The Education of Augie Merasty

A Residential School Memoir - New Edition

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Pub Date Aug 27 2022 | Archive Date Feb 23 2023

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The harrowing story of one Indigenous child's experience in Canada's residential schools

Named the fourth most important “Book of the Year” by the National Post and voted “One Book/One Province” in Saskatchewan, The Education of Augie Merasty launched on the front page of The Globe and Mail to become a national bestseller.

Publishers Weekly called the book “historically significant,” and The Toronto Star recommended it as a must read for “any Canadian interested in truth and reconciliation.” Writing in The Globe and Mail, educator J.D.M. Stewart noted that it “is well suited to a teenage audience because of its brevity and frankness.”

This new edition includes a Learning Guide that deepens our understanding of the residential school experience, making it ideal for classroom and book club use. It also features a new postscript by David Carpenter, describing how the publication of his memoir changed Augie Merasty’s life.

The harrowing story of one Indigenous child's experience in Canada's residential schools

Named the fourth most important “Book of the Year” by the National Post and voted “One Book/One Province” in...

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ISBN 9780889778825
PRICE $14.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Although incomplete, this is a great learning tool. It's raw and descriptive. There is no beating around the bush and no sugar coating the events that Augie went through. It's short and to the point. I would have liked it to have information about more of the after effects maybe, but still amazing.

The version I read also had some great questions at the end for the reader to go over, which makes you think even more critically about the contents of this book, which I think is extremely important in understanding and learning about residential school events.

If you're looking for a quick synopsis of what kind of stuff happened in residential schools, this is perfect for that, and I highly recommend every Canadian picks up this or one like it to learn more from the people directly affected by this system.

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Short but powerful, The Educational of Angie Merasty consists of letters written to Merasty's editor in which Merasty recounts the horrific years he spent in residential school. This memoir was very short, but that didn't limit the impact in any way. Merasty, in simple and straightforward terms, places before us the traumas he endured at the hands of the individuals he was forced to interact while separated from his family. Beyond the primary trauma of being removed from your family and culture, Merasty endures abuse, witnesses the abuse of others, and clearly depicts the hopelessness that takes one over when there is no escape from your trauma. It is incredibly moving and incredibly sad, and so very important for us to read and inform ourselves about in the hope that we prevent history from ever repeating itself.

I did dock one point, as I didn't particularly connect with the introduction and conclusion written by Merasty's editor. He seemed to focus on the details of tracking Merasty down and getting information from him. Although he did provide some updates on Merasty's current life situation and how trauma has impacted him long term, I felt like the introduction and conclusion served primarily to remind us of how much work the editor put in to having this memoir come together and, in my opinion, that takes away from the true point of this book.

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To date, more than 1000 unmarked graves of mostly children have been located on the grounds of Residential schools in Canada, a number that is likely to grow much much higher as more investigations are conducted. The Education of Augie Merasty is a short but very powerful look at Canadas Residential School system by Augie Merasty, one of its survivors. It is not an easy read as he talks of the physical and sexual abuse which he and so many other Indigenous children suffered in these schools but it is an extremely important one, one that should be taught in every Canadian school.

<i>Thanks to Netgalley and University of Regina Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review</i>

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Thank you NetGalley and University of Regina Press for accepting my request to read and review The Education of Augie Merasty.

Author: Joseph Auguste Merasty with David Carpenter
Published: 08/27/22
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

Another residential school where abuse is the major. Merasty was an indIgenous student and the school is located in Canada. Indigenous people are abused in Canada and the U.S. The horrors that Augie and other students experienced is mentioned, but not graphically described.

David Carpenter is the one person who answered Augie's request for help with turning his writings into a book. I found the relationship between Carpenter and Merasty a nice relief from the cruelties.

The synopsis is clear, and I'm not going to repeat it.

I recommend this with adult guidance and education. The abusers were priests and nuns. I would gift this.

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The Education of Augie Merasty was an interesting memoir of sorts. Augie was sent to a residential school in Canada when he was 5, as was the requirement for all First Peoples in Canada. The purpose of the schools was to "educate the savage" and teach them Christianity and English. Now, years later, Augie shared his story with the author through letters, scraps of paper, and phone calls.

