Residential Schools

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A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Content Territory: Indigenous Canadian
Format: Paperback

“It can start with a knock on the door one morning. It is the local Indian agent, or the parish priest, or, perhaps, a Mounted Police officer… The officials have arrived and the children must go.”

So began the school experience of many Indigenous children in Canada for more than a hundred years, and so begins the history of residential schools prepared by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

Between 2008 and 2015, the TRC provided opportunities for individuals, families, and communities to share their experiences of residential schools and released several reports based on 7,000 Survivor statements and 5 million documents from government, churches, and schools, as well as a solid grounding in secondary sources.

A Knock on the Door, published in collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), gathers material from the TRC reports to present the essential history and legacy of residential schools and inform the journey to reconciliation that Canadians are now embarked upon. An afterword introduces the holdings and opportunities of the NCTR, home to the archive of recordings and documents collected by the TRC.

Survivor and former National Chief of the Assembly First Nations, Phil Fontaine, provides a Foreword, and an Afterword introduces the holdings and opportunities of the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation, home to the archive of recordings, and documents collected by the TRC.

As Aimée Craft writes in the Afterword, knowing the historical backdrop of residential schooling and its legacy is essential to the work of reconciliation. In the past, agents of the Canadian state knocked on the doors of Indigenous families to take the children to school. Now, the Survivors have shared their truths and knocked back. It is time for Canadians to open the door to mutual understanding, respect, and reconciliation.

Reviews
“The attempt to transform us failed. The true legacy of the survivors, then, will be the transformation of Canada.” – Phil Fontaine, from the Foreword

A Knock on the Door is a book that I hope every Canadian will read, and read deeply. The transformation of this country begins with acknowledging what happened after that knock on the door. Acknowledging, understanding the implications, and then resolving to do something for positive change. It’s right that the TRC Calls to Action are included, for we are all called to action.” – Shelagh Rogers, O.C., TRC Honorary Witness

"Seven volumes from a nationwide inquiry into the legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools have been condensed into a compelling book that is both accessible and well-documented. The central conclusion—that the schools were part of a deliberate cultural genocide policy aimed at the continent’s first peoples, spearheaded by the Canadian government with the support of mainline churches —is clearly supported by historical references, gut-wrenching personal stories, and a thorough analysis of a system that forcibly removed indigenous children from their families.” – Publishers Weekly 

Educator Information
This book is recommended for grade 11 and 12 students for courses in social studies and social justice (also useful for college/university students in courses of a similar nature).  This book is also a useful teacher resource.

Caution: physical and sexual abuse is discussed in this book.

Additional Information
Edited and Abridged | 296 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | 11 b&w photographs | maps | bibliography

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$17.95

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Arts of Engagement: Taking Aesthetic Action In and Beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Format: Paperback
Arts of Engagement focuses on the role that music, film, visual art, and Indigenous cultural practices play in and beyond Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools. Contributors here examine the impact of aesthetic and sensory experience in residential school history, at TRC national and community events, and in artwork and exhibitions not affiliated with the TRC. Using the framework of “aesthetic action,” the essays expand the frame of aesthetics to include visual, aural, and kinetic sensory experience, and question the ways in which key components of reconciliation such as apology and witnessing have social and political effects for residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors, and settler publics.

This volume makes an important contribution to the discourse on reconciliation in Canada by examining how aesthetic and sensory interventions offer alternative forms of political action and healing. These forms of aesthetic action encompass both sensory appeals to empathize and invitations to join together in alliance and new relationships as well as refusals to follow the normative scripts of reconciliation. Such refusals are important in their assertion of new terms for conciliation, terms that resist the imperatives of reconciliation as a form of resolution.

This collection charts new ground by detailing the aesthetic grammars of reconciliation and conciliation. The authors document the efficacies of the TRC for the various Indigenous and settler publics it has addressed, and consider the future aesthetic actions that must be taken in order to move beyond what many have identified as the TRC’s political limitations.

Educator Information
This book would be useful for Art, Art & Politics, Social Science, and Indigenous Studies courses.

