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A Metis Man's Dream cover

  • eBook Edition
    • 978-1-03-914550-4
    • epub, pdf files
  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-03-914548-1
    • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 318 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-03-914549-8
    • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 318 pages
  • Keywords
    • Métis,
    • Northwest Canada,
    • Traplines,
    • Northern crane,
    • Tugboats,
    • Oral history,
    • Northern business

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A Metis Man's Dream
From Traplines to Tugboats in Canada's North
by Neil Gower

Where there’s a Gill, there’s a way. Gordon Gill is a gentle, hard-working Métis man whose journey began on his Iroquois-Cree grandfather’s trapline and evolved into a successful business career. His story is one of change and the passing of not just one, but several eras in the development of Canada’s North and the evolution of the Indigenous struggle. A Métis Man's Dream: From Traplines to Tugboats in Canada's North details the history he met, and made, along the way. Vision, chance, and generosity played integral roles in Gill’s evolution from cook’s helper on the tugboat MV Malta to founding two groundbreaking companies, Northern Arc Shipbuilders and Northern Crane Services. Gill emerged and flourished despite challenging personal injuries, poverty, reading difficulties, and residential schooling. He weathered the ups and downs of northern conditions, the crush of Canada’s National Energy Policy, and changes in culture, economics, and opportunity with a resiliency and way of looking at things that is both visionary and resolutely Métis. Gill is a man of many eras, having experienced many historic firsts and lasts, including experiencing the final days of the Indian Day School of Hay River, and directing the design and fabrication of the first short-throw tugboat in the NWT, the MT Gordon Gill. Neil Gower brings together all of this and more in his thoughtful, sensitive compilation of Gill’s remembrances of the changes he has seen in his lifetime.

"Gower presents a biography of successful Métis business owner Gordon Gill, whose hardscrabble life encapsulates the rural Canadian experience. Over the course of this book, Gower proves himself to be an excellent storyteller who provides geographic, historical, and cultural context regarding the Métis community while telling the engaging story of Gill’s life. At the heart of the book are Gill’s own words, which bespeak a rugged, down-to-earth worldview." ​─Kirkus Reviews "This is a compelling and powerful book focussed on key issues at the heart of Canadian identity. Gordon Gill's life is an inspiring example of perseverance, hard work and the importance of strong family and community ties. Gower's book is required reading for anyone interested in the complexity and rich history of Métis communities in Western Canada, residential schools, the Berger inquiry, northern development and the impact of oil and gas exploration in the Arctic." ─Hume Martin "(★★★★★) An Insightfully Detailed History of the Canadian North. Extremely well written and punctuated with some fabulous photographs throughout, this is an insightful and historical look at a hard-working entrepreneur who helped shape Canada's North. A terrific read!" ─Patrick J. McKenna​, Amazon Reviewer​

NEIL GOWER, KC, loves the North, the area around Great Slave Lake, and old tugboats. He holds a BA in history and an LL.B from the University of Alberta. Gower has worked extensively in the North, beginning with four summers working for Northern Transportation Co. Ltd., and then practising law (primarily as a legal aid defense lawyer) in Hay River (1975–1977) and for business clients throughout the NWT thereafter. A strong supporter of northern business and Indigenous learning, Gower is a fifth-generation western Canadian whose greatgreat-grandfather came to Pile o’Bones Creek (now Regina, SK), in 1882. Gower’s family has been involved in and focused on the history of the great northwest ever since. Gower’s love of northern history and admiration for Gordon Gill’s initiative and dedication fueled his desire to tell this unique story. Gill’s life of struggle and success, opportunities seized and lost, and continuous adaptation mirror the tremendous changes in Canada’s North over the last half of the Twentieth Century. Gower reveals the remarkable “life and times” of a pioneering Métis entrepreneur against the backdrop of significant historical transitions in Northern development, lifestyles, marine transportation, mining, and petroleum exploration. Now retired, Gower is a writer living in Edmonton, AB. He was the lawyer for and a long-time friend of Gordon Gill, Métis shipbuilder.


Neil Gower

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