By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)
"Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors" written by Larry Loyie, of Slave Lake Alberta with Wayne K Spear and Constance Brissenden is a book that explains the hidden history of the residential school system. Award winning author and former residential school student Larry Loyie delves into how Canada for over a century removed more than 150,000 Aboriginal children from their families to attend these church run residential schools that were often in remote locations far from children's homes. It explains in a broad and comprehensive way the history of not only First Nations people but also the Metis and Inuit peoples of Canada and is told in an accessible way
Questions asked within the book include "Why did residential schools as they were called, happen? How did they continue? Why did they stop? And most importantly how did they affect the families and the children, now known as school survivors?
This book is unique in the sense that it involves the memories and words of more than 70 former students and family members. It includes seven chapters that address key isssues such as why did it happen," what is the meaning of culture and traditions to how students learned to cope and heal after their residential school experiences. There are more than 125 images, many from the personal collections of survivors, a map of Canada's residential schools, a Key Dates timeline, 5 Myths associated with Residential School and a glossary of terms.
When I caught up with the authors of this impressive book they told me " the book itself involved over 20 years of research, 200 interviews and 3 years to write. It is a historical narrative and national history that needs to be told."
This book is important because the survivors are finally being heard and are sharing their experiences, so that their healing can continue.
Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors is co-published by Indigenous Education Press of Brantford Ontario and Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It is 102 pages long. ISBN: 978 -0-9939371-0-1