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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: 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 acknowledgment 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 Stranger at Home: A True Story
Editors:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8;

The powerful memoir of an Inuvialuit girl searching for her true self when she returns from residential school. 

Traveling to be reunited with her family in the Arctic, 10-year-old Margaret Pokiak can hardly contain her excitement. It's been two years since her parents delivered her to the school run by the dark-cloaked nuns and brothers. 

Coming ashore, Margaret spots her family, but her mother barely recognizes her, screaming, "Not my girl." Margaret realizes she is now marked as an outsider. 

And Margaret is an outsider: she has forgotten the language and stories of her people, and she can't even stomach the food her mother prepares. 

However, Margaret gradually relearns her language and her family's way of living. Along the way, she discovers how important it is to remain true to the ways of her people -- and to herself. 

Highlighted by archival photos and striking artwork, this first-person account of a young girl's struggle to find her place will inspire young readers to ask what it means to belong.

Sequel to Fatty Legs.

Reviews
"This memoir, detailing a woeful piece of Canadian history and demonstrating Margaret's strength of character, compassion, courage and her willingness to sacrifice herself for her family's sake, gives the reader a lot to ponder. Highly recommended." — Shelbey Krahn, Canadian Materials, February 2012

"A Stranger at Home will speak to anyone who has experienced displacement or assimilation into a new culture. This fabulous story enhances the Grades 6 to 8 social studies curriculum." — Professionally Speaking (Ontario College of Teache, April 2012

"While it may not have the same drama and tension of the first memoir, this tale provides a compelling and moving story of a girl searching for the strength to find her place in the world." — Jody Kopple, School Library Journal, December 2011

"Without being graphic or overwhelming, the Fentons recreate a tragic moment in Canadian history through the innocent reflections of a child...a must for any classroom library." — Canadian Teacher Magazine, May 2012

"This tale provides a compelling and moving story of a girl searching for the strength to find her place in the world. The writing is unpretentious and accessible and readers who enjoyed the first book will find this an interesting follow-up. Vivid paintings are a beautiful accompaniment to the storytelling. Photographs from Pokiak Fenton's own collection add important points of reference for readers looking to visualize the characters and the unique setting of the Arctic Circle. A welcome addition to biography collections." — Jody Kopple, School Library Journal, December 2011

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 9-13.

Guided Reading Level: Fountas and Pinnell U

Themes: biography; Inuit; Indigenous peoples; arctic; residential schools; identity; community; Canadian content; family; society; history; memoir.

Additional Information
128 pages | 6.25" x 9.00"

 

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$12.95

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Arctic Stories
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;
Grade Levels: Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3; 4; 10; 11;

Acclaimed Inuit storyteller Michael Kusugak weaves a tapestry of tales about ten-year-old Agatha and her accidental heroism in the high Arctic of 1958. The first of Agatha''s stories is based on one of Kusugak''s real life experiences, when an eerie, black airship flew over Chesterfield Inlet in 1958. A sleepy Agatha "saves" the community from the monstrous flying object.

In the second story, Agatha notices the playful antics of the winter ravens and takes an interest in the many migrating birds. As the seasons change, she begins to favor more beautiful and peaceful birds of spring, until the ravens return.

The third of Agatha''s stories takes place in the fall when Agatha is sent to school in Chesterfield Inlet, an English-speaking community south of her home. During an afternoon of skating, Agatha rescues a show-off priest, who has inadvertently demonstrated the danger of thin ice.

The three Agatha stories resonate with the nostalgia and affection of Kusugak''s childhood memories.

Reviews
"This collection of three tales, set in Repulse Bay, features an endearing 10-year-old heroine, named Agatha, through whose eyes the reader experiences life in the high Arctic.... The author weaves a tapestry of simply told stories, each of which, by skilful use of detail, manages to bring to life the experience of growing up in a small Inuit community.... Vladyana Krykorka's paintings give the reader a beautifully detailed rendition of the Arctic landscape in every season. Her depictions of Kusugak's human and animal characters are wonderfully satisfying, full of life and humour.... [They] complement the text brilliantly.... The beauty of Kusugak's work lies in his ability to evoke for his southern readers a vivid picture of a way of life that is fast disappearing. Arctic Tales will be a welcome addition to the resources that teachers and librarians look for as they plan their units on the Arctic and the Inuit. The book's Grade-three reading level should guarantee its popularity among young students doing projects on Inuit life. Recommended."— Valerie Nielsen, Canadian Materials, October 1999

 
"Vivid and engaging... This collection of stories captures a feeling for a transitional time in the Inuit culture and history and resonates with the storyteller's art" — Canadian Teacher, June 2013
 
Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 5-9.
 
