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History

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A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

“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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Fatty Legs: A True Story
Artists:
Liz Amini-Holmes
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

The moving memoir of an Inuit girl who emerges from a residential school with her spirit intact. 

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools. 

At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls -- all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school. 

In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity. 

Complemented by archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's collection and striking artwork from Liz Amini-Holmes, this inspiring first-person account of a plucky girl's determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.

Awards

  • First Nation Communities Read recipient, 2011-2012

Reviews
"I highly recommend this book for the discussion it would stir with students...Makes the harrowing residential school stories accessible to youth." — Resource Links, December 2010

"Presents a unique and enlightening glimpse into the residential school experience and, most importantly, one little girl's triumph over her oppressors." — Quill & Quire, November 2010

Educator Information
Fountas and Pinnell T

Themes: biography; Inuit; Indigenous peoples; Indigenous; arctic; school; self-esteem; abuse; community; prejudice; Canadian content; courage/bravery; right vs. wrong; role reversal; secrets; society; history; bullying; memoir; character education.

Additional Information
112 pages | 6.25" x 9.00" | full-color illustrations, archival photographs, map

Authenticity Note
This illustrator of this book is not Indigenous; therefore, her artwork is not considered to be Authentic Indigenous Artwork according to Strong Nations Authenticity Guidelines. The archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's personal collection, however, are considered to be authentic, which is why the book is labelled as containing Authentic Indigenous Artwork. It is up to readers to determine whether or not the images in this work are authentic for their purposes.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$12.95

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First Nations 101
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

First Nations 101 is an easy to read primer that provides readers with a broad overview of the diverse and complex lives of First Nations people. It is packed with more than 70 subjects including veterans, youth, urbanization, child welfare, appropriate questions to ask a First Nations person, feminism, the medicine wheel, Two-spirit (LGBTQ), residential schools, the land bridge theory, and language preservation. Author Lynda Gray endeavors to leave readers with a better understanding of the shared history of First Nations and non-First Nations people, and ultimately calls upon all of us - individuals, communities, and governments - to play active roles in bringing about true reconciliation between First Nations and non-First Nations people.

288 pages

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$20.00

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Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis; Inuit; First Nations;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

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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Picking Up the Pieces: Residential School Memories and the Making of the Witness Blanket
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Picking Up the Pieces tells 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 very personal project. Carey's father is a residential school Survivor. Like the Blanket itself, Picking Up the Pieces calls on readers of all ages to bear witness to the residential school experience, a tragic piece of Canada’s history.

Reviews
"Picking Up the Pieces is both a crucial record of history and an outstanding assertion of love and community. The story behind the creation of the powerful Witness Blanket project is one of great care and consideration, with residential school Survivors and their families at the centre. By sharing his own family's connection to a brutal and shameful part of Canadian history, renowned artist Carey Newman brilliantly guides us through the meticulous and thoughtful process of creating one of the most important pieces of art to exist in this country. I had the privilege of experiencing the Witness Blanket on its tour, and it was a poignant moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Reading how it all came together is yet another vital experience. Like the Witness Blanket itself, Picking Up the Pieces 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, March 2019

Educator Information
Themes: Indigenous Art, Reconciliation, Residential Schools, Survivor Stories, Intergenerational Trauma

Additional Information
180 pages | 10.75" x 10.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$39.95

Coming Soon
Residential Schools and Reconciliation: Canada Confronts Its History
Authors:
J. R. (Jim) Miller
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: University/College;

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
$41.95

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Resistance and Renewal: Surviving the Indian Residential School
Authors:
Celia Haig-Brown
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

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.

Authenticity Note: This book has received the Authentic Indigenous Text label because of the interviews and contributions of Indigenous peoples in this work, whom the author thanks and acknowledges in the introduction of the book. It is up to readers to determine if this an authentic work for their purposes.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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Righting Canada's Wrongs: Residential Schools
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Inuit; Métis;

Canada's residential school system for aboriginal young people is now recognized as a grievous historic wrong committed against First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples. This book documents this subject in a format that will give all young people access to this painful part of Canadian history.

In 1857, the Gradual Civilization Act was passed by the Legislature of the Province of Canada with the aim of assimilating First Nations people. In 1879, Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald commissioned the "Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds." This report led to native residential schools across Canada. First Nations and Inuit children aged seven to fifteen years old were taken from their families, sometimes by force, and sent to residential schools where they were made to abandon their culture. They were dressed in uniforms, their hair was cut, they were forbidden to speak their native language, and they were often subjected to physical and psychological abuse. The schools were run by the churches and funded by the federal government.

About 150,000 aboriginal children went to 130 residential schools across Canada.

The last federally funded residential school closed in 1996 in Saskatchewan. The horrors that many children endured at residential schools did not go away. It took decades for people to speak out, but with the support of the Assembly of First Nations and Inuit organizations, former residential school students took the federal government and the churches to court. Their cases led to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history. In 2008, Prime Minister Harper formally apologized to former native residential school students for the atrocities they suffered and the role the government played in setting up the school system. The agreement included the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which has since worked to document this experience and toward reconciliation.

Through historical photographs, documents, and first-person narratives from First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people who survived residential schools, this book offers an account of the injustice of this period in Canadian history. It documents how this official racism was confronted and finally acknowledged.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$34.95

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Secret Path
Authors:
Jeff Lemire
Gord Downie
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11;

Secret Path is a ten song 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 re-written. 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.”

Proceeds from Secret Path will be donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at The University of Manitoba.

Educator Information
Recommended resource for English First Peoples grades 10-11 for units on Childhood through the Eyes of Indigenous Writers and First Steps - Exploring Residential School and Reconciliation through Children's Literature.

Note: This resource is not considered an authentic First Peoples resource.

Additional Information
96 pages | 12.00" x 12.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
$26.99

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St. Peter's Indian Reserve
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

“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

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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The Sleeping Giant Awakens: Genocide, Indian Residential Schools, and the Challenge of Conciliation
Authors:
David B. MacDonald
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Confronting the truths of Canada’s Indian Residential School system has been likened to waking a sleeping giant. In this book, David B. MacDonald uses genocide as an analytical tool to better understand Canada’s past and present relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples. Starting with a discussion of how genocide is defined in domestic and international law, the book applies the concept to the forced transfer of Indigenous children to residential schools and the "Sixties Scoop," in which Indigenous children were taken from their communities and placed in foster homes or adopted.

Based on archival research and extensive interviews with residential school survivors, officials at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and others, The Sleeping Giant Awakens offers a unique and timely perspective on the prospects for conciliation after genocide, exploring how moving forward together is difficult in a context where many settlers know little of the residential schools and the ongoing legacies of colonization, and need to have a better conception of Indigenous rights. It offers a detailed analysis of how the TRC approached genocide in its deliberations and in the Final Report.

Crucially, MacDonald engages critics who argue that the term genocide impedes understanding of the IRS system and imperils prospects for conciliation. By contrast, this book sees genocide recognition as an important basis for meaningful discussions of how to engage Indigenous-settler relations in respectful and proactive ways.

Additional Information
224 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
$24.95

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