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Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, by Edmund Metatawabin, Alexandra Shimo

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Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, by Edmund Metatawabin, Alexandra Shimo


Ebook Download : Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, by Edmund Metatawabin, Alexandra Shimo

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. • JOSEPH BOYDEN is a friend, fully supports Metatawabin and the book, and wrote the foreword.

Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, by Edmund Metatawabin, Alexandra Shimo
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #2217644 in Books
  • Published on: 2015-05-26
  • Released on: 2015-05-26
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 8.00' h x .94' w x 5.19' l, .81 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 352 pages
Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, by Edmund Metatawabin, Alexandra Shimo

Review

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

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.


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Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful. Survivance By The Professor This is not a book you read fro pleasure, it is a book you endure along with the author. Parts of it are heartbreaking, parts will make you strongly dislike the Catholic Church and the people who claim to love God, while they seem to hate his creations. One issue I struggled with was the dependence on alcohol as a means of coping. I know this is almost a cliche, but it seemed that the protagonist tad turned his life around, but then he falls back in to the same patterns. This book is worth reading for the occasional glimpses of hope and the fact that there is some closure, but this is not a book to relax you before bedtime. I found that i had to put it down at times and not return for days, because i feared what was coming next. The strengths of this book are the rare insights into traditional beliefs and the strength that might be drawn from them, however these are mixed in with behavior that suggests that these traditions are not adequate for coping with the demons that haunt children trained and abused in residential schools. Still there is hope in this story.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful. A brave story of hope. By Marian Lloyd Ed's journey between two cultures is written from an honest and personal perspective. I am horrified at the abuse he and others suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church.Yet Ed does not seem bitter.He has worked on finding a better way for his family and his community. This country needs more' Eds' and' Joans' to build a solid foundation for the future. Worth reading.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful. “Kill the Indian, Save the Child” By Julee Rudolf Because I live a mere 75 miles from Canada, I listen to CBC radio often, which is how I learned about the issue of Catholic sisters’ and priests’ mental, physical and sexual abuse of First Nations children who attended the Residential Schools in the early and mid 1900s. Digging a little deeper into this issue online, I learned (at Canada Encyclopedia) that “Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools established to assimilate Aboriginal children into Euro-Canadian culture,” “the general experience of students of residential schools students was more negative than positive,” “The Roman Catholic Church operated three-fifths [Anglican, United and Presbyterian the remainder].” The Legacy of Hope Foundation lists the number of Aboriginal children who attended Residential school as 150,000. According to the UBC site, “Abuse at the schools was widespread: emotional and psychological abuse was constant, physical abuse was meted out as punishment, and sexual abuse was also common.” Eek!Author Edmund Metatawabin, with help from Alexandra Shimo, recounts his experiences in a Residential School in Canada in the 1950s, specifically, “St. Anne’s, in northern Ontario…an institution now notorious for the range of punishments that staff and teachers inflicted on students. His story begins with the death of his baby sister and his family’s struggle to survive on the little income his father earned from trapping animals for their fur. His father’s Cree spiritual beliefs conflicted with that of his mother, who had converted to Christianity and followed teachings of the Catholic Church. Their religious perspectives conflicted, but his mother won out when it came to the decision to send Edmund off to be educated at age seven. His father reluctantly agreed.Once there, he loses his identity. School staff line the children up by height and assign them a number to be referred to instead of their given names – as is done in prison – which the school seemed to be at times. They treat the kids as sub-humans, which conflicts with their goal (p 36), “We are here to make you into good Christians and honourable members of Her Majesty’s Kingdom.” A priest touches boys’ privates inappropriately, supposedly as part of a medical examination when they first arrive. Teachers and staff dole out strict punishment for even the smallest rule infraction and eat like kings and queens while feeding the kids like paupers. Children endure whippings, solitary confinement, a daily bed check after which kids who’d wet or soiled their underpants are forced to wear them on their heads in shame in front of their classmates and… the electric chair, which is as bad as it sounds. It’s hard to imagine that that level of physical and sexual abuse could go on at such a place run by religious leaders. But it did. Mr. Metatawabin was only one of many victims of abuse to come forward and share their stories. In his case, it was after years of numbing his pain with alcohol and keeping the memories secret and jeopardizing his relationships with his loved ones. Eventually, he founds a treatment plan tailored towards First Nations people and a support group for same who suffered similar abuses in Residential Schools, “…he learned from elders, participated in native cultural training workshops that emphasized the holistic approach to personhood at the heart of Cree culture, and finally faced his alcoholism and PTSD.”Metatawabin, “former Chief of Fort Albany First Nation, is a Cree writer, educator and activist.” His writing is lovely. He weaves information about First Nations language (p 185), “The Cree word for police, okipwakhoyso, means “the people who take you away;” beliefs (p 11), “The Spirit World was different from the Christian one…It was home to dead people who looked like me—our Cree ancestors who protected the living. It was both here and far away, Heaven and Earth, a place where the ancestors lived, our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, gookums and moshoms, stretching back until the First People, spirits that became human when they touched foot on this land;” and practices into this memoir of his traumatic experiences at Residential School and his journey towards healing. During his treatment, a line on a form he must complete ask (p 206), “What were the triggers for you wanting to drink alcohol/use drugs? I thought about all the things that made me want to drink. Why did they give us such a tiny box?” The story of his courtship, marriage and relationship challenges with his green-eyed blonde wife Joan is bittersweet. Through treatment and with the empowerment gained from speaking out against the abuse the religious leaders and others inflicted upon him and his fellow Residential School students, he begins to heal. Up Ghost River is a well-written informative story about some scary skeletons in Canada’s closet. Also excellent: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian and The Roundhouse by Louise Erdich.