This illustrated children's story is a grades 10/11 English First Peoples Resource for the unit First Steps - Exploring Residential Schools and Reconciliation through Children's Literature.
 
Additional Information
40 pages | 8.25" x 10.50"

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As Long As the Rivers Flow (PB)
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;

In the 1800s, the education of First Nations children was taken on by various churches, in government-sponsored residential schools. Children were forcibly taken from their families in order to erase their traditional languages and cultures. 

As Long as the Rivers Flow is the story of Larry Loyie's last summer before entering residential school. It is a time of learning and adventure. He cares for an abandoned baby owl and watches his grandmother make winter moccasins. He helps the family prepare for a hunting and gathering trip.

Awards

  • In 2006, As Long As the Rivers Flow was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.
  • Winner of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction 

Educator Information
Recommended for ages 7 to 11. 

Curriculum Connections: Indigenous Studies, Social Studies, Science and Nature

Additional Information
48 pages | 7.25" x 10.25"

 

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Cheyenne Again
Authors:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Cheyenne;
Grade Levels: Preschool; Kindergarten; 1; 2;

In the late 1880s, a Cheyenne boy named Young Bull is taken from his parents and sent to a boarding school to learn the white man's ways. "Young Bull's struggle to hold on to his heritage will touch children''s sense of justice and lead to some interesting discussions and perhaps further research.

Reviews
"Young Bull's struggle to hold onto his heritage will touch children's sense of justice and lead to some interesting discussions and perhaps further research."—School Library Journal

Educator Information
This book addresses Native American boarding schools, not Canadian residential schools.

Additional Information
32 pages | 8.06" x 10.00"

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$11.99

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Dear Canada: These Are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: 5; 6; 7;

Acclaimed author Ruby Slipperjack delivers a haunting novel about a 12-year-old girl's experience at a residential school in 1966.

Violet Pesheens is struggling to adjust to her new life at residential school. She misses her Grandma; she has run-ins with Cree girls; at her "white" school, everyone just stares; and everything she brought has been taken from her, including her name-she is now just a number. But worst of all, she has a fear. A fear of forgetting the things she treasures most: her Anishnabe language; the names of those she knew before; and her traditional customs. A fear of forgetting who she was.

Her notebook is the one place she can record all of her worries, and heartbreaks, and memories. And maybe, just maybe there will be hope at the end of the tunnel.

Drawing from her own experiences at residential school, Ruby Slipperjack creates a brave, yet heartbreaking heroine in Violet, and lets young readers glimpse into an all-too important chapter in our nation's history.

Additional Information
192 pages | 5.54" x 7.66"

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$16.99

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Fatty Legs: A True Story
Artists:
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.

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Gaawin Gindaaswin Ndaawsii / I Am Not A Number
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;

Dual language edition of powerful children's book about residential school experience reflects Indigenous language revitalization.

The dual language edition, in Nishnaabemwin (Ojibwe) Nbisiing dialect and English, of the award-winning I Am Not a Number. When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene's parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where will they hide? And what will happen when her parents disobey the law? Based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis’ grandmother, I Am Not a Number is a hugely necessary book that brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to.

Reviews
"Residential and boarding school stories are hard to read, but they're vitally important... books like I Am Not a Number should be taught in schools in Canada, and the U.S., too."— Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature

"It’s important to teach children about true Canadian history, but it’s not easy to talk about it in a way that children will understand. I Am Not a Number is perfect to get the conversation about residential schools started with your children. It opens the door for them to ask questions about the subject and the story is relatable in a way they can follow."— Residential School Magazine

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 7-11
Guided Reading: V

Dual-language: Nishnaabemwin (Ojibwe) Nbisiing dialect and English.

Subjects: Character Education (Empathy, Prejudice & Tolerance); History & Social Studies (Canadian History, First Nations & Indigenous Peoples); Government & Citizenship; Reflecting Diversity

Additional Information
44 pages | 8.50" x 11.00" | Translated by Muriel Sawyer and Geraldine McLeod with contributions by Tory Fisher

 

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Good For Nothing
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

The year is 1959, and fifteen-year-old Nipishish returns to his Metis reserve in northern Quebec after being kicked out of residential school, where the principal tells him he's a good-for-nothing who, like all Indians, can look forward to a life of drunkenness, prison and despair. 

