Spotlight – THEY CALLED ME 33
They Called Me 33
by Karen Chaboyer
GENRE: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional
Karen longed for acceptance, validation and love, but had no ability to form healthy, meaningful relationships. Born into a large family already suffering the effects of two generations of residential school, and surviving her own nine years at St. Margaret Indian Residential School, Karen (like everyone she knew) had been systematically stripped of her dignity, identity, language, culture, family and community support systems.
Not wanting to be alone as an adult, Karen tolerated unhealthy relationships with family and partners. Still, she was coping. But after suffering further trauma, Karen turned to alcohol and other addictions to numb her pain.
Eventually, Karen found the strength to reach out for help. She learned to grieve through layers of shame and was finally able to embrace her identity. Karen also discovered what has long been known in her culture – the healing power of sharing your story. Karen would now like to share this book, her story, with you.
It took many years to write this book. I came up with the idea in 1994 thinking it would be easy: like writing a diary. But writing this book has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I did not know all the ghosts I had in my closet. In addition to my painful memories of residential school, looking back made me realize I had blocked many other painful memories, from both before and after residential school life. I went to my family with these painful memories, trying to find help in remembering some past experiences. I wanted to focus on what happened to me, so this could be my story. Many times, I had to stop writing because depression set in. I learned to listen to my body and focus on the feelings to find out what was triggering the depression. I realized I had to learn to grieve. This was an important discovery to me, as it was something I had never considered. I did not realize that my inability to grieve was preventing my healing journey.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Karen Chaboyer is an Ojibwa mother and grandmother from Rainy River First Nations, a community in northwestern Ontario. She is proudly admired by her children, who have witnessed her transformation as she worked through layers of shame and learned to embrace her identity. A second-generation survivor of residential school, Karen now shares her experiences with audiences throughout the Toronto area, where she now resides. Karen’s goal is to educate people on the extent to which the tragedies of the residential school system have impacted individuals, families, communities and entire cultures to this day.
Goodreads Book Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52669557-they-called-me-33
Karen Chaboyer will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.