My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell
180 pages, 5 x 8
13 b&w photographs, 5 colour photographs
Release Date:01 Jan 2017

My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell

Athabasca University Press

Often fear is the only emotion that comes when we are unsure of the unknown. I took a courageous step in my approach to the unknown by writing this book in hopes that it will help me in my journey of healing and recovery from my abuse at Old Sun Residential School. Everything else I have attempted eventually led me back to myself without any resolution to rid me of my demons. My emotions still overtake me at times, and I sit and cry for myself and many others who are not here—gone, but alive in my memory. May your spirits guide me, as they did in my writing of this book. If your spirit is restless, I hope this book will give you some sense of peace. If that is the case, I too will be at peace with you.”

My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell is a simple and outspoken account of the sexual and psychological abuse that Arthur Bear Chief suffered during his time at Old Sun Residential school in Gleichen on the Siksika Nation. In a series of chronological vignettes, Bear Chief depicts the punishment, cruelty, abuse, and injustice that he endured at Old Sun and then later relived in the traumatic process of retelling his story at an examination for discovery in connection with a lawsuit brought against the federal government.

He returned to Gleichen late in life—to the home left to him by his mother—and it was there that he began to reconnect with Blackfoot language and culture and to write his story. Although the terrific adversity Bear Chief faced in his childhood made an indelible mark on his life, his unyielding spirit is evident throughout his story.

Arthur Bear Chief left Old Sun Residential School at the age of seventeen. He initially worked at Shingwauk Indian Residential School as a student counsellor, before embarking on a career with the government, which included work with the Public Service Commission of Canada in Edmonton and Northern Affairs in Ottawa. He now lives on the Siksika Nation.
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