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Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, by Edmund Metatawabin, Alexandra Shimo

Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, by Edmund Metatawabin, Alexandra Shimo
Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History, by Edmund Metatawabin, Alexandra Shimo
Ghost River
Mount Aylmer with the North Ghost in the foreground
Location
CountryCanada
ProvinceAlberta
Physical characteristics
SourceSouth slopes of Mount Oliver
• coordinates51°24′38″N115°29′20″W / 51.41056°N 115.48889°W
MouthBow River at Ghost Lake
51°13′26″N114°42′48″W / 51.22389°N 114.71333°WCoordinates: 51°13′26″N114°42′48″W / 51.22389°N 114.71333°W
Basin size911 km2 (352 sq mi)
Discharge
• average119 m3/s (4,200 cu ft/s)
• minimum111 m3/s (3,900 cu ft/s)
• maximum453 m3/s (16,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features
Tributaries
• leftLeseur Creek, Waiparous Creek, Robinson Creek
• rightSpectral Creek, Baymar Creek
Ghost River in winter

The Ghost River is a river in Alberta, Canada. It begins within the front ranges of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, joining the Bow River at Ghost Lake. These waters flow through Cochrane, Calgary, and ultimately into Hudson Bay. The upper reaches of the Ghost are fully protected by the Ghost River Wilderness Area.

The origin of the name Ghost varies somewhat, but generally relates to local First Nations legends regarding a battle at the confluence of the Ghost and Bow between the Stoney and Blackfoot peoples. Spirits of those slain in the battle were said to haunt the area, leading to the name being adopted after it was initially coined Deadman's River by the Palliser Expedition in 1860.[1]

Course[edit]

The Ghost River begins in two separate forks, the North Ghost and South Ghost. The North Ghost, longer of the two, forms on the South slope of Mount Oliver in the Front Ranges.[1] The North Ghost flows generally eastward, meeting the South Ghost and passing through the settlements of Waiparous and Benchlands before entering a canyon and eventually meeting the Bow at Ghost Lake. From there the Bow joins the South Saskatchewan River, eventually flowing into Hudson Bay via the Nelson River.

Apart from the hydroelectric dam at Ghost Lake, there are no hydro projects operating on the river itself. Until 2013, a diversion dam high in the watershed operated by TransAlta diverted some flow of the North Ghost into Lake Minnewanka to augment the natural catchment of the lake.[2] The diversion dam was rendered inoperable after significant flooding in 2013 devastated the area, with remediation work of the dam and berms ongoing.[3]

A larger diversion from the North Ghost to Lake Minnewanka has been studied as part of larger Southern Alberta flood remediation efforts in the wake of the 2013 floods, however it was deemed non-viable as the diversion would be too high on the course of the Ghost to reduce downstream flow effectively.[4]

History[edit]

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The Ghost River passes below the Front Ranges through the Ghost Public Land Use Zone

The Ghost River watershed has been inhabited for hundreds of years before European exploration, notably by the Assiniboia people.[1] With the signing of Treaty 7 at Crowfoot Crossing in 1877, the Iyhe Nakoda were assigned reserve lands on the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains in their traditional hunting areas. Today they have reserve lands at Morley extending north from the Bow Valley to the Ghost River.[5] Notable early explorers in the area were David Thompson, who camped above the confluence of the Bow and Ghost in 1800, and James Hector, who documented the geology of the Ghost watershed during several expeditions from 1858-60.[1]

The first permanent settlement in the area was established with the Morleyville mission in 1873, founded by missionary George McDougall. Further development and ranching was spurred by the completion of CPR tracks through the area in the 1880s.[1] The two permanent communities along the Ghost, the hamlet of Benchlands and summer village of Waiparous were incorporated in 1978 and 1986, respectively.[1]

