Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: A Memoir
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Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: A Memoir

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Theodore (Ted) Fontaine lost his family and freedom just after his seventh birthday, when his parents were forced to leave him at an Indian residential school by order of the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of Canada. Twelve years later, he left school frozen at the emotional age of seven. He was confused, angry and conflicted, on a path of self-destruction. At ag...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published 2010 by Heritage House Publishing Company
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I suspect Theodore Fontaine will never be able to cope with what's happened to him since this book was written with less detail than I thought it would. Partly being private, perhaps. Still, the book focuses a lot on what Fontaine felt made him happy as a boy and only touched on examples of abuse in his residential school as though it was there to add some pepper. It's not until he's an adult describing what had happened to him, only allowing it up to the reader to imagine the horror he'd gone t...more
I read this book in one sitting and appreciated the motivation, courage and effort involved in the writing of it. It added to my understanding of what happened to the people forced into the residential school system and the effects on them and their families and culture. Particularly interesting to me was the author's insights into how residential school survivors became victims of "Stockholm Syndrome" (before that term was coined) - how they saw their "keepers" as saviours and blamed their pare...more
Cynthia Davidson
Dec 03, 2013 Cynthia Davidson rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those wanting firsthand experience accounts of Canadian history
Recommended to Cynthia by: saw it mentioned in a book by another residential school survivor
I think it is crucial that more of these stories come to light & I'm grateful that Theodore Fontaine had the courage to relive these experiences while taking the time to write them down.

Although my First Nations friends are Migmaw (aka MicMac) their treatment at these residential schools mirrors this account, and worse. Bearing witness is the beginning of healing, and this book is a good example of that necessity.
I've already passed on my copy to my friends on a reserve in New Brunswick be...more
I appreciated this memoir of life before, during, and after living at the Fort Alexander Indian Residential School. Most accounts we get of these institutions are third-hand and seem as though they were long ago and far away, but Fontaine's story takes place throughout the 50s and 60s. He describes traumatic experiences that, while horrible, don't seem the litany of awful events that perhaps we were expecting. However, the sum of the impact of a variety of types of dehumanizing experiences - fro...more
This is a tough subject. And one that doesn't get alot of acceptance. Sadly that's just the very thing that needs to happen. I believe this was a horrible thing that happened and I believe it's my responsibilty as a Canadian (and a Catholic) to learn more about this. Fontaine is brave to write this memoir. I think he does a fair job of a tough thing. I do wish, however, that he was more in your face about it and was better at conjeying the ripple effect of the abuse. It doesn't hit as hard as it...more
Theodore Fontaine takes us to a place that many of us do not want to go. It is factual, raw and needs to be shared. I commend his personal courage, strength and honesty in writing this book. His memoirs have led me to seek deep within myself and admit that I have held gross misconceptions for the majority of my life. I need to be true to myself and admit that I have been mislead. I have started to revisit my misunderstandings and create a new belief system with regards to the Aboriginal peoples...more
Jun 03, 2013 Liz added it
A sad commentary on a piece of our Canadian history. Remarkable story full of healing and hope, despair and reconciliation. Fontaine is incredibly honest and forthright in telling his story of the abuse he suffered in residential schools, yet he is incredibly forgiving in the telling. I kept thinking how I really 'had no idea'!
Canadian Obijway Indians were made to feel inferior and Catholics priests and nuns ran Residential schools and abused the kids. This is a survivors memoir and contains great sketches of Canadian Obijway life in the l950's.
I am having a hard time putting this book down. The author draws you into his personal experience with residential schools.
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