Following the River

Traces of Red River Women

Reviewed by Danielle Chartier

Posted September 11, 2018

After discovering that her great-grandmother died in a tragic fire on Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg, Lorri Neilsen Glenn sets out to learn her story. Digging into local and family history, she traces several generations back to York Factory and the Red River Settlement. Along the way, she discovers how difficult it is to find details of the lives of her female ancestors and their contemporaries.

Glenn is a poet, an essayist, a professor emerita at Mount Saint Vincent University, and a former Halifax poet laureate, and Following the River: Traces of Red River Women is written in a mix of prose and poetry that is presented alongside fragments of material found in newspaper reports and museums. Readers follow her journey of discovery as we see these women’s stories slowly come to life.

Glenn’s search takes her through the current-day Red River region and illustrates how much the area has changed since her great-grandmother’s time. Her book offers an amazing glimpse into the research process as well as into the lives of Indigenous women in the Red River region.

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This article originally appeared in the October-November 2018 issue of Canada’s History.

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