When Cultures Collide in North Ontario
by Brian C Mitchell
Set in Northern Ontario in the fictional town of Matamiskin, troubled teen Ben Thomson experiences the pain of growing up in an isolated rural village where ignorance, racism and violence threaten the most vulnerable—indigenous and white.
Ben's personal story takes place amidst an environmental war between the mostly Ojibwa on one side, and the predominantly white loggings interests on the other. The traditional lands of the Ojibwa under threat, their leaders plead their case for land protection in Ontario's highest courts. At stake is 7,000 years of indigenous occupation and history.
Mitchell tells the story in a crisp, spare style reminiscent of Hemingway. It's a style, says Chris Rose, former special projects editor at the Vancouver Sun, well-suited to a story that "smashes through the glowing tourism mantra and forces us, Canadians and visitors alike, to confront a different nation, one where pain, and the expectation of more, dominates an unrelenting land, one short step away from disaster."
Brian C. Mitchell is a former journalist and public relations professional and was communications manager of the BC Treaty Commission for 15 years until 2012. He remains active hiking, snowshoeing and canoeing in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island where he lives with his wife Janet.