Tag Archives: Books

An iBook, Now in its 2nd Edition! “Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors”

In 2016, Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors won the Golden Oak Award. Now in its 2nd Edition, this comprehensive history of Canada’s Indian Residential School System is also available on iTunes  as a deluxe Apple iBook. The electronic version features audio and video enhancements, as well as other additional material. The full colour, hardcover version can be ordered from the publisher here.

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Here is what readers are saying:

“A respectful and informative book about the residential school system written by Aboriginal author Larry Loyie. It includes first hand accounts of many different survivors of the school system as well as photos and documents. This is a heartbreaking, but very important read as it includes the long term effects the school system has had on these families.”

“This is an excellent introduction to the history of the Indian Residential School System in Canada. I truely hope it finds it’s way into every school and church library. The authors compile personal stories, many photographs, and history in a well sequenced telling of the tragic history of relations between First Nations peoples and colonial Canada.”

“Researched and written over the span of almost two decades, the authors document the history of residential schools with first-person interviews (including that of author Larry Loyie) and photographs. It is written in a very accessible way for readers from teens to adults, and should serve as an important introduction to this blight on Canada’s history.”

“Absolutely wonderful overview of Canada’s residential schools, with firsthand accounts and pictures from survivors. Especially loved the “myths” section at the back of the book 🙂 Bravo to the survivors and authors brave enough to share their story.”

“Very comprehensive summary of Residential Schools and their legacy. Great visuals and witness accounts.”

 

The Ottawa Book Awards and new work from Chelsea Vowel

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I’ve been working away these past months at the 2016 Ottawa Book Awards reading list. One of three jurors in the non-fiction category, I drew up my list of finalists this past week, along with my colleagues. I’m pleased to say there was consensus on three of our top five selections. Early in June, I expect, we’ll sort matters out.

There’s an opportunity cost to a commitment of this scale. I agreed to read 21 books in about as many weeks, some of them rather hefty and dense. That’s a lot of hours I could have been doing many other things, but I did enjoy the labour and along the way discovered some books I might not have found otherwise.

Now I have a smallish library of book award books I will be passing along. Only a couple weeks ago I (once again) thinned out the over-flowing shelves, and I’ve no desire to go backwards. Already I have specific books in mind for specific people. And I wish I could tell you what I’ve read and what I thought about it, but until the requisite announcements have been made, I’m keeping my reading list and my thoughts private.

In the meantime, here’s a book I’m looking forward to reading, to recommending, and to giving away. It’s by Chelsea Vowel, more widely known by the name âpihtawikosisân. The book will be released in September but is available now for pre-order.

 

Residential Schools: a finalist for the Golden Oak Award

Residential Schools: with the Words and Images of Survivors is a finalist for the Golden Oak Award!

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This award is sponsored by the Ontario Library Association (OLA) and is part of The Forest of Reading, Canada’s largest recreational reading program. Winners will be announced on May 18.

Larry Loyie, 1933–2016

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WITH CO-AUTHOR LARRY LOYIE

I learned today that my friend and co-author, Larry Loyie, is gone.

Larry’s Cree name was Young Man. It was fitting. He had a gentle, even light spirit, despite all he’d been through. Somehow he never lost touch with the character of childhood. I won’t say innocence: there was little of that for children like Larry. In residential school, he dreamed of being an author, but his education at St. Bernard Mission was cold and meagre. He was in his 50s when he went back to school to fulfill his life’s purpose. And fulfill it he did.

Larry developed a simple yet powerful voice. He had an ability to communicate with readers of all ages, but especially with the young. Along with his writing partner, Constance Brissenden, he published books about his youth before and during residential school, reaching thousands of readers across Canada and beyond.

His love for his culture was with him throughout his life, as was his love for writing and for teaching the young. Gentle and honest, compassionate and warm, Larry’s work reflects the respect that he had for his readers, whatever their age. He had a few guiding principles: always tell the truth, make sure the writing is interesting, and inform the reader.

Larry was soft-spoken. He could summon a mental picture with great economy. He felt no need to hit anyone over the head with his message, and so he never did. His prose is disarmingly open, and anyone who follows him in the work of writing about residential schools is well-advised to study his example. He’s given us a wealth of books, and if you haven’t read them I encourage you to do so.

