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The Word On The Street has been renowned for the quality and diversity of its event programming and our next festival promises to offer the best so far. Check out our 2021 schedule! All events will be presented on Zoom. In-person activities for Saturday, September 18th have been cancelled, and the festival will be online only.

Sat, Sept 18: Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory by David A. Robertson

3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

This session will be presented on Zoom with a sign language interpreter. Register free on Eventbrite for tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/169343507991

Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory

In 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 future

The 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.

  • Biography & Memoir
  • Indigenous
  • Nonfiction

David A. Robertson

David A. Robertson is the winner of the Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Award, the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the TWUC Freedom to Read Award. His books include The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga; When We Were Alone (winner of the Governor General’s Award, a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and a McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People); Will I See? (winner of the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award, graphic novel category); and the YA novel Strangers (recipient of the Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction). He is the creator and host of the podcast Kiwew. Through his writings about Canada’s Indigenous peoples, Robertson educates as well as entertains, reflecting Indigenous cultures, histories and communities while illuminating many contemporary issues. David A. Robertson is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. He lives in Winnipeg.