A Child is a Piece of Paper
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A six-year-old boy’s idyllic childhood is shattered after being torn from his remote northern reserve and forced into a Catholic-run residential school at Dresden Lake. At Dresden, where the mission is to “kill the Indian in the child”, he lives in a constant state of terror while trying to survive the ever-increasing cruelty of a depraved schoolmaster. When the brutality becomes unbearable, the only option is to escape, a decision which ultimately ends in tragedy.
The ripple effects of this tragedy haunt him well into adulthood, where the destruction of his marriage mirrors his failure as a father and the slow, painful erosion of his identity. In old age, he is presented with an opportunity: a chance to reclaim something that was lost and to fix a longstanding injustice. But to do so he must first return to Dresden to face his past once and for all.
Heartbreaking and beautiful, A Child is a Piece of Paper explores the impact of Canada’s cultural genocide against its Indigenous Peoples and the loss of innocence of a child, a culture, and indeed an entire nation.