Migizi is an Indigenous Canadian who is pulled away from his family and sent to a residential school with other Indians as the government attempt to strip away everything 'Indian' about him. Migizi is now called David, he is not allowed to speak his own language, practice any customs or traditions or talk about his old life. All of the children must work and if they fall ill, they are sequestered away until they die. No doctors are called. The children that survive are often abused by the Brothers and Sisters that run the school. After school, Migizi is still required to get a permit whenever he would like to leave the reservation. Migizi works for a living but soon falls into a cycle of alcohol abuse and spousal abuse. Trying to set himself right, Migizi joins the army and returns a war hero. Even with this status, in Canada, he is still considered an Indian and has limited rights.
This was a very eye-opening read. I had no idea that indigenous Canadians were put through injustices for so long. Through following Migizi from third grade through adulthood I had a good picture of the abuse of the Indigenous Canadians throughout time and how the government practices perpetuated the cycles of addiction and abuse. I was appalled at the school that Migizi was sent to; how the Brothers and Sisters felt they could beat the Indian culture out of the students and that they received no medical care. I was even more upset at the fact that this practice continued to happen as Migizi's grandchildren went through the schools. Migizi's time in the Service seemed to be the only time that he was treated as an equal. I was impressed with Migizi's skill and dedication to the army and how his missions helped to win WWII. However, the racism that prevailed when he returned as a war hero quickly erased all of his accomplishments. Overall, this is an overwhelming story that increased my understanding of the struggles and injustices that the Native Canadians have faced and continue to face today.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.