Heritage House is proud to announce a new edition of Theodore Niizhotay Fontaine’s bestselling memoir, Broken Circle, will be published in Spring 2022.
Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools, originally published in 2010, is a powerful and poignant story. In the memoir, Fontaine examines the impact of his psychological, emotional and sexual abuse, the loss of his language and culture, and, most important, the loss of his family and community. He goes beyond details of the abuses of Indigenous children to relate a unique understanding of why most residential school survivors have post-traumatic stress disorders and why succeeding generations of First Nations children suffer from this dark chapter in history.
“Theodore Niizhotay Fontaine’s clarity, candour, courage, and grace shine through Broken Circle, truly a memoir for our time. Here is the voice of a beloved Elder who takes his child-self by the hand and allows us all to witness firsthand the atrocities of Canada’s Indian Residential School system. You will be awed by his strength, moved by his insight, and forever changed by his generosity and spirit.”
—Charlene Diehl, Director, Winnipeg International Writers Festival
Told as remembrances described with insights that have evolved through his healing, Fontaine’s story resonates with his resolve to help himself and other residential school survivors and to share his enduring belief that one can pick up the shattered pieces and use them for good. In fact, Fontaine was a regular speaker and media commentator on residential schools and presented Broken Circle to more than 1,500 audiences in Canada and the United States. He forged new paths by supporting other survivors and by seeking reconciliation directly with those who were perpetrators of his abuse.
Earlier this year, Fontaine passed away in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he lived with his wife Morgan. Fontaine was a member and former chief of the Sagkeeng Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba. He attended the Fort Alexander and Assiniboia Indian Residential Schools from 1948 to 1960. As a youth, he played senior hockey across Western Canada before moving north to direct a mineral exploration crew in the Northwest Territories, a formative experience that set him on a lifelong path toward self-discovery and healing.
Heritage House is honoured to be working with Morgan Fontaine to release Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools—A Commemorative Edition in Spring 2022, with a brand new foreword by Andrew Woolford. We hope this new edition of Fontaine’s impactful memoir will continue to reach new readers and touch lives as he did during his life.
“First and foremost, Broken Circle is a reflection of Theodore’s courage. It is also a hopeful, inspirational story that will give courage to other residential school survivors. It will show them that they’re not alone and that these unique stories are a part of Canadian history that should be told. Above all, Broken Circle is about healing and reconciliation. It makes its point, but there’s nothing vindictive about it. Lovely.”
—Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, owner/operator of Ishkonigan Consulting & Mediation