The reserve, however, offers nothing to Nipishish. He feels even more isolated here. He remembers little of his late mother and father. In fact, he seems to know less about himself than the people at the band office. He must try to rediscover the old ways, face the officials who find him a threat, and learn the truth about his father's death.

Adolescents will find inspiration in his courage to reclaim his identity and claim his rightful place on the reserve. The book also provides great insight into the roots of many ongoing Indigenous issues.

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 12-15.

Curriculum Connections: Indigenous Studies, History, Geography, Social Sciences, English

Additional Information
256 pages | 4.25" x 7.00" | Written by Michel Noel. Translated by Shelley Tanaka.

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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"

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$16.95

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Home to Medicine Mountain
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 3; 4; 5;

Two young brothers are separated from their family and sent to live in a government-run Indian residential school in the 1930s—an experience shared by generations of Native American children throughout North America. At these schools, children were forbidden to speak their Indian languages and made to unlearn their Indian ways. Sadly, they were often not able to go home to their families for summer vacation.

Native American artist Judith Lowry based this story on the experiences of her father and her Uncle Stanley. Judith and author Chiori Santiago tenderly relate how Stanley and Benny Len found their way home by train one summer. Inspired by their dreams of home and the memories of their grandmother's stories, the boys embark on an adventurous journey from the harsh residential school to their triumphant welcome home at Susanville, California, in the shadow of Yo-Tim Yamne (Medicine Mountain).

Awards

  • American Book Award - Before Columbus Foundation
  • Skipping Stones Honor Award - Skipping Stones Magazine

Reviews
"The real-life experiences of Lowry's father and uncle fuel this account of two Native American brothers in California, sent to a government-run boarding school in the 1930s to unlearn their traditional ways. While the book discloses a sad chapter in the long history of the disenfranchisement of Native Americans, it will also resonate with any kid who has been homesick." - Publisher's Weekly

Educator Information
Guided Reading: N
Lexile: 520L
Interest Level: Grades 3 - 5
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 4

Additional Information
32 pages | 10.00" x 8.50"

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$19.95

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I Am Not a Number
Artists:
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;

When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene's parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where will they hide? And what will happen when her parents disobey the law? Based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis’ grandmother, I Am Not a Number is a hugely necessary book that brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to.

Awards

  • 2018 Red Cedar Award for Information Book Winner
  • 2018 Hackmatack Award Winner

Reviews
"Residential and boarding school stories are hard to read, but they're vitally important... books like I Am Not a Number should be taught in schools in Canada, and the U.S., too."— Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature

"It’s important to teach children about true Canadian history, but it’s not easy to talk about it in a way that children will understand. I Am Not a Number is perfect to get the conversation about residential schools started with your children. It opens the door for them to ask questions about the subject and the story is relatable in a way they can follow."— Residential School Magazine

"[A] powerful teaching tool that brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to. It is written in simple language and told in a way that will stimulate conversations about residential schools and the traumatic effects they have had on generations of First Nation families and communities. ... beautifully illustrated by Gillian Newland. She captures the somber mood of the school, the anguish of the children, the severity of the nuns and the desperation of the family. Students can easily empathize with Irene and her brothers as well as their parents as they try to imagine how they would feel or act in a similar situation." — Alberta Native News, December 2016

"Endless cross-curricular connections can be made using this story. But the most powerful aspect of this book is that it will open a dialogue, one that Justice Murray Sinclair spoke of as head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a dialogue that needs to take place for reconciliation to happen." — ETFO Voice

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 7-11
Guided Reading: V

Additional Information
32 pages | 8.50" x 11.00"

 

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$18.95

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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"

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$83.00

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Island Kids
Authors:
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.

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kimotinâniwiw itwêwina / Stolen Words
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 1; 2; 3; 4;

The dual-language edition, in Plains Cree and English, of Stolen Words, the award-winning story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in Cree, he tells her that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again.

This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared.

Educator Information
This dual-language edition is in Plains Cree and English. The translation was carried out by two Plains Cree language speakers, Dolores Sand from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and Gayle Weenie from Sweetgrass First Nation. Language consultation and assistance was provided by the Cree Literacy Network.

Recommended for ages 6-9; Grades 1-3.

Guided Reading: Q
Lexile: 530L

Subjects: Character Education (Empathy, Family & Friendship); History & Social Studies (Canadian History, First Nations & Indigenous Peoples); Reflecting Diversity.

Additional Information
28 pages | 8.50" x 8.50"

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$14.95

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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

 

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$10.95

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