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Wenjack by Joseph Boyden

Wenjack (2016)

by Joseph Boyden

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A novella devoted to the story of Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack, a boy taken from his Native American parents when he was nine, and shipped off to a residential school. We meet Chanie, when he escapes two years later, and is trying to go back home, not knowing home is hundreds of kilometers away. A true story, and unfortunately true for many more children than Chanie.
Beautifully written and very sad. ( )
  Niecierpek | Jul 6, 2018 |
"Gimik-wenda-ina?Do you remember? I remember, me."

It's been a while since I read a book that brought me to tears. Residential schools in Canada were, as Boyden states, "one of the deepest, most brutal stains on Canada's history." Over a hundred years of abuse of Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Metis children. This was Boyden's interpretation of the real life story of Chanie Wenjack and at just over 100 pages he sure packs an emotional punch in such a little book. ( )
  ChelleBearss | Mar 10, 2018 |
This is a small book that delivers a huge punch to the gut. Beautifully written and so, so important to read. ( )
  bucketofrhymes | Dec 13, 2017 |
Wenjack by Joseph Boyden is the story of Chanie Wenjack, a young Aboriginal boy who ran away from the residential school he was placed in and died a lonely death at the side of the railroad tracks he was following in an effort to get home to his family. Chanie was twelve years old, and although he didn’t know it, his home was hundreds of miles away.

Although Wenjack is an emotional tale, but I believe I was more affected by the graphic novel, The Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire which tells the same story. There was something so very touching about the wordless beauty of that graphic novel that totally sweep me away. Of course, I have also just recently read the excellent Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese which prepared me for this sad story.

When Chanie died in October of 1966, he was only one child of the thousands who also didn’t come through their experience with the residential school system. Illness, abuse, and accidents took many of these children’s lives, but it was no accident that saw a graveyard placed beside everyone of these schools. Chanie’s death did pave the way for the first public inquiry into residential schools in Canada although it still took another 30 years for the system to be totally shut down. Wenjack is a valuable read and an emotional story of one small boy’s attempt to escape the abuse and horror. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Sep 19, 2017 |
This is a beautifully written book that, at first glance, looks like Beatrix Potter for adults. It's small, and filled with animal drawings. But it is a much darker story than Peter Rabbit; it tells of one Ojibwe boy's attempt to run away from the abuses of a residential school for First Nations children in Canada. A variety of animals as well as Chanie, the boy, tell this story escape and struggle on an impossible journey based on the experience of Chanie Wenjack in 1966, two years after he had been forcibly taken from his home to the school as a nine-year-old. Weaving native language and traditions into the story makes gives the feeling of authenticity, but recent questions about the author's claim to an indigenous heritage leaves me feeling uncertain. I appreciate the beauty of the language but wonder how the story might have been told differently from an Ojibwe voice. I love how the animals are incorporated into the story-telling, but is that authentic to the culture or is it a stylistic choice, maybe even a stereotyped choice? In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Boyden said that he hoped this book would be read by high school and college students. If it were to be read, given the recent uproar, I imagine the discussion would focus more on cultural appropriation as opposed to the dark history of residential schools.
  athertonl | Jul 16, 2017 |
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A spellbinding account of Chanie Wenjack, the Anishinaabe boy who died escaping a residential school...novelist Joseph Boyden has written Wenjack, a novella that deftly suffuses Chanie’s tragedy with traditional Aboriginal beliefs.
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Gimik-wenda-ina? Do you remember? I remember, me.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0735233381, Paperback)

The acclaimed author of The Orenda gives us a powerful and poignant look into the last moments of Charlie Wenjack, a residential school runaway trying to find his way home.

An Ojibwe boy runs away from a North Ontario Indian School. Too late, he realizes just how far away home is. Along the way he's followed by Manitous, spirits of the forest who comment on his plight, cajoling, taunting, and ultimately offering him a type of comfort on his difficult journey back to the place he was so brutally removed from.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 15 Aug 2016 15:39:41 -0400)

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