Several ranger stations and fire lookouts were constructed through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as the one atop Black Rock Mountain. The Aura Ranger Station served the area from 1917 until it was abandoned and burned down in the 1960s. Though the last fully-staffed ranger station remaining in the Ghost watershed closed in 1996, a small firebase still exists near the old Aura Station on Highway 40.[1]

Since September 4, 2020, a large wildfire has been burning in the North Ghost watershed between Devil's Head and Black Rock Mountain.[6] Investigations by Alberta Wildfire concluded that the blaze was started by an abandoned campfire in the region. Despite growing out of control in early October and prompting evacuation alerts at Waiparous and Benchlands, the fire is now considered under control.[7]

Conservation[edit]

The uppermost reaches of the North Ghost are protected by the 59.14 sq mi (153.2 km2) Ghost River Wilderness Area, establihed in 1967. Alberta Wilderness Areas prohibit development of any kind and allow only foot traffic, banning equestrian and vehicular travel.[8] Below the GRWA, the river passes through the Ghost Public Land Use Zone. Established in 2006, the 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi) PLUZ is meant to address the growing demand for recreation and the potential conflicts with other resource values and stakeholders in the Ghost-Waiparous area. An area of special concern that lead to the establishment of the PLUZ was the popularity of off highway vehicles in the region, and lack of rules around their use.[9]

Ongoing concerns regarding OHV use in the Ghost PLUZ remain.[1][10]In 2011, significant sedimentation and decreased water quality was found in the watershed that was directly attributable to OHV use in the area. However, most indicators of environmental health in the region (such as air quality, surface run-off, groundwater quality, riparian health) remain in good health.[1]

Recreation[edit]

The Ghost River, through the Ghost Public Land Use Zone, provides ample opportunity for recreation through hiking, scrambling, climbing, ice climbing, camping, and hunting. The rock and ice climbing along the North Ghost in particular is well-regarded as one of the premier destinations for such activities in the country.[11] In addition, random camping is allowed within the PLUZ, unlike provincial and national parks in Alberta.

Popular hikes and scrambles in the area include Leseur Ridge, Black Rock Mountain, Bastion Ridge, and Orient Point, while more challenging alpine climbs include Devil's Head and Phantom Crag. Much of the premier hiking and climbing located at the headwaters of the Ghost is accessed by a rough utility road significantly damaged in 2013, necessitating a high clearance and four-wheel drive vehicle.[12]

The North Ghost River from the summit of Black Rock Mountain. The remains of the TransAlta diversion dam destroyed in the 2013 Floods can be seen near the center of the image.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ abcdefghi.'GHOST RIVER STATE OF THE WATERSHED REPORT 2018'(PDF). ghostwatershed.ca. Ghost Watershed Alliance Society. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  2. ^Armstrong, Christopher; Nelles, H.V. 'Wilderness and waterpower: how Banff National Park became a hydroelectric storage reservoir'(PDF). prism.ucalgary.ca. University of Calgary Press. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  3. ^'PMF Closure Berm construction'(PDF). transalta.com. TransAlta. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  4. ^'Bow River Water Management Project : advice to Government on water management in the Bow River Basin'(PDF). open.alberta.ca. Government of Alberta. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  5. ^Wishart, David (2007). Encyclopedia of the Great Plains Indians. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. p. 35. ISBN978-0803298620.
  6. ^Dormer, Dave (28 September 2020). 'Devil's Head wildfire flares up west of Calgary but remains under control'. CTV News. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  7. ^Hudes, Sammy (13 October 2020). 'Devil's Head wildfire no longer out of control'. Calgary Herald. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  8. ^'Wilderness Areas, Ecological Reserves, Natural Areas and Heritage Rangelands Act'. Revised Statutes of Alberta Chapter W-9of2000(PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta.
  9. ^'Ghost-Waiparous operational access management plan'(PDF). open.alberta.ca. Sustainable Resource Development (2001-2006, 2006-2013) Alberta. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  10. ^'An Assessment of the Cumulative Effects of Land Uses within the Ghost River Watershed, Alberta, Canada'(PDF). ghostwatershed.ca. Ghost Watershed Alliance Society. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  11. ^Genereux, Andy (2003). Ghost rock : Front Range rock climbs near Calgary (3rd ed.). Calgary, Alta.: Rocky Mountain Books. p. 7. ISBN1894765427.
  12. ^Daffern, Gillean (15 July 2013). Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Country trail guide. Volume 3, The Ghost -- Bow Valley -- Canmore -- Spray (4th ed.). Calgary: Rocky Mountain Books. ISBN978-1927330036.
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