news | Monday March 24, 2014
Last week, They Called Me Number One by Xat’sull Chief Bev Sellars celebrated its fortieth week on the B.C. Bestsellers list! The list is compiled by the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia based on sales data from bookstores around the province.
Also last week, They Called Me Number One received the prestigious George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature, given each year to a British Columbia writer who has achieved an outstanding degree of social awareness owing to a new book published in the preceding calendar year.
This the ﬁrst full-length memoir to be published out of St. Joseph’s Mission at Williams Lake, BC, in which she tells of three generations of women who attended the school, interweaving the personal histories of her grandmother and her mother with her own. She tells of hunger, forced labour, and physical beatings, and also of the demand for conformity in a culturally alien institution where children were conﬁned and denigrated for failure to be White and Roman Catholic. Most importantly, Sellars concludes that she won the battle: these institutions and individuals failed to “beat the Indian out” of her.
The book launched in Vancouver to an audience of 130 people in May and has since received much critical and popular attention. A frank and moving piece of personal and national history, we wish it continued success.