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48 books by Indigenous writers to read to understand residential schools

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David A. Robertson, a Swampy Cree author based in Winnipeg, writes books for readers of all ages. He has published several books across a variety of genres, including the graphic novels Will I See? and Sugar Falls, a Governor General’s Literary Award-winning picture book called When We Were Alone, which was illustrated by Julie Flett.

His most recent books are the novel The Theory of Crows, the YA series The Misewa Saga, the picture book On the Trapline and the memoir Black Water. He also hosted the CBC Manitoba podcast Kiwew.

On Sept. 30, Canada will mark its second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a time to commemorate children who died while being forced to attend residential schools, those who survived and made it home, their families and communities still affected by the lasting trauma. 

In 2021, Robertson curated this list of books by Indigenous writers about residential schools. He originally posted the list on Twitter, and repurposed it for CBC Books. 


Why David A. Robertson curated this list

My grandmother, Sarah Robertson, attended Norway House Indian Residential School in the 1920s and early 1930s. She died having never told her story, other than to remark to one of her granddaughters how sad it had made her when they cut her hair. And to tell my mother that her sister had died while attending Towers Island Day School, but she’d not found out until long after Maggie’s death.

Her experience is lost history, a story that will remain forever untold. At Norway House Indian Residential School, officials fed children rotten food. Girls slept outside on balconies because enrolment was always overcapacity. Kids were tied up so that they wouldn’t run away. In 1907, a boy, Charles Cline, ran away after getting beaten for wetting his bed. He lost six toes after seeking protection from the elements in a shed. And how were school officials held accountable? Charles’s mom was given a bag of flour every month for the rest of the school year.

Stories have been, and always will be, the best way to educate ourselves about the truth.

My grandmother may have experienced similar trauma or may have avoided it by some miracle, but we’ll never know.

Last week, the bodies of 215 children, some as young as three, were found buried at Kamloops Indian Residential School. Indigenous people knew a discovery like this was an eventuality as much as we know that it’s a tragedy that will be repeated. The Truth & Reconciliation Commission confirmed 3,200 deaths as part of its investigation, but Senator Murray Sinclair believes there could be closer to 25,000. If at least 150,000 Indigenous children attended residential schools in its 165-year history, that means 17 per cent of the children died while attending residential school. Some schools’ mortality rates were 40 per cent.

It can no longer be disputed that the residential school system was genocide, and the question now is: What are you going to do about it? Because outrage, thoughts and prayers, retweets and likes, are not enough.

I think the answer starts with stories. Stories have been, and always will be, the best way to educate ourselves about the truth. You have to recognize that you have the power to be the authors of reconciliation if you read as much as you can, listen as much as you can, learn as much as you can, and then take meaningful, informed action.

I don’t know your role, but I know that youth are inherently better positioned than anybody to create the sort of change we need to see, and so we need to focus on them. Stories reveal the world to kids — the world that was, the world that is and the world that can be. What kind of future do you want to have?

Here are some books by Indigenous authors to get you started on your learning journey. Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. There are more stories out there.


Indian Horse was defended by Carol Huynh on Canada Reads 2013. (Douglas & McIntyre)

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese tells the story of Saul Indian Horse, a young Ojibway boy who is ripped from his family and forcibly placed in residential school. Saul, a gifted hockey player, is both victim and witness to the dehumanizing abuse of students at the school. As an adult, Saul becomes dependent on alcohol to cope with the trauma of his childhood. 

Indian Horse was defended on Canada Reads 2013 by Carol Huynh.

Wagamese was an Ojibway writer from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in Ontario. He is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry and three memoirs. Two of his books, Indian Horse and One Story, One Song, appear on this list. He died in 2017.

18:19Richard Wagamese on the Next Chapter

Author Richard Wagamese speaks to The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers about his novel Indian Horse.

The Orange Shirt Story & Phyllis’s Orange Shirt are picture books written by Phyllis Webstad, illustrated by Brock Nicol (Medicine Wheel Education, Angie Mindus)

Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30 is an annual opportunity for people of all ages to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors and their families by wearing orange. The event is inspired by residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad’s experience of being stripped of a brand new orange shirt on her first day attending residential school when she was just six years old. Webstad’s book, The Orange Shirt Story, shares what it meant for the writer to be deprived of her beloved clothing — and her sense of identity — at such a young age. 

The Orange Shirt Story is for readers aged 7-10.

Phyllis’s Orange Shirt is an adaptation of The Orange Shirt Story for readers aged 4-6. 

Webstad is Northern Secwepemc from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation. She has inspired thousands of people to honour residential school survivors and their families. Two of her books, The Orange Shirt Story and Phyllis’s Orange Shirt, are on this list.

Brock Nicol is an illustrator from Ottawa.

The Next Chapter4:12Phyllis Webstad on inspiring Orange Shirt Day

Phyllis Webstad is the founder of Orange Shirt Day, a day that honours Indigenous children who endured the horrors of residential schools. Her picture book, Phyllis’s Orange Shirt, tells the story of her first day at residential school.

Shi-shi-etko is a children’s book written by Nicola I. Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave. (salishwrite.com/Kinder Books)

Shi-shi-etko is the story of Shi-shi-etko, a young girl who has only a few days before she is sent off to a residential school. In the time she has left, she soaks in the natural wonders of the world around her, from the tall grass to the tadpoles in the creek. Before she leaves, the child learns valuable lessons and wisdom needed in the trying times ahead. 

Nicola I. Campbell is an author of Nłeʔkepmx, Syilx and Métis descent, from British Columbia. Her stories weave cultural and land-based teachings that focus on respect, endurance, healing and reciprocity.

Kim LaFave is a painter and illustrator living in Roberts Creek, B.C.

Campbell and LaFave co-created Shi-shi-etko and its sequel Shin-chi’s Canoe.

