cover image A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools

A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. University of Manitoba Press (Michigan State Univ., U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $17.95 trade paper (274p) ISBN 978-0-88755-785-9

Seven volumes from a nationwide inquiry into the legacy of Canada's Indian Residential Schools have been condensed into a compelling book that is both accessible and well-documented. The central conclusion%E2%80%94that the schools were part of a deliberate cultural genocide policy aimed at the continent's first peoples, spearheaded by the Canadian government with the support of mainline churches %E2%80%94is clearly supported by historical references, gut-wrenching personal stories, and a thorough analysis of a system that forcibly removed indigenous children from their families. The text connects past injustices to problems still plaguing Canada's indigenous communities today, including alarmingly high suicide rates and disproportionately high rates of incarceration. It also celebrates the First Peoples who have survived extensive damage and suffering and continue to embrace identities that for centuries were the target of elimination by European settlers. Noting that the process of reconciliation is only just beginning, the commission provides 98 provocative recommendations for ways that non-indigenous Canadians can address present-day injustices and build new relationships. (Jan.)