Shi-shi-etko

$17.00 each

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By far one of the best books on the subject for young children and adults alike!  In just four days, young Shi-shi-etko will have to leave to go to an Indian residential school where her name, language and identity will be taken away. 

 

Shi-shi-etko is by far one of the best titles carried by Oyate!  It brilliantly conveys for young children and adults alike exactly what the human implications have been for Native people affected by the residential school system in the United States and Canada. Where most books about boarding schools explain the horrible experiences faced by children once they arrived at school, this book skillfully  and heart-wrenchingly allows the reader to experience the very personal and intimate moments of human life that were robbed from generations of Indian children and their families.  By showing a 4-day glimpse of the rich and loving life from which our children were ripped, the reader has no choice but to contemplate this colossal loss in concrete, relatable terms.

In just four days, young Shi-shi-etko will have to leave everyone she loves and everything she knows—to go to an Indian residential school where, among other things, her name, language and identity will be taken away. Until recently, this was the law and the harsh reality for Native children in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. “Can you imagine a community without children?” Campbell writes in a brief foreword. “Can you imagine children without parents?”

As Shi-shi-etko counts down the days, her large extended family fills her with their love, memories, and the strength to endure what they know will happen and what they are powerless to prevent. With her mother, a morning prayer in the creek. With her father, a paddle song in the canoe. With her yahyah, a visit to the woods. A sprig of hemlock, cedar and pine placed into a small deerskin bag. Too soon, it is time. With a prayer and an offering of tobacco, Shi-shi-etko tucks her deerskin bag inside the roots of a big fir tree, to wait for her return. She takes in everything one last time—“tall grass swaying to the rhythm of the breeze, determined mosquitoes, working bumblebees…each shiny rock, the sand beneath her feet, crayfish and minnows and tadpoles…”

This sad and gentle story needs to be read over and over, that this shameful part of history is not repeated.

 

 

Author: Nicola L. Campbell (Interior Salish/Métis)

Illustrations: Color illustrations by Kim LaFave

Binding Availability: Hardcover

Published: 2005

Tribes/Ethnic Groups: Interior Salish/Métis