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Biography & Autobiography Native Americans

The Education of Augie Merasty

A Residential School Memoir - New Edition

by (author) Joseph Auguste (Augie) Merasty

contributions by David Carpenter

University of Regina Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2017
Native Americans, Cultural Heritage
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2022
    List Price

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Named the fourth most important "Book of the Year" by the National Post in 2015 and voted "One Book/One Province" in Saskatchewan for 2017, The Education of Augie Merasty launched on the front page of The Globe and Mail to become a national bestseller and an instant classic.

A courageous and intimate memoir, The Education of Augie Merasty is the story of a child who faced the dark heart of humanity, let loose by the cruel policies of a bigoted nation.

A retired fisherman and trapper who sometimes lived rough on the streets, Augie Merasty 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 recounts, these schools did more than attempt to mould children in the ways of white society. They were taught to be ashamed of their 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.

"In this book I have seen horror through eyes of a child." - James Daschuk, author of Clearing the Plains

"A story in which our entire nation has an obscure and dark complicity." - David Carpenter, co-author of The Education of Augie Merasty and author of The Gold and other books

About the authors

A retired Cree trapper, Joseph Auguste Merasty attended St. Therese Residential School in Sturgeon Landing, Saskatchewan, from 1935 to 1944. He lived in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Joseph Auguste (Augie) Merasty'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

"[Augie] wrote his memoir to show people the unbelievable atrocities suffered by so many Indigenous people and in the hope that others would come forward to tell their stories of what happened in the residential schools." - Eagle Feather News

"This book is so much bigger than its small size. It is a path to healing. We cannot change history, but we can acknowledge it, learn about it, and remember it." - Prairies North

"Well suited to a teenage audience because of its brevity and frankness." - Globe and Mail

"A sharp-eyed account." - Toronto Star

"Historically significant." - Publishers Weekly

"The Education of Augie Merasty might be a small book, but it carries a punch to it that all Canadian need to read and understand." - Rabble

"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 story... one of the most important titles to be published this spring." - Globe and Mail

"A truly extraordinary memoir by a truly extraordinary man." - Midwest Book Review

"Carpenter's introduction and afterword... allow us to come to better understand Augie's 'sometimes chaotic, sometimes heroic aftermath of his life,' as Carpenter describes his last decade. Where Augie focuses on physical scars, Carpenter's experiences with Augie illustrate the long-term impacts on his residential school experience. And with The Education of Augie Merasty, he helps Merasty--who could be any number of individuals we each pass on the street--find his voice." - Active History

"Unsettling and profound, and good." - Blacklock's Reporter

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