Mnidoo Bemaasing Bemaadiziwin is a twenty-five-year research and community-based book. It brings forward Indigenous thought, history, and acts of resistance as viewed through the survivors of the residential schools who through certain aspects of their young lives were able to persevere with resiliency and share their life experiences, teaching us about them, and their understanding of their own resiliency. Through their voices, we hear how they found strength within–their own life force energy or mnidoo bemaasing bemaadiziwin–and survived and thrived in spite of aggressive assimilation.
It became clear to Dr. Turmell that in their descriptions of resiliency, readers were describing mnidoo bemaasing bemaadiziwin–an innate and holistic energy that can be found within everyone. Mnidoo bemaasing bemaadiziwin manifests within all of our relations: land, animals, plants, ancestors, and other people, and cannot be extinguished but can be severely dampened as was evident in the attempt to assimilate residential school students. From their accounts, we learn that students found ways to nurture their life force energy through relationships and acts of resistance. As they’ve continued on their life path, they have reclaimed their spirit and today, they are telling their stories and keeping this history alive for the benefit of future generations.