Book-Smart Sunday

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I know this feature doesn't show up very often anymore, but every now and then I just need to mention a book. While I was in Regina visiting family over the holidays, I was browsing through the book store when I came upon this one. There were a lot of reasons behind my interest in it, but mostly I'm interested in First Nations issues and I think that its useful for all Canadians to know more about the residential school system. Since no one taught me these things (until university, and even then they only grazed the surface) I feel the need to educate myself.

The book this week is Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools by Theodore Fontaine.

Since it is his personal memoir, I found that it helped me connect with the issues on a deeper level. While he discussed broad issues that can be found across Canada, he also discussed his personal experiences and issues during and after his time in the school system. Some of it was really hard to read and other parts were beautiful. In the end, I'm so glad I read it because it gave me a greater understanding of the incredible damage that these schools caused and their far reaching effects, many of which I hadn't ever heard of or considered.

I think that a great number of non-First Nations Canadians know little to nothing about the residential school system which perpetuates the complete lack of understanding towards a huge population of people. If all Canadians could read this one book, it would go a long way towards breaking down the ignorance of these issues that has been present since their very beginning.

3 wonderful comments:

Mom said...

I might like to read that book some time. I have learned so much from you and your sister about this issue. I had never known anything about it before. In fact, I didn't even know the residential schools existed. I firmly believe this should be taught in all schools in Saskatchewan. It should be touched on in elementary school, but examined in more detail in high school social studies. It is far too relevant to ignore.

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

You can definitely borrow it, and it's not a very long book. I agree with you that these things should be taught in school. What we learned about First Nations people in school was all about historical and stereotypical information. I know that it's changing, but we still have a long way to go! It's always neat to hear Tara tell about her awesome experiences incorporating First Nations elements into all sorts of lessons and the good responses she gets from her students. If students were taught about Canada from a more broad, non-ethnocentric perspective, it would go a long way towards breaking down long standing stereotypes and judgements. ....ok enough ranting! :)

Tara said...

This book sounds very interesting - I would love to read it too sometime. Good for you for bringing it (and the accompanying issues) up on your blog. It is a major blemish on the history of our country, but it is our history, and for so long that fact has been repressed and denied. Now that it is making it's way to the surface of the Canadian consciousness (slowly, but surely) it is good to see that some of the survivors are finding the courage to share their stories. Stories of war are told so that future generations can learn and hopefully never repeat the same mistakes, and we need the same of circumstances such as these.