Michelle Good’s “five Little Indians” a Fictional Exploration of Life after Residential School
By Marcia Kaye
April 16, 2020
Michelle Good never went to a residential school. But as the daughter and granddaughter of people who did, the long-time advocate for residential school survivors says a certain question often comes up. As she explains in a note to reviewers of her new book, it’s a question that those who never attended such schools — the last of which closed almost a quarter-century ago — have for those who did: Why can’t they just get over it and move on?
“I choose to believe that this response arises from a lack of awareness,” she wrote. And as one who straddles both worlds — she didn’t go to such a school but her life has been surrounded by survivors — she’s well positioned to heighten that awareness. To that end, Good, a member of Saskatchewan’s Red Pheasant Cree Nation, has written the novel “Five Little Indians.”
Despite its glib title — a nod to the classic Agatha Christie mystery “Ten Little Indians,” whose title in turn comes from an offensive 19th-century minstrel-show ditty — the novel is an intense depiction of how life unfolds for five likeable young people once they’re out of residential school.