Tracking the Caribou Queen: Memoir of a Settler Girlhood
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978-1-77439-061-0 | 2022 October | 296 Pages
ABOUT THIS BOOK
In this challenging memoir about her formative years in Yellowknife in the ’60s and ’70s, author Margaret Macpherson lays bare her own white privilege, her multitude of unexamined microaggressions, and how her childhood was shaped by the colonialism and systemic racism that continues today. Macpherson’s father, first a principal and later a federal government administrator, oversaw education in the NWT, including the high school Margaret attended with its attached hostel: a residential facility mostly housing Indigenous children. Ringing with damning and painful truths, this bittersweet telling invites white readers to examine their own personal histories in order to begin to right relations with the Indigenous Peoples on whose land they live. Tracking the Caribou Queen is beautifully crafted to a purpose: poetic language and narrative threads dissect the trope that persisted through her girlhood, that of the Caribou Queen, a woman who seemed to embody extreme and contradictory stereotypes of Indigeneity. Here, Macpherson is not striving for a tidy ideal of “reconciliation”; what she is working towards is much messier, more complex and ambivalent and, ultimately, more equitable.
- Interview on CBC Listen: The Weekender
- Featured on CBC Books' 60 Works of Canadian Nonfiction to Watch for in Fall 2022
- Interview with Shawn the Book Maniac on Youtube
“Macpherson uses a deft touch to write about the unintended racism she participated in as a child and teenager in Yellowknife, NWT. From sweetly touching to intensely honest, this memoir takes a hard look at the author’s complicity in perpetuating stereotypes about Indigenous Peoples in Canada.”
— Rhonda Kronyk, contributor to In This Together and editor of Gather
“Margaret Macpherson's memoir invites us all to reckon with our own stories of white privilege, entitlement, and racism, so we may participate fully in undoing the paternalism, misogyny, and patriarchy that have shaped and benefitted all colonizing peoples. You will be deeply moved as you read Macpherson's disturbingly real, honest, raw, searingly sad, and finally hopeful story.”
— Naomi McIlwraith, author of kiyâm
“This is a brave, unsparing story by a gifted writer with her eyes wide open to Canada’s hypocrisies. Can we find the courage to look at our own hometowns with Margaret Macpherson’s unflinching gaze? She insists we try.”
— Linda Goyette co-author with Kathleen Steinhauser and Nellie Carlson of Disinherited Generations: Our Struggle to Reclaim Treaty Rights for First Nations Women and Their Descendants
“...A thought-provoking addition to the landscape of Canadian writing.”
— Jaaron Collins, Worn Pages & Ink (full review)
“Powerful and poetic, Tracking the Caribou Queen is a vivid, driven memoir sure to inspire readers to face uncomfortable truths and undertake reparations.”
— Jess Woolford, Winnipeg Free Press (full review)
“From page one, I was fully engrossed in this daring and compassionate memoir. A must-read.”
— Kate O’Gorman, Prairie Flower Reads (full review)
“Noteworthy for its compelling narrative and vivid description, Macpherson’s memoir is a moving and thought-provoking read, one that challenges us to evaluate our own presumptions and step forward with true humility.”
— Anne Smith-Nochasak, The Miramichi Reader (full review)
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