Up Ghost River

Edmund Metatawabin with Alexandra Shimo

Up Ghost River

When he was seven years old, Edmund Metatawabin was taken from his family and sent to one of the worst residential schools in Canada, St. Anne's. The memories of his time there haunted him. He finally dealt with his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through Indigenous healing approaches and has since dedicated his life to exposing what happened at St. Anne's. Up Ghost River is Metatawabin's story.

Up Ghost River was co-written by Alexandra Shimo.


The day the furs were ready, Papa and I got up before the rest were awake. He helped me button my coat and pants, cooked bannock and tea, and we walked over to the Hudson's Bay store. We climbed the steps and opened the wooden door. A tall man about the same age as Papa was standing at the counter holding what looked like a bulky gun, which he was using to put sticky labels on some bread loaves. Papa had already told me that the manager was also called The Boss and that we all had to be nice to him. Ignoring Papa, the man straightened a price tag on a bag of flour. Above him were shelves stacked with supplies - sugar, Klik canned meat, tomato soup, lard, tea - and on the wall to his right, the more costly goods - ammunition and a number of rifles including a new one just arrived called The Savage 45. Furs were draped from the ceiling and counters, with the most valuable - otter, black fox and wolverine - sheathed in cotton to keep out the dust.

From Up Ghost River by Edmund Metatawabin ©2014. Published by Knopf Canada.