Centretown United Church507 Bank St.

First Peoples,
First Stories
with Lee Maracle,
Bev Sellars
and Joseph Boyden

Hosted by CBC’s Waubgeshig Rice
"Joseph Boyden has taken our memory of the past – myth and fact – ripped it inside out with elegance, violence, emotion and understanding until before us stands a new myth, a new memory, of how we became who we are.
— John Ralston Saul
Bev Sellars
Joseph Boyden
Lee Maracle

This country has a history of broken treaties, bears the weight of the abuse and cultural genocide of our residential school system, which eliminated parental involvement in the spiritual, cultural and intellectual development of Aboriginal children, and seems unwilling to fully investigate thousands upon thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls—a homicide rate roughly 4.5 times higher than that of all other women in Canada.

Thomas King has said that “The truth about stories is that’s all we are.” So who are we?

From Idle No More to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to increasing calls for respectful Nation to Nation dialogue, are our stories finally being heard? Are we finally seeing the beginnings of a new memory, and a new myth, not just of how we got here, but of the way forward?

Powerful and inspiring, Memory Serves is the first collection of oratories by award-winning author and poet Lee Maracle. From her Coast Salish perspective and with great eloquence, Maracle shares her knowledge of Sto:lo history, memory, philosophy, law, spirituality, feminism and the colonial condition of her people. Her work offers us “another way to be, to think, to know,” a way that holds the promise of a “journey toward a common consciousness.”

Like thousands of Aboriginal children in Canada, and elsewhere in the colonized world, Xatsu’ll chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential school. These institutions endeavored to “civilize” Native children through Christian teachings; forced separation from family, language, and culture; and strict discipline. In They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School, she breaks her silence about the school’s lasting effects on her and her family and eloquently articulates her own path to healing.

Joseph Boyden is one of Canada’s most acclaimed and beloved writers. His first novel, Three Day Road, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award, the Amazon.ca/ Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award. His second, Through Black Spruce, was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named the Canadian Booksellers Association Fiction Book of the Year; it also earned him the CBA’s Author of the Year Award. His most recent novel, The Orenda, a visceral portrait of life at a crossroads, won Canada Reads. Last year, he contributed work to the anthology Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters, a fundraiser for Amnesty International’s No More Stolen Sisters initiative.

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