With astonishing detail, Albert Canadien fondly recounts his boyhood years in Lishamie, a traditional Dene camp north of the Mackenzie River, and reflects on the devastating and long-lasting impact residential schooling had on him, his family and his people. Separated at a young ... Read more
With astonishing detail, Albert Canadien fondly recounts his boyhood years in Lishamie, a traditional Dene camp north of the Mackenzie River, and reflects on the devastating and long-lasting impact residential schooling had on him, his family and his people. Separated at a young age from his parents and forced to attend a strict Catholic boarding school, the authorand many like himwas robbed of his language, community and traditional way of living. From Lishamie is a candid memoir of loss and of the journey back.
Albert J. Canadien was born on the land near Fort Providence, Northwest Territories, when most of the Dene people still lived in permanent traditional villages. He was taken to the residential school at the age of seven and, for the next several years, came home only for summer holidays. Albert studied management at the University of Lethbridge and became a certified member of the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada. During the Berger Inquiry, he served as chief of the Deh Gah Got'ie First Nation in Fort Providence. As a civil servant in the Northwest Territories, Albert worked as a settlement administrator, an assistant to the clerk of the legislative assembly, the director of the language bureau and most recently the director of official languages in Yellowknife. Albert was an original member of the Chieftones (Canadaâ??s All-Indian Band). He began writing in 1995 and is now working on his second book.
Torn from his family to cry under covers, follow like a sheep, and learn not to care. "Your mother has passed; go to the chapel," were the words, delivered by a nun, to scared 7-year-old Albert Canadian, who waited alone in the chapel at Ft. Providence NT residential school for hours. From Lishamie focuses on the loss of language, culture, exposure to the land, and brings a stark contrast of life pre- and post-residential schools. This rich and lasting book portrays the fullness of life on the land, the seasons, travelling with the food sources, and community.