading to the acknowledgement of the extent of loss to former students, their families and communities.

Commemorate the lives of the thousands of Indigenous children who died as a result of the residential school experience.

Call Canadians to action, through social justice endeavors, to change our present and future history collectively.

Click here to visit the website: Project Of Heart


A is for Assimilation: The ABC's of Canada’s Aboriginal People and Residential Schools
Author: Len Fortune
Format: Coil Bound
, 2011
  • This mini book is not meant to be accusatory, but is designed to put the basic facts/ truths down in simple words and design, providing an Aboriginal primer.

    A is for assimilation, although blunt in its approach, is aimed at teens and anyone who isn’t familiar with the basic history of the nation’s First People.

$24.95

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A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System
Author: John S. Milloy
Format: Paperback
, 1999
  • “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 existence than 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.

$26.95

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A Really Good Brown Girl
Author: Marilyn Dumont
Format: Paperback
, 1996
  • Marilyn Dumont's Metis heritage offers her challenges that few of us welcome. Here she turns them to opportunities: in a voice that is fierce, direct, and true, she explores and transcends the multiple boundaries imposed by society on the self. She mocks, with exasperation and sly humour, the banal exploitation of Indianness, more-Indian-than-thouoneupmanship, and white condescension and ignorance.

$14.00

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An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature 4th Edition
Format: Paperback
, 2013
  • This collection presents writing in English by Canadian Native authors featuring prose selections, traditional songs, short stories, plays, poems and essays, showing a complexity and rich wealth of this culture.

$120.00

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April Raintree
Format: Paperback
, 1999
  • Very few of us have a proper understanding of the tragic and painful circumstances of native life in urban Canada. A truly black mark on the record of the Canadian government and Canadian society as a whole, these problems are dealt with by the astute and truthful writing of Beatrice Culleton. In Search Of April Raintree is a work of autobiographical fiction that not only brings the reader into a genuine and difficult aspect of urban life, but also reveals Culleton`s significant talents.

$19.00

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As Long as the Rivers Flow: A Novel
Author: James Bartleman
Format: Paperback
, 2011
  • From the accomplished memoirist and former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario comes a first novel of incredible heart and spirit for every Canadian.

    The novel follows one girl, Martha, from the Cat Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario who is "stolen" from her family at the age of six and flown far away to residential school. She doesn't speak English but is punished for speaking her native language; most terrifying and bewildering, she is also "fed" to the school's attendant priest with an attraction to little girls.

    Ten long years later, Martha finds her way home again, barely able to speak her native tongue. The memories of abuse at the residential school are so strong that she tries to drown her feelings in drink, and when she gives birth to her beloved son, Spider, he is taken away by Children's Aid to Toronto. In time, she has a baby girl, Raven, whom she decides to leave in the care of her mother while she braves the bewildering strangeness of the big city to find her son and bring him home.

$19.95

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Back to the Red Road
Format: Paperback
, 2014
  • In June 1967, Norway House Indian Residential School of Manitoba closed its doors after a somewhat questionable past. In 1954, when Florence Kaefer was just nineteen, she accepted a job as a teacher at Norway House. Unaware of the difficult conditions the students were enduring, Florence and her fellow teachers nurtured a school full of lonely and homesick young children. After a few years, Florence moved to Vancouver Island with her new husband where she continued to teach, thinking often of the children of Norway House.

    Many years later, after the death of her husband, Florence unexpectedly reconnected with one of her Norway House students, Edward Gamblin. Edward had been only five when he was brought to Norway House and Florence remembered him as a shy and polite young boy. Leaving the school at sixteen, Edward faced some challenges in a world that was both hostile and unfamiliar to him. But Edward found success and solace in his career as a musician, writing songs about the many political issues facing Aboriginal people in Canada. On a trip to Manitoba, Florence discovered Edward's music. She was captivated by his voice, but shocked to hear him singing about the abuse he and the other children had been subjected to at Norway House.

    Motivated to apologize on behalf of the school and her colleagues, Florence contacted Edward. "Yes, I remember you and I accept your apology," Edward told her. "Reconciliation will not be one grand, finite act. It will be a multitude of small acts and gestures played out between individuals." The story of their personal reconciliation is both heartfelt and heartbreaking as Edward begins to share his painful truths with his family, Florence and the media. Three years after Edward's death in in 2010, Florence has continued to advocate for truth and reconciliation. BACK TO THE RED ROAD is more than one man's story: it is the story of our nation and how healing can begin, one friendship, one apology at a time.

