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They Called Me Number One

Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School
Written by: Bev Sellars
Narrated by: Bev Sellars
Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
5 out of 5 stars (111 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 26.54
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Publisher's Summary

Like thousands of Aboriginal children in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere in the colonized world, Xatsu'll chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential school. These institutions endeavored to "civilize" Native children through Christian teachings; forced separation from family, language, and culture; and strict discipline. Perhaps the most symbolically potent strategy used to alienate residential school children was addressing them by assigned numbers only - not by the names with which they knew and understood themselves.

In this frank and poignant memoir of her years at St. Joseph's Mission, Sellars breaks her silence about the residential school's lasting effects on her and her family - from substance abuse to suicide attempts - and eloquently articulates her own path to healing. They Called Me Number One comes at a time of recognition - by governments and society at large - that only through knowing the truth about these past injustices can we begin to redress them.

Bev Sellars is chief of the Xatsu'll (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake, British Columbia. She holds a degree in history from the University of Victoria and a law degree from the University of British Columbia. She has served as an advisor to the British Columbia Treaty Commission.

©2013 Bev Sellars (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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Important Canadian History

This is a story that should never have happened. Every Canadian should read this book.
Bev is a bit dry to listen to as a narrator, but I couldn’t leave the book alone. I felt all of her pains and understand her hate. I am so sad and upset that the Native People Of Canada went through this- Good on you Bev for rising to the top.
READ THIS BOOK.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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AMAZING

Bev Sellars is a magnificent storyteller. Her truth and passion left me many times with goosebumps and the feeling that I wish I knew her and her family. I can’t speak highly enough of her book. Masterpiece.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A reality check for us Colonizing Canadians

I listened with difficulty as I struggle to come to terms with the darker side of my Canadian identity. This book and others like it MUST become part of the curriculum in our basic Canadian education!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Honesty and reality

This is just one story of the residential schools that have affected generations of people. It reminded me of my Mother and I have more understanding of what she's been thru and why she raised us a certain way. I love her so much she can't tell her story or doesn't want to.
This is a great book full of honest truth about life on the reserve and the social justice system that tried like hell to destroy us. We are resilient people and just us living and telling our stories proves it.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to know the truth about the residential schools or needs help with dealing with its consequences. Very inspiring to keep going, learning and breaking the cycle. Hiy Hiy

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Canada has a dark history

I am white so I have limited knowledge and no direct experience. However, I have seen the damage indirectly with the residential school, the Japanese internment (grew up in town used as camp) and the mistreatment of the Doukhobours.

This book puts a very human perspective on a very inhumane situation.

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Thank You!

as I listened to this book, as a native women. I had a lot of "wow moments". my grandma was in a Residential school in Alberta. my Grandma had eight children when passed away as a baby and my dad was the only boy. as my dad grew up I feel like he's been through a lot and has taken out his anger on his children and I think it has a lot to do with his mother being in residential schools as well as his father so it's kind of like a domino effect. even though I never went to residential schools my dad was raised by someone that did and it has messed him up which has messed me up my only goal in life is to be the best mother that I can take my children and not let this affect my children today. trust me when I say it is very difficult because sometimes I see my dad and myself, however at least I can recognize that and take a breath and start again. this was a great eye opener to me I have learnt a lot and even though my family has suffered and is still suffering all I can do is have my children appreciate their elders an understanding of history and be proud of who they are mentally emotionally spiritually. this book is a really good lesson I recommended 100% people need to know how bad residential schools were and how it still affects us today.

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Eye opening

This book is very well told. It’s real, pure and honest. Parts of it made me so angry that people could actually be treated so terrible. The truth is eye opening that some much more needs to be done to reconcile the mess the generations before us made and the viewpoint that some people still have.

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Must read

A must read for every Canadian. Bev provides very important information about Canadian history that should not go unheard.

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a powerful voice

I am forever changed by these stories. It has been a teaching that I am grateful for.

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Need to know

Bev tells her story and does a fine job, The residential schools are a very sad story. But we need to know this story and it helps us to understand our culture. So the story deserves a 5 but I did not love this. I am still sad that this happened in my country. The book itself is enjoyable very real balance of the truth and humor and fond memories.

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  • Susie
  • 2017-08-22

Shame on Church and State

"Few people know anything about the collaboration of church and state to destroy races of people and cultures, genocide in the name of god."

Bev Sellars' often brutal testimony, gives insight into the cycle of poverty of indigenous peoples in Canada and (as she says) the United states, and even into Australia. She shows how dehumanization and cultural obliteration are passed down through generations.

She asks, "Is it possible to make others feel what I once felt?" The answer is yes. Her grandmotherly storyteller voice made me feel like I was hearing personal family history that I needed for my own survival.

Kindnesses shine like stars, but the bleakness is shameful and will be among the list of books that bolster my fight against systematic oppression.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful