Black Water  


Black Water
HarperCollins Publishers | September 22, 2020 | 288 pages
ISBN: 9781443457767

The son of a Cree father and a white mother, David A. Robertson grew up with virtually no knowledge or understanding of his family's Indigenous roots. His father, Dulas--or Don, as he became known--had grown up on the trapline in the bush northeast of Norway House, Manitoba, only to be transplanted permanently to a house on reserve, where in school he couldn't speak his language, Swampy Cree, unless in secret with his friends. Robertson's mother, Beverly Eyers, grew up in a small Manitoba town with no Indigenous families until Don arrived as the new United Church minister. They married and had three sons, and as Robertson believed, decided together to raise them apart from their Indigenous identity. David grew up without his father's teachings or any knowledge of his life or experiences. All he had was "blood memory": the pieces of who he was that were engrained 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 family memoir about intergenerational trauma and healing, about connection, about story, about how Don's life informed David's own. Facing 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.