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Anishinaabe, Ojibway, Indigenous, First Nations, Youth, First offender, Young offender

The First
by John C. Payette

A story of a disparate trio of Anishinaabe teens who found each other while trying to escape their personal terrors. It soon becomes a spiritual journey of one of those boys, who, through a sentence from the courts, an assemblage of unique people, and the teaching stories of his father, learns the importance of self, others, and family.

John, a member of the Wikewemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, has a Bachelor of Education degree from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. He has worked with youth behaviors in the Education system for ten years and was a counselor for special needs clients for more than 15 years.

Born in 1945, John grew up in an urban environment when most Natives lived on reserves. The movie industry had created a stereotype of his culture, and there was a common attitude that all Indian kids were expected to be in Residential Schools away from their home and family ties.

John's family was one of the few families that lived off the reserve during the 40s and 50s. John felt the brunt of the rampant prejudice towards Indians at school and the community while growing up. The guilt of being one of the few that escaped the horrors of Residential Schools and his lack of opportunity to learn to speak his Odawa language, left him scarred in a different way than those growing up on the reserve.


John C. Payette

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