A Doctor’s Practice

Four decades in northern medicine

The most compelling memoirs are those that get beyond an individual’s life to tell larger stories, training beams of light on a time, place, or society that readers otherwise can’t see. Such is the case with Gretchen Roedde’s Deep Water Dream, a look at Canada’s evolving relationship with Indigenous peoples through one physician’s eyes. Roedde writes of her career in remote northern Ontario, drawing on memories from the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. These decades were critical in the transition between a colonial past and a future that strives for reconciliation and new relationships. In the early 1970s, for example, Indigenous leaders rejected the infamous 1969 White Paper, put forward by prime minister Pierre Trudeau and minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Jean Chrétien, which would have eliminated “Indian status” and voided treaties. Things haven’t been the same since. Roedde’s memories illustrate...