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    ISBN: 9780889227415 | Paperback

    256 pages | Pub. Date: 20120415
    6 W × 9 H × .5 D inches
    Backlist | Non-Fiction | Bisac: BIO026000
    Rights: WORLD

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They Called Me Number One
Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School
By Bev Sellars

Like thousands of Aboriginal children in Canada, and elsewhere in the colonized world, Xatsu’ll chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential school.


These institutions endeavored to “civilize” Native children through Christian teachings; forced separation from family, language, and culture; and strict discipline. Perhaps the most symbolically potent strategy used to alienate residential school children was addressing them by assigned numbers only—not by the names with which they knew and understood themselves.


In this frank and poignant memoir of her years at St. Joseph’s Mission, Sellars breaks her silence about the residential school’s lasting effects on her and her family—from substance abuse to suicide attempts—and eloquently articulates her own path to healing. Number One comes at a time of recognition—by governments and society at large—that only through knowing the truth about these past injustices can we begin to redress them.

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

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

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

"Sellars has given the readers an insight that we needed to hear."
—Rabble.ca

"They Called Me Number One is from my perspective necessary reading across the generations."
—Jean Barman

“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.”
—the Winnipeg Free Press

By Bev Sellars

Bev Sellars was chief of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake, British Columbia, for more than 20 years, and she now serves as a member of its Council. Sellars was first elected chief in 1987 and has spoken out on behalf of her community on racism and residential schools and on the environmental and social threats of mineral resource exploitation in her region.

Read more about Bev Sellars


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news | 2022-01-24
Scholarship on Bev Sellars's They Called Me Number One

…of Place and Relationship: Bev Sellar’s Memoir They Called Me Number One.” Dr. Dion and Dr. Griffith’s article is … autobiography. They argue persuasively that “They Called Me Number One offers the potential to learn from Indigenous … Dr. Griffith for their significant new reading of They Called Me Number One:Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential …


news | 2021-09-29
Bev Sellars Makes the "Bestselling Books in Canada" List

…“Bestselling Books in Canada” list. They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential … which they knew and understood themselves. In They Called Me Number One, Sellars breaks her silence about St. …


news | 2021-06-21
National Indigenous Peoples Day

…titles published by Talonbooks to date: 1. They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential …


news | 2017-05-03
Bev Sellars books shortlisted for First Nation Communities READ 2017–2018 award

…that both books by Bev Sellars – Price Paid and They Called Me Number One – are on the shortlist for this year’s First …


news | 2016-09-21
Bev Sellars in Vancouver this week

…her groundbreaking and award-winning debut, They Called Me Number One, Sellars offers a personal, candid and …


news | 2016-09-06
Price Paid is already a BC bestseller!

…Sun . Sellars’s first book, a memoir called They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential …


news | 2016-01-20
A look at what’s coming this spring

…Survival by Bev Sellars (author of the bestseller They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential …


news | 2015-08-31
Bev Sellars will speak at UVic tomorrow

…Sellars is the author of the best-selling memoir They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential …


news | 2015-06-05
CBC Recommends Memoirs by 15 Canadian Women

…spot two Talon authors on it! Bev Sellars’s book, They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential …


news | 2015-01-12
Meet Chief Bev Sellars, Bestselling Author

…Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation and author of They Called Me Number One . This memoir was a BC bestseller for 44 weeks in …