On Saturday, June 3rd, Sam George, along with co-authors Jill Goldberg, Liam Belson, Dylan MacPhee, and Tanis Wilson, celebrated the launch of Sam’s memoir, The Fire Still Burns: Life In and After Residential School. The book is published by UBC Press/Purich Books. Approximately 100 people attended this free event. The event was opened with members of Sam’s family drumming and singing as Sam entered the room in a processional. Squamish Hereditary Chief Janice George, also Sam’s niece, welcomed guests to the territory.
The event provided a warm environment in which to celebrate the publication of Sam’s book and to honour the relationships that allowed it to be brought to life. It was also an opportunity to bring together members of Sam’s family and the Squamish community, along with many other guests, to honour Sam and the courage it took to tell his story of his time at St. Paul’s Indian Residential School. In this way, the evening achieved everything we hoped it would. As one of the organizers of the evening, I learned a great deal about Squamish traditions and was able to form relationships with members of Sam’s family.
There were many memorable moments: when Sam spoke, he received a standing ovation, which was beautiful to see. I was also honoured, along with the other three co-authors and members of Sam’s family, to be blanketed in the Squamish tradition. Also exciting was the announcement by UBC Press that Sam’s book has sold out of its first print run!
It has been an enormous honour to be part of this project, and I’m so grateful to Indigenous Neighbourhood Small Grants for supporting our event!