Medicine River

Medicine River

Paperback - 2005
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When Will returns to Medicine River, he thinks he is simply attending his mother's funeral. He doesn't count on Harlen Bigbear and his unique brand of community planning. Harlen tries to sell Will on the idea of returning to Medicine River to open shop as the town's only Native photographer. Somehow, that's exactly what happens.

Through Will's gentle and humorous narrative, we come to know Medicine River, a small Albertan town bordering a Blackfoot reserve. And we meet its people: the basketball team; Louise Heavyman and her daughter, South Wing; Martha Oldcrow, the marriage doctor; Joe Bigbear, Harlen's world-travelling, storytelling brother; Bertha Morley, who has a short fling with a Calgary dating service; and David Plume, who went to Wounded Knee. At the centre of it all is Harlen, advising and pestering, annoying and entertaining, gossiping and benevolently interfering in the lives of his friends and neighbours.

Publisher: Toronto :, Penguin Canada,, 2005
Copyright Date: ©1989
ISBN: 9780143054351
Branch Call Number: FIC KIN
Characteristics: 249 pages ; 21 cm


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A patron review from the Adult Summer Game: "Will Horse Capture is a self-described "half blood Indian" of Blackfoot descent. His life as a First Nations individual and his community's approach to life is revealed through alternating descriptions of his past and present circumstances. He is a photographer formerly of Toronto who returns to Medicine River for his mother's funeral and eventually makes it his permanent residence. He maintains his work as a photographer and some of his 'jobs' and clients are described. Multiple character introductions propel the story and offer a great deal of interest and humour. In particular, we meet Harlem Bigbear. He offers his perspective and wisdom about life and people in a simple yet complex way. He has a sincere heart and is a champion for and guardian of his community. We journey with Will and Harlan and the members of the Medicine River Friendship Warriors basketball team and witness their failures and successes. We also vicariously enjoy the chaos, excitement, and quirkiness experienced at community social gatherings. Some characters suffer some harsh realities/challenges, but ovverall the book chronicles the spirit and "unique" family manifested by the community of Medicine River. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can recommend this title without hesitation. Ultimately it celebrates the endurance of family, the joy of friendship, and the beauty of human connection."

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