Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Helping Non-Aboriginals Come to Terms with the Residential School Tragedy

Like so many tragedies in history, there is a tendency for the public to forget that those who experienced them are real people, feeling the very real impact of those events. Canadians in particular tend to relegate one of the greatest humanitarian travesties in modern history to a ‘thing of the past’, thinking of them only as they would faded pictures in a museum: the residential school tragedy. With his new novel, Blue Saltwater, Canadian author Dan Green is hoping to open up the door to discussing the still-open wounds left from the residential school experience.

While a fictional account, Green compiled real-life cases in an effort to accurately portray the experiences of the survivors of this dark time in Canadian history. The gripping account of the young man’s time in a residential school offers complex characterizations and a high level of attention to historical detail. Green hopes that by offering a fictionalized account of this time, readers will be better able to understand just how harrowing it was for those children to be ripped from their families and stripped of their culture by abusive authorities.

“Unfortunately a lot of non-Aboriginals seem to glaze over when they see or hear news stories on the legacy of residential schools. They wrongly think that it’s a problem that was dealt with, that First Nations peoples should have ‘moved on’ from it all,” says Green. “What I wanted to do with Blue Saltwater is to help readers connect on an emotional level with what these children experienced. We don’t just tell victims of child abuse to ‘move on’, so why is it considered acceptable to tell entire cultures to just ‘move on’ when they have collectively experienced the same thing?”

Blue Saltwater is one of very few Canadian novels focused on illustrating the forced assimilation of children under the residential school system. The book can be purchased in all formats from his website at: and is available at most Chapters outlets in B.C. Dan actively blogs on Aboriginal issues in Canada, and is available for interview on a variety of topics.

To book an interview contact:       
Rachel Sentes, Publicist

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