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My Name is Seepeetza by Shirley Sterling

My Name is Seepeetza (1992)

by Shirley Sterling

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1057163,789 (3.69)4



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"Seepeetza, Tootie, or McSpoot - those were the names Martha Stone was called
at home on her ranch. But now that she is living and studying at an Indian
residential school, her name and everything else about her life have changed.
Strict and unhappy nuns, arbitrary and unfair rules and, worst of all, a
complete denial of all that being and Indian means to her, govern Martha's new
world. Only vacation times at home feed Martha's hunger for the true life she
has had to leave behind." --back cover
  collectionmcc | Mar 6, 2018 |
At six years old, Seepeetza is taken from her happy family life on Joyaska Ranch to live as a boarder at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Life at the school is not easy, but Seepeetza still manages to find some bright spots. Always, thoughts of home make her school life bearable. An honest, inside look at life in an Indian residential school in the 1950s, and how one indomitable young spirit survived it.
  unsoluble | Feb 1, 2018 |
There isn't much of a plot here, but the writing is skillfully done. The story is told in the form of twelve-year-old Seepeetza's diary, which she keeps over the course of one year while attending an Indian boarding school in British Columbia in the 1950s. At the time, the law mandated that all Native American children should be sent to their schools, where they were given Anglo names (hers was Martha) and punished if they spoke their native languages. Seepeetza's school, run by nuns, was a bleak institution where the children's physical needs were taken care of and they got a decent education, but they were bullied and generally treated harshly by the nuns. But she did get to go home on vacations.

It's hard to write a novel in diary format and keep it realistic. Most writers go overboard and put way too much details in the diary, which moves the story along and lets the reader know what's going on, but you know nobody would write like that in their diary in real life. But Shirley Sterling struck the right balance here: Seepeetza's diary was detailed enough to be interesting, but short enough to pass for a real diary. It sounds like it really could have been written by a twelve-year-old girl. ( )
1 vote meggyweg | Nov 3, 2012 |
Reaction: A heartrending account about racism and total disregard for Aboriginal culture that occurred in the 50s in BC, Canada. Its narrator, Martha Stone, gently describes how she was forced to attend the residential school at the tender age of six from September to June with limited access to her family (only on holidays). The journal entries from a child’s perspective are effective and will connect late intermediate/Middle School readers to the text. ( )
  Andreawallin | Jul 26, 2010 |
In 1958, Seepeetza, an 11 year old native girl, is sent away to a residential school run by nuns. She is renamed Martha Stone, must learn English and adapt to western customs and culture unfamiliar to her native ways. Keeping a diary every Thursday during her grade 6 school year, she reveals her experiences and feelings of isolation and racism while attending school. ( )
  stornelli | May 9, 2010 |
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Today my teacher Mr. Oiko taught us how to write journals.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0888991657, Paperback)

Her name was Seepeetza when she was at home with her family. But now that she's living at the Indian residential school her name is Martha Stone, and everything else about her life has changed as well. Told in the honest voice of a sixth grader, this is the story of a young Native girl forced to live in a world governed by strict nuns, arbitrary rules, and a policy against talking in her own dialect, even with her family. Seepeetza finds bright spots, but most of all she looks forward to summers and holidays at home.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:32 -0400)

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Seepeetza, an Indian girl from the Salish Nation, struggles with the strict life of an Indian residential school.

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