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Concentration Camps of Canada

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Through Migizi’s life, we experience a glimpse of every Indigenous life lived in Canada. Set from 1918 to the 1960s, Migizi survives the abuses of residential schools and tries to live life as a Canadian. He joins the army and becomes a war hero only to return to a country that barely tolerates his existence. His bravery and perseverance is unwavering until he is forced to face his greatest fears. Will he survive his own demons and memories? Would any of us?

For completeness, the following is the back cover text of Concentration Camps of Canada:

Imagine a world where everyone lives in harmony. A world where square miles of farmland are given to settlers in exchange for them agreeing to move there. A world of freedom, laws, and opportunity.

That world is Canada, then and now.

Unknown to the world and its citizens, that same government waged a genocidal war against its Indigenous peoples—never granting them ownership of land they freely gave to European settlers. A war that was fought in residential schools as they stripped Indigenous peoples of their language, culture, and pride. So successful was this method that Adolf Hitler used it as the model for his own concentration camps in Nazi Germany.

This is the story of a young boy growing up in that world, determined to be a man in a system that only saw him as an Indian.

Migizi’s story.

Based on the truth.

180 pages, Paperback

First published June 13, 2017

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Baron Alexander Deschauer

42 books22 followers

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Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for Michelle (driftingsong).
607 reviews37 followers
July 6, 2017
When I saw this book on Netgalley for review, I knew that I needed to request it, as it took me until university to actually learn about how dire/sad the history of the aboriginal / first nations people in Canada was and still remains to be; and once I was taught about it, I was astounded by how little I actually knew. Now I want to make a concerted effort to learn more about this tragic aspect of Canadian history.

This is the account of one man's experiences growing up as a first nations person in Canada. It chronicles many of his experiences growing up in a residential school, getting his first job, with his family, life on the reservation, addiction, experiences with racism and otherness and more. While this book only chronicles one particular fictional account, I thought it would be a great way to introduce this topic to middle or high school students or to teach adults who know very little about it. That being said as far as I'm aware the author is not aboriginal (although maybe I'm wrong). I'm not knocking the book in any way for (I think) not being own voices, but I would love to see more stories like this written from an aboriginal perspective, as I fear that their voices have often been lost in the sad, loud cacophony of history.
Profile Image for Elite Group.
3,053 reviews49 followers
August 18, 2017
“Taking the Indian out of the Indian”

Magizi has been forced to leave his family and attend school hundreds of miles from his tribe. This, because of a law passed by the Canadian government who decided that the indigenous people of Canada had to learn English, French and “European Christian” values and culture. The school he attended is run by Catholic nuns, priests, and brothers.

At first, Magizi looks at school life as an adventure but thanks to his first and best friend, Geezis, from the Ojibwe tribe he realises that it’s going to be anything but an adventure. His life, now as David, means he must adapt to a life alien to his heritage.

Magizi survived the many deaths that occurred at the school as doctors were never called to treat the sick children. (The nuns would pray for their recovery). He survived the beatings and the abuse. He survived taking on labourer work and he survived WW2 as a crack member of a secret platoon when he won several medals for distinguished service. However, surviving the laws of the removal of children, and simply living life as an equal Canadian, was somehow far beyond his reach.

Until I read this book, I’d always looked at Canada as a fair and democratic country, where people of all races and creeds were treated as equals. My rose-coloured glasses have been well and truly smashed into pieces thanks to discovering the history of abuse that the indigenous North Americans have had to suffer from the last of these “Indian” Residential Schools only being closed in 1996. It then took until 2008 to issue a formal apology for the creation of the residential schools and A Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2001 to uncover the full horror of how people were treated under the laws first enforced in 1869.

We’ve been led to believe that Germany’s concentration camps were the first time that these appalling methods of dehumanising people were used. We were wrong. In 1885 “sanitised” genocide was declared against the Australian Aborigines and in the same way, the children from the Aborigines were forcibly removed from their families to be removed from their parents.

In 1899 the British declared war on the Boers in South Africa. Concentration camps were quickly established where Boer women, children and elderly men were subjected to conditions which spread epidemics such as measles, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases on a scale hitherto unknown to man. Thousands of Boer women and children died in these camps.

