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Spirit of the Grassroots People

Seeking Justice for Indigenous Survivors of Canada's Colonial Education System

by (author) Raymond Mason

edited by Jackson Pind & Theodore Michael Christou

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
History, Law, Social Justice, Social Studies
Grade Levels
11 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price

Where to buy it

Descriptive Review

Raymond Mason provides first-person insight into his life with an eye-opening look at the ways in which he persevered through many significant obstacles such as the residential school system, abuse and trauma, and alcoholism. Mason and a group of grassroots activists worked tirelessly for accountability from the Canadian government for implementation of the genocidal system known as Indian residential and day schools. This would be a terrific resource for educators and high school students to deepen their understanding of the complexities of the residential school legacy. Further, Mason gives insight into the determined efforts of a small group of people known as Spirit Wind, and the ways their efforts forged a path for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) and reparations such as acknowledgement and apologies from the federal government and some of the involved church organizations.

Caution: Sexual abuse, violence, trauma, alcoholism, and attempted suicide.

200 pp., 6 × 9", b&w photographs, map • Index

Raymond Mason (Ojibway)

Source: Association of Book Publishers of BC - Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools (2021-2022)

About the authors

Raymond Mason (1947—2022) was a survivor, activist, and Elder from Peguis First Nation, Manitoba.

Raymond Mason's profile page

Jackson Pind is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education, Queen's University.

Jackson Pind's profile page

Theodore Michael Christou is professor of social studies and history education and associate dean of graduate studies and research in the Faculty of Education, Queen's University.

Theodore Michael Christou's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This is an important story for all Canadians. In sharing his story publicly, Raymond Mason is speaking on behalf of countless survivors. The story is one of advocacy as well as personal experience." Tricia Logan, Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, University of British Columbia

“Accounts such as Mason's are vital to help us understand fully the struggle to achieve justice for school abuse survivors. There is a role for smaller groups of advocates in the battle, even if they do not get much attention. As Mason says, "everyone, whatever their efforts were, big or small, had a part in bringing about the Indian Residential School Survivors' Agreement … we all had a part in the success of the bigger victory.” The work of Reconciliation Canada, the National Indian Residential School Survivors Society, and Mi'kmaq groups created pressure that made the federal government and churches more willing to listen. It is useful to have accounts like Spirit of the Grassroots People to make us aware of those contributions.” Canadian Historical Review