My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson
I expected to cry. The very title says this is not going to be an easy read. After reading the description, I put the book back on the library shelf. Eskimos being mistreated at boarding school? I knew it would make me cry, make me angry. But I went back for it, because sometimes, crying is good. I never remember, though, when I get a book like this, just how upset it makes me. I expected white people who treat Eskimos and Indians like half-humans. I did not expect an insane priest who beats them with a two-by-four, yelling at them that they were destined for Hell at birth. I did not expect the military to come in and treat them like lab animals. I did not expect so many things, so many things that made me so angry, made it so that not only did I cry, but I couldn’t stop. Because even though I did not do those things, nor did my father, nor did my grandfather, nor even my great-grandfather, I feel responsible. Because I am white. Because no matter how much people say the color of your skin doesn’t matter, it does. If I were to go to Alaska, the Eskimos, the Inuit, would look at me through the lenses my people have shaped; they would see all those things reflecting back on me. That’s why it makes me so sick. I never wanted any of that. This is not a true story, but it’s fictional accounts of true stories. It’s only too real. These things happened, and they happened to people still alive today.
I’ve probably made you never want to pick up this book, but you should. Even though it completely tore me apart, I was right when I went back and pulled it back off the shelf. Sometimes crying is good. Knowledge is power, knowledge is inspiration. Inspiration to do something about what has been done.