I find it so hard to come to terms with man’s inhumanity to man. Maybe the concentration camps have disappeared (hopefully?) but we’re now facing human trafficking on a scale that is now affecting every single country in the world. The number of people being used in this new form of “concentration camps” is so big and so overwhelming that the police are unable to even guess how many people are involved.

I feel very honoured that I was given the opportunity to read and review this book. I now appreciate, even more, the fact that Native American and Aborigine traditions, beliefs and stories have survived after centuries of being forced almost to extinction.


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.

Profile Image for Erika.
79 reviews
June 25, 2017
--I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are purely my own and not influenced in any way.--
I've been holding off on this one for a little while and finally got around to reading it. Migizi is not a terrible narrator and given that I know literally nothing about the struggles and tragedies that befell the Native Canadian people, it was nice to have something to look up and learn about. I couldn't really feel much for the characters because I feel like the chapters (and thusly the different "chapters" of his life) are too short to really leave that punch that I would have liked, though that could have more to do with the style reminding me of John Boyne's "The Heart's Invisible Furies" than anything the author did.
So this is shaking up to be a solid three star book when we get to WWII when Migizi joins the "Devil's Brigade". Holy crap, these people were awesome and their missions unbelievable, so I looked it up and they really existed! Even their first death-defying mission up about 1,000 feet of vertical rock is true! So I dig deeper, and in this book, Migizi wins a medal for pretending to be a farmer plowing a field, shaking his fists at both the German and Allies, pretending to tie his shoes when in reality he was reconnecting a communication line that led to taking out four German brigades. Yeah, that seems unbelievable and contrived, but it actually happened to one of the most decorated First Nations soldier, Tommy Prince, which leads to my one star review: NOWHERE IN THIS BOOK IS THIS ACTUAL FEAT BY AN ACTUAL PERSON ACKNOWLEDGED. Given that Tommy Prince is an actual Native American war hero and that this crazy stunt was legitimately done and not something the author cooked up, I feel like he should at least be mentioned as the inspiration for the fictional character getting all the praise. He was a hero, and from a very marginalized group of people which is the point of the book <\i>: they are people worthy of acknowledgement and treatment as anyone else should be. So it left a very sour taste in my mouth that his name was not mentioned anywhere in the book to the point that I stopped reading. The book itself, eh, it's fine and does educate on a subject I didn't know about. But give credit where it's due: don't plagiarise someone's life.
Profile Image for Amie's Book Reviews.
1,522 reviews166 followers
June 27, 2017
Disturbing. Heart-Breaking. Horrifying.  Sickening. Riveting.

These are just some of the words that come to mind after reading Baron Alexander Deschauer's CONCENTRATION CAMPS OF CANADA.

Although this is a fictional story, it is based on fact. That is what makes it so disturbing.

BUT, it is for exactly for that reason that every Canadian, and indeed, every North American, needs to read this book.

No longer should the sins of the past be allowed to stay hidden. Everyone needs to know just what it was that Native Canadians were forced to endure at the hands of the Church and the Canadian government.

Remember as you read this review that this book may be fiction, but it is based on FACT.

Migizi was taken away forcefully from his parents and placed in a residential school. Doesn't sound too bad right?


At that school he quickly lost his entire world. This sounds like a dramatic statement, but it actually does not do justice to what Migizi had to endure.

First, he was in a strange, cold place where he knew no one. There he was to take classes and live. On his first day of school they took away his name. They named him "David" and if he or anyone else referred to him by his "heathen" name, they would be punished. If he did not answer to his new name fast enough, he would be punished. If he spoke too loudly, or too quietly ... you guessed it; he would be punished.

In case you missed what I was trying to say, Migizi experienced mental and physical abuse and unfortunately he, like so many "real" aboriginal people, was also forced to endure sexual abuse at the hands of those who had the nerve to call themselves "God's Emissaries."

After finally aging out of the residential school system, "David" joined the army. His old Indian name was by that stage in his life, a long-forgotten memory.

In the army he distinguished himself and was labeled a war hero. Because of this, you would think that upon his arrival back to Canada (the country he had fought so bravely for) his service and sacrifice would have placed him on equal footing with the rest of the returning soldiers ... I am sad to say that you would be wrong.

When he came home to Canada after the war, his return was largely ignored while his white comrades-in-arms were celebrated and congratulated for their service.

David was once again seen as just another dirty Indian. The shock he felt must have been emotionally crippling.

