They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School

They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School

Bev Sellars / Dec 14, 2019

They Called Me Number One Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School Xat sull Chief Bev Sellars spent her childhood in a church run residential school whose aim it was to civilize Native children through Christian teachings forced separation from family and culture a

  • Title: They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School
  • Author: Bev Sellars
  • ISBN: 9780889227415
  • Page: 209
  • Format: Paperback
  • Xat sull Chief Bev Sellars spent her childhood in a church run residential school whose aim it was to civilize Native children through Christian teachings, forced separation from family and culture, and discipline In addition, beginning at the age of five, Sellars was isolated for two years at Coqualeetza Indian Turberculosis Hospital in Sardis, British Columbia, nearlyXat sull Chief Bev Sellars spent her childhood in a church run residential school whose aim it was to civilize Native children through Christian teachings, forced separation from family and culture, and discipline In addition, beginning at the age of five, Sellars was isolated for two years at Coqualeetza Indian Turberculosis Hospital in Sardis, British Columbia, nearly six hours drive from home The trauma of these experiences has reverberated throughout her life.The first full length memoir to be published out of St Joseph s Mission at Williams Lake, BC, Sellars tells of three generations of women who attended the school, interweaving the personal histories of her grandmother and her mother with her own She tells of hunger, forced labour, and physical beatings, often with a leather strap, and also of the demand for conformity in a culturally alien institution where children were confined and denigrated for failure to be White and Roman Catholic.Like Native children forced by law to attend schools across Canada and the United States, Sellars and other students of St Joseph s Mission were allowed home only for two months in the summer and for two weeks at Christmas The rest of the year they lived, worked, and studied at the school St Joseph s Mission is the site of the controversial and well publicized sex related offences of Bishop Hubert O Connor, which took place during Sellars s student days, between 1962 and 1967, when O Connor was the school principal After the school s closure, those who had been forced to attend came from surrounding reserves and smashed windows, tore doors and cabinets from the wall, and broke anything that could be broken Overnight their anger turned a site of shameful memory into a pile of rubble.In this frank and poignant memoir, Sellars breaks her silence about the institution s lasting effects, and eloquently articulates her own path to healing.

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      Published :2019-09-08T20:35:46+00:00

    About "Bev Sellars"

      • Bev Sellars

        Bev Sellars Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School book, this is one of the most wanted Bev Sellars author readers around the world.


    1. I think this book should be taught in all schools and read by everyone, especially anyone who doesn't understand1. The impact of residential schools2. Why Canada's First Nations people have ongoing problems of poverty and violence3. How Canada fucked up and failed First Nations peopleChief Bev Sellars tells her story in a straight forward, easy to follow format. It's almost as if she is sitting with you, telling you what happened to her. You can tell that she spent a long time thinking about thi [...]

    2. Bev Sellars takes us on a tri-generational journey through the horrific realities of life & living in St. Joseph's Mission Residential School. Bev is able to paint pictures with words. As a result, the images are at times horrifying, at times perplexing and confusing, sad, angry and, yes, even at times joyful and filled with hope and humour. But make no mistake, as one person stated, if they had known earlier in their life what jail/prison was like, they would have chosen to go there instead [...]

    3. It seems that many books have come out telling Residential School stories, many of them written by non-survivors. "They Called Me Number One" by Chief Bev Sellars is the real deal and an ideal primer for anyone curious about the Residential School era. Without sensationalizing the physical and sexual abuse that was all too common, readers can experience exactly what it was like to be incarcerated in an Indian Residential School as a child, as well as dealing with the effects of being indoctrinat [...]

    4. This is an excellent book to help people really understand the impact Residential Schools have had on First Nations in Canada. Bev Sellars account of her experiences is honest and forthright. It is unique in several respects. First, she is a member of the last generation to attend residential schools in her area of British Columbia. However, she also relates aspects of her mother's and grandmother's experiences with the schools; the book, therefore, actually covers three generations quite well ( [...]

