Author Archives: Constance Brissenden

About Constance Brissenden

Constance Brissenden (BA, MA, Theatre) is a writer, editor, and educator. In 1992, she met Cree First Nations author Larry Loyie in a free creative writing class in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Focusing on Indigenous history, culture, and pride, Larry and Constance were a dynamic duo. They wrote eight books together based on Larry Loyie's traditional childhood and his six years in residential school. After more than 20 years of research, they completed the national bestselling history, Residential Schools, With the Words and Images of Survivors (Indigenous Education Press). Together they gave more than 1,600 talks and 100 writing workshops across Canada. Larry Loyie (1933-2016) was dedicated to sharing his pride in his culture and traditions, and educating others about the hidden history of residential school. Constance Brissenden continues to share Larry Loyie's legacy. She is honoured to have been part of his inspiring journey, and continues to write, edit, and teach in his memory. Constance Brissenden can be reached at:

Larry Loyie’s legacy is growing

Hello from Constance Brissenden, Larry Loyie’s partner. Larry Loyie’s legacy as an Indigenous author, educator, traditional Cree, and residential school survivor has continued to grow since he died in 2016 at the age of 82 years.

Here are some of the highlights:

An early photo of Larry Loyie and his partner Constance Brissenden.

… The Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden Collection at the University of British Columbia’s Residential School History and Dialogue Centre continues to expand. I’ve worked on the organization of the collection since Larry died, with two visits to UBC. The archivists there are phenomenal… and the collection is big. In terms of digital files, images, and media (videos, tv clips, audio, etc) there are 12,377 items. Plus hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hard copy files, research books, interviews, and so on. The Centre continues to work on this collection to make it accessible.

Residential School, With the Words and Images of Survivors … third printing has updates, available from publisher (Indigenous Education Press)

… the above book won the 2016 Golden Oak Award

As Long as the Rivers Flow, Larry Loyie’s classic children’s book introducing his beloved traditional childhood and its loss at residential school, sold over 22,000 copies in the USA in 2019. Available from, or from published Groundwood Books.

More in my next blog! Thank you, Constance Brissenden
Edmonton, AB

Loyie Brissenden Archive at UBC’s new Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

Larry Loyie (1933-April 18, 2016) is honoured at the University of British Columbia’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre with the Loyie Brissenden archive. The centre is located in the central campus, opposite the well-known clock tower.

Larry Loyie (on left, altar boy in white cassock) at St. Bernard Mission residential school, Grouard, Alberta, circa 1945. Larry Loyie wrote four books related to his life and the history and effects of residential school on survivors.

The new Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre opened April 9, 2018. The important centre represents B.C., Alberta, NWT and Yukon survivors.

In a public area are comfortable couches and two digital kiosks where visitors can put on headphones and listen to Larry’s extended interview on his life and six years in residential school (created by the High Prairie Oral History Project, 2011). There are six additional computers for research.

The University of British Columbia’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre opened April 9, 2018, on the Vancouver UBC campus.

Each of Larry Loyie’s books is featured on the centre’s website (not loaded yet but soon) with a cover, description, and library link. Much more can be added, and will be. Thank you to the centre’s archivist Elizabeth Shaffer for her splendid and untiring work.

Archivist Elizabeth Shaffer (left), with Larry Loyie’s partner and co-author Constance Brissenden; Trude Huebner, who produced the Pen to Pen tour of Ora Pro Nobis, Pray for Us, Larry Loyie’s play about his residential school years, to British Columbia federal prisons in February 1995; Larry Loyie’s son Brad Loyie of Surrey, BC.

Larry Loyie’s 30 years of research into Indigenous traditions and history, as well as residential school and its survivors, will be accessible on the centre’s website in the coming months.

Copies of Larry Loyie’s books, Residential Schools, With the Words and Images of Survivors, and Two Plays About Residential School (both from Indigenous Education Press,, were featured at the opening.

Larry Loyie wrote two additional books about his years living a traditional life followed by six years in residential school: As Long as the Rivers Flow (Groundwood) and its sequel Goodbye Buffalo Bay (Theytus). All books are in print.