Shin-chi’s Canoe is a picture book by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Kim LaFave. (Groundwood Books)

Shin-chi’s Canoe is the sequel to Campbell’s Shi-shi-etko. It tells the story of six-year-old Shin-chi as he heads to residential school for the first time with his older sister, Shi-shi-etko. As the children are driven away in the back of a cattle truck, Shin-chi’s sister tells him all the things they must remember about home. Shin-chi knows it will be a long time before he sees his family, not until the sockeye salmon return. Shin-chi endures a long year of hard work, hunger and loneliness before returning home to his family with his sister.

Shin-chi’s Canoe won the 2009 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award for illustration.

Campbell and LaFave co-created Shi-shi-etko and its sequel Shin-chi’s Canoe.

My Name is Seepeetza is a book by Shirley Sterling. (Groundwood Books/CBC)

Written in the form of a diary, My Name is Seepeetza recounts the story of a young girl taken from home to attend the Kamloops Indian Residential School in the 1950s. My Name is Seepeetza has been described as an honest, inside look at the residential school experience — one that highlights the resilience of a child in a place governed by strict nuns, and arbitrary rules.

My Name is Seepeetza won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Awards for young people’s literature text — in 1993.

Shirley Sterling was a member of the Interior Salish Nation of British Columbia. Her Nlaka’pamux name is Seepeetza.

Tanya Talaga highlights the lives of seven Indigenous students in Seven Fallen Feathers. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star/House of Anansi)

In Seven Fallen Feathers, investigative journalist Tanya Talaga travels to Thunder Bay, Ont., to investigate the deaths of seven Indigenous teenagers: Jordan Wabasse, Kyle Morrisseau, Curran Strang, Robyn Harper, Paul Panacheese, Reggie Bushie and Jethro Anderson. Talaga looks at how their lives and untimely deaths can teach us about the injustice faced by Indigenous communities on a daily basis.

Seven Fallen Feathers won the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize for nonfiction.

Talaga is an investigative journalist. In 2017, she was named the Atkinson Fellow for public policy. The work produced during this period forms the basis of Talaga’s 2018 CBC Massey Lectures, All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward.

The Next Chapter14:36Tanya Talaga on « Seven Fallen Feathers »

Investigative reporter Tanya Talaga, on her book about 7 students who left their homes to attend high school in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and ended up dead under mysterious circumstances.

Dear Canada, These Are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens is a book by Ruby Slipperjack. (Writer’s Trust Canada, Scholastic Canada)

Ruby Slipperjack’s children’s book, Dear Canada: These Are My Words, is the diary of a 12-year-old girl named Violet Pesheens, who is a student at a residential school. Slipperjack drew on her own experiences attending Shingwauk Residential School in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Slipperjack is a member of the Eabametoong First Nation. She has written seven novels for middle grade and teen readers. She lives in Thunder Bay, Ont., and recently retired as a professor in the Indigenous Learning Department at Lakehead University. She won the 2017 Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People.

Beatrice Mosionier is a Métis author born in St. Boniface, Man. (Madison Thomas/CBC/HighWater Press)

In Search of April Raintree is about two young sisters who are taken from their home and family. Powerless to change their fortunes, they are separated and each put into different foster homes. Yet over the years, the bond between them grows. As they each make their way in the society, one embraces her Métis identity, while the other tries to leave it behind. In the end, out of tragedy, comes an unexpected legacy of triumph and reclamation. First published in 1983, In Search of April Raintree has become a Canadian classic.

Beatrice Mosionier was born in St. Boniface, Man. She decided to write In Search of April Raintree following the death of two sisters to suicide.

Unreserved14:49#IndigenousReads: Beatrice Mosionier talks about her novel In Search of April Raintree

First published in 1983, it has been loved and read by generations of Canadians. It is based on author Beatrice Mosionier’s life, who is Metis. She survived foster care, abuse and the loss of her two sisters to suicide. Book two in #IndigenousReads.

The Train is a book by Jodie Callaghan (left), illustrated by Georgia Lesley. (Second Story Press, georgialesley.com)

In this book, a girl named Ashley meets her great-uncle by the old train tracks near their Nova Scotia community. The Train is a story of the legacy of residential schools in Canada as her uncle explains his experience and loss of identity. The book is a story of remembrance, hope and reconciliation.

The Train was a finalist for the 2021 Silver Birch Express Award.

Jodie Callaghan is a Mi’gmaw author and storyteller from the Listuguj First Nation in Gespegewa’gi near Quebec.

Georgia Lesley is an artist and illustrator based in British Columbia’s Cariboo region.

Fatty Legs is a children’s book and memoir written by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. (Annick Press)

Fatty Legs: A True Story is a picture book inspired by the true story of Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton’s experience at residential school. As a young girl living in the High Arctic, Margaret was determined to learn to read even though it meant leaving her home and everything she knew behind. Despite her father’s warning about the horrors of residential schools, Margaret makes the long journey south where she encounters the Raven — a hook-nosed nun who immediately dislikes Margaret. In a show of cruelty, the Raven gives Margaret red stockings instead of the grey ones the other girls receive, making her the laughingstock of the school. Margaret gets rid of the stockings and must teach the Raven a lesson about human dignity.

Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton was a Inuvialuit knowledge keeper and residential school survivor. She was the co-author of several books, including Fatty Legs: A True StoryA Stranger At HomeWhen I Was Eight and Not My Girl. She died in 2021.

Christy Jordan-Fenton is Pokiak-Fenton’s daughter-in-law and co-author. She now lives in Fort St. John, B.C. 

Gabrielle Grimard has illustrated over 30 picture books, including When I Was EightNot My Girl and Stolen Words. She lives in Quebec.

The Next Chapter15:01Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and Christy Jordan-Fenton on Fatty Legs

Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and Christy Jordan-Fenton celebrate the 10th anniversary of their children’s book Fatty Legs, which tells a story from Pokiak-Fenton’s time in residential school.

Jenny Kay Dupuis’s I Am Not a Number tackles the history of Residential schools and is based on her grandmother’s experiences. (Dan Robb, Second Story Press)

I Am Not a Number follows the story of eight-year-old Irene as she gets removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school — confused, frightened and terribly homesick. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene’s parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. Based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis’ grandmother, the book brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that educates the children.

