The new year 2012 brings a new look to our website. One addition is a new page on the site, simply called: Residential School. The material will help teachers, students and others who want to learn more about this hidden history. We do so to honour the 150,000 and more Aboriginal children who went to residential school in Canada.
We (Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden) have spent the past 20 years doing research on residential school. Larry is a survivor of residential school. From his true experiences, he wrote a play (see Two Plays about Residential School below), a “memoir for four voices” called The Healing, and two well-known books As Long as the Rivers Flow and Goodbye Buffalo Bay to introduce the subject. We have also written many articles and overviews. We will collect these and add them (and new material) to the Residential School page.
Larry Loyie’s first book As Long as the Rivers Flow (Groundwood, 2002) was one of the first books on the subject of residential school. Celebrating its 10th year in print, this illustrated chapter book is the true story of Larry’s last traditional summer with his family before being forced to go to residential school. An epilogue in As Long as the Rivers Flow provides an overview of residential school. Heather D. Holmlund of Pickering, ON, created the beautiful watercolour illustrations for this award-winning book.
As Long as the Rivers Flow is now taught in schools across Canada to introduce the subject of residential school. A highlight of the story is grandmother Kokom Bella’s adventure with the biggest grizzly bear in North America. Readers of all ages cherish this exciting, thoughtful, moving book.
The sequel to As long as the Rivers Flow is Larry Loyie’s Goodbye Buffalo Bay (Theytus, 2008). Larry Loyie’s first youth chapter book tells the story of his last year in residential school and moving on at age 13 as a young worker.
Goodbye Buffalo Bay has been welcomed as a sensitive, dramatic and humorous survivor’s story. Themes such as self-discovery and fulfilling one’s dreams for the future make this a positive, uplifting book to read and study for all age groups from 10 years and up. It is reader-friendly for adult readers. An epilogue outlines the history of residential school.
Larry Loyie’s play Ora Pro Nobis, Pray for Us written in the mid-1990s and published in 1998 by Living Traditions Writers Group in Two Plays About Residential School is still in demand for its residential school content. We plan to add the text to our site (as the book is now out of print).
The book includes Vera Manuel‘s residential school play The Strength of Indian Women, written from the women’s point of view. We will add information on how to access Vera Manuel’s play which has been re-published in an anthology of Aboriginal women playwrights.