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Children's Fiction Prejudice & Racism

Cher Journal : Les mots qu'il me reste

Violette Pesheens, pensionnaire à l'école résidentielle, Nord de l'Ontario, 1966

by (author) Ruby Slipperjack

Scholastic Canada Ltd, Independent Publishers Group
Initial publish date
Aug 2017
Prejudice & Racism, General
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2017
    List Price

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See below for English description.

Violette Pesheens a de la difficulté à s'adapter à sa nouvelle vie au pensionnat. Sa grand-mère lui manque et de sérieux affrontements éclatent entre des filles cries. De plus, tout le monde la dévisage dans cette école de blancs, et tout ce qu'elle a apporté lui a été confisqué, y compris son nom : elle n'est plus qu'un numéro.

Mais le pire c'est la peur qui la tient. La peur d'oublier tout ce qu'elle a toujours chéri; l'anishnabe, sa langue, le nom des personnes qu'elle connaissait et ses coutumes. Bref, la peur d'oublier qui elle est. Son journal est le seul endroit où elle peut exprimer ses véritables inquiétudes, ses déchirements et se souvenir du passé. Peut-être qu'écrire lui permettra de finalement voir la lumière au bout de ce tunnel infernal.

Basée sur son expérience dans un pensionnat, Ruby Slipperjack a créé une héroïne brave et touchante, Violette. Les jeunes lecteurs feront une incursion importante dans ce sombre chapitre de l'histoire de notre nation.


Violette Pesheen is struggling to adjust to her new life at Residential School. She misses her Grandma; she has run-ins with Cree girls; at her "white" school, everyone just stares; and everything she brought has been taken from her, including her name-she is now just a number. But worst of all, she has a fear. A fear of forgetting the things she treasures most: her Anishnabe language; the names of those she knew before; and her traditional customs. A fear of forgetting who she was.

Her notebook is the one place she can record all of her worries, and heartbreaks, and memories. And maybe, just maybe there will be hope at the end of the tunnel.

Drawing from her own experiences at Residential School, Ruby Slipperjack creates a brave, yet heartbreaking heroine in Violette, and lets young readers glimpse into an all-too important chapter in our nation's history.

Original title: Dear Canada: These Are My Words

About the author

Ruby Slipperjack,
or Ruby Slipperjack-Farrell is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Ruby spent her formative years on her father's trap line on Whitewater Lake. She learned traditional stories and crafts from her family and has retained much of the traditional religion and heritage of her people. Her family later moved to a community along the railway mainline. She went to residential school for several years and finished high school in Thunder Bay.

After graduating from high school Ruby successfully completed a B.A. (History) in 1988; a B.Ed in 1989; and a Master of Education in 1993. In 2005 she completed a Doctoral program at the University of Western Ontario.

Ruby is a member of the Eabametoong First Nation and speaks fluent Ojibway. She uses her maiden name "Slipperjack" when she writes, in honour of her parents and ancestors for the cultural knowledge and teachings that inform her writing. Ruby has retained much of the traditional religion and heritage of her people, all of which inform her writing. Her work discusses traditional religious and social customs of the Ojibwe in northern Ontario, as well as the incursion of modernity on their culture. Ruby is also an accomplished visual artist and a certified First Nations hunter.

Ruby is the mother of three daughters and currently lives in Thunder Bay with her husband and their two shelties.

Ruby Slipperjack's profile page

Editorial Reviews

« Slipperjack nous dresse un portrait de la vie traditionnelle et non-traditionnelle en y ajoutant des faits historiques et des éléments culturels, le tout formant une histoire de passage à l'âge adulte. 7; (Dog Tracks)
~ CM: Canadian Review of Materials


"Slipperjack carefully paints a portrait of traditional and non-traditional life incorporating history and culture into a coming of age story." (Dog Tracks)
~ CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Other titles by Ruby Slipperjack