Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation

by Monique Gray Smith

Smith calls readers in to learn about the tragic history and lasting impact of Canadian... read more

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)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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