The Education of Augie Merasty

Joseph Auguste Merasty, with David Carpenter. Univ. of Regina (Univ. of Toronto, North American dist.), $21.95 (105p) ISBN 978-0-88977-368-4
More than 70 years ago, Merasty was sent to St. Therese Residential School in Sturgeon Landing, on the border of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It was one of the 130 church-run schools that all aboriginal children were required to attend as a part of a Canadian government policy of forced assimilation in the 20th century. Between 1935 and 1944, Merasty was physically and sexually abused, beaten, insulted, and exposed to unspeakable conditions by priests and nuns who were supposed to educate him. He carried the scars on his mind and body all his life. Unlike many of his peers who suffered similar or worse abuse silently, Merasty remained courageously determined to publish a book that would expose the injustices he and so many other children endured. In Carpenter (The Literary History of Saskatchewan), he found a superb writer and editor and a tenacious ally who saw the book through to publication even after Merasty's enthusiasm for the project was dimmed first by alcoholism and later by cancer. This book offers a glimpse into Merasty's life in the residential school, exposing a terrible regime where evil went entirely unchecked. A quick read, it's nevertheless a historically significant one. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/09/2015
Release date: 02/01/2015
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