This book is IMPORTANT. People who might not read a book of non-fiction might be willing to read this one. It is important because it brings awareness and I fully believe that knowledge is power.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars for story and content, but 5 out of 5 Stars for importance. 🌟🌟🌟🌟 But, since this is supposed to be a book review and not a rant on my personal beliefs, I will stick to the 4 out of 5 rating.

To read more of my reviews and to enter giveaways sign up to follow my blog at http://AmiesBookReviews.wordpress.com or follow me on INSTAGRAM http://www.instagram.com/Amiesbookrev...
Profile Image for Tripfiction.
1,604 reviews197 followers
September 16, 2017
A sad tale of subjugated people (Native Canadians)

The title is misleading and – dare one say it – intended to shock. It is said by the authors (but disputed by others) that Hitler gained his ‘inspiration’ for the concentration camps in Germany from the treatment of the native population in Canada by the ruling colonials powers. Yes, they were herded into reservations and yes, they suffered many deprivations – but to say they were in concentration camps is a step too far.

The exaggeration aside, Concentration Camps of Canada is an immensely moving book. We are told that ‘this story is an amalgam of real life stories and fiction, and that the truth lies within’. It covers the life of Migizi (re-christened David in the very harsh and abusive school he was first sent to when separated by the state from his parents) from the aforementioned school through his teenage infatuation with a white girl – which ended up in a beating from her father – to his life on the road in Canada, drinking excessive alcohol (strictly prohibited for Indians) and living off subsistence wages and free accommodation, and on to a very successful army career in WW2. The army was the one place he was accepted for his abilities and not rejected because of his race. After demobilisation he returned to a reservation in Canada and to second class citizenship. His children by his second marriage were taken away from him by ‘well meaning’ state officials – and the whole cycle of his life started again. Concentration Camps of Canada is, as I said, an immensely moving book which covers a period of Canadian history that I was not familiar with. And it is a long period. There is a chronology at the beginning of the book that details developments right through from the 1857 Gradual Civilisation Act to the 2016 apology of the Premier of Ontario for his State’s role in the residential schools systems. It makes interesting, if disturbing, reading. It seems thankfully to be from another age…

Native Canadians are, of course, not the only indigenous people to be treated in such a way. Native Americans and the Aborigines in Australia have very similar experiences. In India itself the British imposed their culture and way of life on an ‘alien’ population. And the evils of the slave trade are still exposed in racial divides in the States. We are hopefully now moving on.

Concentration Camps of Canada does a great job in reminding us of ‘our’ behaviour in the recent past. But I doubt it has too much to do with the horrors of Nazi Germany.
Profile Image for Mandy.
3,147 reviews267 followers
July 1, 2017
This is an important book from an historical point of view but unfortunately it is not a very good novel, lacking as it does psychological depth and complexity. Through the eyes and experiences of one Ojibwa man, from childhood to adulthood, we learn of the appalling cruelty, abuse, racism, prejudice and injustice that Canadian native peoples endured at the hands of the Canadian authorities. The book starts with Migizi’s arrival at a residential school. The residential school system was set up to forcibly assimilate native children by taking them from their families and bringing them up as “white” children. The title is misleading as, bad as they were, these weren’t actually concentration camps and the author’s claim that the Nazi camps were inspired by them seems spurious. Migizi’s story is a tragic one. He returns from WWII a hero but still faces prejudice and is unable to protect his children just as his own parents were unable to protect him. It’s a dreadful story, for sure, and one which needed to be brought to a wide readership. However I found the narrative style flat and pedestrian and in spite of the horrors described never fully engaged with Migizi and his story; perhaps the book is aimed more at a YA readership than an adult one. However, I learnt a lot about a shameful period in Canadian history and for that I am grateful.
Profile Image for Erikka.
1,824 reviews
June 27, 2017
I feel that this book would have been better with literally any other title, as this one reflected only a very small piece of the plot.. It was about the life of a Canadian Ojibwa man and, through him, the lives of Canadian natives in general. It was extremely sad, especially knowing that our treatment of indigenous peoples has not improved with time, in Canada or the US. They still have the highest rate of gambling, drinking, and suicide of any race. They are sequestered to small desert communities that are veritably inhospitable and then treated like inconveniences when they dare to use our resources, ask for assistance, or seek proper medical care. Migizi's experiences were tragic and made for a very emotional story arc, but unfortunately the story lacked impact because it was so surface and cut-and-dry. Instead of being a flowing, plot driven tale, it was more like a small child telling a story after school: "This happened, then this happened, and then this happened. The end." The impact was reduced by the lack of transitions or pathos. At least indigenous peoples can finally see themselves and their history in writing, so that's definitely a positive.
Profile Image for Sara.
415 reviews46 followers
August 3, 2017
Holy Shit. I don't have worlds and I need time to comprehend what I just read. This was intense and emotional and has made me a complete mess of emotions. I've never personally experienced this type of treatment of people based on heritage, and I can't sympathize being a white middle class American, but that doesn't mean that I have to agree. And this book brought me to tears of both sadness and completely and utter anger. A human being should be treated as a human being no matter what their heritage and cases like this just serve to piss me off.

