From Bear Rock Mountain
The Life and Times of a Dene Residential School Survivor
About the Book
In this poetic, poignant memoir, Dene artist and social activist Antoine Mountain paints an unforgettable picture of his journey from residential school to art school—and his path to healing.
In 1949, Antoine Mountain was born on the land near Radelie Koe, Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. At the tender age of seven, he was stolen away from his home and sent to a residential school—run by the Roman Catholic Church in collusion with the Government of Canada—three hundred kilometres away. Over the next twelve years, the three residential schools Mountain was forced to attend systematically worked to erase his language and culture, the very roots of his identity.
While reconnecting to that which had been taken from him, he had a disturbing and painful revelation of the bitter depths of colonialism and its legacy of cultural genocide. Canada has its own holocaust, Mountain argues.
As a celebrated artist and social activist today, Mountain shares this moving, personal story of healing and the reclamation of his Dene identity.
“His writing can be needle sharp, but rarely direct—this is no linear autobiography, but an evocative story that winds back and forth from past to present, from the broad historical interaction of Indigenous peoples and Europeans to his own personal details.” —Maclean’s
“Antoine Mountain’s book is braided with the northern spirit and is a treasure of knowledge for the world. I am in awe of his talent, his humility, his gifts. This is a life’s work and it is spectacular! Mahsi cho, Antoine!” —Richard Van Camp, Tlicho Dene, author of The Lesser Blessed and We Sang You Home
“Above all, Antoine is a Dene artist, with his own writing style and way of telling stories. From his experience, including being in Indian residential school, he tells us his views. This includes comparing the Jewish holocaust to the Dene experience within Canada. He is able to bring his wit and humour forward to demonstrate that Canada has a lot of work to do in dispelling the myth that First Nations were discovered.” —Bill Erasmus, Dene National Chief/AFN Regional Chief (NWT)
“Always witty, humorous, artistic and original with a twinkle in his eye, Antoine gives us his unique perspective on the life of a truly Northern Dene Aboriginal.” —Hon. Bob McLeod, Premier, Northwest Territories
“The story Mountain has to tell in his new memoir is a difficult read. It includes the cultural genocide, sexual and physical abuse he and his generation (and earlier cohorts of Indigenous kids) experienced in residential schools, and his years lost to alcohol and rootlessness. Yet in the end it is a triumphant narrative of recovery and renewal. Mountain has rediscovered his Dene roots and has emerged as an important visual artist, journalist and activist. This book records how he found his way home, and his commitment to helping other Dene people make that journey of return. . . . Highly recommended.” —Vancouver Sun