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

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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

Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through The Turbulent Waters Of Native History is rated 4 out of 5 by 1.

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, 8.84 × 5.92 × 1.17 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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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful story of Canadian Residential School experience I bought this book, read it, then ordered another to share with people because it does such a fine job of telling a story of the horrific torture First Nations children endured in residential schools. Ed Metatawabin actually goes easy on the reader in his descriptions of the abuse forced upon him when he was in school, for it was so vile many readers could not bear to have too much detail. So he leaves it to our imaginations. Then the second half of the book, when he speaks of his struggles to somehow deal with it all, is very powerful, and had me in tears as he learns to speak out and to support others in his community. I recommend this book to all Canadians as a vital tool in understanding Canada's relationship with First Nations.
Date published: 2015-01-09

– More About This Product –

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

by Alexandra Shimo, Edmund Metatawabin

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 pages, 8.84 × 5.92 × 1.17 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

FINALIST 2014 – Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction “A harrowing but enthralling account of an aspect of Canadian history that the country would prefer to forget but which continues to haunt.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review) “ 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
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