Dupuis is of Anishinaabe Ojibway ancestry and a proud member of Nipissing First Nation. She is an educator, researcher, artist and speaker who works full-time supporting the advancement of Indigenous education. She lives in Toronto.

Kathy Kacer is well known for her children’s books about the Holocaust. Her books have won awards including the Silver Birch, the Red Maple, the Hackmatack and the Jewish Book Award. Kacer is a former psychologist and lives in Toronto.

Gillian Newland is an artist who lives in Halifax. She has illustrated the books I Am Not a Number, The Magician of Auschwitz and A Boy Asked The Wind.

Metro Morning8:03Children’s book documents a grandmother’s struggle in residential schools

Today, kids across this country wear orange to remember the children who were forced into residential schools. One of them is remembered in a book written by her granddaughter. Matt Galloway spoke with Jenny Kay Dupuis, author of « I Am Not A Number. »

In When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett, a young girl listens to her grandmother’s stories about attending residential school. (TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award)

In When We Were Alone, a girl asks her grandmother about why she wears her hair in a long braid and why she speaks in another language. Her grandmother responds by describing her childhood, growing up in a residential school.

When We Were Alone won the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award for young people’s literature — illustrated books. 

David A. Robertson is an author and graphic novelist based in Winnipeg. He has written several books in many genres, including the graphic novels Will I See? and Sugar Falls, the picture book When We Were Alone, the YA  series The Reckoner and the memoir Black Water.

Julie Flett has illustrated several picture books including Little YouMy Heart Fills with Happiness and We Sang You Home. Her picture book Birdsong was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.

7:52David A. Robertson visits with students in Laval

The author of When We Were Alone meets with young readers to talk about Canada’s residential school history.

A Stranger At Home is a picture book by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes. (Annick Press)

In this sequel to Fatty Legs, Margaret Pokiak is now 10 years old and can hardly wait to return home from residential school. But her homecoming is not what she hopes for. « Not my girl, » is what her mother says when she arrives. The story follows Margaret as she moves through feelings of rejection and tries to reconnect with her family, language and culture.

Pokiak-Fenton, Jordan-Fenton and Grimard have worked on several books together, including Fatty Legs: A True StoryA Stranger At HomeWhen I Was Eight and Not My Girl. Many of these titles can be found on this list.

Porcupines and China Dolls is a book by Robert Arthur Alexie. (Philippe Morin/CBC, Theytus Books)

Porcupines and China Dolls is about two men, James and Jake, confronting their childhood abuse and breaking the silence to begin a journey of healing and rediscovery. Enough alcohol silences the demons for a night; a gun and a single bullet silences demons forever. When a friend dies by suicide and a former priest appears on television, the community is shattered.

Robert Arthur Alexie was born and raised in Fort McPherson in Canada’s Northwest Territories. He became the chief of the Tetlit Gwich’in of Fort McPherson, served two terms as vice-president of the Gwich’in Tribal Council, and was instrumental in obtaining a land claim agreement for the Gwich’in of the Northwest Territories. He died in 2014.

Cherie Dimaline is the author of The Marrow Thieves. (Peter Power/CBC, Dancing Cat Books)

​In the dystopian world of Cherie Dimaline’s award-winning The Marrow Thieves, climate change has ravaged the Earth and a continent-wide hunt and slaughter of Indigenous people is underway. Wanted for their bone marrow, which contains the lost ability to dream, a group of Indigenous people seek refuge in the old lands. 

The Marrow Thieves won the Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s text in 2017 and was defended by Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018.

Cherie Dimaline is a Métis author and editor. Her other books include Red RoomsThe Girl Who Grew a Galaxy, A Gentle Habit and Empire of Wild.

The Next Chapter10:07Cherie Dimaline on « The Marrow Thieves »

Cherie Dimaline on her Canad Reads contender « The Marrow Thieves. » (Originally aired Oct 2, 2017)

When I Was Eight is a picture book by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. (Annick Press)

In When I Was Eight, Olemaun is eight and knows a lot of things. But she doesn’t know how to read. Ignoring her father’s warnings, she travels far from her Arctic home to the outsiders’ school to learn. Based on the true story of co-author Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, the book makes the bestselling Fatty Legs accessible to younger readers, reminding us what power we hold when we can read.

Pokiak-Fenton, Jordan-Fenton and Grimard have worked on several books together, including Fatty Legs: A True StoryA Stranger At HomeWhen I Was Eight and Not My Girl. Many of these titles can be found on this list.

Stolen Words is a picture book by Melanie Florence, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. (Second Story Press)

Stolen Words tells the story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in his language – Cree – he admits that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families.

Melanie Florence is a writer of Cree and Scottish heritage based in Toronto. She is also the author of Missing Nimama, which won the 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the 2017 Forest of Reading Golden Oak Award.

Gabrielle Grimard has illustrated over 30 picture books, including When I Was Eight and Not My Girl. She lives in Quebec.

Metro Morning6:46Residential Schools Book

Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report, and one of the recommendations is to make an age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, and aboriginal contributions and history. Guest host Gill Deacon spoke with Melanie Florence.

The Journey Forward collects two novellas by Richard Van Camp and Monique Gray Smith. (richardvancamp.com, Centric Photography)

When We Play Our Drums, They Sing! by Richard Van Camp and Lucy & Lola by Monique Gray Smith are two novellas about reconciliation, healing and a way forward in one beautifully packaged flip book. Van Camp and Gray Smith each take a side of the column and present different young Indigenous characters as they navigate a world made uneasy by colonialism and fracture.

Van Camp writes comics, picture books and novels, most recently publishing the short story collection Moccasin Square Gardens. He is a member of the Dogrib Nation from Fort Smith, N.W.T.

Gray Smith is a writer of Cree, Lakota and Scottish heritage who currently lives in Victoria. She is also the author of the novels Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience and Tilly and the Crazy Eights, the picture books When We Are Kind and My Heart Fills with Happiness and the nonfiction middle-grade book Speaking Our Truth. Speaking Our Truth is also on this list.

