Happy Canada Day

Canada Day 2021 will be subdued or cancelled in most Canadian cities due to COVID-19 and the investigations of graveyards at former indigenous residential schools. My small effort at reconciliation has been to re-read my friend Joan Crate’s novel, Black Apple (Simon and Schuster Canada, 2016) about a Blackfoot girl taken from her family on the reserve to a residential school in southern Alberta in the late 1940s. Black Apple deals with all the horrors we’ve heard about the residential schools — children separated from their families and culture and given Christian names; subjected to brutal beatings, sexual abuse, and infectious illnesses that ripped through the institutions. Black Apple is fiction, but I found the story characters and situations gave me a depth I miss from current media reports.