Native Canadian Retells Childhood Memories

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Morris Bradburn’s new book remembers joys, hardships of growing up during the fur trade era

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"Growing Up North" tells about the people who depended on the fur trade for food and other basic needs.

Morris Bradburn’s father and pregnant mother travelled more than 115 miles, or 186 kilometers, in a canoe so their son could be born in a hospital. Such a feat is unheard of today. But for the Bradburns, who lived in a small, isolated community in the Canadian province of Manitoba, where the aboriginal language of Cree was the only one spoken and the fur trade was in full swing, this was just the way things were. Bradburn tells astonishing childhood memories of growing up during the fur trade era in his new memoir, "Growing Up North."

"My father was a fur trader during the latter years of the trade," Bradburn says. "Growing Up North" tells about the people who depended on the fur trade for food and other basic needs." Cheepos, a crippled trapper and dog musher, was one of the people whose livelihood was dependent on the fur trade. As Bradburn explains, many of the people in Oxford House had Cree nicknames and never used their surnames, so he never knew many of their real names. Cheepos was one of these people. Bradburn also recounts mixed emotions that went along with being sent 1,000 miles away from home to a boarding school at the age of 10—a part of Bradburn’s life that he says taught him faith, hope and, most of all, perseverance. "I remember that last morning at home very well," writes Bradburn. "My mom was packing my things. I couldn’t help her, as I couldn’t even think straight from all the anticipation. In my excitement, I never realized how much pain she would be going through after I was gone."

"Growing Up North" is a portal that takes readers back to another time and place, where Cree was the only spoken language and the fur trade was still alive and well. For more information, visit

Growing Up North
By Morris Bradburn
ISBN: 9781462018949
Approx. 180 pages
Retail price: $ 16.95
E-book price: $ 9.99
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Morris Bradburn was born at Norway House, Manitoba, during the latter part of the Canadian fur trade era. He worked in the Great Northland gold mines as a tradesman and as a commercial pilot flying bush planes. Bradburn is now retired and lives in Lockport, Manitoba with his wife Becky.

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