The Current12:15Richard Van Camp on telling stories and staying connected

Author and Calgary Public Library’s storyteller-in-residence Richard Van Camp is helping people tell their own stories during the pandemic, as a way to stay connected and remember what it means to be human. He tells us why he’s embraced this difficult moment.

Sugar Falls 10th anniversary edition is a graphic novel by David A. Robertson. (Highwater Press)

Sugar Falls is based on the true story of Betty Ross, an elder from Manitoba’s Cross Lake First Nation. Adopted into a loving family at a young age, Ross was sent to residential school at eight years of age — and endured abuse while she was there. Sugar Falls recounts her journey in an age-accessible way, and highlights the role her father’s teachings played in helping Ross to keep hope alive. 

A 10th anniversary edition of Sugar Falls was published in 2021.

Sugar Falls is one of several books by Robertson and illustrated by Henderson on this list.

Unreserved10:51‘Truth is truth’: why Michelle Good’s residential school fiction resonates

Michelle Good, who is nehiyaw from Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, wrote about a fictional story about five residential school survivors who stuck together as children but, chart their own difficult paths as young adults.

Not My Girl is a picture book by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, art by Gabrielle Grimard. (Annick Press)

Not My Girl is a sequel to the picture book When I Was Eight. The book makes the award-winning memoir, A Stranger at Home, accessible to younger children. Based on Margaret-Olemaun’s real life, it is a poignant story of a determined young girl’s struggle to belong. Margaret’s years at school have changed her. At ten years old, she has forgotten her language and the skills to hunt and fish. Her only comfort is in the books she learned to read.

Pokiak-Fenton, Jordan-Fenton and Grimard have worked on several books together, including Fatty Legs: A True StoryA Stranger At HomeWhen I Was Eight and Not My Girl. Many of these titles can be found on this list.

As Long as the Rivers Flow is a middle-grade book by Larry Loyie, with Constance Brissenden, illustrated by Heather Holmlund. (Groundwood Books, firstnationswriter.com)

In As Long as the Rivers Flow, Cree author Larry Loyie writes about his last summer with his family before going to residential school in Northern Alberta in 1944. Lawrence learns things like how to care for a baby owl, and how to gather medicinal plants with his Kokom. Loyie’s story highlights how his education at home was disrupted by the residential school system.

As Long as the Rivers Flow won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction and First Nation Communities Read.

Larry Loyie was born in Slave Lake, Alta., and lived in Edmonton. He also wrote Goodbye Buffalo Bay and The Gathering Tree. He died in 2016.

Heather D. Holmlund is an artist and painter. She studied fine art and the visual arts at York University, specializing in watercolour. 

Five Little Indians is a novel by Michelle Good. (Harper Perennial, Candice Camille)

In Five Little Indians, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie were taken from their families and sent to a residential school when they were very small. Barely out of childhood, they are released and left to contend with the seedy world of eastside Vancouver. Fuelled by the trauma of their childhood, the five friends cross paths over the decades and struggle with the weight of their shared past. 

Five Little Indians won the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction and the 2021 Amazon Canada First Novel Award.

Michelle Good is a Cree writer and retired lawyer, as well as a member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Five Little Indians is her first book.

The Current22:00Residential school survivor Augie Merasty, ‘We were treated like animals’ – April 16, 2015

This is the story of one man… elderly now with a childhood of brutality seared into his memory. He wrote a book to tell the world what he survived in a Manitoba residential school. His is the story of one little boy and the adults who betrayed him.

One Story, One Song is a short story collection by Richard Wagamese. (Yvette Lehmann, Douglas & McIntyre)

In One Story, One Song, Wagamese invites readers to accompany him on his travels. His focus is on stories: how they shape us, how they empower us, how they change our lives. Ancient and contemporary, cultural and spiritual, funny and sad, the tales are grouped according to the four essential principles Ojibway traditional teachers sought to impart: humility, trust, introspection and wisdom.

Wagamese is the author of several books, including Medicine WalkRagged Company, Him Standing, Dream Wheel, the poetry book Runaway Dreams and memoirs For JoshuaEmbers and One Native Life. Two of his books, Indian Horse and One Story, One Song, appear on this list. He died in 2017.

Lisa Bird-Wilson is the author of The Red Flies, a poetry collection. (Harbour Publishing, Nightwood Editions)

Drawing from family photographs and archival records, Lisa Bird-Wilson writes poetry to commemorate the generations of children traumatized by the residential school system. The project is a personal one as Bird-Wilson’s own grandparents, aunts and uncles were among the 150,000 Indigenous students to attend residential schools. The title of the book comes from the federal government, who organized the residential school archives into « black files » and « red files. »

Bird-Wilson is a Métis and nêhiyaw writer who lives in Saskatchewan. She is also the author of the short story collection Just Pretending, the nonfiction book An Institute of Our Own and the novel Probably Ruby.

Joseph Auguste Merasty shares his story of resilience and perseverance in his 2015 memoir. (University of Regina Press/Courtesy of David Carpenter)

Joseph Auguste Merasty was 86 when he approached David Carpenter about writing his memoirs. At the time Merasty was homeless, suffered from alcoholism and was prone to disappearing for long periods of time. But the pair persisted in creating a heart-rending record of Merasty’s experience with abuse in St. Therese Residential School near Sturgeon Landing, Sask. He was five years old when he first enrolled at the institution in 1935. They shared Merasty’s story in The Education of Augie Merasty.

The Education of Augie Merasty was shortlisted for the CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Literature.

Merasty was a storyteller, fisherman, trapper, amateur boxer and « jack of all trades. » He died at the age of 87 in 2017.

David Carpenter is an author and fisherman based in Saskatoon. He has written 10 books, including Niceman Cometh and A Hunter’s Confession.

Sunday Edition29:29« They Called Me Number One » with author Chief Bev Sellars

Bev Sellars has written a memoir « They Called Me Number One » about the impact of residential school on three generations – herself, her mother and her grandmother.