At times, this book is hard to read. The violence shown to these indigenous people is very disturbing, as is the sexual molestation by Catholic priests. It is obvious the students were seen as less than their white teachers/leaders, and perhaps as less than human.

This book is really short - you could read it in an afternoon easily - so now I am interested in finding out more information about these schools. Augie's story was brutally honest, and I'm glad it was shared the way it was, but it left me wanting to read about others' experiences, and a more extensive history of the schools and their inhabitants.

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This was a very shocking and eye opening book set in Canada. I just couldn't put it down and had to binge read it. I couldn't believe what horrible treatment the author had to go through in a faith residential school. It must of been so very hard for him to retell this shocking story but I am so glad he did as stories like this one need to be told so people understand what indigenous people of Canada's northern territory had to go through. That they were at that school to be changed from their own traditions. 

The cover of this book is very simple but once you have read this book you will understand the power that the picture on the cover holds. This is a great well wrote quick read book. I definitely recommend reading this book. Especially if you like reading autobiographies looking at shocking events. I would definitely like to thank David Carpenter for organising the authors story into this fantastic book. This story will be staying with me for a long time. It is definitely a very emotional story. I just hope and pray that these events never happen again.

So much praise goes out to the author and publishing team for bringing this story to us to open our eye to just how shocking life can was definitely a very important message that needed to be brought to the world.

The above review has already been placed on goodreads, waterstones, Google books, Barnes&noble, kobo, amazon UK where found and my blog today either under my name or ladyreading365

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A powerful memoir that is a little raw, but those are the words of someone who experienced the trauma that we all need to learn more about so that it never happens again. I think powerful is the word that best describes this and though it is a short read it will stick with you.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. I'm glad it is out in the world.

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Every memoir is significant, on the basis that it documents a part of the human experience — and in the end, what do have if not an experience of life? In the context of the universe, this is what makes our existence unique — but there are some memoirs, some human experiences that possess a weightiness absent in others. That is, they reveal a humanity that transcends individual experience. The Education of Augie Merasty is one of these memoirs.

The cruel history of colonial settlement isn’t newly discovered — but it was hidden, deliberately and systematically for centuries. In the past fifty years and much more recently, excavations of memories, land, and archives have revealed the depth to which this erasure was taken. Merasty’s memoir is one of these excavations.

I have an especial interest in these kinds of historical documents, not only as a historian of decolonization, but as an educator; the utility of the historical documents in the classroom are invaluable to convey the real effects of racism, colonialism, the power of the state in shaping our lives. Students often see the government as some kind of abstracted, remote thing, a hovering object over their lives that merely casts a shadow every once in awhile. Memoirs of this nature reveal how wrong that assumption is; the state is neither above nor below, it is embedded in every part of our lives and beings — even our DNA and the genomes that make up ourselves and our ancestry have been shaped by states and power. The Education of Augie Merasty is proof of the depth of the state in shaping human experience.

What makes The Education of Augie Merasty poignant is not only the memories he shares with the reader, but the whole of the story of this memoir’s making. The convoluted path and necessary involvement of the writer, David Carpenter — who serves as historian here — is a testament to the damage and legacy of settler colonialism in North America. The incompleteness of the stories, the silences and gaps in time and memory, as well as Augie’s language, preserved here by Carpenter, are evidence of the zigzag pathway that history is recorded, preserved, interpreted and ultimately used. As a tool to teach historical methodology, The Education of Augie Merasty is a fantastic case study.

The chronology of the memoir too, in the way it links the past to the present, is invaluable. Too often students see history as a static, buried thing of the past. That myth is a hard one to kill. But kill it we must, because history is not only the root of the present, it is also a reflection of our present selves and world. That is a key characteristic of history: Carpenter’s presence in these pages and the unresolved ending (unlike many memoirs, this is not posthumously produced) help to deliver this lesson.

Other aspects of the memoir make it even more perfect for classroom and course use: its length is short, its language is accessible, its story is compelling and shocking. The absence of larger historical events occurring in Canada and the world are also bonuses here too, allowing the instructor to compliment the text as appropriate to the course level.

Merasty’s memoir is one I will be considering for use in my courses.

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