Waking Nanabijou

Overview

A woman from Northern Ontario is buried; her earthly papers reveal a mystery. Veteran Canadian journalist Jim Poling took on the most important assignment of his career: Just who was his mother? Why did she take a lifelong secret to her grave?

In his search for clues throughout his childhood years in Northern Ontario, the author goes to Chapleau, the railway town where the people he believed were his ancestors played out their roles in building the railway. It ends in the Prairie village of Innisfree, Alberta, home to Joe LaRose, convicted horse thief and father of a girl destined for trouble.

A search that began in anger at his mother’s secrecy concludes with an understanding of her actions. In the process, he explores the place of families within Canadian society and reveals the shameful ongoing discrimination against Native Peoples and the abusive treatment of illegitimacy. Throughout, glimpses of working life in newsrooms add insider perspectives on the "handling" of our daily news.

A former Indian Affairs reporter, Poling shares insights into the ongoing plight of Canada’s First Nations people. He observes that Canada will never realize its true potential until positive steps are taken to resolve longstanding issues.

Reviews

...a wrenchingly honest memoir.

… an engaging and touching read that made me feel like I was listening to an old friend telling me the most important tale of his life.

About the Author

Jim Poling, Sr.

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Jim Poling, Sr. photo

Jim Poling, Sr.

Jim Poling, Sr., is a former Native affairs writer for Canadian Press and is the author of Waking Nanabijou and Tecumseh: Shooting Star, Crouching Panther. He lives in Alliston, Ontario.