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Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.

Canadian Shame

They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School - Bev Sellars

I say this as a Canadian: If Canadians wish to continue enjoying their international reputation as a gentle and just people, they'd better start taking a clear-eyed look at what white colonialists did (and what many non-Aboriginal Canadians are still doing) to First Nations People, and use every method available to make the horrific wrongs right.


In fact, one need only look at the #MMIW feed on Twitter, which seeks to bring attention to 1,200+ missing and murdered Indian women, or read any of the multitude of news stories on the matter, to catch a glimpse of the societal and institutional racism at play.


I heartily encourage all readers to become educated in these matters, for doing so is a step toward equality and justice.  A small one, perhaps, but a step in the right direction nonetheless.


One could do much worse that to begin with Chief of Xat'Sull (Soda Creek) First Nation, Bev Sellars' memoir, "They Called Me Number One," which examines not only her soul-crushing experience in an abusive residential school but the long shadow such an experience casts from the previous generations through to the ones that follow.


While the memoir may not be the most brilliantly written piece of prose I've ever come across (too much summary, not enough scene, for example), this is of little matter when weighed against the importance of the subject, and the clarity and authority of Ms. Sellars' perspective.


Michael Dudley,the indigenous and urban services librarian at the University of Winnipeg has written a fine review of the book here.  I urge you to read it.  It will also provide you with several other books to read on the subject.