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They Called Me Number One
Cover of They Called Me Number One
They Called Me Number One
Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School
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Like thousands of Aboriginal children in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere in the colonized world, Xatsu'll chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential...
Like thousands of Aboriginal children in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere in the colonized world, Xatsu'll chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential...
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  • Like thousands of Aboriginal children in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere in the colonized world, Xatsu'll chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential school.

    These institutions endeavored to "civilize" Native children through Christian teachings; forced separation from family, language, and culture; and strict discipline. Perhaps the most symbolically potent strategy used to alienate residential school children was addressing them by assigned numbers only—not by the names with which they knew and understood themselves.

    In this frank and poignant memoir of her years at St. Joseph's Mission, Sellars breaks her silence about the residential school's lasting effects on her and her family—from substance abuse to suicide attempts—and eloquently articulates her own path to healing. Number One comes at a time of recognition—by governments and society at large—that only through knowing the truth about these past injustices can we begin to redress them.

    Bev Sellars is chief of the Xatsu'll (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake, British Columbia. She holds a degree in history from the University of Victoria and a law degree from the University of British Columbia. She has served as an advisor to the British Columbia Treaty Commission.

About the Author-

  • Bev Sellars is Chief of the the Xat'sull (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake, British Columbia. She holds a degree in history from the University of Victoria and a law degree from the University of British Columbia. She has served as an advisor to the BC Treaty Commission.

Table of Contents-

  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    FOREWORD – Hemas Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla
    INTRODUCTION
    What Pain Have You Suffered?
    Chapter 1
    My Grandmother
    First Memories
    My Grandfather (xp'e7e)
    Grasshoppers Looking For Work
    Radios, Dances, Electricity And Running Water
    Uncle Leonard
    My Brother Ray Was Born in Prison
    Sardis Hospital = Loneliness
    Chapter 2
    St. Joseph's Mission = Prison
    Families Separated
    Duties At The Mission
    The Food They Gave Us You Wouldn't Give Your Dog
    I'd Rather Kiss a Dog Than an Indian
    Chapter 3
    I Get Religion But What Did It Mean?
    Sexual Abuse
    Mental Abuse – A Lifelong Sentence
    Forbidden Languages
    Chapter 4
    Health Care?
    Uncle Ernie
    Teachers
    Gangs and Acceptable Touching
    Boot Camp Style Supervision
    Letters and Visitors Were Screened by the Authorities
    Chapter 5
    Pain and Pleasure
    Some Good Memories
    The Puffed Wheat Bandits and Other Runaways
    Chapter 6
    Home Sweet Home
    Christmas
    The Shame of Puberty
    The RCMP, Priests, Indian Nurses and Indian Agents
    The Training I Received to Be a Productive Part of Society
    Chapter 7
    The Summer of '67 - Big Changes in My Life
    Going to School With Whites and The Cache Creek Motors Bus
    White People Can Be Stupid?
    Living With Dysfunction
    Family Chaos
    Leaving the Safety of Gram's House
    My Epiphany at Sixteen
    My Dark Years
    Grooming for Violence
    Chapter 8
    My Attempted Suicide and Other Attempts
    Jacinda, Scott and Tony Mack, My Saviors
    Stepping Off the Rez
    Deaths From Car Accidents
    Finally – An Education
    The Turning Points: Ernie Phillip and a 25 Cent Book
    Chapter 9
    Becoming a "Leader"
    Cariboo-Chilcotin Justice Inquiry
    Examining the Aftermath of the Residential Schools
    Anger
    Hemas Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla

    Chapter 10
    Indians – An Industry With No Product
    Don't Ever Think I Don't Miss You, Bev
    Institutions and Aboriginal People
    A.I.M. and Other Political Teachings
    Going to University
    Final Thoughts ... for Now

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    Talonbooks
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Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School
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