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Floyd Favel brings his novel, Ashes and Embers, to the Battlefords

“Dedicated to all Delmas Indian Residential School students. May your stories live forever,” reads the acknowledgments at the beginning of the book.

NORTH BATTLEFORD — Floyd Favel was at the Allen Sapp Gallery on Nov. 25 to share his experiences writing a novel that chronicles the destruction of the Delmas residential school almost 70 years ago.

Although copies of Ashes and Embers were unable to be purchased due to shipping delays, visitors were treated to a free showing of the documentary on which the novel is based.

“On Highway 16, west of Battleford, Saskatchewan, is the little town of Delmas … these are the stories of some of the survivors we were able to interview in Feb. 2021. There are many stories that haven’t been told,” the novel begins.

“It’s a local story, a regional story, and it’s a part of our mandate to create a better understanding and appreciation of indigenous cultures,” Leah Garven said on the hosting of the event.

The book memorializes stories that would otherwise be lost, chronicling the history of the St. Henri Indian Residential School, the stories of those students who remember the building, and the eventual destruction of it at the hands of students.

Kenny Tootoosis, Theresa Sapp, Gavin Baptiste, and other elders share their stories of the fire in the winter of 1947.

“We were standing there, and there were these cracks in the floor, it was an old building you see. Smoke started coming up through the cracks.” Leo Tootoosis said in an excerpt from the book, recounting the fire.

An excerpt from the documentary can be watched on Miyawata Culture Inc’s Youtube page. A full book launch with books available to purchase will be announced at a later date.