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Righting Canada's Wrongs: Residential Schools
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Righting Canada's Wrongs: Residential Schools

The Devastating Impact on Canada's Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Findings and Calls for Action

By Melanie Florence

$34.95 Hardback
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Series: Righting Canada's Wrongs

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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.

Contents

Map of Residential Schools

Introduction

Chapter 1: Life Before the Schools

Aboriginal Diversity
Food and Medicine
Clothing, Shelter, and Transportation
Trade Goods
Family, Community, Language, Culture, and Religion
Educating the Children

Chapter 2: Conflict Arising from Contact

Crown and Aboriginal Sovereignties
Assimilation: A Government Policy
Assimilation Policy and Practice
Cutting Cultural Ties

Chapter 3: The Children Are Taken

Forced Removal
Separation

Chapter 4: Life at Residential School

Shock
Starvation
Education in English and French
Child Labour
The Inuit Schools
Abuse
Some Good Memories
Runaways and Death at School

Chapter 5: Closing the Schools

A Failing Grade
Closing the Doors

Chapter 6: Life after Residential Schools

The Struggle of Survivors
The Next Generation
Speaking Out
Survivors as Leaders

Chapter 7: Apology and Redress

The Government Apologizes
The Churches Apologize
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Coming to Terms with Our History
Calls to Action
Understanding -- and Action: Next Steps
Permanent Acknowledgements

Timeline

Glossary

For Further Reading

Visual Credits

Index

Awards

Winner - Best Books for Kids & Teens - Canadian Children's Book Centre - 2016

Winner - Ontario Library Association's Best Bets 2015 - Young Adult Non-Fiction - 2016

Winner - Resource Links The Year's Best - Non-Fiction Grades 7-12 - 2016

Winner - The List: Great Reads for Youth - Toronto Public Library - 2017

"If I were purchasing materials for a high school library, I would buy at least 2 copies, and I would urge Social Studies and Aboriginal Studies classroom teachers to have at least one copy on their bookselves. Perhaps the strongest work to date in the Righting Canada's Wrongs series, Residential Schools underscores the importance of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's work... Highly Recommended."

- Joanne Peters CM Magazine

"As one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action states "Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples' historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandetory education requirement for kindergarten to Grade Twelve students." (p. 7) this book certainly contributes to this action and should be added to every junior and senior high school and public library in Canada. Highly Recommended."Rated E - Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!

- Victoria Pennell, Resource Links

"A great book...there's a lot there for us all."

- Gil Deacon, CBC Metro Morning

"This resource-rich book is sure to spark both class and individual exploration. An index, glossary, and timeline will help teens navigate the rich content in this book, while links to online video and audio clips and the "For Further Reading" section will guide them beyond its pages. Teachers will also find lesson plans and other helpful tools in an accompanying series Resource Guide."

- Jen Bailey, National Reading Campaign

Recommended by the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett for the #GiftingReconciliation Campaign

MELANIE FLORENCE is full-time writer based in Toronto. She is the author of the SideStreets novel One Night and the Recordbooks title Jordin Tootoo: The Highs and Lows in the Journey of the First Inuk to Play in the NHL, which was chosen as an Honor Book by The American Indian Library Association. As a freelance journalist, Melanie's byline has appeared in magazines including Dance International, Writer, Parents Canada, and Urban Male Magazine. Melanie is of Plains Cree and Scottish descent.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Hardback, 128 pages
Publication Date: 21st December 2015
ISBN: 9781459408661
Format: 11in x 9in
300+ colour and b&w visuals

BISAC Code:  4.0.2.0.0.0.0, JNF025240, JNF043000, JNF050000, JNF053140
Imprint: Lorimer

Interest age: From 13 To 18

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