Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through The Turbulent Waters Of Native History

by Alexandra Shimo, Edmund Metatawabin

Knopf Canada | August 26, 2014 | Hardcover |

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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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 Pages, 7.09 × 9.06 × 0.79 in

Published: August 26, 2014

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307399877

ISBN - 13: 9780307399878

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Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through The Turbulent Waters Of Native History

Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through The Turbulent Waters Of Native History

by Alexandra Shimo, Edmund Metatawabin

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 Pages, 7.09 × 9.06 × 0.79 in

Published: August 26, 2014

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307399877

ISBN - 13: 9780307399878

From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

Edmund Metatawabin, former Chief of Fort Albany First Nation, is a Cree writer, educator and activist. A residential school survivor, he has devoted himself to righting the wrongs of the past, and educating Native youth in traditional knowledge. Metatawabin now lives in his self-made log house in Fort Albany, Ontario, off the reserve boundary, on land he refers to as my "Grandfathers' Land." He owns a local sawmill and also works as a consultant, speaker and researcher.

Alexandra Shimo is a former radio producer for the CBC and former editor at Maclean's. An award-winning journalist, she is the author of The Environment Equation, which was published in 12 countries. She lives in Toronto.

Editorial Reviews

“ Up Ghost River is at times painful. It’s at other times a wonderful lesson in the importance of laughter. It’s certainly deeply connected to the land. It is, in part, a tale of a world changing too quickly. But most of all, it 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 to Up Ghost River   “Edmund Metatawabin’s voice is clear, brave and full of the grace of his Cree homeland.  Up Ghost River  is a powerful and unsettling read, full of heartbreaking truth-telling, resistance and Metatawabin’s uncompromising love of land, his people, his language and his culture. These stories are full of the real lived violence of colonialism and of the beautiful tiny moments that our Elders and storytellers wrap around our children to teach them, protect them and nurture them. Metatawabin is a gift to all who are lucky enough to read him, and the key to reading Metatawabin is a willingness to simply allow these stories to transform you.” —Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of  Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back  and  Islands of Decolonial Love , and recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award   “A shocking, sadly revealing Canadian story. Cree elder Edmund Metatawabin has the courage to tell how ‘white learning’ stripped him of his name and
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