Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation

Orca 2017. 160 pages
First published: 2017
ISBN: 9781459815834 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 971.004
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

character, conflict, layout, multigenre, multimodal, point of view, setting, stance

Award

TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award – Finalist – 2018

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“This is not an Aboriginal Problem. This is a Canadian problem.” So begins the quote from Justice Murray Sinclair, leading the chapter, “Honesty: Where Have We Come From?”, as part of this nuanced examination of Canada’s relationship with its Indigenous peoples, over history and today.

The book’s four dense chapters also include “Welcome to the Journey”, “Love: Where do We Stand Today?” and “Kindness and Reciprocity: Where Do We Go From Here?” Conversational language and a foundation of Indigenous values address the painful facts about residential schools and the attempted cultural genocide of Nations across Canada, using a framework that encourages reader engagement and action.

Excerpts from interviews with adults, youth and elders (both Indigenous and allies) offer a variety of voice and perspective: “My dad was particularly hurt by his experience in Residential School and his favourite saying was ‘I’m the most even-tempered man in the world. I’m mad all the time.’” The book also directs readers to edifying videos and podcasts. The words of Elder Kahontakwas (aka Diane Longboat) share values for going forward: “youth have to see themselves as being part of creation. They are no better than, or lesser than, and they have a specific duty to fulfill with the gifts that the Creator has given each human being.”

Captioned photography includes historic images as well as cultural activities and ceremonies today. Key figures and moments in the Truth and Reconciliation movement are depicted, as are youth who were interviewed for this book. Sidebars provide definitions of specialized terms. “Reflections” sections offer questions for discussion. Online resources, a reading list, a glossary and an index complete this absorbing and useful book.

  •  Discuss these questions: How would you feel if the RCMP showed up at your house or school and took you away to live at a school far from your home? How would you feel if you were told you could no longer speak your own language? How would it feel to be referred to as a number instead of a name?
  •  Discuss the Seven Sacred Teachings. What stands out most for you?
  •  In small groups, discuss the social and political world of the text and make connections to its historical context.
  •  Following discussion about the issues brought forward by the text, use an inquiry process along with research strategies to engage in a research project that explores them further.
  •  The text aims to provide readers with an honest history of Canada and of Indigenous people. Read the first chapter together and discuss why such a history might be needed.
  •  

    In small groups, choose a section and discuss the issues and ideas presented therein. Explore the different texts and features includes in each of the chapters.

  •  

    The non-fiction book may be used along with other fiction and non-fiction works for the immersion into text that informs the writing process. Use a production process to write a narrative or expository piece about an issue or idea stemming from the text.

  •  

    In small groups, discuss how you believe Residential Schools affected First Nations families in the short and long term.

  •  As you read, pay attention to the “Reflections” sidebars and take note of the questions you would like to discuss with a partner.
  •  Do you believe the Canadian government has done enough to reconcile the damage Residential Schools have caused? In an essay to the Prime Minister, express your opinion on the topic, referring to the content from Smith’s book as support.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Social Sciences