Monique Gray Smith is the author of Speaking Our Truth. (Centric Photography, Orca Books)

In Speaking Our Truth, Cree, Lakota and Scottish author Monique Gray Smith makes the topic of reconciliation accessible to a young audience of Indigenous readers and aspiring allies alike. The innovative book helps young readers understand the history of the residential school system in Canada and its lasting effects on survivors today. Inspired by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the book includes questions and prompts to help young people think about these complicated issues, and how to move forward with understanding and empathy.

Speaking Our Truth was shortlisted for the 2018 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.

Gray Smith’s many other books include the novels Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience and Tilly and the Crazy Eights, the picture books When We Are Kind and My Heart Fills with Happiness. Her novella Lucy & Lola is also on this list.

Unreserved38:25Reclaiming and revitalizing Indigenous languages

For the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages, initiatives to strengthen ties between Indigenous people and their languages are being taken up across the world. This week on Unreserved, stories of reclamation and revitalization of Indigenous languages.

They Called Me Number One is a memoir by Bev Sellars. (Talonbooks)

Xat’sull chief Bev Sellars tells the story of three generations of Indigenous women who survived the residential school system in Canada: her grandmother, her mother and herself. Sellars shares stories of enduring starvation, forced labour and physical abuse at St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., a place that prided itself on « civilizing » Indigenous children.

Sellars is also the author of Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival.

Unreserved43:38‘I have so much to say’: Cree author David A. Robertson on writing everything from graphic novels to a memoir

To say Cree author David A. Robertson is prolific is a bit of an understatement. He started his writing career in 2009, and has already published more than 20 titles. This fall he has three books being released. This week on Unreserved, an extended conversation with the author.

Pauline Young with the two books she was asked to illustrate, I Lost My Talk and I’m Finding My Talk. (Gail Harding/CBC)

 I Lost My Talk shares Rita Joe’s iconic poem with a new generation. I Lost My Talk is about how Joe, a Mi’kmaw elder and poet, lost her language and culture after she was sent to residential school. 

I’m Finding My Talk is Rebecca Thomas’s response to I Lost My Talk. Thomas is a poet and a second-generation residential school survivor. In I’m Finding My Talk, she celebrates reconnecting with her language and culture.

Both books are for readers aged 4-8.

Both books are illustrated by Pauline Young, a Mi’kmaw illustrator who lives in New Brunswick.

The Next Chapter4:35Katherena Vermette answers The Next Chapters’ Proust questionnaire

Author Katherena Vermette brought along her baby girl Ruby when she dropped by our studio in Toronto to take The Next Chapter’s Proust questionnaire.

7 Generations is a graphic novel by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson. (HighWater Press, Amber Green)

7 Generations is a four-part graphic novel. The story follows one Indigenous family over three centuries and seven generations. It was originally published as a series of four graphic novels: Stone, Scars, Ends/Begins and The Pact.

7 Generations is one of several books by Robertson and illustrated by Henderson on this list.

Unreserved11:04Return to tradition: How author Helen Knott used writing and ceremony to overcome trauma

In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience tells the story of how Helen Knott overcame addiction and trauma, and how writing became instrumental to her healing.

Amik Loves School is the seventh book in the Seven Teachings Stories series by Katherena Vermette. (Lisa Delorme Meiler/HIGHWATER)

Amik tells Moshoom about his wonderful school. Then his grandfather tells him about the residential school he went to, much different from Amik’s school. Amik Loves School is one book in The Seven Teachings Stories series. The Seven Sacred Teachings of the Anishinaabe — love, wisdom, humility, courage, respect, honesty and truth — are revealed in seven stories for children.

Katherena Vermette is a Métis writer from Treaty One territory. She won the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry for her first book, North End Love Songs. Her debut novel, The Break, was a finalist on Canada Reads 2017. 

Irene Kuziw is a freelance artist and illustrator. She has worked in galleries, museums and schools. Her work has been exhibited in numerous art shows. A graduate of the University of Manitoba School of Art, Kuziw lives in the Interlake region of Manitoba.

The Next Chapter17:50Wab Kinew on The Reason You Walk

Wab Kinew talks about his memoir, an account of the year he spent with his dying father.

Edmund Metatawabin, pictured above in 2013, is a survivor of St. Anne’s residential school in Fort Albany, Ont. (Colin Perkel, Vintage Canada)

Up Ghost River is a memoir of Edmund Metatawabin’s experience in residential school. Metatawabin was taken from his family at the age of seven, physically and sexually abused by staff members, and stripped of his Indigenous identity in school. As an adult, Metatawabin suffered from PTSD and became addicted to alcohol. In seeking treatment with an Indigenous support group, Metatawabin was able to come to terms with what happened to him and has since become a counsellor, championing Indigenous knowledge.

Metatawabin is a Cree writer, educator, activist and former Chief of Fort Albany First Nation.

Alexandra Shimo is an author and journalist based in Toronto. She is a former producer for CBC Radio and editor at Maclean’s. She is also the author of Invisible North.

Broken Circle is a memoir by Theodore Fontaine. (Travis Golby/CBC, Heritage House Publishing)

Broken Circle is a memoir by Theodore Fontaine, who lost his family and freedom just after his seventh birthday, when his parents were forced to leave him at an Catholic residential school. Twelve years later, he left school frozen at the emotional age of seven — confused, angry and on a path of self-destruction. Step by step, he began a journey of self-exploration and healing.

Fontaine is a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba. He attended the Fort Alexander Indian Residential School and the Assiniboia Indian Residential School. Fontaine was chief of the Sagkeeng First Nation and the chair of the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute based in Winnipeg. He died in May 2021.

In My Own Moccasins is a memoir by Helen Knott. (Tenille K. Campbell/sweetmoonphotography.ca, University of Regina Press)

Helen Knott’s memoir, In My Own Moccasins, is a story of addiction, sexual violence and intergenerational trauma. It explores how colonization has impacted her family over generations. But it is also a story of hope and redemption, celebrating the resilience and history of her family.

Knott is a poet and writer of Dane Zaa, nehiyaw and European descent. She was chosen for the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writers Program. In My Own Moccasins is her first book.

