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August 2018
Friday August 31, 2018
Bev Sellars at the Ryga Festival
Posted: Tuesday December 11, 2012
Bev Sellars

Bev Sellars is a former Chief and Councillor of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake, British Columbia. First elected chief of Xat’sull in 1987, a position she held from 1987-1993 and then from 2009-2015. She also worked as a community advisor for the BC Treaty Commission. Ms. Sellars served as the representative for the Secwepemc communities on the Cariboo Chilcotin Justice Inquiry in the early 1990s. Ms. Sellars has spoken out on racism and residential schools and on the environmental and social threats of mineral resources exploitation in her region.

Ms. Sellars is the author of They Called Me Number One, a memoir of her childhood experience in the Indian residential school system and its effects on three generations of women in her family, published in 2013 by Talon Books. The book won the 2014 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness, was shortlisted for the 2014 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Her book, Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival, published in 2016 by Talon Books, looks at the history of Indigenous rights in Canada from an Indigenous perspective. Sellars has a degree in history from the University of Victoria and a law degree from the University of British Columbia. She is currently Chair of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM) and serves as a Senior Advisor to the Indigenous Leadership Initiative (www.ilinationhood.ca).


November 2017 : Here’s to fifty more years of Talonbooks!

May 2017 : Bev Sellars books shortlisted for First Nation Communities READ 2017–2018 award

February 2017 : Bev Sellars speaks to UBC’s business students

September 2016 : Bev Sellars in Vancouver this week

September 2016 : Price Paid is already a BC bestseller!

August 2016 : Price Paid has arrived!

July 2016 : Starting today! Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival 2016​

January 2016 : A look at what’s coming this spring

August 2015 : Bev Sellars will speak at UVic tomorrow

June 2015 : CBC Recommends Memoirs by 15 Canadian Women

January 2015 : Meet Chief Bev Sellars, Bestselling Author

September 2014 : Bev Sellars Wins 3rd Place in 2014 Burt Award for Aboriginal Literature

September 2014 : 100 Ebooks Published!

September 2014 : CODE Announces 2014 Burt Award Shortlist

June 2014 : Books for National Aboriginal Month

May 2014 : Straight Talk with Bev Sellars About Her Bestseller in BC BookLook

May 2014 : 85 Ebooks Published To Date!

March 2014 : 40 Weeks on the B.C. Bestsellers List!

March 2014 : Congratulations Bev Sellars, Winner of the George Ryga Award!

March 2014 : Bev Sellars on CBC Radio Kamloops

March 2014 : BC Book Prizes 2014 Shortlists Announced!

February 2014 : They Called Me Number One Shortlisted for the George Ryga Award!

February 2014 : This Weekend! The Galiano Island Literary Festival

February 2014 : This Weekend: Bev Sellars in Seattle!

January 2014 : UBC Alumni Book Club Reads They Called Me Number One

November 2013 : Review: The Winds of Change on They Called Me Number One

October 2013 : Review: Rabble.ca on They Called Me Number One

October 2013 : Video: Bev Sellars Speaking at the University of Victoria, BC

October 2013 : Bev Sellars on CBC Radio One, B.C. Almanac

October 2013 : Number One is #1!

September 2013 : Tens of Thousands Participate in Vancouver Reconciliation Walk

September 2013 : Video: Bev Sellars Makes an Expression of Reconciliation

September 2013 : UBC Classes to be Suspended on September 18 To Encourage Attendance at Truth and Reconciliation National Event

September 2013 : Chief Bev Sellars featured in BC BookWorld

September 2013 : Talon Completes Renewal Plan (2007–2013)

August 2013 : Sixteen Weeks Running on the B.C. Bestsellers List for They Called Me Number One!

August 2013 : 500 Talon Ebooks Sold!

July 2013 : A National Day of Prayer

July 2013 : Canadian Geographic on They Called Me Number One

July 2013 : Meta-Talon: A Review of They Called Me Number One by Eric Wright

July 2013 : ALA 2013: Talonbooks Was Here


Price Paid

First Nation Communities READ – Periodical Marketers of Canada Aboriginal Literature award (2017–2018), Finalist

20 weeks on the B.C. Bestsellers list in 2016 & 2017!