Additional Information
382 pages | 6.00" x 9.00" | 24 colour illustrations, 2 printed music items

Edited by Dylan Robinson and Keavy Martin
Authentic Canadian Content
$39.99

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Behind Closed Doors: Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School
Authors:
Agnes Jack
Format: Paperback
Behind Closed Doors features written testimonials from 32 individuals who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The school was one of many infamous residential schools that operated from 1893 to 1979. The storytellers remember and share with us their stolen time at the school; many stories are told through courageous tears.
$26.95

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Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Vol. 1 Summary
Format: Paperback
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.
$27.95

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Finding My Talk: How Fourteen Canadian Native Women Reclaimed Their Lives After Residential School
Authors:
Agnes Grant
Format: Paperback
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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From Bear Rock Mountain: The Life and Times of a Dene Residential School Survivor
Content Territory: Dene, First Nations, Indigenous Canadian
Format: Hardcover

In this poetic, poignant memoir, Dene artist and social activist Antoine Mountain paints an unforgettable picture of his journey from residential school to art school—and his path to healing.

In 1949, Antoine Mountain was born on the land near Radelie Koe, Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. At the tender age of seven, he was stolen away from his home and sent to a residential school—run by the Roman Catholic Church in collusion with the Government of Canada—three hundred kilometres away. Over the next twelve years, the three residential schools Mountain was forced to attend systematically worked to erase his language and culture, the very roots of his identity.

While reconnecting to that which had been taken from him, he had a disturbing and painful revelation of the bitter depths of colonialism and its legacy of cultural genocide. Canada has its own holocaust, Mountain argues.

As a celebrated artist and social activist today, Mountain shares this moving, personal story of healing and the reclamation of his Dene identity.

Additional Information
272 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$30.00

Coming Soon
Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada
Format: Hardcover

Indigenous perspectives much older than the nation itself shared through maps, artwork, history and culture.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, in partnership with Canada's national Indigenous organizations, has created a groundbreaking four-volume atlas that shares the experiences, perspectives, and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. It's an ambitious and unprecedented project inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. Exploring themes of language, demographics, economy, environment and culture, with in-depth coverage of treaties and residential schools, these are stories of Canada's Indigenous Peoples, told in detailed maps and rich narratives.

This extraordinary project offers Canada a step on the path toward understanding.

The volumes contain more than 48 pages of reference maps, content from more than 50 Indigenous writers; hundreds of historical and contemporary photographs and a glossary of Indigenous terms, timelines, map of Indigenous languages, and frequently asked questions. All packaged together in a beautifully designed protective slipcase.

Educator Information
Recommended for ages 13+.

The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada includes a four volume print atlas, an online atlas, an app, and more!

Additional Information
322 pages | 10.50" x 12.87"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$83.00

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Moving Beyond: Understanding the Impacts of the Residential Schools
Authors:
Brent Stonefish
Format: Paperback
The residential school system in Canada continues to have a significant impact on Aboriginal people. We continue to struggle with the trauma of this unwanted legacy.

In this book, we take a look at the history but focus on the intergenerational impacts that exist today from the residential school system. These lasting impacts affect learning, education, and family relations.

“Moving Beyond” highlights positive approaches and paths to healing and promotes the development of healthy individuals, families and communities.
$20.95

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Rattlesnake Mesa
Format: Hardcover

After her beloved Grandmother dies, EdNah, a seven-year-old Pawnee girl, goes to live with a father she hardly knows on a Navajo reservation miles away. Heartbroken but resilient, she begins to create a new life for herself in this unfamiliar place.

Just as EdNah starts to feel at home in her new surroundings, she is sent away to a strict government-run Indian school. With her world turned upside down once again, EdNah must learn to rely on herself and her newfound community of friends.

Told in the unconventional voice of a seasoned storyteller, Rattlesnake Mesa is a true account of a girl coming-of-age during a complex time in America’s past. Both heartbreaking and humorous, you will be moved to tears and laughter as you experience EdNah’s spirited celebration of life as a healing.

$21.95

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Remembering Will Have To Do: The Life and Times of Louise (Trottier) Moine
Authors:
Louise Moine
Format: Paperback
Deftly merging pioneer history with Aboriginal autobiography, Louise Moine wrote about her childhood spent on the ranching frontier of southwest Saskatchewan in the early 1900s and about her time in an Indian residential school in two published books and various articles in the 1970s and early ‘80s. A long-time resident of Val Marie, Saskatchewan, she also wrote candid vignettes of her many family members and friends living in southwest Saskatchewan and northern Montana.

