for Speaking Our Truth by Monique Gray Smith
Smith calls readers in to learn about the tragic history and lasting impact of Canadian Residential Schools on Indigenous lives. Her narrative provides an overview of what happened to Indigenous people after Europeans arrived, including eventual legislation that negated, denied, and oppressed the rights and humanity of Native peoples. It then looks closely at the Residential Schools and their lasting impact on generations of Indigenous Canadians, including intergenerational survivors today. She does not specifically discuss varying perspectives of Indigenous Canadians on the Canadian Truth & Reconciliation Commission whose work in part is the focus of this book, but does state, “I do not speak for all Indigenous people. I am one voice … I am sharing with you my own understanding of a complex and painful history.” Personal narratives from commission testimony is woven into this account that, the author notes, is not just Indigenous history but Canadian history, important for all to know and understand. Although specific to Canada, this work illuminates similar trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples in the United States, who also were forced to attend residential schools, while modeling a remarkable tone for discussing systemic racism with children, an idea buoyed by perspectives provided by a diverse group of contemporary children whose voices are included. (Age 9 and older)
CCBC Choices 2018. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018. Used with permission.
Canada's relationship with its Indigenous people has suffered as a result of both the residential school system and the lack of understanding of the historical and current impact of those schools. Healing and repairing that relationship requires education, awareness and increased understanding of the legacy and the impacts still being felt by Survivors and their families. Guided by acclaimed Indigenous author Monique Gray Smith, readers will learn about the lives of Survivors and listen to allies who are putting the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.