Book Launch: In the Shadow of the Red Brick Building

Date: June 2nd, 2022

A gathering was held on June 2, 2022 on the territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples at the University of Victoria (B.C., Canada) to celebrate the launch of the new book In the Shadow of the Red Brick Building written by Coast Salish Elder Raymond Tony Charlie (Penelakut Tribe). In the book, Elder Ray Tony shares his moving personal story as a residential school survivor and his journey to healing.

The book launch opened with a welcome and prayer from University of Victoria Elder-in-Residence May Sam (Tsartlip Nation) and a blessing for Elder Ray Tony and all those in attendance. Centre for Global Studies (CFGS) Acting Director Dr. Martin Bunton, Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-Led Engagement (CIRCLE) Director Dr. Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark, and POLIS Project Co-Director Dr. Kelly Bannister also offered opening remarks to begin the event.

Penelakut Elder Florence James and Penelakut Tribe member Rocky James shared opening words as relatives and provided cultural support at the event. The Elders blanketed Ray Tony to protect him before he spoke, as is Coast Salish custom.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants who are affiliated with CFGS and POLIS gathered in circle with Elder Ray Tony and several members of his family to listen, witness, and continue together in the difficult learning about the shameful history of our country through Ray Tony’s personal experience. The event was also live streamed to share with a wider audience.

Elder Ray Tony (beginning at 41 min in the video) generously shared details of his personal story as a residential school survivor and the significant role that writing this memoir had on his path towards healing. He honoured his wife Lorraine Charlie and all those in attendance, the support of friends and family, and the support and encouragement of CFGS and POLIS in bringing his story to a wider audience. Ray Tony ended by reading a poem he wrote, which is included in his new book.

This recording of the gathering was made with the permission of the speakers to share with the public for educational purposes, in the spirit of reconciliation and healing.

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