Speaking Our Truth
A Journey of ReconciliationBook - 2017
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“Clarity”, “compassion”, “kindness” and “respect” are four words that apply to Monique Gray Smith’s impactful resource about Canada’s relationship with its indigenous peoples – a relationship that is as complex as it is difficult and painful.
One of the key reasons that reconciliation is so necessary is the long-lasting harm resulting from Canada’s residential school system.
For approximately 130 years (the last residential school didn’t close until 1996), this educational system was forced upon indigenous children across Canada. Taken from their unwilling parents and moved hundreds of miles away to the nearest residential school, the children were removed as much as possible from their own culture. They were given new names and punished for speaking in their own language. Their hair was cut; they were fed different foods and they wore different clothing. Siblings were separated. During their long years at school, many students were denied even a single visit with their families.
The many harmful effects of that residential school system have been passed down from survivor to child to grandchild.
All Canadians need to understand clearly and acknowledge the devastating impacts which are still being felt by survivors, their families and their descendants.
“Reconciliation must begin with all of us.”
Author and consultant Monique Gray Smith lives on Lewungen territory in British Columbia and has also written the picture book, You Hold Me Up.
** Recommended for ages 9 to 13 years, for both individual reading and classes.
** Reviewed by Sally Hengeveld, librarian, Stratford Public Library.
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