They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School

2014 Third Place Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Young Adult Literature
Publisher: 
Talonbooks
Pub Date: 
June 2013
Pages: 
256
Non-fiction
Paperback
ISBN: 
0889227411
Price: 
$19.95

They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School is the first full-length memoir to be published out of St. Joseph’s Mission at Williams Lake, BC. In it, Cheif Bev Sellars tells of three generations of women who attended the school, interweaving the personal histories of her grandmother and her mother with her own. She tells of hunger, forced labour, and physical beatings, often with a leather strap, and also of the demand for conformity in a culturally alien institution where children were confined and denigrated for failure to be White and Roman Catholic.

 

 

“Candidly and with brilliant clarity, Bev Sellars draws us deeply into her life while pointing a penetrating light into the darkest shadows of Canada’s racist and genocidal … residential schools. In her telling, survivors and the families of those who did not make it will feel their own stories.”
– Grand Chief Edward John, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

“Deeply personal, sorrowful and ultimately triumphal, They Called Me Number One is an important addition to the literature on residential schools, and Canada’s reckoning with its colonial past.”
– Winnipeg Free Press

They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School is the first full-length memoir to be published out of St. Joseph’s Mission at Williams Lake, BC. In it, Cheif Bev Sellars tells of three generations of women who attended the school, interweaving the personal histories of her grandmother and her mother with her own. She tells of hunger, forced labour, and physical beatings, often with a leather strap, and also of the demand for conformity in a culturally alien institution where children were confined and denigrated for failure to be White and Roman Catholic.

 

 

“Candidly and with brilliant clarity, Bev Sellars draws us deeply into her life while pointing a penetrating light into the darkest shadows of Canada’s racist and genocidal … residential schools. In her telling, survivors and the families of those who did not make it will feel their own stories.”
– Grand Chief Edward John, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

“Deeply personal, sorrowful and ultimately triumphal, They Called Me Number One is an important addition to the literature on residential schools, and Canada’s reckoning with its colonial past.”
– Winnipeg Free Press