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Canadian novel 'Probably Ruby' explores legacy of forced Indigenous adoption and residential schools

Click here for the original audio and to read a book excerpt. 

In the novel “Probably Ruby” which is out in paperback this week, a young Canadian woman gets pregnant in the 1970s but is forced to give up the child for adoption, partly because she’s an unmarried teen, but also because the father is a young Indigenous man.

Baby Ruby is raised by a white family, who goes to great lengths to conceal her heritage with actions large and small — concealing information about her birth parents and making her wear large hats to prevent her skin from darkening.

The novel, written as a series of vignettes, spans 60 years and follows Ruby, her family and friends as she navigates her search for her family and a sense of belonging.

We revisit Here & Now host Celeste Headlee’s conversation with “Probably Ruby” author Lisa Bird-Wilson about the book, her own life as a Metis Canadian and Canada’s centuries of anti-Indigenous policy from April 2022.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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