Wab Kinew is a politican and the author of The Reason You Walk. (Anthony Thosh Collins/Penguin Canada)

The Reason You Walk is a memoir by politician and broadcaster Wab Kinew. After his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Kinew was determined to reconnect with his father, a residential school survivor and respected chief. In the process, Kinew reflects on his own troubled youth.

Kinew is the leader of Manitoba’s New Democratic Party. Prior to his career in politics, Kinew was a musician and broadcaster, hosting the CBC series 8th Fire and Canada Reads in 2015. He is also the author of Go Show the World, a children’s picture book about Indigenous heroes throughout history.

Betty is a graphic novel written by David A. Robertson and drawn by Scott B. Henderson. (HighWater Press)

Helen Betty Osborne, known as Betty, dreamed of becoming a teacher. She left her home to attend residential school and high school in a small town in Manitoba. On November 13, 1971, Betty was abducted and brutally murdered by four young men. Initially met with silence and indifference, her tragic murder resonates loudly today. Betty represents one of almost 1,200 Indigenous women in Canada who have been murdered or gone missing.

7 Generations is one of several books by Robertson and illustrated by Henderson on this list.

The Land Is Our Storybook is a picture book series by Julie-Anne Andre and Mindy Willett. (Fifth House Publishers)

The Land Is Our Storybook is a series of 10 books for children about the diverse lands and cultures of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Told in a diverse range of northern voices and with a child-centred approach, the series highlight each official Indigenous language group in the N.W.T., revealing a richly textured picture of life in the North-on the trapline, around the campfire, in communities, at school and within the outdoor school that is the land itself.

The series includes We Feel Good Out Here, which offers a personal account of Julie-Ann André’s family story that includes a discussion about her residential school experience.

Mindy Willett is an educational consultant and former teacher from Yellowknife. Willett has worked with storytellers, Elders and cultural leaders from ten regions in the territory to capture real stories of everyday life as it exists today.

Julie-Ann Andre is a Gwichya Gwich’in from Tsiigehtchic in the N.W.T.. She is a Canadian Ranger, a mother of twin daughters, a hunter, a trapper and a student.


A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

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Kim Kardashian « réévalue » sa relation avec Balenciaga après une campagne publicitaire controversée

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Kim Kardashian a déclaré qu’elle « réévaluait » sa relation avec Balenciaga après que la marque basée à Paris ait publié une campagne publicitaire représentant des enfants aux côtés d’animaux en peluche habillés en tenue de bondage.

Kardashian, qui entretient des relations de travail étroites avec la maison de couture depuis des années et est actuellement ambassadrice de la marque, a tweeté dimanche qu’elle était « ébranlée par les images dérangeantes ».

« En ce qui concerne mon avenir avec Balenciaga, je réévalue actuellement ma relation avec la marque », a-t-elle écrit, « en me basant sur leur volonté d’accepter la responsabilité de quelque chose qui n’aurait jamais dû arriver au départ – et les actions que j’attends de les voir prendre pour protéger les enfants. »

Les problèmes de Balenciaga ont commencé au début de la semaine dernière, après que sa campagne publicitaire de vacances ait été critiquée pour ce que beaucoup considéraient comme du contenu sexuel implicite. Peu de temps après, Balenciaga a retiré la campagne et publié une déclaration sur le profil Instagram de l’entreprise concernant la création de l’annonce.

« Nous nous excusons sincèrement pour toute infraction que notre campagne de vacances a pu causer », lit-on dans le communiqué. « Nos sacs en peluche pour ours n’auraient pas dû être présentés avec des enfants dans cette campagne. Nous avons immédiatement supprimé la campagne de toutes les plateformes. »

Quelques heures plus tard, d’autres ont découvert du texte partiellement obscurci sur une autre photo sans rapport avec la campagne publicitaire printemps 2023 de la maison de couture. Ce texte provenait d’une décision de la Cour suprême des États-Unis de 2008 concernant la pornographie juvénile, amenant la marque à présenter une deuxième excuse pour « avoir affiché des documents troublants dans [the] campagne », et annonce son intention d’intenter une action en justice – réclamant au moins 25 millions de dollars américains de dommages et intérêts – contre la société de production et le scénographe à l’origine de ce tournage.

Peu de temps après, Balenciaga a complètement purgé son Instagram, supprimant toutes les publications de photos et ne laissant que les « points forts de l’histoire », y compris les déclarations récentes.

Ailleurs, le photographe de la séance photo originale de l’ours en peluche a publié une déclaration, affirmant qu’il avait été la cible d’un « lynchage » en ligne, malgré le fait qu’il n’avait pas son mot à dire sur les produits ou les accessoires présentés dans la séance photo.

« Je dois souligner que je n’avais droit d’aucune manière ni à [choose] les produits, ni les modèles, ni la combinaison des mêmes », a écrit le photographe Gabriele Galimberti.

« En tant que photographe, j’ai été uniquement et uniquement sollicité pour [light] la scène donnée, et prendre les photos selon mon style de signature. Comme d’habitude pour un shooting commercial, la direction de la campagne et le choix des objets exposés ne sont pas entre les mains du photographe. »

Avant de travailler avec Balenciaga, Galimberti avait développé un projet photo populaire, Toy Stories, qui l’a vu voyager à travers le monde pour documenter de jeunes enfants posant parmi une disposition en forme de grille de leurs jouets. Balenciaga ne poursuit pas de poursuites judiciaires contre Galimberti, comme c’est le cas avec ceux qui sont à l’origine de la campagne de printemps.

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Un nouveau film mettant en vedette la légende de Sedna est sorti au cinéma d’Iqaluit, mais tout le monde n’en est pas content

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Une comédie musicale primée basée sur la légende inuite de Sedna, la déesse de la mer arctique, présentée ce mois-ci à l’Astro Theatre d’Iqaluit.

Le film d’animation pour enfants contient des thèmes d’amour et de courage et comprend également une chanson contre l’intimidation.

Cependant, pour au moins une mère d’Iqaluit, les films ont soulevé des inquiétudes, notamment en ce qui concerne la représentation de la culture inuit.

