Black Water Family, legacy, and blood memory

David Robertson, 1977-

Book - 2020

The son of a Cree father and a non-Indigenous mother, Robertson was raised with virtually no knowledge or understanding of his family's Indigenous roots. His father, Don, spent his early childhood on a trapline in the bush northeast of Norway House, Manitoba, where his first teacher was the land. When his family was moved permanently to a nearby reserve, Don was not permitted to speak Cree at school unless in secret with his friends and lost the knowledge he had been gifted. His mother, Be...verly, grew up in a small Manitoba town with not a single Indigenous family in it. Then Don arrived, and they fell in love. Structured around a father-son journey to the northern trapline where Robertson and his father will reclaim their connection to the land, this is the story of another journey: a young man seeking to understand his father's story, to come to terms with his lifelong experience with anxiety, and to finally piece together his own blood memory.

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Biographies
Published
Toronto, Ontario, Canada : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd [2020]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xi, 274 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Issued also in electronic format
ISBN
9781443457767
1443457760
Main Author
David Robertson, 1977- (author)
Review by Publisher Summary 1

A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year A Quill & Quire Book of the Year A CBC Books Nonfiction Book of the Year A Maclean’s 20 Books You Need to Read this Winter“An instant classic that demands to be read with your heart open and with a perspective widened to allow in a whole new understanding of family, identity and love.” —Cherie DimalineIn this bestselling memoir, a son who grew up away from his Indigenous culture takes his Cree father on a trip to the family trapline and finds that revisiting the past not only heals old wounds but creates a new futureThe son of a Cree father and a white mother, David A. Robertson grew up with virtually no awareness of his Indigenous roots. His father, Dulas—or Don, as he became known—lived on the trapline in the bush in Manitoba, only to be transplanted permanently to a house on the reserve, where he couldn’t speak his language, Swampy Cree, in school with his friends unless in secret. David’s mother, Beverly, grew up in a small Manitoba town that had no Indigenous people until Don arrived as the new United Church minister. They married and had three sons, whom they raised unconnected to their Indigenous history. David grew up without his father’s teachings or any knowledge of his early experiences. All he had was “blood memory”: the pieces of his identity ingrained in the fabric of his DNA, pieces that he has spent a lifetime putting together. It has been the journey of a young man becoming closer to who he is, who his father is and who they are together, culminating in a trip back to the trapline to reclaim their connection to the land. Black Water is a memoir about intergenerational trauma and healing, about connection and about how Don’s life informed David’s own. Facing up to a story nearly erased by the designs of history, father and son journey together back to the trapline at Black Water and through the past to create a new future.