Books·Canadian

Tsqelmucwilc

Tsqelmucwilc is a book by Celia Haig-Brown, Randy Fred and Garry Gottfriedson.

Celia Haig-Brown, Randy Fred and Garry Gottfriedson

The book cover is of a black and white sketch drawing of an Indigenous woman with hair flowing behind her and a pair of scissors poised above her head, ready to chop her hair off.

In May 2021, the world was shocked by news of the detection of 215 unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS) in British Columbia, Canada. Ground-penetrating radar confirmed the vestiges of children as young as three on this site of the infamous residential school system, which systematically removed children from their families and brought them to the schools. At these Christian-run, government-supported institutions, they were subjected to physical, mental, and sexual abuse while their Indigenous languages and traditions were stifled and denounced. The egregious abuses suffered in residential schools across the continent caused - as the 2021 discoveries confirmed - death for too many and a multigenerational legacy of trauma for those who survived.

"Tsqelmucwilc" (pronounced cha-CAL-mux-weel) is a Secwepemc phrase loosely translated as "We return to being human again." Tsqelmucwilc is the story of those who survived the Kamloops Indian Residential School, based on the 1988 book Resistance and Renewal, a groundbreaking history of the school - and the first book on residential schools ever published in Canada. Tsqelmucwilc includes the original text as well as new material by the original book's author, Celia Haig-Brown; essays by Secwepemc poet and KIRS survivor Garry Gottfriedson and Nuu-chah-nulth elder and residential school survivor Randy Fred; and first-hand reminiscences by other survivors of KIRS, as well as their children, on their experience and the impact of their trauma throughout their lives. (From Arsenal Pulp Press)

Celia Haig-Brown is an educator and the author of the 1988 Resistance and Renewal: Surviving the Indian Residential School, which won the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize. Her other books include Taking Control: Power and Contradiction and With Good Intentions: Euro-Canadian and Aboriginal Relations in Colonial Canada. 

Randy Fred is an Elder of Tseshaht First Nation who survived nine years at the Alberni Indian Residential School. After a lifelong career in multimedia, he is currently the Nuu-chah-nulth Elder at Vancouver Island University.

Garry Gottfriedson is a Secwepemc poet with ten books to his credit. Currently he is the Secwepemc cultural advisor to Thompson Rivers University.

Authors Celia Haig Brown and Randy Fred on their follow-up book

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