By Christine Smith (McFarlane)

TORONTO - On Feb. 4 the First Nations Communities Read competition was highlighted at the Ontario Library Association (OLA) Super Conference with the release of the long list of titles - 19 books.

One of the books highlighted was "Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors".

Authors Larry Loyie, of Slave Lake Alberta with Wayne K Spear and Constance Brissenden appeared at the booth to do a public reading.

This book explains the hidden history of the residential school system. Award-winning author and former residential school student Larry Loyie delves into how Canada, for over a century, removed more than 150,000 Aboriginal children from their families to attend these church-run residential schools. It explains in a comprehensive, yet accessible, way the history of not only First Nations people but also the Métis and Inuit peoples of Canada.

Questions asked within the book include "Why did residential schools as they were called, happen? How did they continue? Why did they stop? And most importantly how did they affect the families and the children, now known as school survivors?

This book is unique in the sense that is the voice of more than 70 former students and family members. It includes seven chapters that address key issues such as why did it happen. What is the meaning of culture and traditions to how students learned to cope and heal after their residential school experience?

There are more than 125 images, many from the personal collections of survivors, a map of Canada's residential schools, a "key dates" timeline, five myths associated with Residential School and a glossary of terms.

The authors of this book say that the book itself involved over 20 years of research, 200 interviews and took three years to write.

"It is a historical narrative and national history that needs to be told," said Loyie.

Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors is co-published by Indigenous Education Press of Brantford Ontario and Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It is 102 pages long. ISBN: 978 -0-9939371-0-1

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