I think this book is severely important so that we know that this is something that occurs and it is something that needs to be addressed because, as it as put in the story, no one else seems to be doing anything. Just read it, and be prepared for a story about being strong when the entire world is against your existence. Five out of five.
Profile Image for Michelle Kidwell.
Author 39 books75 followers
June 8, 2017

Concentration Camps of Canada

by Baron Alexander Deschauer


General Fiction (Adult) , Teens & YA

Pub Date 13 Jun 2017

I am reviewing Concentration Camps of Canada through FriesenPress and Netgalley:

This book is set between 1918 and 1960, and talks about Migizi's life, the abuses he survives in residential schools. From the first day his Teacher changes his name to David, because it is easier to say. He was beat on the hands with a yardstick because he ate before Grace was said.

The students are only allowed to speak English, and learns he is not allowed to hunt, that the food consists of the same thing Day after day.

Before long more and more kids are getting sick, and dying but no doctors come.

When David falls in love with a white girl, and her Father finds out Migizi is beaten.

David soon finds himself trying to drink his problems away, no ends up spending time in jail, eventually he gets married and has children, but his wife commits suicide when their children are sent away like Migizi was.

I give Concentration Camps of Canada five out of five stars.

Happy Reading.
Profile Image for Jodie "Bookish"  Cook.
1,717 reviews3 followers
December 28, 2018
Concentration Camps of Canada was a book I read when I was going through a reading phase on true stories. While Concentration Camps of Canada is an amazing story of one boy's journey for acceptance and the trials of his life, I didn't connect well with the main characters and that could be because of the cultural differences but I still found it an entertaining and gripping read.
Profile Image for Bex.
1,314 reviews48 followers
June 15, 2017
This book took off in ways I wasn't expecting. Told through the eyes of Migizi, over a relatively large time frame, we see life from the view of the indigenous people of Canada. Some of the scenes are bleak and harrowing, but perhaps all the more important to challenge yourself to read because of that. Sometimes I think that reading something like this goes a long way towards understanding the memories of those who struggled through difficult, disturbing times to hopefully stop history from repeating itself. This book certainly feels like it captures that idea with a brutally honest and stark approach.

Migizi has a challenging life, but one that this book leads you to understand was not uncommon during this period. The story extends across his experiences of school in early childhood, unrequited love with a young white girl whose father vehemently disapproves, a spiralling depression leading to alcoholism and crime (sometimes just to have some place warm to sleep), and an unexpected degree of heroism in the war. Each of these stories, largely given their own independent chapter, had upsetting elements which weren't always too far removed from the realms of modern day racism and the injustice of those deemed different for ignorant reasons.

This story also shed light on a Canada I didn't know existed. Whilst Migizi's story isn't filled with action, it will still keep you hooked - this dark time, which saw people stripped of their identity and worth, and allegedly helped Hitler develop his own concentration camps is most definitely an eye opener; well worth a read.

ARC provided free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kayla Rae.
86 reviews12 followers
June 18, 2017
I read this book through NetGalley.

