They Called Me Number One

They Called Me Number One

Secrets and Survival at An Indian Residential School

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
BC Book Prize, Non-Fiction, Bev Sellars, They Called Me Number One (Finalist)
Burt Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature: Bev Sellars, They Called Me Number One (Third Prize winner)

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.

Publisher: Vancouver, British Columbia :, Talonbooks,, [2013].
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780889227415
Characteristics: xx, 227 pages :,illustrations, maps, portraits ;,22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jul 17, 2017

Poor foreword and preface, but the author's account is decent. Originally a vanity project.

Feb 28, 2017

This happened in my province and I remember when it was on TV and didn't really understand it until I read this book and what the author went through. She did a good job explaining the Indian culture, and what went on in the school and life afterwards for the people who endured the abuse and how it effects their family and culture even now a days. A must read for everyone.

Mar 25, 2015

Important book to read for all who want to begin to understand the stories of our First Nations People.
Bev Sellers is a woman of honour and integrity, thank you for your story.

LaughingOne Oct 01, 2014

As Bev Sellars wrote, she can only tell her own story. That story touches on the lives of her family and friends but it is her story. Each of us can only tell our own stories. That honesty, and Bev's story, tell of the things that happened in the residential school she was forced to attend, mostly bad things, very occasionally better things. We need to witness and honour her story and look inside ourselves for our own related stories, so that we can clearly begin the process of healing. This excellent book should be part of the curriculum for studying Canadian history. Let's not whitewash it any more.

Oct 30, 2013

This is an excellent, eye-opening book outlining a personal history of native peoples in Canada in relation to the residential school system, written by one whose grandparents and parents had also been forced to attend these institutions. We can 't close our eyes. We can't say 'oh, it's the past'. We have to honestly acknowledge the damage done by these institutions in the name of 'religion'. Only by being clear-eyed witnesses, can we in any way make a start at healing. And I'm not only talking about healing those who suffered in the schools, I'm talking about healing the human conscience of the rest of us. This title should be added to the list the library has put up on the main page, highlighting the Truth and Reconciliation meetings.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

Feb 28, 2017

runningbeat thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at my library

To Top