Sunday, October 12, 2014


The all-seasons beauty and gifts of the Albany River provides a life-affirming backdrop to the colonial cruelty that Edmund Metatawabin reflects on in Up Ghost River: A Chief’s journey through the turbulent waters of native history. What Metatawabin manages to do in this book is reveal his resolve, despite pernicious abuse, to tell his own heartwrenching story and thereby carry many of his St. Anne residential school sufferers with him to the raised consciousness of anyone who reads Up Ghost River.

Metatawabin writes with a deep, sweet honesty about lifelong struggles with the residential school and its everlasting effects. With dignity and fortitude, Metatawabin makes a very difficult subject rise up from the muck of hurtful memories while he shares with us the transformative power of love.

If you want to really get to know the struggle of North Eastern Ontario’s James Bay lowlands Cree as they try to uphold and renew their indigenous values and way of life, read this book. If you want to learn more about our interconnectedness with the flora and fauna of the natural world, read this book. And if you are craving something to feel good about, if you want to read a story about hope and perseverance, Edmund Metatawabin delivers. His unpretentious honesty, understated humour and rediscovered confidence combine in a sharing of personal and societal truths that cannot be denied.

Metatawabin ends his book with thoughtful suggestions as to how all of us, together, can effect change. Whatever your passion for political and social justice, there is a way to get involved.

- Lori Ryan Gray

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