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Out of Muskoka (softcover)

by James K. Bartleman

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Out of Muskoka

A senior Canadian diplomat is viciously assaulted in his hotel room in South Africa. His world collapses in post-traumatic shock and he is haunted by flashback images of the discrimination he and his family endured when they moved to a small community in central Ontario immediately following World War Two. To exorcise these ghosts, he returns to the past to relive his childhood and youth. In the ensuing memoir, he describes the vibrant colorful personalities of a small northern community in which individuals, Indian and white, are larger than life, and in which race relations reflect unenlightened attitudes.

In contrast to millions of other Canadians and Americans who lived in similar circumstances, he was among the lucky ones. His parents moved the family from a tent near the village dump to a long-abandoned shack that they turned into a home. The white villagers gradually accepted them but the scars from early encounters with racist louts—happily the exception in a generally fair-minded community—had left their mark. His "big break" occurred when he was sent to university by a wealthy American benefactor. He met Louis Armstrong, the first of many charismatic giants he was to encounter in his subsequent diplomatic career. He travelled to post-war Europe at a period of great change, and attended the funeral of Winston Churchill in London. Joining the Canadian Foreign Service, he served as ambassador in a variety of progressively senior posts and spent more than four years as Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister and Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet.

Throughout Out Of Muskoka Jim Bartleman contrasts the universal existential conditions he faced as a child (discrimination, poverty, suicide, religious quest) with what he experienced as a diplomat serving in five continents over 35 years. In the process, he discovered that to feel whole, he had to feel accepted by the two worlds of his ancestry: Native and white.

AUTHOR

The Honourable James K. Bartleman, of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, was the 27th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. During his time in office, he pursued three priorities: eliminating the stigma of mental illness, supporting anti-racism initiatives and encouraging Aboriginal young people.

Mr. Bartleman implemented four aboriginal literacy programs including The Club Amick Reading Program for 5,000 native children, and 36 summer reading camps for 2,500 children in Ontario’s north.

He served 35 years in Canada’s Foreign Service as Ambassador to Cuba, Israel, NATO and the European Union. He also served as High Commissioner to South Africa and Australia, and was Foreign and Defence Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister. Mr. Bartleman also holds ten honorary degrees and is the recipient of numerous honours and awards.

James Bartleman was born in Orillia, Ontario and grew up in the Muskoka town of Port Carling.

DETAILS

Publisher: Penumbra Press, 2006
Category: Biography, autobiography, and reminiscences / First Nations in Muskoka / Communities and locales
ISBN: 978-1-894131-98-8 9781894131988
Price: $19.95 CDN/USA paperback
Format: 160 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 in
Features: Black & white photographs. The Joseph Brant Award, Ontario Historical Society.
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