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E nâtamukw miyeyimuwin

Residential School Recovery Stories of the James Bay Cree, Volume 1

By Ruth DyckFehderau
With James Bay Cree Storytellers
Subjects Social Science, Child Studies, Education, Indigenous Studies
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Paperback : 9781989796238, 320 pages, March 2023
Audiobook : 9781989796245, March 2023


In this quietly powerful and deeply human book, Ruth DyckFehderau and twenty-one James Bay Cree storytellers put a face to Canada’s Indian Residential School cultural genocide.
Through intimate personal stories of trauma, loss, recovery, and joy, they tell of experiences in the residential schools themselves, in the homes when the children were taken, and on the territory after survivors returned and worked to recover from their experiences and to live with dignity. The prose is clear and accessible, the stories remarkably individual, the detail vivid but not sensational.
Together they reveal the astonishing courage and strength of children along with the complexity and myriad methods of their oppressors. A tough, often funny, and ultimately uplifting book that’s not quite like anything else out there.
This book is published by Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay and distributed by WLU Press.


These Cree stories, told with utmost respect and a feeling of safety, are gifts. They are medicine.

- Joanna Campiou, Woodland/Plains Cree Knowledge Keeper

These previously unwritten stories of lived, traumatized experiences are testament to the storytellers’ courage and strength and resilience. When the rich Cree traditional and spiritual relationship with land and with family is harmed by separation, hatred, and fear - a harm resulting in anger and loss of values, identity, and self-worth - these storytellers find ways to heal. Through their stories, you learn about culture as treatment, about the power of forgiveness and love, and about peaceful co-existence in community as essential to healing, belief, and advancing true reconciliation.

- Chief Willie Littlechild, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Former Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, Former residential school student athlete, Order of Canada; Order of Sport, Member of Sports Halls of Fame, Canada and North America

This is a difficult but necessary book. There’s a power to truth and to the realities of the Indian Residential School system, but for those wanting to see strength and movement toward hope, this is the book for you. These stories hold that hope close to the heart. What shines through is a love of the land, a love of community, a love of the Cree language, a love of family exactly what colonial forces like the IRS system tried to destroy but couldn’t.

- Conor Kerr, Metis/Ukrainian author, Avenue of Champions, Giller Prize longlist