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category: Biography & Autobiography
published: Jun 2021
publisher: Ronsdale Press

St. Michael's Residential School

Lament and Legacy

by Nancy Dyson, with Dan Rubenstein

tagged: native americans, indigenous studies, native american

One of the few accounts by care-givers in an Indian Residential School describing the horrific conditions. Nancy Dyson and Dan Rubenstein In 1970, the authors, Nancy Dyson and Dan Rubenstein, were hired as childcare workers at the Alert Bay Student Residence (formerly St. Michael's Indian Residential School) on northern Vancouver Island. Shocked when Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families, punished for speaking their native language, fed substandard food and severely disciplined for minor offences, Dan and Nancy questioned the way the school was run with its underlying missionary philosophy. When a delegation from the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs visited St. Michael's, the couple presented a long list of concerns, which were ignored. The next day they were dismissed by the administrator of the school. Some years later, in 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports were released. The raw grief and anger of residential school survivors were palpable and the authors' troubling memories of St. Michael's resurfaced. Dan called Reconciliation Canada, and Chief Dr. Robert Joseph encouraged the couple to share their story with today's Canadians. St. Michael's Residential School: Lament and Legacy is a moving narrative - one of the few told by caregivers who experienced on a daily basis the degradation of Indigenous children. Their account will help to ensure that what went on in the Residential Schools is neither forgotten nor denied.

About the Authors

Nancy Dyson

Dan Rubenstein

Contributor Notes

NANCY DYSON studied international development at Vassar College and became deeply concerned about issues of inequality. Later she became an early childhood educator with a special interest in children's literature. DAN RUBENSTEIN is a geographer, environmentalist and writer. Dan and Nancy make their home in Gloucester, Ontario. Visit www.rubenstein-dyson.com.

Editorial Review

"This book is a must read for all Canadians. It is honest, fair and compelling. The story screams out for human decency, justice and equality. It also calls for Reconciliation and a new way forward!" - Chief Robert Joseph, O.B.C., O.C.
"Highly readable, and significant book. If you are interested in understanding better the residential schooling experience, this volume is an essential aid." - The British Columbia Review

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