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Labelled with ICRA

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book cover

November 2012
9 X 9 inches, 88 pages

ISBN 9781897323212

Goodbyes Along The way

The People and Stories of Mattagami First Nation

First Nations History

Nathanael Reed

First Nations

Mattagami First Nation sits nestled high on the shores of Lake Mattagami in the middle of the northern Ontario wilderness. The Mattagami of the 21st century is a modern, thriving community, connected by a highway to the cities of Timmins and Sudbury. In 1960, however, the winding gravel road connecting the village to the outside world was often closed by the elements, and even when it wasn't, it often proved to be a harrowing adventure in travel.

Our family moved to Mattagami during the summer of 1960 when my father accepted a teaching position there. So for the next four years our family lived in an apartment at the back of the one-room school, which was attended by about two dozen students from grades one to six.

The time spent in Mattagami was among the most interesting and eventful of our lives. Among the many adults my parents counted as friends were several of the community's old timers — men and women who gradually opened their hearts to my dad and mom and willingly shared much of the village's stories and history: the Iroquois Wars, Wendigo, the giant snake, shaking tent ceremony.... These were the stories which my father faithfully recorded in a number of old school scribblers, and it is many of these same stories that are related within the pages of this book, retold through the eyes of a twelve-year old boy.

Although the years were remarkable and memorable, memories of our sojourn there are also bittersweet, for many of the young people who were my comrades and friends and who shared our adventures, lived lives that were much too short and whose end was much too tragic. It is to these friends that these stories and reminiscences are dedicated.


Nathanael Reed


Born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Nathanael Reed grew up in the little northern town of Kenogami. When he was ten years old his family moved to Mattagami First Nations, a remote village in northeastern Ontario, where his father, Jim, taught in the one-room schoolhouse. The family lived in Mattagami for the next four years.

After leaving Mattagami the Reeds settled near Kirkland Lake where Jim continued his teaching career for the local Board of Education. Nathanael attended secondary school in Kirkland Lake and later graduated from Trent University and the University of Toronto, spending 29 years as an elementary school teacher and principal. He is currently on the faculty at the School of Education at Trent University. Nat and his wife, Joyce, have four grown children and seven grandchildren. They make their home in Peterborough, Ontario.

Nathanael has had a number of curriculum units published along with two novels, Thunderbird Gold (JourneyForth Books) and Visions of Eternity (with son, Joel Reed: Gospel Folio Press).

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