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Life in the City of Dirty Water: A Memoir of Healing

de Clayton Thomas-Muller

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
974284,762 (3.38)11
NATIONAL BESTSELLER   An electrifying memoir that braids together the urgent issues of Indigenous rights and environmental policy, from a nationally and internationally recognized activist and survivor. There have been many Clayton Thomas-Mullers: The child who played with toy planes as an escape from domestic and sexual abuse, enduring the intergenerational trauma of Canada's residential school system; the angry youngster who defended himself with fists and sharp wit against racism and violence, at school and on the streets of Winnipeg and small-town British Columbia; the tough teenager who, at 17, managed a drug house run by members of his family, and slipped in and out of juvie, operating in a world of violence and pain. But behind them all, there was another Clayton: the one who remained immersed in Cree spirituality, and who embraced the rituals and ways of thinking vital to his heritage; the one who reconnected with the land during summer visits to his great-grandparents' trapline in his home territory of Pukatawagan in northern Manitoba. And it's this version of Clayton that ultimately triumphed, finding healing by directly facing the trauma that he shares with Indigenous peoples around the world. Now a leading organizer and activist on the frontlines of environmental resistance, Clayton brings his warrior spirit to the fight against the ongoing assault on Indigenous peoples' lands by Big Oil. Tying together personal stories of survival that bring the realities of the First Nations of this land into sharp focus, and lessons learned from a career as a frontline activist committed to addressing environmental injustice at a global scale, Thomas-Muller offers a narrative and vision of healing and responsibility.… (més)
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» Mira també 11 mencions

Es mostren totes 4
The street stuff is fascinating, the instructional stuff a bit more of a plod, but this guy has been through the wringer and come out alive. Excellent writing. Tough experiences, and an amazing story of commitment to making change. ( )
  Muzzorola | Oct 30, 2022 |
I amazed that I had never heard of Clayton Thomas-Muller until this book was picked for the 2022 Canada Reads contest. After all, the city of dirty water in the title is Winnipeg which I have called my home since 1971. And as I listened to this book Clayton mentions a number of places where I spent time when I was younger (like The Roasting House on Osborne where he first saw his wife). Even more importantly his work with organizations fighting climate change is a cause near to my heart. Nevertheless, his name and this book were unknown to me. So, as always, I am thanful for Canada Reads drawing attention to books I have missed.

The subtitle for this book, A Memoir of Healing, really sums up the content. We follow Clayton from his youth growing up in Pukatawagan, Brandon, and Terrace BC as his mother moved from one man to another and got an education as a psychitaric nurse. Clayton returned to Manitoba after a stint in juvenile detention but that period of incarceration didn't end his involvement with drugs and criminal enterprises. He was a member of the Manitoba Warriors street gang running a drug house with his brother and uncle. It was falling in love that finally gave him the impetus to get clean and get involved in helping his aboriginal community. Through the mentorship of a number of individuals he became involved with fighting for social justice, including environmental justice. Eventually he focused on the Alberta Tar Sands and has devoted significant time and energy to fighting it. Although he admits that this struggle consists of one step forward and two steps back he feels that eventually this project and all the other toxic energy sites will be shut down. And he credits the indigenous peoples around the world for protecting the earth. His involvement with native spirituality like sweat lodges, drumming, and sun dance ceremonies were crucial to his own healing process. It is clear that Thomas-Muller has overcome many challenges in his life and this memoir is uplifiting.

Clayton narrates this book which I appreciated, especially his ability to laugh at himself. On the other hand his attempts to use different intonations for other people are not particularly successful. I think it would have been better if he had just used his regular voice for those passages. ( )
  gypsysmom | Apr 4, 2022 |
Clayton Thomas-Muller has done some amazing things with his life. He is a committed environmentalist. He dedicates much of this time to educate young aboriginals about their heritage and provide a viable alternative to gangs and other dysfunctional life choices. He has come from a challenging background, being raised by a single mother and facing racism, both personally, and as a broader reality of life as an aboriginal person in Canada. His story is told with honesty, and is, at the end, one of hope for the future.

That said, his writing style left something to be desired. When he talked about incidents that happened in his life as a young boy, or in his relationship with his wife, the writing was blunt and almost child-like in "listing" what happened. I'm sure a lot of subtleties and details were missed. However, when he wrote of his beliefs and the environment and first peoples, his voice was much more powerful. ( )
  LynnB | Mar 23, 2022 |
i might not have noticed this as much if i wasn't listening to it, i'm not sure, but the nonlinear way it was written made parts of it hard to track or put in their rightful place. i'd have liked this a bit better if it was done chronologically, jumping all over the place didn't work well for me.

i wish he spoke differently at times about his relationship with his wife. he speaks of her with such love but then explains how when he realized he needed to move back to his people, he just told her he was going and that she could come with him if she wanted. (maybe this isn't really how it happened, but it's what he said. he didn't ask her to come, he didn't explain why he had to go and have a discussion with her about her career track and the great school the kids would have to leave. he just was going to do this, with or without her and their children.) he also says that her family is so important to her, and that he and his wife and his two kids are the only people with their last name, which represents his native heritage and the german stepfather he had. nothing about her family or her history or her ties. all of this made him sound like such an asshole.

that's a lot of complaint about something pretty minor in the end. the book is about so much more than that, and he really does do some amazing things. his activism work and the life he made for himself after the childhood - and the path he started on - really is impressive. i enjoyed learning a little about the culture and how it helped to bring him back into himself and back to his heritage. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Sep 25, 2021 |
Es mostren totes 4
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To Charlton Edward Budd, You taught me how to hustle. You taught me how to survive. See you in the good hunting grounds.
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Preface by Gail Pelletier, the author's mother: In January 1977, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life, which was to move to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the pursuit of a better life for me and my unborn child.
The first time my father saw an airplane, he thought it must be an angel.
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER   An electrifying memoir that braids together the urgent issues of Indigenous rights and environmental policy, from a nationally and internationally recognized activist and survivor. There have been many Clayton Thomas-Mullers: The child who played with toy planes as an escape from domestic and sexual abuse, enduring the intergenerational trauma of Canada's residential school system; the angry youngster who defended himself with fists and sharp wit against racism and violence, at school and on the streets of Winnipeg and small-town British Columbia; the tough teenager who, at 17, managed a drug house run by members of his family, and slipped in and out of juvie, operating in a world of violence and pain. But behind them all, there was another Clayton: the one who remained immersed in Cree spirituality, and who embraced the rituals and ways of thinking vital to his heritage; the one who reconnected with the land during summer visits to his great-grandparents' trapline in his home territory of Pukatawagan in northern Manitoba. And it's this version of Clayton that ultimately triumphed, finding healing by directly facing the trauma that he shares with Indigenous peoples around the world. Now a leading organizer and activist on the frontlines of environmental resistance, Clayton brings his warrior spirit to the fight against the ongoing assault on Indigenous peoples' lands by Big Oil. Tying together personal stories of survival that bring the realities of the First Nations of this land into sharp focus, and lessons learned from a career as a frontline activist committed to addressing environmental injustice at a global scale, Thomas-Muller offers a narrative and vision of healing and responsibility.

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