Up Ghost River

A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History

    • 4.8 • 45 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

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.

August 26
Knopf Canada
Penguin Random House Canada

Customer Reviews

Tseroyer ,

A very captivating read!!!

Thank you for sharing your courageous journey with us!!! Your experience has me wanting to learn more about residential schools and indigenous peoples beliefs, traditions and communities.

Gudeh ,


This book is powerful, honest and gripping. Residential school life and its after effects are clearly portrayed; giving powerful insight into what has been done to indigenous people in Canada. After reading this book I know more, and know I need to learn more. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about the truth of residential schools.