The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature, Vol 11, No 2 (2007)

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Opening the Cache of Canadian Secrets: The Residential School Experience in Books for Children

Brianne Grant

Abstract


The term 'Post-colonialism' assumes that we have finished with colonialism, and tends to place it in the distant past along with the conflicted British and French settlers from centuries ago. In fact, colonialism maintains a robust and healthy life in the minds and culture of Canada. The residential school system remained in place until the 1980's, and its icy grip continues to choke at the hearts of many aboriginal communities. This part of our history is largely ignored in education programs and books for children. Our interpretations of history continue to shape our existence and our future; therefore, it is essential that we humbly accept and explore the brutalities of Canadian history, humanity, and the repercussions they have today. Children's literature, particularly, has a responsibility to present historically accurate, culturally authentic and socially just works. Children inherit this country and the world; therefore, they must know the ideologies and actions of the past that guide them into the future.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680