He loved baseball, and we enjoyed going to the stadium together. Connie and I would talk shop, and he’d hush us. “I’m here to watch the game,” he’d say. He’d go from funny to serious in a beat, hitting just the right note in each register. A few times I got a glimpse of the darker stuff, when he’d talk about picking potatoes and chopping firewood. He wanted so badly to read and to learn, and the residential school system denied him. To the school he was a source of cheap, forced labour, nothing more. It could be hard to reconcile this with the gentle, funny guy sitting behind home plate. Why wasn’t he angry all the time? I know survivors who are. It’s a mystery to me, and I guess it always will be a mystery.

Larry left us peacefully. He has done what he came to do. I miss him, and I’m sad he’s gone, but I know if he were here he’d have none of that. Not for Larry, the long-drawn face and the dirge. “Cheer up, young man, and keep going,” he’d say. For you, Young Man, I will. For you.

Follow Your Passion, revisited

Create, test, refine, repeat. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

We have all heard the phrase, many times now:

Follow your passion.

It usually means Quit Your Job. Stop doing what you hate. Do only what you love.

Love vs hate. Happiness vs misery.

I hate my job, what do I do? Follow your passion.

Accounting, engineering, finance, and dentistry are passions. Maybe they’re not your passion, but they’re someone’s. In these cases, follow your passion means Get Your Job.

Some passions have clear pathways. If your passion is helping sick people, you can study medicine and be a doctor.

Business consultant Jim Collins invented the Hedgehog Concept, which says: Find a passion that is economically viable and that you can do better than your competition.

Questions:

– How do I find my passion?
– Do I have, or even need, a passion?
– Could I have many different passions, at different stages of my life?
– If I can love my job, does it follow I am passionate?

Doing what you are passionate about = being passionate about what you do.

A lot of us do something all day we are not passionate about. But the problem is that the passion<—>doing connection can be murky.

If you are passionate about medieval poetry, then what?

The reading and writing of poetry requires skills like intelligence and creativity and the ability to perceive and to make sense of complex patterns. A poet is an entrepreneur of language. She builds something out of nothing, using will and mind.

This is creativity. Creatives ought to be the richest people on earth, given their ability to make something from nothing.

Making something from nothing is a passion.

– Make a list of ten skills that you have
– Create a list of businesses or products that use the skills on your list
– Identify the products or services that you can do best and that are the most economically viable
– Set targets of one, three, six, and twelve months to develop and sell your services
– Are you less, or more, happy?
– Test, Refine, Repeat

My book, Residential Schools, is “highly recommended” by CM Magazine!

Residential Schools

CM Magazine


Click on the image to go to the CM Magazine review.

Residential Schools: reviewers recommend my latest book

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Above, l. to r., authors Wayne K. Spear, Constance Brissenden, and Larry Loyie, and Jeff Burnham, President, GoodMinds & Indigenous Education Press

Lovely reviews are arriving daily of my latest book, Residential Schools, co-authored with Larry Loyie and editor Constance Brissenden.

Here’s an excerpt from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Winter 2015 edition of Book News (page 38). The author of this review is Karri Yano, a Toronto writer and editor.

The material presented is a balance of historical facts and personal experiences. While thorough in its overview—timeline, politics behind the events (racist attitudes in society and politics)—it is not explicit in the details of the neglect and abuse, but specific facts and personal testimonies reveal the deplorable conditions the children who were taken away and living far from any family support had to endure while also demonstrating the incredible resilience of the survivors and what they did to cope.

The book is suitable / appropriate for student 12 and up as a resource for one period of Canadian history that reveals the struggles of Aboriginal people to self-identify and their fight for equal rights and survival as a culture in Canada.

Residential Schools: with the Words and Images of Survivors—a National History | Released in 2014

“Residential Schools: with the Words and Images of Survivors—a National History”

The book has been featured recently in the Edmonton Journal and Brantford Expositor. Paula Kirman, writing for iheartedmonton.org, says “Residential Schools is an excellent introduction to this tragic subject, and will certainly have a place in classrooms around the province.”

You can order the book by phone from my Brantford, Ontario publisher, Goodminds, 1 (877) 862-8483 or email helpme@goodminds.com.

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