Jerry Thevenet, originaire de NunatuKavut au Labrador, a écrit, animé et produit Sedna, impératrice de la mer, a déclaré que le récit de sa grand-mère sur la légende inuit avait inspiré l’écriture du film. Il a remporté plusieurs prix, dont celui de la meilleure chanson originale aux prestigieux Cannes Film Awards en France.

L’intention du film, a-t-il dit, est d’utiliser la légende comme amorce de conversation pour les enfants sur les pensionnats.

« J’essayais de créer un film que je pourrais utiliser pour initier les jeunes enfants au concept des pensionnats », a déclaré Thevenet.

« Je ne voulais pas quelque chose qui était sombre et qui allait les effrayer … Je voulais proposer une idée qui, je pense, pourrait inciter les petits enfants à regarder et à se fiancer. »

Jerry Thevenet est l’animateur et le producteur du film pour enfants « Sedna, Empress of the Sea ». (Jerry Co Animation)

Thevenet a dit qu’il avait embelli l’histoire de Sedna.

« Je l’ai transformé en une sorte de comédie musicale des années 1960, vous savez, une musique très colorée et très vivante qui attirera les enfants », a-t-il déclaré.

« J’ai pris beaucoup de libertés. Vous savez, je reçois beaucoup de flack … les gens disent, eh bien, ce n’est pas la vraie histoire. Eh bien, ce n’est pas censé être la vraie histoire. Ce sont mes souvenirs de ça conte que m’a raconté ma grand-mère. »

Il a également dit que c’était « vraiment destiné à plaire aux enfants de toutes les cultures et aux enfants de partout au Canada ».

« C’est mal éduquer les gens sur notre culture »

Andrea Andersen d’Iqaluit a déclaré avoir été choquée lorsqu’elle a réalisé de quoi parlait le film.

Elle a dit avoir contacté Thevenet pour lui faire part de ses inquiétudes concernant les informations présentées dans le film spécifiquement sur les Inuits.

D’une part, elle a dit que le film « ne portait même pas sur Sedna, mais sur les pensionnats », ce à quoi elle ne s’attendait pas.

« Il doit y avoir un avertissement de déclenchement, il doit avoir une toute nouvelle refonte car l’animation est incroyable mais le scénario et la façon dont il a été décrit ne l’étaient pas. »

D’autres aspects qui ne correspondaient pas à Andersen incluent une scène d’une version stéréotypée d’un baiser inuit traditionnel, qu’elle a dit qu’elle devait expliquer à sa fille était incorrecte après avoir vu le film.

« Ils ont fait un baiser esquimau sur le nez. Et ce n’est pas comme ça qu’on s’embrasse, ils reniflent sur la joue. Et c’est une vision stéréotypée de la façon dont les médias le décrivent. Et c’est totalement faux », a déclaré Andersen.

« Et puis ma panique a pensé que c’était comme ça qu’on devait s’embrasser et j’ai dû lui expliquer non, ce n’est pas ce qu’on fait. »

Une affiche pour « Sedna, impératrice de la mer ». Une mère d’Iqaluit dit qu’elle est préoccupée par la façon dont le film dépeint la culture inuit. (Site de Jerry Co Animation)

De nombreux mots en inuktitut ont également été mal prononcés, a déclaré Andersen.

« Pendant que nous regardions le film, l’un des enfants a en fait crié qu’il prononçait mal les mots et les gens dans le public ont commencé à rire parce que [the child’s statement] était correct – ils ne disaient pas les choses correctement.

« J’étais très inquiète et confuse. Il y avait beaucoup de choses dans l’histoire qui n’avaient pas vraiment de sens », a-t-elle déclaré.

Parmi les autres préoccupations d’Andersen, il y avait les vêtements qui lui semblaient «plus basés sur les Premières Nations que les Inuits», et qu’un jeune personnage avait déjà des tatouages ​​faciaux.

« Vous ne faites votre premier tatouage que lorsque vous devenez majeur », a-t-elle déclaré.

Andersen a déclaré qu’elle appréciait la production du film en termes de visuels.

« L’animation était géniale », a-t-elle déclaré. « C’était comme un film de Disney. »

Au cœur du problème pour Andersen était qu’elle estimait que le film était un reflet incorrect de la culture inuit.

« En tant que parent, vous êtes ravi que votre enfant voie des choses modernes sur notre culture. Et puis quand vous allez voir ce film, c’est une mauvaise représentation de celui-ci », a déclaré Andersen.

« C’est mal éduquer les gens sur notre culture. Et c’était très préoccupant, car ce film a remporté de nombreux prix et reconnaissances internationales pour sa projection. »

Elle a dit qu’elle ne pensait pas qu’il était approprié de fusionner plusieurs cultures autochtones en une seule dans ce contexte.

« Lorsque vous essayez d’éduquer, vous ne les mettez pas tous ensemble. Et c’est ce qui s’est passé dans ce film », a-t-elle déclaré.

Elle a ajouté qu’elle pense qu’il ne devrait pas être montré davantage et qu’il devrait faire l’objet d’un examen, en particulier d’un examen incluant les Inuits de chaque région.

Le long métrage sera largement diffusé au Canada en décembre, en commençant par l’Ontario.

« Révérence » à la communauté d’origine de Thevenet

En ce qui concerne son film, Thevenet a déclaré qu’il voulait incorporer plusieurs cultures autochtones de partout au pays.

« C’est vraiment difficile de trouver la solution parfaite pour tout. Vous savez, c’est brutalement difficile de faire un film comme ça. Cela m’a pris cinq ans, ça m’a presque tué », a-t-il déclaré, ajoutant qu’il devait personnellement payer la moitié de la production du film après l’échec de certains des fonds qu’il avait obtenus.

Thevenet n’a pas été en mesure de donner le montant du coût du film.

Tanya Kelen, qui est distributrice et productrice exécutive pour JerryCo Animation, l’organisation derrière le film, a déclaré avoir « testé » le film avec des enfants de la région du Labrador pour s’assurer que le message autour des pensionnats était approprié.

« Nous avons eu d’excellents commentaires du public des écoles qui l’ont vu », a-t-elle déclaré.

