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Residential Schools

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Residential Schools and Reconciliation: Canada Confronts Its History
Authors:
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:
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, Métis, 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 Métis 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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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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Secret Path
Authors:
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

In Re-Print
Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8;

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
Authentic Indigenous Text
$29.95

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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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Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story
Artists:
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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