My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell

Reviewed by Karine Duhamel

September 19, 2017

Arthur Bear Chief ’s My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell is a deeply personal memoir about the author’s years at Old Sun Residential School in Gleichen, Alberta. In a series of vignettes he details the horrific sexual and psychological abuse he suffered at the hands of school administrators. He also includes a number of important insights about the power of identity and culture in the process of healing.

An afterword by Fritz Pannekoek provides an important lens through which readers may critically assess the process of reconciliation so far, ten years after the original Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was announced.

While some Canadians may view reconciliation as something that has already been addressed, the story of Arthur Bear Chief which stands with those of thousands of other survivors — reminds us that reconciliation is not only about apology but also about personal and collective healing.

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