$24.95

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Black Apple (PB)
Author: Joan Crate
Format: Paperback
, 2016
  • A dramatic and lyrical coming-of-age novel about a young Blackfoot girl who grows up in the residential school system on the Canadian prairies.

    Torn from her home and delivered to St. Mark’s Residential School for Girls by government decree, young Rose Marie finds herself in an alien universe where nothing of her previous life is tolerated, not even her Blackfoot name. For she has entered into the world of the Sisters of Brotherly Love, an order of nuns dedicated to saving the Indigenous children from damnation. Life under the sharp eye of Mother Grace, the Mother General, becomes an endless series of torments, from daily recitations and obligations to chronic sickness and inedible food. And then there are the beatings. All the feisty Rose Marie wants to do is escape from St. Mark’s. How her imagination soars as she dreams about her lost family on the Reserve, finding in her visions a healing spirit that touches her heart. But all too soon she starts to see other shapes in her dreams as well, shapes that warn her of unspoken dangers and mysteries that threaten to engulf her. And she has seen the rows of plain wooden crosses behind the school, reminding her that many students have never left here alive.

    Set during the Second World War and the 1950s, Black Apple is an unforgettable, vividly rendered novel about two very different women whose worlds collide: an irrepressible young Blackfoot girl whose spirit cannot be destroyed, and an aging yet powerful nun who increasingly doubts the value of her life. It captures brilliantly the strange mix of cruelty and compassion in the residential schools, where young children are forbidden to speak their own languages and given Christian names. As Rose Marie matures, she finds increasingly that she knows only the life of the nuns, with its piety, hard work and self-denial. Why is it, then, that she is haunted by secret visions—of past crimes in the school that terrify her, of her dead mother, of the Indigenous life on the plains that has long vanished? Even the kind-hearted Sister Cilla is unable to calm her fears. And then, there is a miracle, or so Mother Grace says. Now Rose is thrust back into the outside world with only her wits to save her.

    With a poet’s eye, Joan Crate creates brilliantly the many shadings of this heartbreaking novel, rendering perfectly the inner voices of Rose Marie and Mother Grace, and exploring the larger themes of belief and belonging, of faith and forgiveness.

$19.99

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Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940
Author: Brenda J. Child
Format: Paperback
, 2000
  • Boarding School Seasons offers a revealing look at the strong emotional history of Indian boarding school experiences in the first half of the twentieth century. At the heart of this book are the hundreds of letters written by parents, children, and school officials at Haskell Institute in Kansas and the Flandreau School in South Dakota. These revealing letters show how profoundly entire families were affected by their experiences.
    Children, who often attended schools at great distances from their communities, suffered from homesickness, and their parents from loneliness. Parents worried continually about the emotional and physical health and the academic progress of their children. Families clashed repeatedly with school officials over rampant illnesses and deplorable living conditions and devised strategies to circumvent severely limiting visitation rules. Family intimacy was threatened by the school's suppression of traditional languages and Native cultural practices.

    Although boarding schools were a threat to family life, profound changes occurred in the boarding school experiences as families turned to these institutions for relief during the Depression, when poverty and the loss of traditional seasonal economics proved a greater threat. Boarding School Seasons provides a multifaceted look at the aspirations and struggles of real people.

$26.95

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Born With a Tooth
Author: Joseph Boyden
Format: Paperback
, 2008
  • Almost a decade after its original publication, award winner and Governor General Literary Award nominee Joseph Boyden's classic book of short stories is finally being reissued. Born With A Tooth, Boyden's debut work of fiction, is a collection of thirteen beautifully written stories about aboriginal life in Ontario. They are stories of love, unexpected triumph, and a passionate belief in dreams. They are also stories of anger and longing, of struggling to adapt, of searching but remaining unfulfilled. The collection includes 'Bearwalker', a story that introduces a character who appears again in Boyden's novel Three Day Road. By taking on a new voice in each story, Joseph Boyden explores aboriginal stereotypes and traditions in a most unexpected way. Whether told by a woman trying to forget her past or by a drunken man trying to preserve his culture, each story paints an unforgettable and varied image of modern aboriginal culture in Ontario. An extraordinary first book, Born With A Tooth reveals why Joseph Boyden is a writer worth reading.

