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These Are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens is the thirty-seventh and final book in Dear Canada. The book was released in August 2016 by Scholastic Canada. It was written by Ruby Slipperjack; her first and only book in the series. Slipperjack wrote a prequel story to the book a year previously in A Time for Giving.

Book description[]

"September 9, 1966
They took everything away when I arrived here. I had stones from home and some feathers that Grandma gave me. They took my diary too. I had a lot of stuff written in there that I thought would give me some comfort over the year.
But now it's gone. I was given this notebook and pencils for school, so I am going to start another diary. I am going to hide it with me all the time.
I put the things that were on the bed into the locker. All the clothes had the number 75 written in black marker on the tags. I am now #75.

"9 septembre 1966
Ils m'ont pris dès mon arrivée. J'avais des cailloux qui venaient de chez nous et des plumes que grand-maman m'avait données. Ils ont aussi pris mon journal intime. J'avais écrit plein de choses dedans en me disant qu'elles me consoleraient durant l'année. Maintenant, je n'ai plus rien de tout cela.
On m'a donné ce cahier et des crayons pour l'école. Je vais m'en servir pour commencer un nouveau journal et je vais le garder sur moi en tout temps.
J'ai rangé dans le casier les choses qui étaient sur le lit. Tous les vêtements portaient le numéro 75, inscrit au feutre noir sur les étiquettes. Je suis devenue le numéro 75.



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of These Are My Words characters


Main article: Ruby Slipperjack

Ruby Slipperjack is an Ojibwe writer and painter as well as a member of the Eabametoong First Nation. She released her first novel, Honour the Sun, in 1987. These Are My Words is the only book Slipperjack wrote for Dear Canada, though she also penned stories for Hoping for Home and A Time for Giving.



  • CBC Best Books of the Year (2016) - commended[5]
  • Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Starred Selection (2017) - commended[5]
  • TD Summer Reading Club (2017) - commended[5]
  • Red Cedar Award, BC Young Readers' Choice (2018) - short-listed[6]


"The publisher wishes to thank Anishinaabemowin elder Shirley Ida Williams-nee Pheasant, Indigenous Studies, Trent University for sharing her expertise on this topic. She says: "The greatest thing the government can do as penance is to restore the language they destroyed and restore the pride in the culture of First Nations through the education system." Thanks also to Barbara Hehner for her careful checking of the factual details, and to Paul Heersink for providing the map."



See also[]

Dear Canada

Orphan at My Door | A Prairie as Wide as the Sea | With Nothing But Our Courage | Footsteps in the Snow
A Ribbon of Shining Steel | Whispers of War | Alone in an Untamed Land | Brothers Far from Home | An Ocean Apart
A Trail of Broken Dreams | Banished from Our Home | Winter of Peril | Turned Away | The Death of My Country
No Safe Harbour | A Rebel's Daughter | A Season for Miracles | If I Die Before I Wake | Not a Nickel to Spare
Prisoners in the Promised Land | Days of Toil and Tears | Where the River Takes Me | Blood Upon Our Land
A Desperate Road to Freedom | A Christmas to Remember | Exiles from the War | To Stand On My Own
Hoping for Home | That Fatal Night | Torn Apart | A Sea of Sorrows | Pieces of the Past | A Country of Our Own
All Fall Down | Flame and Ashes | A Time for Giving | These Are My Words

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A Time for Giving None
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Pieces of the Past None

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