    5. Bev Sellers & I are roughly the same age but our experiences as young Canadians couldn't have been more different. I thank her for telling her story. It helped me understand the impact that residential schools & racism had/have on the minds & hearts of our Aboriginal people. What shocks me is how the Catholic Church managed to find so many cold hearted sadists from their flock of priests & nuns to man all those schools. I mean bad apples are supposed to be the exception not the r [...]

    6. I read this book start to finish on my ferry ride from Tsawassen to Victoria. I never put it down. I had always been interested to learn more about this horribly dark time in Canadian history that never gets spoken about, and this book gave me more insight than I could have imagined. It was fascinating in the most awful way, making me feel ashamed, horrified and heartbroken for every person who had to go through a residential school and the aftermath that followed them. This book should be manda [...]

    7. They called me Number One is a first hand account of the impact of the St. Joseph’s Mission, a Residential School located in Williams Lake, British Columbia (B.C.), Canada. This is the first full length memoir out of St. Joseph’s Mission and was written by Bev Sellars, chief of the Xat'Sull First Nations in Williams Lake, B.C. The memoir is primarily about Sellars’ family including four generations of women – her grandmother, her mother, herself and her daughter. Only her daughter did no [...]

    8. I have lived in Canada almost all my life and never knew of some of these injustices. It is excellent that Sellars told this lost story in an easy to follow, enjoyable and informative way.

    9. Such a brave book, plainly and powerfully told. It made me see beyond the gross abuses of the residential school system to the everyday, routine and systematic ways that children were demoralized.

    10. Bev Sellers writes with authority and concision, testifying here to her years in residential school and her years of service to her community.

    11. Chief Bev Sellars disturbing account of attending St. Joseph's Mission Lake Residential School. The Number One in the title refers to the "name" aboriginal children were assigned at the residential school.

    12. Residential schools are a dark part of Canadian history and the sad part is that most Canadians do not know about them. They are avoided and not talked about along with the many other problems that Native people face today.I myself didn't know much about residential schools before I read this book. I just knew what they were trying to achieve and that the means that they used were terrible. However, this book explained just how terrible they were treated in those schools. They were abused physic [...]

    13. rabble/books/reviews/2013/1Review by Dr. Theresa TurmelI usually get very excited about reading a book written by a residential school survivor and this instance was no exception. I experience joy in that we are now hearing survivors’ voices that had in the past been silenced.Bev Sellars’ They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School details Sellars’ life from the time she was five years old until the age of 58 and she notes four reasons she felt compelled [...]

    14. Bev Sellars memoir has no literary pretensions. It feels more like sitting down and having coffee with a friend, relating the story of her life. Ms. (Chief?) Sellars approach toward the telling of her story is simply linear and very conversational.Despite the title of the book, Mr. Sellars story of her experiences as a child in a residential school only take up maybe a third of the book. However, it's obvious that much of the First Nations' own experience has been embittered by the residential s [...]

    15. Pour l’occasion du mois du club de lecture autochtone, mon club de lecture, Le King’s book club a décidé de lire They Called me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School.Comme mentionné dans l’introduction par le Chef Bill Wilson, Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla, ce livre devrait être enseigné à l’école. L’horreur des écoles résidentielles est une réalité. Comme Bev Sellars le dit «I have been told many times that I need to forgive in order to move on with my life. I [...]

    16. I just started this book today, yet I am nearly halfway through. Bev Sellars illuminates for the reader in her optimistic, matter-of-fact voice, the years of trauma she, her family, and so many other children endured at the cooperative hands of the church and state. Some of it is gutwrenching stuff: beatings, sexual abuse, being deprived of one's family and culture, being forced to consume rotten food and/or endure starvation--and how these childhood experiences have shaped her adult ones, as we [...]

    17. I knew only vaguely of Indian residential schools and I thought they only existed around the turn of the 20th century and were yet one more example of backward, colonial thinking left over from the 18th and 19th centuries. I had no idea that they still exist today (at least in the U.S.) and that their enrollment (again, in the U.S.) peaked in the early 1970s! This book is really more Chief Sellars' memoir instead of just a look at Indian residential schools. Not only does she describe in detail [...]

