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History Post-confederation (1867-)

The Education of Augie Merasty

A Residential School Memoir

by (author) Joseph A. Joseph A. & David Carpenter

University of Regina Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2015
Post-Confederation (1867-), Cultural Heritage
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
    List Price
    $19.95 USD

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 13 to 18
  • Grade: 8 to 12


"This story of a child is heartbreaking and important. It brings into dramatic focus why we need reconciliation." - James Daschuk, author of Clearing the Plains

This memoir offers a courageous and intimate chronicle of life in a residential school.

Now a retired fisherman and trapper, the author was one of an estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children who were taken from their families and sent to government-funded, church-run schools, where they were subjected to a policy of "aggressive assimilation."

As Augie Merasty recounts, these schools did more than attempt to mold children in the ways of white society. They were taught to be ashamed of their native heritage and, as he experienced, often suffered physical and sexual abuse.

But, even as he looks back on this painful part of his childhood, Merasty's sense of humour and warm voice shine through.

About the authors

Joseph Auguste Merasty attended St. Therese Residential School in Sturgeon Landing, SK, from 1935 to 1944. He lives in Prince Albert, SK.

Joseph A. Joseph A.'s profile page

David Carpenter spent his first twenty-three years in Edmonton, working during the summers as a car hop, a driver for Brewster Rocky Mountain Grayline, a fish stocker, a trail guide, and a folksinger. He read French and German at the University of Alberta to indifferent effect. He graduated and taught high school in Edmonton until 1965, then migrated south to do an M.A. in English at the University of Oregon. He returned to Canada in 1967 and once again taught school until the summer of 1969, when he enrolled for his Ph. D. at the University of Alberta.

Between 1985 and 1988 Carpenter published a series of novellas and long stories -- Jokes for the Apocalypse, Jewels and God's Bedfellows. Jokes for the Apocalypse was runner up for the Gerald Lampert Award, and his novella The Ketzer won first prize in the Descant Novella Contest.

In 1997 Carpenter turned to writing full-time. A first novel, Banjo Lessons was published in 1997 and won the City of Edmonton Book Prize. During the early nineties he also finished the last of his personal and literary essays which make up Writing Home, his first collection of nonfiction. The essays explore his engagements with such writers as Richard Ford, the French writer/scientist Georges Bugnet, and the late Raymond Carver. Several of these pieces won prizes for literary journalism and for humour in the Western Magazine Awards. One of these essays was featured on CBC Radio's `Ideas`. He brought out a second book of essays about life around home, a month-by-month salute to the seasons entitled Courting Saskatchewan. It won the Saskatchewan Book Award for nonfiction.

Throughout the years he has always been a passionate outdoorsman and environmentalist. This abiding love of lakes, trails, streams and campsites translates into city life in Saskatoon as well, where he lives with his wife, artist Honor Kever, and their son Will.

David Carpenter's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Historically significant." Publishers Weekly

"At 86, Augie Merasty has been a lot of things: Father. Son. Outdoorsman. Homeless. But now he is a first-time author, and the voice of a generation of residential-school survivors.... The Education of Augie Merasty is the tale of a man not only haunted by his past, but haunted by the fundamental need to tell his own of the most important titles to be published this spring." Globe and Mail

Librarian Reviews

The Education of Augie Merasty: A residential school memoir

A courageous and intimate chronicle of life in a residential school, The Education of Augie Merasty highlights the urgent need for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Though it may be a challenge for students to fathom the brutal experiences and inhuman conditions thousands of Aboriginal children encountered in residential schools, this memoir provides a first-hand account of one individual’s story. The book should be presented to students who want to learn more about this history and to grasp how the past informs our present and future.

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

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