Volume 13 Number 6
This revision of In Search of April Raintree ¹ was requested by the native education branch of Manitoba Education along with a teacher's guide, not seen by this reviewer. Culleton, herself a Métis who suffered the trauma of family separation, foster homes, and the suicides of two older sisters, has written an honest, poignant account of the toll exacted by poverty, alcoholism, prostitution, suicide, prejudice, and discrimination on the human spirit, and perhaps more importantly, the craving for self-identity of the native person lost in an urban environment.Culleton has made April Raintree the spokesperson for the Métis. April and her younger sister Cheryl, when only six and four years old, were taken from their parents by the Children's Aid Society, first to a convent orphanage, and then to various foster homes. Even though often separated, they always thought about and wrote to each other. April was the white Métis, while Cheryl was totally Indian in appearance. Both children excelled in school, but while April dreamed of integrating into the white society, Cheryl dreamed of becoming a social worker finding her parents, rebuilding the family, and eventually helping children like herself. Perhaps because of the immediacy of the first-person narrative, the reader is inevitably drawn into the controversy regarding attitudinal ethics and the question of foster homes and adoption of native children. April Raintree is an important addition to the supplementary reading list for native studies, Canadian family, and people in society courses, as well as thematic units in Canadian literature. The paper binding appears sufficiently durable to warrant multiple copy purchase.
Lillian M. Turner, York Memorial C.l., Toronto, ON.
¹ Reviewed vol. XII/1 January 1984, p. 13.
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