    18. I feel very conflicted giving this book 4 stars when it was such a heart wrenching true story of the horrors of residential school, the power of the Catholic Church and the nuns and priests who had no experience in parenting but were put in charge of these poor native children without their families consent.I applaud Bev Sellars for having the courage to share her experiences and my heart goes out to her for all the losses and abuse she has survived. Clearly she is a strong intelligent woman who [...]

    19. Does Bev Sellars have a worthwhile topic and story to tell? Certainly. Is she skilled enough as a writer to do so? No. Suddenly hitting the afterword felt like a breath of fresh air and i realized how poorly written the novel was. Ms. sellars ought to have hired out on this projext in an effort to get to the meat of her experience and focus on the weightiest issues. She gets off topic and the chapters seem to spin away from her. At the novels conclusion there are listed many other works about re [...]

    20. It is a book that I couldn't put down. I know a few characters and locations so it made for an interesting read. Bev. Sellars wrote the book in such a way that it draws the reader in. It was a genre about cultural knowledge, life, and residential schools. The book took you through memorable moments, sadness, and humor. The one that stands out the most is life at the residential school and how this had such an impact on her life down the road. Definitly a book I would recommend

    21. Bev Sellars is an excellent writer and her memoir is captivating. There were times I was so angry about the injustice I had to put the book away to calm down. I would recommend this book to everyone and should be required reading in Canadian schools.

    22. Well-written and important memoir. A must-read for every Canadian! p.ix – Foreword by Chief Bill Wilson: Despite the much ballyhooed Canadian government apology for residential schools in June 2008, and the billions of dollars being spent ton compensation and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, few people know anything about the collaboration between church and state to destroy races of people and their cultures, a pursuit that lasted more than a hundred years in this “civilized” coun [...]

    23. This year, I am reading CBC’s “12 Books by Indigenous Women You Should Read”. "They Called Me Number One" by Bev Sellars is one of them.If you can only read one book off this list, They Called Me Number One, should be it. Sellars chronicles three generations of her family’s experiences at the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School, at Williams Lake, BC, but focusses primarily on her experiences and the impact of her time at the residential school. Sellars makes it clear to us that thi [...]

    24. Required reading for all school curriculum in Canada. Bev Sellars does not hold back in this painful autobiography of her life. She is a third generation residential school "survivor" (I am sorry Ms. Sellars I know you don't like that word) and a strong voice for her community and all those aboriginal people that have been brutalized by racism and cultural genocide. I am in awe of her strength, her rage, and her voice. Congratulations Ms. Sellars on creating this written history of the aborigina [...]

    25. This is an important book. I have heard and read about the residential schools for many years, and know of the atrocities committed, but this book added a new perspective to me. It showed me the lasting effects of being taught, for years, that you have no value in the eyes of the White people. Bev Sellars, in a straight forward and honest way, shares her experiences in residential school, and explains the effects they had on several generations of her family. It's heart-breaking, and disappointi [...]

    26. Every Canadian should be reading this book to better understand Aboriginal People's and our country's history. Bev Sellars does an amazing job of describing her life experience attending residential schools and living on a reserve in British Columbia. It is written in a very accessible way and is very gentle with even the most difficult topics.

    27. This book is such a heartbreaking tale that underscores the reality of residential schools. Bev Sellers tells her story and and also mentions those of others that she has personal awareness. Bev brings home the feelings of despair and helplessness that many faced, whether the children sent to schools or the parents who had their children taken. This should be mandatory reading for every Canadian.

    28. Gripping. Heartwrenching. Personal. I just couldn't stop reading this book. Thank you Bev Sellars for opening up and sharing your life and the lives of many others. This is a must read for everyone. We cannot forget or minimize what happened.

    29. A frank, challenging and personal look at the residential school system and its legacy in Canada. Essential reading for all settlers seeking to understand Canadian history in its various configurations.

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