They Called Me Number One

Named one of 15 memoirs by Indigenous writers you need to read (CBC Books, 2017)

First Nation Communities READ – Periodical Marketers of Canada Aboriginal Literature award (2017–2018), Finalist

Burt Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature (2014), 3rd Prize

Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize (B.C. Book Prizes, 2014), Finalist

George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature (2014), Winner

44 weeks on the B.C. Bestsellers list in 2013 & 2014!


Price Paid

“[Sellars] tells Canada’s history from a perspective that has rarely been used before: … the people who call these lands their ancestral home. … This book is not a recommended read, it is a necessary read – especially for Canadians. … most readers will feel reborn upon reading this book, so hidden is the truth of Canadian history. … Equipped with the truth, Canadians can finally honestly and comprehensively celebrate our country.”
Pacific Rim Review of Books

“Stern without being pessimistic … readable yet data-rich … The logical reaction to having no idea what to do about an ongoing tragedy in your own country is to put some effort into understanding where the problem came from. This book is a great place to start.”
Broken Pencil

“Bev Sellars does not mince words in her turbo-charged history lessons. … Price Paid is sometimes painful reading but it is necessary if we are to move forward as a country – First Nations and newcomers together – armed with knowledge and empathy.”
BC BookWorld

“This is a book like no other. Bev Sellars combines her keen insights, her studies in history and law, and her experience as a chief of an ‘Indian reserve’ in British Columbia to produce a book that will open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of life under federal government administration. This book will be a significant contribution to the nationwide campaign of Indigenous people to emancipate themselves from the Indian Act and its administrators in Ottawa. Their aim as Sellars explains is meaningful participation in the decisions that affect their rights and interests. As Bill Wilson (Hemas Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla) writes in the foreword, ‘Truth and knowledge are wonderful things.’ Indeed.”
—Paul L.A.H. Chartrand, IPC, Professor of Law, retired Former commissioner, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1991–1996)

“A timely tome. So much of Native Canadian history has been swept under the rug by mainstream historians. Fortunately, books like this, written by Native authors themselves, are finally coming out of the closet, so to speak. And the timing couldn’t be better. Our country so needs these books. Our country so needs these voices.”
—Tomson Highway

“By beginning to unveil some painful truths in Canada’s ‘hidden history,’ Chief Bev Sellars provides context and deep understanding that remain at the root of the troubled relationship between Canada and Aboriginal peoples. Some individuals will find these stories troubling, but as painful as these stories are, they must be told if we are to ever have reconciliation and understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.”
—Mary Simon, co-chair, Canadians for a New Partnership, former Canadian ambassador, and president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami One

“Reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada will advance only when non-Aboriginal Canadians learn, accept, remember, and respect Aboriginal perspectives and interpretations of our shared past and future. Bev Sellars’s powerful truth-telling about the cost to Aboriginal peoples of our history is essential reading for all Canadians.”
—Phyllis Senese, Professor Emerita of History, University of Victoria

“Sellars uses a broad brush with personal detail here and there to help readers understand Aboriginal issues in Canada today … a good primer.”
—Chris Arnetttt, author of The Terror of the Coast: Land Alienation and Colonial War on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, 1849–1863


They Called Me Number One

“Sellars (who is now chief of Xat’sull First Nation in BC’s Caribou region) tells a story of programming and deprogramming, of being engrained with the powerful myth of white superiority at home and school, and of the years-long process of unspooling that myth through self-help books, university education, and political activism. … While Sellars’s memoir celebrates the triumph of returning from the brink, it is also a stark condemnation of historical and extant paternalistic policies and the personal tragedies these policies continue to breed.”
Canadian Literature

“Deeply personal, sorrowful and ultimately triumphal, They Called Me Number One is an important addition to the literature on residential schools, and Canada’s reckoning with its colonial past.”
– Winnipeg Free Press

“Candidly and with brilliant clarity, Bev Sellars draws us deeply into her life while pointing a penetrating light into the darkest shadows of Canada’s racist and genocidal … residential schools. In her telling, survivors and the families of those who did not make it will feel their own stories.”
– Grand Chief Edward John, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

“Chief Sellars bravely adds her voice to the burgeoning chorus of stories about residential schools…. That she has been able to carefully articulate such a deeply personal and painful story is a testament to her courage and determination.”
– Chief Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations

“An important contribution to the collective voice now addressing the subject of the residential schools, written by one who’s been there. An essential part of the healing process. May it continue …”
– Tomson Highway

Copyright Talonbooks 1963-2018



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