March 8, 2012

After residential school

by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

In this sequel to Fatty Legs,Margaret eagerly waits to be reunited with her family. But she is unprepared for the pain to come. Her mother doesn't recognize her, repeatedly saying "Not my girl."  In just two years, Margaret has changed from a young, round-faced girl to a skinny, tall creature with short hair. Worse of all, she has forgotten her language and can't eat the food. Even her kamik (boots) give her blisters because she's now used to canvas runners. The other children tease her and the adults shun her, because she is now an outsider. Margaret finds that she has more in common with the lone black man in the community, whom the people avoid. They are both strangers at home. 

Fortunately, Margaret's father, who had also been to residential school, helps her to regain the language and the customs. So it was difficult for him to ask her to return to school with her sisters. He recognized that the world was changing, and they needed to learn or be left behind. Margaret knows that she could protect her sisters and help them retain the wisdom of their people.

A sorrowful, but important story that everyone should read.

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