An honest look at life in an Indian residential school in the 1950s, and how one indomitable young spirit survived it — 30th anniversary edition.
Seepeetza loves living on Joyaska Ranch with her family. But when she is six years old, she is driven to the town of Kalamak, in the interior of British Columbia. Seepeetza will spend the next several years of her life at an Indian residential school. The nuns call her Martha and cut her hair. Worst of all, she is forbidden to “talk Indian,” even with her sisters and cousins.
Still, Seepeetza looks for bright spots — the cookie she receives at Halloween, the dance practices. Most of all, there are her memories of holidays back at the ranch — camping trips, horseback riding, picking berries and cleaning fish with her mother, aunt and grandmother. Always, thoughts of home make school life bearable.
Based on her own experiences at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, this powerful novel by Nlaka’pamux author Shirley Sterling is a moving account of one of the most blatant expressions of racism in the history of Canada.
Includes a new afterword by acclaimed Cree author Tomson Highway of the Barren Lands First Nation in northern Manitoba.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
About the authors
SHIRLEY STERLING (1948–2005) was a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation. She twice received the Native Indian Teacher Education Alumni Award and held a PhD in Education from the University of British Columbia. My Name Is Seepeetza is based on her childhood experiences at an Indian residential school. Acclaimed in Canada and the United States, the book won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Shirley also won the Laura Steinman Award for Children’s Literature.
Tomson Highway was born near Maria Lake, Manitoba in 1951. Living a nomadic lifestyle with no access to books, television or radio, Highway’s parents would tell their children stories, kindling Highway’s life-long interest in the oral tradition of storytelling.
Tomson Highway is widely recognized for his tremendous contribution to the development of Aboriginal theatre in both Canada and around the world.
In 1994, he was inducted into the Order of Canada, the first Aboriginal writer to be so honoured.
- Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Awards: Text
- Winner, Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize