Luke knows his I´nupiaq name is full of sounds white people can’t say. He knows he’ll have to leave it behind when he and his brothers are sent to boarding school hundreds of miles from their Arctic village.
At Sacred Heart School things are different. Instead of family, there are students—Eskimo, Indian, White—who line up on different sides of the cafeteria like there’s some kind of war going on. And instead of comforting words like tutu and maktak, there’s English. Speaking I´nupiaq—or any native language—is forbidden. And Father Mullen, whose fury is like a force of nature, is ready to slap down those who disobey.
Luke struggles to survive at Sacred Heart. But he’s not the only one. There’s smart-aleck Amiq, a daring leader—if he doesn’t self destruct; Chickie, blond and freckled, a different kind of outsider; and small quiet Junior, noticing everything and writing it all down. Each has their own story to tell. But once their separate stories come together, things at Sacred Heart School—and in the wider world—will never be the same.
|Product dimensions:||5.61(w) x 8.23(h) x 0.66(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 14 Years|
About the Author
Debby Dahl Edwardson has lived at the northern most tip of North America in Barrow, Alaska, for over thirty years. She married into the I´nupiaq community and most of what she writes about is set within this culture. It’s not the culture she was born into, but it’s the one she feels she belongs to in every sense of the word. While My Name Is Not Easy is fiction, it was inspired by real stories from a number of boarding schools that once operated throughout Alaska.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A multi-voice telling that pulls the reader in and enfolds one as it unfolds onto a story that is by turns tragic and hopeful, sad and funny. An important book, full of stories that have not been told elsewhere.
SIblings Luke, Bunna, and Isaac are sent to a Catholic-run boarding school in the early 1960s because their small Inupiaq village town doesn't have a school for them to attend. The clash of Indian, Eskimo, and white values is immediate and almost universally unkind or unjust toward non-whites. The title of the book refers to the fact that students were not allowed to use their Indian or Eskimo names, nor were they allowed to speak their native language. FIve characters tell the story over a five-year period during which Isaac is sent to live with an adoptive family and some of the students are made to drink iodine as a military experiment. First romance, sorrow, and some joy all take a part in this book. A good read to increase knowledge of Eskimo and Indian rights, with a smooth transition to a comparison with the Civil Rights movement happening at the same time in the lower 48 states. The author's personal connection with the Inupiaq culture comes through in this wonderful tale.