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A woman from Northern Ontario is buried; her earthly papers reveal a mystery. Veteran Canadian journalist Jim Poling took on the most important assignment of his career: Just who was his mother? Why did she take a lifelong secret to her grave?
In his search for clues throughout his childhood years in Northern Ontario, the author goes to Chapleau, the railway town where the people he believed were his ancestors played out their roles in building the railway. It ends in the Prairie village of Innisfree, Alberta, home to Joe LaRose, convicted horse thief and father of a girl destined for trouble.
A search that began in anger at his mother’s secrecy concludes with an understanding of her actions. In the process, he explores the place of families within Canadian society and reveals the shameful ongoing discrimination against Native Peoples and the abusive treatment of illegitimacy. Throughout, glimpses of working life in newsrooms add insider perspectives on the "handling" of our daily news.
A former Indian Affairs reporter, Poling shares insights into the ongoing plight of Canada’s First Nations people. He observes that Canada will never realize its true potential until positive steps are taken to resolve longstanding issues.