Mnidoo Bemaasing Bemaadiziwin is a twenty-five year research and community based book. It brings forward Indigenous thought, history, and acts of resistance as viewed through the survivors of residential school who through certain aspects of their young lives were able to persevere with resiliency, and share their life experiences, teaching us about them, and their understanding of their own resiliency. Through their voices, we hear how they found strength within' their own life force energy, or mnidoo bemaasing bemaadiziwin' and survived and thrived in spite of aggressive assimilation. It became clear to Dr. Turmel that in their descriptions of resiliency, readers were describing mnidoo bemaasing bemaadiziwin' an innate and holistic energy that can be found within everyone. Mnidoo bemaasing bemaadiziwin manifests within all of our relations: land, animals, plants, ancestors, and other people, and cannot be extinguished but can be severely dampened as was evident in the attempt to assimilate residential school students. From their accounts, we learn that students found ways to nurture their life force energy through relationships and acts of resistance. As they've continued on their life path, they have reclaimed their spirit and today, they are telling their stories and keeping this history alive for the benefit of future.
About the author
Dr. Theresa Turmel was born in Toronto and grew up in Cabbagetown. Every summer her Mother would take the family up north to Hawk Junction to pass the time with cousins who resided there. Theresa loved the beach, the bush, the berries, and the land. Once she was old enough, she moved there and fell in love with Murray Valois. He passed away in 1978, leaving Theresa with their infant son, John. In 1980, Theresa met her husband of 36 years, Michel, and had two additional children, Danielle and Chantal. Theresa and Michel also have five grandchildren; Ariel, Dylahn, Emma-Leigh, Alexandra and Benjamin. Theresa always had a love of education and earned three degrees, the last was a PhD in Indigenous Studies. Her first book titled: Mnidoo Bemaasing Bemaadiziwin: Reclaiming, Reconnecting and Demystifying 'Resiliency' as Life Force Energy for Residential School Students, is a twenty-five year research and community-based work. She continues to work and is now researching her second book.