Authors & Events
Gifts & Deals
May 26, 2015
| ISBN 9780307399885
Aug 26, 2014
| ISBN 9780307399908
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May 26, 2015 | ISBN 9780307399885
Aug 26, 2014 | ISBN 9780307399908
A powerful, raw and eloquent memoir about the abuse former First Nations chief Edmund Metatawabin endured in residential school in the 1960s, the resulting trauma, and the spirit he rediscovered within himself and his community through traditional spirituality and knowledge. Foreword by Joseph Boyden. After being separated from his family at age 7, Metatawabin was assigned a number and stripped of his Native identity. At his residential school–one of the worst in Canada–he was physically and emotionally abused, and was sexually abused by one of the staff. Leaving high school, he turned to alcohol to forget the trauma. He later left behind his wife and family, and fled to Edmonton, where he joined a Native support group that helped him come to terms with his addiction and face his PTSD. By listening to elders’ wisdom, he learned how to live an authentic Native life within a modern context, thereby restoring what had been taken from him years earlier. Metatawabin has worked tirelessly to bring traditional knowledge to the next generation of Native youth and leaders, as a counsellor at the University of Alberta, Chief in his Fort Albany community, and today as a youth worker, Native spiritual leader and activist. His work championing indigenous knowledge, sovereignty and rights spans several decades and has won him awards and national recognition. His story gives a personal face to the problems that beset Native communities and fresh solutions, and untangles the complex dynamics that sparked the Idle No More movement. Haunting and brave, Up Ghost River is a necessary step toward our collective healing.
A powerful, raw yet eloquent memoir from a residential school survivor and former First Nations Chief, Up Ghost River is a necessary step toward our collective healing. In the 1950s, 7-year-old Edmund Metatawabin was separated from his family and placed in one of Canada’s worst residential schools. St. Anne’s, in northern Ontario, is an institution now notorious for the range of punishments that staff and teachers inflicted on students. Even as Metatawabin built the trappings of a successful life—wife, kids, career—he was tormented by horrific memories. Fuelled by alcohol, the trauma from his past caught up with him, and his family and work lives imploded. In seeking healing, Metatawabin travelled to southern Alberta. There he learned from elders, participated in native cultural training workshops that emphasize the holistic approach to personhood at the heart of Cree culture, and finally faced his alcoholism and PTSD. Metatawabin has since worked tirelessly to expose the wrongdoings of St. Anne’s, culminating in a recent court case demanding that the school records be released to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Now Metatawabin’s mission is to help the next generation of residential school survivors. His story is part of the indigenous resurgence that is happening across Canada and worldwide: after years of oppression, he and others are healing themselves by rediscovering their culture and sharing their knowledge. Coming full circle, Metatawabin’s haunting and brave narrative offers profound lessons on the importance of bearing witness, and the ability to become whole once again.
Edmund Metatawabin, former Chief of Fort Albany First Nation, is a Cree writer, educator and activist. A residential school survivor,… More about Edmund Metatawabin
Alexandra Shimo is a former radio producer for the CBC and former editor at Maclean’s. An award-winning journalist, she is… More about Alexandra Shimo
Praise for Up Ghost River:NATIONAL BESTSELLERFinalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction“Up Ghost River is a heart song, a love song to a very special people and place, to a geography and a culture that are a foundation of who we are as a nation.” Joseph Boyden, from his foreword“Searing new memoir.” Toronto Star “This aptly titled, well-crafted book is an especially poignant reminder of the harm [residential schools] caused…. A memoir containing a polemic wrapped in native history.” Winnipeg Free Press
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