This book is not the most well-written story you will read, but it is important. It follows the life of a Native Canadian, from forced assimilation education through World War II and beyond. It is a great view into largely unknown parts of Canadian history. It's also a short read. I read it in a day.
That being said, I wish it were longer. Each snapshot into Migizi's life was interesting, but too brief. This could have easily been three times as long, focusing more on each stage and injustice in Migizi's life.
Profile Image for Cindy Stone.
Author 4 books9 followers
September 28, 2017
Concentration Camps of Canada by Baron Deschauer
Inspired by a true historical story about an indigenous man from Western Canada, Baron Deschauer weaves a compelling tragedy that spans several decades. The story begins in the 1920’s when ‘Migizi’, plucked from his family and launched into the residential school system, meets his first friend, ‘Geezis’ in the school yard. Migizi is all innocence, curiosity and incomprehension about where he is and what the expectations are in this alien environment. Swiftly we move into the classroom where Migizi is given an English name, David, and his innocence is slashed away one incomprehensible and tragic moment by another.
Throughout the decades of Migizi’s life, we experience the racism, the tragedies, the moments of great humanity and those of degradation, humiliation and disgrace. On his journey, Migizi attracts the compassion of many men who see in him a man of great strength and integrity, but trauma caused by abuse, has a way of asserting itself during times of great stress, proving perceived unworthiness. Baron Deschauer deftly writes the rises of Migizi, and his destructive falls into alcoholism. I admire Deschauer’s ability to traverse so much experience and time—four decades of a man’s life—wrapped into a comparatively slim volume without losing the sense of detail.
The introduction to this story is a mini-history lesson of the shocking government policies implemented in Canada. Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that the last residential school was closed in 1996 and the “Indian Act”, a unilateral codification of how Canada recognizes and manages indigenous affairs, reservations still exists to this day. The story of Migizi makes the cultural and social problems created by these inhumane systems very real, very tragic and very current. The results of the systematic de-culturing and assimilation of indigenous peoples lives on.
This is an important book for many reasons. Canada is currently grappling with its responsibility for the reservation and residential school system that decimated the heart and soul of a people, creating countless social problems. The world is also grappling with how we live in a global society with other cultures, conflicting needs and declining resources that reflect the mindset of scarcity and the push for power. Terrorism, rampant racism and the gap between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, is ever widening. How will humanity learn to live with our differences in true acceptance and equality? How will humanity rise to stand up to racism, bigotry and intolerance. We need stories like Migizi’s to spark our humanity and call up our courage to speak out against social injustice.
Ironically the Indigenous people of the North Americas were considered savages by the early settlers, but it was the savagery of those in power that systematically destroyed Migizi’s life.

Review by Cindy Stone, MA, R.P. -Author of the novel, SCORPION book 1 of The Myriad Series and The Incidental Guru, a memoir style self-development book about the author’s life changing experience with a temperamental rescue mutt she named Harry. Scorpion is a fast-paced adventure set in NYC and the Wudang Mountains in China, with Taoist Mystics, master martial artists and a secret society with global influence. Cindy is also a registered psychotherapist, Bagua martial artist, Reiki Master, hypnotherapist, speaker and trainer.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,303 reviews27 followers
August 11, 2017
Migizi is an Indigenous Canadian who is pulled away from his family and sent to a residential school with other Indians as the government attempt to strip away everything 'Indian' about him. Migizi is now called David, he is not allowed to speak his own language, practice any customs or traditions or talk about his old life. All of the children must work and if they fall ill, they are sequestered away until they die. No doctors are called. The children that survive are often abused by the Brothers and Sisters that run the school. After school, Migizi is still required to get a permit whenever he would like to leave the reservation. Migizi works for a living but soon falls into a cycle of alcohol abuse and spousal abuse. Trying to set himself right, Migizi joins the army and returns a war hero. Even with this status, in Canada, he is still considered an Indian and has limited rights.

This was a very eye-opening read. I had no idea that indigenous Canadians were put through injustices for so long. Through following Migizi from third grade through adulthood I had a good picture of the abuse of the Indigenous Canadians throughout time and how the government practices perpetuated the cycles of addiction and abuse. I was appalled at the school that Migizi was sent to; how the Brothers and Sisters felt they could beat the Indian culture out of the students and that they received no medical care. I was even more upset at the fact that this practice continued to happen as Migizi's grandchildren went through the schools. Migizi's time in the Service seemed to be the only time that he was treated as an equal. I was impressed with Migizi's skill and dedication to the army and how his missions helped to win WWII. However, the racism that prevailed when he returned as a war hero quickly erased all of his accomplishments. Overall, this is an overwhelming story that increased my understanding of the struggles and injustices that the Native Canadians have faced and continue to face today.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Michelle.
84 reviews6 followers
June 14, 2017
Often times here in the States, we view Canada as this sort of Ice Utopia, very cold with violent hockey players but universal healthcare and better equality. When talking with some of my Canadian friends however they mentioned that just like America likes to hide some of its sordid past, Canada has its own history that it isn't proud of. One large example has to be Canada’s relationship with its First Nation or Native Americans (First Peoples.)
By focusing on one man out of the many who struggled through the system Canada put them through, author Baron Alexander Deschauer gives his audience an unique view into this world that people may not have noticed happening around them. We get to see Migizi grow up and try to live his life while life seems to be doing its darndest to hold him back from any real progress. While I can’t say it was a pleasant read, I do think it was definitely a necessary one. I would have liked more, I’m not sure what more, but at only 180 pages I can’t help but feel that there was more to share. I would recommend this book for people who are interested in Canadian History and First Nations HIstory. It was an easy read but like I said it isn't a happy feel good story, nor should it be.

