Arminzerella's Reviews > My Name is Not Easy

My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson
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** spoiler alert ** I'm about 70 pages into this, and I *could* finish it, but I don't really want to. I'm not really in the mood for this. Fictionalized recounting of actual events that took place in Alaska, when Inuit children were sent to schools far from home (before the Molly Hootch settlement in 1976, which required the state of Alaska to open schools all over the state AND in remote areas, so kids wouldn't be torn from their families and traditions). In this case, the kids are sent to a Catholic mission school and not all of the fathers and sisters who run the school are the sort of upstanding folks you'd want them to be. As with other native american peoples, the kids are forced to speak English and give up their native tongues as well as some of their traditions (although, a couple of the boys in this book are allowed to hunt to help supplement their tuition and the meals that get served in the cafeteria).

"Luke" (I'm not sure we ever learn his 'real' name, which isn't easy, he says, for English-speakers to pronounce) loses his younger brother (Isaac, age 6) almost as soon as they arrive. When they find out how young he is, they send him off to live with a family - without informing his brother or his actual family where he's gone. He's effectively adopted illegally. I assume things are only going to get worse the longer the rest of the kids stay there (before they get better/if they get better).

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Judy Desetti Be brave and finish the book. It does show real stories but this is why you should finish it. Ignoring a part of our history does not make it better. We need to know and understand so it does not happen again. So we can learn more
about our fellow Americans and our past, good and bad.

message 2: by Arminzerella (last edited Jan 03, 2012 11:57AM) (new) - added it

Arminzerella I'm not ignoring history to make it go away. I said I wasn't in the mood for "this book." Finishing it isn't going to make me a better person. I'm familiar with the events and would rather read or know about them through some other book or medium. The point is this was not a book for me at this time.

Judy Desetti Okay, sorry. And I too have some problems with the novel. Great info and concepts but... Hard to follow.

Arminzerella No prob. Did you read Codetalker (Bruchac)? There's some discussion toward the beginning of the mission schools the Navajos were made to attend.

message 5: by Judy (last edited Jan 08, 2012 08:07AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy Desetti No. I have not read Bruchac - Codetalker. However, I am aware of the horrible conditions Native American Tribes faced as they were forced to assimilate. It amazes me how unaware so many people in history were oblivious to conditions and the humanity of people of any diversion from themselves, no matter whether they were tribes, from other cultures, or of color. Although I am not naive enough to think that has been eradicated yet. I am hopeful there has been some progress and change.

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