Remembering Will Have to Do: The Life and Times of Louise (Trottier) Moine collects her various writings, including her previously-published books and essays, as well as unpublished stories, photographs, and appendices. Having lived almost 102 years, Louise Moine witnessed the changing Prairie West as Euro-Canadian and European settlers moved in and overwhelmed the region’s Aboriginal residents. Although much of this text was written decades ago, it is still retains its relevance and carries an authenticity of somebody who personally witnessed the rise of southwest Saskatchewan’s ranching culture, the end of the Métis’ nomadic lifestyle, the growth of the dysfunctional Indian residential school system, and the impact of colonization on the region’s Aboriginal peoples.
$20.00

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Residential Schools and Reconciliation: Canada Confronts Its History
Authors:
J. R. (Jim) Miller
Format: Hardcover
Since 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.

Excerpt
From the Conclusion:
"Canadians cannot approach reconciliation thinking that fine words and amicable gestures are enough. First Nations want their claims settled and many are interested in concluding treaties. Until Canada moves effectively to meet their desires, the country lacks the measures of social justice for Native peoples that are precondition for progress towards reconciliation...The cause of reconciliation is not hopeless; there are encouraging signs of individual and local initiatives designed to bring about reconciliation on a small scale...If enough of these small actions develop and spread, they could create the popular support for large-scale state measures that will redress the hard, material wrongs that stand in the way of reconciliation. Should that blissful day ever come, Canada will be able to advance meaningfully towards the goal of reconciliation."

Reviews
Professor Jim Miller of the University of Saskatchewan pulls back the curtain on the historical blame game. Residential Schools and Reconciliation documents Ottawa’s handling of Aboriginal issues. This is not ancient history. It just happened."
Holly Doan, Blacklock’s Reporter. Saturday, November 18, 2017

As colonial nations around the world seek pathways to post-conflict reconciliation, J.R. Miller’s timely work is an important reminder of both the potential obstacles and the healing possibilities of such initiatives.
Leigh Anne Williams, Publishers Weekly, February 12, 2018

Additional Information
368 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"
Authentic Canadian Content
$39.95

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Resistance and Renewal: Surviving the Indian Residential School
Format: Paperback
One of the first books published to deal with the phenomenon of residential schools in Canada, Resistance and Renewal is a disturbing collection of Native perspectives on the Kamloops Indian Residential School(KIRS) in the British Columbia interior. Interviews with thirteen Natives, all former residents of KIRS, form the nucleus of the book, a frank depiction of school life, and a telling account of the system's oppressive environment which sought to stifle Native culture.

Winner of the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize (BC Book Prize) in 1989.

Now in its 8th printing.
$19.95

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Sagkeeng Legends (Sagkeeng Aadizookaanag): Stories By John C. Courchene
Format: Paperback
John C. Courchene was born in Sagkeeng First Nation in 1914, where he attended the Fort Alexander Indian Residential School. Courchene’s time in the residential school was short; his brothers, "Joejay" and Louis, took John out of school so he could help them cut wood in the bush. While this helped John make a lifetime commitment to hard work, it also resulted in John being “illiterate” in the European sense of the word. In the ways of the forest and his native language, Anishanabemowin, however, John was far from illiterate. Sagkeeng Legends is a testament to John’s cultural literacy and a monument in the face of eroding Indigenous language and culture caused by centuries of colonization.

Originally recorded by John’s wife, Josephine Courchene, in the early 1980s and reprinted here in both English and Anishanabemowin by Craig Fontaine, the stories in Sagkeeng Legends represent two pebbles where a mountain of knowledge once stood. Nonetheless, this book is an important act of preserving and reintroducing Indigenous language and culture to a new generation.
$14.95

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Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation
Content Territory: Indigenous Canadian
Format: Paperback
Canada's relationship with its Indigenous people has suffered as a result of both the residential school system and the lack of understanding of the historical and current impact of those schools. Healing and repairing that relationship requires education, awareness and increased understanding of the legacy and the impacts still being felt by Survivors and their families. Guided by acclaimed Indigenous author Monique Gray Smith, readers will learn about the lives of Survivors and listen to allies who are putting the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action.
Authentic Canadian Content
$29.95

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St. Peter's Indian Reserve
Format: Paperback
“St. Peter’s Indian Reserve was part of the original Selkirk Treaty signed on July 18, 1817 and Treaty 1 signed on August 3, 1871.”

Step back in time with this collection of newspaper articles covering St. Peter’s Indian reserve from 1859-1939. Compiled by Craig Charbonneau Fontaine, these articles offer many different glimpses of this once thriving and flourishing reserve north of present-day Selkirk, Manitoba. The compilation demonstrates St. Peter’s ability to adapt to changing cultural conditions, while maintaining a strong Anishanabe and Swampy Cree identity. It is hoped that this historical collection will contribute to future work on St. Peter’s
$19.95

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