*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and FriesenPress in exchange for honest feedback*
Profile Image for Ceylan (CeyGo).
550 reviews
May 23, 2017
Thank you to NetGalley & The Author for an advance copy of this book.

4/5 stars
A part of my reading goal for this year has been to read more about Canada and it's history. This book certainly fit right in with that goal.

Overall, it was a very quick and extremely sad read. As a 1.5 gen Canadian who has grown to love Canada, learning more and more about it's very disturbing and sad history of it's treatment of it's Indigenous people is heartbreaking.

We follow Migizi from his early childhood in a church run 'school' where he is abused in more ways than one; through his first love - a white girl ; his subsequent alcoholism; his military service as a hero during WWII; to his eventual return to his family. He struggles to fit in the white-world, which abuses him over and over again. The ending is sad beyond belief, and totally not what I was expecting.

My only disappointment with this book was that it was too short. I think some of the chapters of Migizi's life could have been explored in more depth.
Profile Image for Josephine.
23 reviews8 followers
June 24, 2017
Prémisse prometteuse et bases historiques intéressantes mais histoire qui déçoit par moment par son manque de profondeur et de fluidité. J'aurais apprécié avoir davantage accès aux pensées de Migizi. Le récit se déroule sur une longue période mais la complexité des situations vécues par le protagoniste est peu exploitée. Dommage, car ce fut une lecture agréable malgré tout. Merci Goodreads Giveaways de m'avoir permis de découvrir cet auteur.

The historic (and true) basis of the novel are interesting and promising but the story is quite deceiving at times by it lacks of depth and fluidity. I wish the main character thoughts and struggles were depicted with more complexity. It is rather an overview of steps in Migizi life than traveling the journey with him... Still, I did enjoy reading this book. Thank you Goodreads giveaways for the opportunity to do so!
Profile Image for Abby Pechin.
383 reviews
July 17, 2017
An entertaining and eye-opening read about the treatment of Native Americans in Canada. This book would be a great tool for anyone seeking to learn more about the conditions of indigenous people throughout history in Canada.
Profile Image for Peter Hawkeye.
133 reviews1 follower
June 8, 2018
A tragic, sobering view into the unempathetic attitudes; that are still so evident in this century; towards the indigenous people of one's country. Well worth reading I thought. I felt totally saddened at the completion of the reading.
Profile Image for Magreads.
19 reviews1 follower
June 4, 2017
Loved it, posting a full non spoiler review in my blog soon ❤❤
Profile Image for Melanie.
113 reviews3 followers
February 18, 2018
Heartbreaking. Powerful storytelling. Normally I would write more about a book I just read, but for this book, I cannot. You just have to read for yourself.
Profile Image for El.
1,355 reviews503 followers
February 11, 2018
Full review here. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for review.

In the late nineteenth-century in Canada, residential schools were created for the sole purpose of removing indigenous children from their homes and their families in a mandatory fashion in order to teach them how to assimilate to Canadian culture – thus stripping them of their own cultures, religions, beliefs, and languages – through physical, emotional, and often, sexual abuse. These schools and their essential genocide, which lasted throughout almost the entirety of the twentieth-century, allegedly were an inspiration to Adolf Hitler as a model for his concentration camps during the Holocaust.

This young adult novel follows the life of Migizi, a Native American boy who first enters a residential school. A difficult read for an adult reader, I wonder how younger readers might react to the story, though I am glad it is being told. The apologies for the treatment of indigenous people in Canada in these residential schools continue to this day from the various churches in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian government continue to roll in today.
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