Xwi7xwa Library, University of British Columbia

Book > Biography
Related School
Pelican Lake (ON)
Wells, Robert P.
"Wawahte is a non-fiction book about three Aboriginal children born in the 1930's. Their experiences were much the same as it was for more than 150,000 Aboriginal children who, between 1883 and 1996, were forced to attend 130 residential schools and equally demeaning day schooling in Canada. For this reason imagine that you are there, as we tell of the history of European arrival to the new world, the fur trade, Christianization of natives, colonization, and the subsequent policies and actions that were to the disadvantage of Canada's original inhabitants. Most of all, envision yourself being taken from your parents and placed in a residential school at the age of seven or younger.

Racism takes many forms. When it rises from simply being the opinion of a handful of people to becoming widely accepted by a nation, it can result in official programs that may to the public be touted as beneficial, but that can actually discriminate against entire ethnic groups. In his book about Canada's Indian Residential Schools, the author has compiled detailed information along with first-hand accounts of individuals affected by the country's former laws toward its original residents.

The first part chronicles the experiences of Esther; a Cree whose early childhood was spent divided between winter and summer homes with her family and other villagers. Although marked by poverty and devoid of most of the creature comforts of urban dwellers in the time period, Esther's life was a happy one until she, along with 24 other Cree children in her village, were taken from their homes to Pelican Lake Indian Residential School 500 miles away. Once there she suffered mental, physical, and even sexual abuse at the hands of those charged to look after her. Bunnie's experiences were more positive, but the need to be separated from her family still haunted her. A third child, Stephen, was allowed to attend a village day school instead, but many of the same discriminatory practices that Esther faced became a part of his school life, as well"--publisher's website.

More Information

1466917172; 9781466917170; 1466917199; 9781466917194
Esther speaks -- Prologue / Robert P. Wells -- Part One: Esther's Story -- Mammamattawa village -- Fur trapping and the summer by the river -- Shattered innocence -- Runaways -- Going home -- Wawahte - peace in the heavens -- Part Two: They call me Bunnie -- In memory of a great man -- Part Three: Elder Stanley Stephens -- A man of principle "as long as the river flows, grass grows and sun shines" -- Canadian rangers -- Aboriginal "Indian" war veterans -- Anti-sealing movement kills our way of life -- Part Four: Engaging the past -- Part Five: Introduction to historical background -- Knives, iron cooking pots, guns, traps, beads and blankets -- Esther asks "Bob, why did they do this to me?" -- Appendix I: List of the Indian residential schools -- Appendix II: Indian residential school apologies -- 2008 - The government of Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- 1993 - The Anglican Church of Canada -- 2009 - The Roman Catholic Church -- 1994 - Presbyterian Church of Canada -- 1998 - The United Church of Canada -- Appendix III. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples -- The ten Native American commandments -- Discussion points.
At head of title: "Indian Residential Schools."
"The Northern Lights are Spirit Angels that lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly"--front cover.


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