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Residential Schools

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Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: A Memoir
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Sagkeeng;

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.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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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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From Lishamie
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Dene;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

With astonishing detail, Albert Canadien fondly recounts his boyhood years in Lishamie, a traditional Dene camp north of the Mackenzie River, and reflects on the devastating and long-lasting impact residential schooling had on him, his family and his people. Separated at a young age from his parents and forced to attend a strict Catholic boarding school, the author, and many like him, was robbed of his language, community and traditional way of living. From Lishamie is a candid memoir of loss and of the journey back.

Reviews
"From Lishamie focuses on the loss of language, culture, exposure to the land, and brings a stark contrast of life pre- and post-residential schools. This rich and lasting book portrays the fullness of life on the land, the seasons, travelling with the food sources, and community." - Joyce Atcheson

Additional Information
284 pages | 5.50" x 8.49"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$22.95

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Goodbye Buffalo Bay
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7;

Drama and humour combine in Goodbye Buffalo Bay by award-winning Cree author Larry Loyie. The sequel to the award-winning book As Long as the Rivers Flow. Goodbye Buffalo Bay is set during the author's teenaged years. In his last year in residential school, Lawrence learns the power of friendship and finds the courage to stand up for his beliefs. He returns home to find the traditional First Nations life he loved is over. He feels like a stranger to his family until his grandfather's gentle guidance helps him find his way. New adventures arise; Lawrence fights a terrifying forest fire, makes his first non-Native friends, stands up for himself in the harsh conditions of a sawmill, meets his first sweetheart and fulfills his dream of living in the mountains. Wearing new ice skates bought with his hard-won wages, Lawrence discovers a sense of freedom and self-esteem. Goodbye Buffalo Bay explores the themes of self-discovery, the importance of friendship, the difference between anger and assertiveness and the realization of youthful dreams.

Additional Information
160 pages | 4.90" x 7.36"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$16.95

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Island Kids
Authors:
Tara Saracuse
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;
Grade Levels: 3; 4; 5; 6; 7;

This is a history of British Columbia's island children, told in their voices, from their perspectives. Composed of twenty-two stories, Island Kids is a snapshot of a period and place in time. The topics range from quintessentially coastal experiences, like a day at the beach, to stories that deal with serious issues, such as BC's history of residential schools, but they all remain true to the experience of the children telling the story. At the end of each chapter is a section called "What do we know for sure?" that gives the reader greater depth and context. The stories are written in a dynamic and authentic voice and are aimed at readers aged eight to twelve.

Unlike history that has either been fictionalized or told from an adult's perspective, the Courageous Kids series brings history to kids in their own words. Truly original, Kidmonton, Rocky Mountain Kids, and Island Kids strive to communicate the events and emotions of kids.

Reviews
"Saracuse’s 22 stories, all based (to some degree) on factual accounts, give a sweeping, historical look at young people’s experiences on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands – from First Nations life in pre-contact days to the adventures of contemporary children circumnavigating the island in tall ship. Saracuse is careful to represent diversity: the “courageous kids” include an early black settler on Saltspring Island, a Japanese girl whose family is forciby evicted from their farm during the Second World War, and some contemporary Filipino immigrant boys experiencing their first snow. The subjects of the stories also vary, from risky adventures – like a three-day journey in small canoes across the Georgia Strait in 1858, or young Joe Garner being chased by a cougar – to less dramatic modern-day memories of summer childhood pleasures at the beach in Parksville." - Quill & Quire 

Additional Information
240 pages | 5.50" x 7.50"

Please Note: This book is listed as containing Indigenous content; however, not all the stories in this work are Indigenous.

Authentic Canadian Content
$12.95

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Kiss of the Fur Queen
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

Born into a magical Cree world in snowy northern Manitoba, Champion and Ooneemeetoo Okimasis are all too soon torn from their family and thrust into the hostile world of a Catholic residential school. Their language is forbidden, their names are changed to Jeremiah and Gabriel, and both boys are abused by priests.

As young men, estranged from their own people and alienated from the culture imposed upon them, the Okimasis brothers fight to survive. Wherever they go, the Fur Queen--a wily, shape-shifting trickster--watches over them with a protective eye. For Jeremiah and Gabriel are destined to be artists. Through music and dance they soar.

Educator Information
Grade 11/12 English First Peoples resource for the unit Further Steps toward Reconciliation - Understanding Residential Schools through Text.

Note: This novel contains mature and challenging material (profanity, coarse language, depictions of sex, sexual abuse, violence, etc.). 

Additional Information
320 pages | 5.20" x 8.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$22.00

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Moving Beyond: Understanding the Impacts of the Residential Schools
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

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.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$20.95

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My Name is Seepeetza
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

At six years old, Seepeetza is taken from her happy family life on Joyaska Ranch to live as a boarder at the Kalamak Indian Residential School. Life at the school is not easy, but Seepeetza still manages to find some bright spots. Always, thoughts of home make her school life bearable. 

An honest, inside look at life in an Indian residential school in the 1950s, and how one indomitable young spirit survived it.

Educator Information
Curriculum Connections: Language Arts, History, Social Studies, Science

 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$10.95

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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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Sagkeeng Legends (Sagkeeng Aadizookaanag): Stories By John C. Courchene
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Sagkeeng;

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.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$14.95

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Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story
Artists:
Scott B. Henderson
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

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 achnowledge, 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.

Reviews
"With the 7 Generations series, David Robertson and Scott Henderson burst onto the Canadian graphic novel scene with beautiful storytelling, scenes of brutal honesty, and messages of truth. With Sugar Falls they do it again, narrating a graceful and unforgettable story of resilience and power." - Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba

"…does an excellent job of handing difficult material. It’s important for youth to understand the struggles that Aboriginal people have faced in order to survive and to read survival stories. This is based on a true story and the main character, Betsy, is definitely a role model. I would include this book in my classroom at the secondary level. Whether or not you choose to include this material depends on your own ability to navigate the policies in your district regarding difficult material in the classroom and your own comfort level…" - Starleigh Grass, Educator, South Interior, BC

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 9-12.

Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples Resource for various units.

Saskatchewan Ministry of Education has approved this resource for English Language Arts.

Additional Information
40 pages | 6.50" x 10.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$16.00

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They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School
Format: Paperback

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.

Awards

  • 2014 Burt Award Third Place Winner

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the unit Place-Conscious Learning - Exploring Text through Local Landscape.

Additional Information
256 pages | 5.67" x 8.20"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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