Emma Ward-Levi just wanted a book to read. The 10-year old Mi’kmaw girl was not expecting to find a book with the line, “I am an Indian and I will scalp you.”
She knew those words were wrong, but she didn’t know what to do, so she took the book home to show her mother.
Sharona Lynn Levi could not believe what her daughter had discovered at school.
“I asked Emma if she understood what scalping meant. I know what it means, and I know it is used as a derogatory term.” she said.
Lynn Levi contacted the school and soon people reached out from the Anglophone North School District, the New Brunswick Department of Education, and the Minister of Education.
“They apologized and immediately want to find answers like you and me,” she said. “They want to know how the book slipped through and made it into the classroom.”
Dominique Cardy, the Minister of Education said in a statement that the district is removing any copies and checking for any other books for inappropriate content.
“Immediately upon learning of this situation the district decided to remove any copies of this book from its libraries. We asked all school districts to review any other books by this author to check for other inappropriate content.
“I have spoken with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jake Stewart who stressed the importance of ensuring such racist materials are not available in our schools. I called Chief Aaron Sock of Elsipogtog First Nation and the mother of the child who brought the book home to apologize and to explain the steps the department and the school district are taking.”
“The material in this book is racist. We regret it being present in our public-school libraries,” said the statement.
(Emma Ward Levi informed her mother of the book she found in the library that reference scalping)
Lynn Levi wanted to know how long the book has been on the classroom shelf, and how many children have read it.
The School District posted on their website a statement a zero tolerance for racism.
“Racist literature is unacceptable, and the book has been removed,” said the statement.
Lynn Levi said her daughter knows what is right and wrong.
“I am very proud of Emma, she is not afraid to speak up. And she is ready to go back to class and talk about it,” she said.
“I am happy this happened because it tells us we are not where we think we are, so we need to figure this out, there needs to be accountability so we can change it.”