Thunder Bay

Author Melanie Florence pens book from grandfather's residential school experience

The author of a new book on residential schools, says the guide offers valuable lessons for both aboriginal and non aboriginal people in northern Ontario.
Melanie Florence 's new book details life for First Nations, Inuit and Metis people, before and after residental schools. (Melanie Florence)

The author of a new book on residential schools, says the guide offers valuable lessons for both aboriginal and non aboriginal people in northern Ontario.

Melanie Florence's Righting Canada's Wrongs: Residential Schools details life for First Nations, Inuit and Metis people — before and after residential schools.

Florence said she hopes the book, which is geared to school-aged children across the country, will resonate in northern Ontario and become an important education tool.

"I would like this to be a resource where we start to educate the non-aboriginal communities in Canada, that this did happen, and this was a culture stolen from us."

The book was inspired by the experiences of her own grandfather in a residential school.

"I was relating it back to [him], so sort of picturing him in these situations," she said.

"It was much worse than I thought, considering we grew up knowing nothing about it, not being taught, that was the surprise how horrific it really was."

Florence said the public discussion that is ongoing around the residential school experience is "really important for survivors and the children of survivors. The intergenerational impact is far reaching. It's not just reconciliation, but healing."

The book is available today, Dec. 23. It's part of a series called Righting Canada's Wrongs, which includes titles like The Chinese Head Tax and Anti-Chinese Immigration Policies in the Twentieth Century, and Italian Canadian Internment in the Second World War.

The latest publication in the Righting Canada's Wrongs series covers the residential school experience. (lorimer.ca)

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