« Nous ne pensons pas qu’il ait vraiment besoin d’un avertissement déclencheur à ce stade. Et c’est quelque chose que nous pouvons examiner si nous recevons de plus en plus de commentaires de ce type », a-t-elle déclaré.

Et, dit-elle, le film rend globalement « respect à la communauté dans laquelle Jerry est né ».

Il est prévu de proposer une « version locale » pour le Nunavut, a ajouté Kelen, et des tests du film seront effectués dans d’autres régions inuites.

Tension autour de la communauté NunatuKavut

La biographie de Thevenet sur le site Web du film indique qu’il est né au NunatuKavut et qu’il est d’origine européenne et autochtone.

La tension autour de l’identité de la communauté a fait surface dans l’actualité au fil des ans. L’année dernière, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, qui représente les Inuits au Canada, a envoyé une lettre au premier ministre Justin Trudeau rejetant la position du NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) selon laquelle il s’agit d’une organisation inuite distincte. Dans la lettre, ITK demandait au gouvernement fédéral d’exclure la CCN de tous les programmes, politiques et avantages fédéraux pour les Inuits.

La CCN dit qu’elle représente environ 6 000 Inuits et personnes d’origine inuite dans le sud et le centre du Labrador; il était connu sous le nom de Labrador Métis Council jusqu’en 2010, date à laquelle il a déclaré avoir changé de nom pour refléter l’héritage de ses membres.

En septembre 2019, Ottawa a signé un protocole d’entente avec le NunatuKavut, reconnaissant ses membres comme Autochtones en vertu de l’article 35 de la Loi constitutionnelle.

Cette note de service a suscité des réactions négatives de la part de la nation innue, qui représente les Innus au Labrador, et du gouvernement du Nunatsiavut, qui couvre les Inuits du nord du Labrador. En septembre 2021, les deux groupes ont rejeté la revendication territoriale de CNC, bien que le gouvernement du Nunatsiavut ait déclaré que CNC pourrait avoir des membres autochtones.

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Irene Cara, chanteuse de Fame et Flashdash, est décédée à 63 ans

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Irene Cara, chanteuse et actrice récompensée aux Oscars, aux Golden Globes et aux Grammy Awards, qui a joué et chanté le titre extrait du film à succès de 1980 Notoriété puis a entonné le hit qui a marqué l’époque Flashdance… Quel sentiment à partir de 1983 Danse éclair, est mort. Elle avait 63 ans.

Son publiciste, Judith A. Moose, a annoncé la nouvelle tôt samedi sur les réseaux sociaux, écrivant qu’une cause de décès était « actuellement inconnue ». Moose a déclaré que Cara était décédée chez elle en Floride. Le jour exact de sa mort n’a pas été révélé.

« La famille d’Irene a demandé la confidentialité pendant qu’elle traite son chagrin », a écrit Moose. « C’était une âme magnifiquement douée dont l’héritage vivra pour toujours à travers sa musique et ses films. »

Au cours de sa carrière, Cara a eu trois succès dans le Top 10 du Billboard Hot 100, dont Breakdance, Ici tout seul, Notoriété et Flashdance… Quel sentimentqui a passé six semaines au n ° 1. Elle était à l’origine de certains des hymnes pop les plus joyeux et les plus énergiques du début des années 80.

Elle s’est d’abord fait connaître parmi les jeunes acteurs jouant des lycéens en arts de la scène dans Alan Parker’s Notoriété, avec les co-stars Debbie Allen, Paul McCrane et Anne Mear. Cara a joué Coco Hernandez, une danseuse acharnée qui endure toutes sortes de privations, y compris une séance photo de nu effrayante.

« La luminosité de nos esprits dans l’espace dépend de notre contribution à l’éclat terrestre de ce monde. Et je veux dire être un contributeur majeur ! » dit-elle dans le film.

Cara a chanté sur la chanson titre en plein essor avec le refrain – « Souviens-toi de mon nom / Je vais vivre pour toujours / Je vais apprendre à voler / Je le sens se rassembler / Les gens vont me voir et pleurer » – qui continuerait être nominé pour l’Oscar de la meilleure chanson originale. Elle a également chanté sur Ici tout seul, Confiture Déjeuner Chaud et Je chante le corps électrique.

Oscar de la meilleure chanson originale

Trois ans plus tard, elle et l’équipe de compositeurs de Danse éclair – musique de Giorgio Moroder, paroles de Keith Forsey et Cara – recevaient l’Oscar de la meilleure chanson originale pour Flashdance … Quel sentiment.

Irene Cara est considérée comme le personnage de Coco Hernandez se produisant lors d’une cérémonie de remise des diplômes dans une scène du film musical Fame, réalisé par Alan Parker en 1980. (Artistes unis/Photos d’archives/Getty Images)

Le film mettait en vedette Jennifer Beals dans le rôle d’une fille de la ville de l’acier qui danse dans un bar la nuit et espère fréquenter un prestigieux conservatoire de danse. Il comprenait la chanson à succès Maniaquemettant en vedette le personnage de Beals sautant, tournant, tapant du pied et la chanson thème à combustion lente.

« Il n’y a pas assez de mots pour exprimer mon amour et ma gratitude », a déclaré Cara à la foule des Oscars dans ses remerciements. « Et le dernier mais non le moindre, un gentleman très spécial qui, je suppose, a tout commencé pour moi il y a de nombreuses années. À Alan Parker, où que vous soyez ce soir, je le remercie. »

Née à New York, Cara a commencé sa carrière à Broadway, avec de petits rôles dans des spectacles de courte durée, bien qu’une comédie musicale intitulée Le moi que personne ne connaît couru plus de 300 représentations. Elle a tourné dans la comédie musicale Jesus Christ Superstar comme Mary Magdalene au milieu des années 1990 et pour la comédie musicale Danse éclair elle a tourné de 2012 à 2014 avec ses chansons.

Elle a également créé le groupe entièrement féminin Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel et a sorti un double CD avec le single Comment puis-je te faire aimer. Ses crédits de film incluent Scintillait et Cabine CC.

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