Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Biography & Autobiography Native Americans


by (author) Jean-Yves Soucy

introduction by Romeo Saganash

translated by Peter McCambridge

Baraka Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Native Americans, Personal Memoirs, 20th Century
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


It's 1963, Jean-Yves Soucy is 18 and looking for a summer job. He dreams of being a fire warden scanning the boreal forest from a fire tower. But to his dismay he is sent to an equipment depot somewhere between Val-d?Or and Chibougamau in Northern Quebec. His disappointment vanishes when he learns that the depot is located near a Cree community and that he will have two Cree guides, including a man named William Saganash, and his work will involve canoeing through the lakes and rivers of the region.

On each encounter with the Crees, on each of the long trips across water or through the bush, Jean-Yves expects to see a new world but realizes he's meeting a different civilization, as different from his own as Chinese civilization. Yet he knows nothing about it. Nor does he understand the nature surrounding them as do his Cree guides?and friends.

Jean-Yves Soucy wrote this story because Romeo Saganash, son of William, insisted: “You have to write that, Jean-Yves. About your relationship with my father and the others, how you saw the village. You got to see the end of an era. ”

He unfortunately passed away before completing it. However, in his poignant Afterword, Romeo Saganash provides a finishing touch to this story of an unlikely meeting of two worlds.

About the authors

Jean-Yves Soucy's profile page

Romeo Saganash's profile page

Originally from Ireland, Peter McCambridge holds a BA in modern languages from Cambridge University, England, and has lived in Quebec City since 2003. He runs Québec Reads and QC Fiction. His translations have been World Literature Today Notable Translations, longlisted for Canada Reads, and finalists for the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Translation.

Peter McCambridge's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“an appeal to generosity and openness” This beautifully written?and witty'story becomes particularly significant through the encounter of two cultures, the overcoming of ignorance or distrust that separates them, and the prejudice that such ignorance can produce. ” Jean-Paul Beaumier, Nuit Blanche

“Waswanipi is summer gift to be savoured, slowly; a timeless read that is like a walk in the forest when nothing else counts. ” Yvon Paré, Littérature du Québec

“A book that feels like a movie. — Romeo Saganash has written a moving afterword, thus completing the story whose author passed away before completing it. ” Mathieu Lavigne, Radio Ville-Marie

“Waswanipi is brimming with curiosity, tenderness and humanity — an ode to friendship and reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters. ” Christian Desmeules, Le Devoir

Other titles by Peter McCambridge