My Name Is Seepeetza

My Name Is Seepeetza

by Shirley Sterling
     
 

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Her name was Seepeetza when she was at home with her family. But now that she's living at the Indian residential school her name is Martha Stone, and everything else about her life has changed as well. Told in the honest voice of a sixth grader, this is the story of a young Native girl forced to live in a world governed by strict nuns, arbitrary rules, and a policy

Overview

Her name was Seepeetza when she was at home with her family. But now that she's living at the Indian residential school her name is Martha Stone, and everything else about her life has changed as well. Told in the honest voice of a sixth grader, this is the story of a young Native girl forced to live in a world governed by strict nuns, arbitrary rules, and a policy against talking in her own dialect, even with her family. Seepeetza finds bright spots, but most of all she looks forward to summers and holidays at home.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This rather desolate autobiographical novel chronicles a girl's harsh upbringing in an Indian residential school in 1950s British Columbia. Sixth-grader Seepeetza, whose name has been changed to Martha Stone, was only six when she was ripped away from her cozy family farm and plunged into a spartan existence. She and her classmates are beaten with a strap by Sister Superior and threatened not to get out of bed lest the devils grab them and "drag us into the fires of hell." Related as entries in Seepeetza's private journal, this book has a devastatingly simple style and conveys tiny details only a person who had been through such a school could know: "Girls hide bread or raw carrots in their bloomer legs under the elastic. They take it out and eat it late at night when the lights are out. That's when we get really hungry." The story breaks out of rigid notions of right and wrong-Seepeetza is fond of her father although he drinks; her parents may have sent her away, but they are loving; the nuns are cruel but sometimes inexplicably kind; Seepeetza finds moments of happiness in her dancing amid the general oppression. Though the nave tone of the journal slightly distances the reader, the smoldering intensity and unvarnished details still assume a mature sensibility on the reader's part. This title was shortlisted for the Canadian Governor General's Literary Award. Ages 10-12. (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780888992901
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
03/28/1997
Pages:
126
Product dimensions:
5.23(w) x 7.77(h) x 5.06(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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