$22.00

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Brebeuf's Ghost
Format: Paperback
, 2000

  • In the year 1649, the Iroquois are on the warpath, killing traitors and Christians at the mission of Sainte Marie. The shaman is worried about windigos and the Black Robe about the fires of hell. Worlds collide in a renowned First Nations playwright's epic, dark, funny, and healing vision of early Canada.

$22.95

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Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: A Memoir
Format: Paperback
, 2010
  • Theodore 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, Theodore 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.

$19.95

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Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing
Author: Tomson Highway
Format: Paperback
, 1989
  • Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing tells another story of the mythical Wasaychigan Hill Indian Reserve, also the setting for Tomson Highway's award winning play The Rez Sisters. Wherein The Rez Sisters the focus was on seven "Wasy" women and the game of bingo, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing features seven "Wasy" men and the game of hockey. It is a fast-paced story of tragedy, comedy, and hope.

$12.95

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Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Vol. 1 Summary
Format: Paperback
, 2015
  • This is the Final Report of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its six-year investigation of the residential school system for Aboriginal youth and the legacy of these schools. This report, the summary volume, includes the history of residential schools, the legacy of that school system, and the full text of the Commission's 94 recommendations for action to address that legacy.

    This report lays bare a part of Canada's history that until recently was little-known to most non-Aboriginal Canadians. The Commission discusses the logic of the colonization of Canada's territories, and why and how policy and practice developed to end the existence of distinct societies of Aboriginal peoples.

    Using brief excerpts from the powerful testimony heard from Survivors, this report documents the residential school system which forced children into institutions where they were forbidden to speak their language, required to discard their clothing in favour of institutional wear, given inadequate food, housed in inferior and fire-prone buildings, required to work when they should have been studying, and subjected to emotional, psychological and often physical abuse. In this setting, cruel punishments were all too common, as was sexual abuse.

    More than 30,000 Survivors have been compensated financially by the Government of Canada for their experiences in residential schools, but the legacy of this experience is ongoing today. This report explains the links to high rates of Aboriginal children being taken from their families, abuse of drugs and alcohol, and high rates of suicide. The report documents the drastic decline in the presence of Aboriginal languages, even as Survivors and others work to maintain their distinctive cultures, traditions, and governance.

    The report offers 94 calls to action on the part of governments, churches, public institutions and non-Aboriginal Canadians as a path to meaningful reconciliation of Canada today with Aboriginal citizens. Even though the historical experience of residential schools constituted an act of cultural genocide by Canadian government authorities, the United Nation's declaration of the rights of aboriginal peoples and the specific recommendations of the Commission offer a path to move from apology for these events to true reconciliation that can be embraced by all Canadians.

$22.95

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Finding My Talk: How Fourteen Canadian Native Women Reclaimed Their Lives After Residential School
Author: Agnes Grant
Format: Paperback
, 2005
  • When residential schools opened in the 1830s, First Nations envisioned their own teachers, ministers, and interpreters. Instead, students were regularly forced to renounce their cultures and languages and some were subjected to degradations and abuses that left severe emotional scars for generations. In Finding My Talk, fourteen aboriginal women who attended residential schools, or were affected by them, reflect on their experiences. They describe their years in residential schools across Canada and how they overcame tremendous obstacles to become strong and independent members of aboriginal cultures and valuable members of Canadian society. Biographies include: Eleanor Brass, Journalist, Plains Cree, Saskatchewan, Rita Joe, Poet/Writer, Mi?kmaq, Nova Scotia, Alice French, Writer, Inuit, Northwest Territories Shirley Sterling, School Administrator/Storyteller, Nlakapmux, British Columbia, Doris Pratt, Education Administrator/Language Specialist, Dakota, Manitoba, Edith Dalla Costa, School Counsellor, Woodland Cree, Alberta, Sara Sabourin, Community Worker, Ojibway, Ontario. Dr. Agnes Grant worked with the Native Teacher Training programs at Brandon University, Manitoba, for thirty years. As an administrator and professor, she spent much of her time in remote communities. Dr. Grant is the author of No End of Grief: Indian Residential Schools in Canada and three other books. She lives in Winnipeg.

$19.95

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