Amy Sran has produced this timely essay on Native Canadian issues after reading the book, Indian Horse. She has delved into the murky Canadian past of attempted assimilation of the native people through any means deemed necessary by the Canadian government. The LINK IS HERE.
Up Ghost River is the memoir of Edmund Metatawabin, written as a first hand account of life in northern Canada as an aboriginal young person. His life takes a tumble into the hell of St. Annes, a notoriously violent residential school, when the town officials press his family to make him go. He leaves behind a loving family and a life steeped in native tradition and self-sufficiency. It is a deeply personal account and will shake your beliefs in a fair and just Canada.
The Right Honourable Paul Martin recommends the book:
“Moving documentation, recollected tragedy and personal triumph, this book is a necessary first-hand account of being First Nations in contemporary Canada. From the atrocities of residential schools, to the present-day policy challenges, Up Ghost River will open your eyes to the all-too-recent history of Canada’s First Peoples, through the experiences of a resilient individual and his family.”
Prudence by David Treuer tells the story of Frankie Washburn, a bombardier during WWII, whose family owns a rustic Minnesota resort called the Pines on an Indian reservation. When a prisoner of war camp is established across the river, their tranquility ends. An escaped prisoner sends everyone out to look, including Frankie and his friends. What happens next is a tragedy that will haunt everyone involved for years to come. Treuer handles the subject matter with sensitivity, but gives an honest look at the consequences of decisions made in the face of intolerance, and love.
Mink is a witness, a shape shifter, compelled to follow the story that has ensnared Celia and her village, on the West coast of Vancouver Island in Nu:Chahlnuth territory. Celia is a seer who – despite being convinced she’s a little “off” – must heal her village with the assistance of her sister, her mother and father, and her nephews. While mink is visiting, a double-headed sea serpent falls off the house front during a fierce storm. The old snake, ostracized from the village decades earlier, has left his terrible influence on Amos, a residential school survivor. The occurrence signals the unfolding of an ordeal that pulls Celia out of her reveries and into the tragedy of her cousin’s granddaughter. Each one of Celia’s family becomes involved in creating a greater solution than merely attending to her cousin’s granddaughter. Celia’s Song relates one Nu:Chahlnuth family’s harrowing experiences over several generations, after the brutality, interference, and neglect resulting from contact with Europeans. (source)
Based on the unrest in Caledonia, Ontario where native land was being used for a housing development, this novel explores the many characters and issues at stake at the time. It is a fiction in every sense of the word, so the political aspects are muted and don’t overpower the character development and storyline.
But even if the story were not a gripping exploration of town/reserve relations, Smoke River would be a glorious read just for Foss’s imagery, which conjures up a hot, humid Ontario summer that seems to shimmer off the page: “Finally it arrives, the slightest mutiny of scent: sweet clover seeds, germinating in the backhoed earth, an insurrection of moisture beneath the drained and filled pond, an invasion of pollens breezing in off the river.” That connection to the land, which Shayna and Coulson share, is another powerful theme that permeates the novel. (source)