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After being separated from her loving but alcoholic parents April Raintree is forced to abandon her heritage in order to survive in an indifferent foster care system. Thus, when April reunites with her sister Cheryl she is appalled to discover Cheryl's pride in her Metis heritage despite her having fallen into the abyss of addiction that destroyed their childhood. It is only when a brutal act shatters April’s safe world that she realizes she has been as guilty of prejudice as the people she now despises. This haunting novel delivers a powerful message about identity and acceptance while inspiring students to become more involved in the fight to end racial discrimination.
This resource explores social issues that have impacted First Nations people in Canada and supports indigenous studies outcomes related to understanding how poverty, addiction and assimilation have devastated communities. The plight of the Metis people and other non-status Indians has also been compounded by a lack of acknowledgement of their First Nations heritage. Students could research the history of the Metis in Canada to determine how adequately this issue has been addressed.
The theme of identity could be further explored through an action project in which students create a "cultural mosaic" to present a visual portrait of the diversity of their class. The project could be the catalyst for an awareness campaign that has high school students visit local middle and elementary schools to promote empathy and respect for all people.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a grade listed below.