River of Tears


96 pages
Contains Maps
ISBN 0-88839-276-1
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Jean Manore

Jean Manore is a policy assistant at the Department of Native Affairs.


This is a fictionalized account of the 1864 Chilcoten War, the
circumstances that caused it, and the resulting execution of five of the
Chilcoten fighters. The Chilcoten people, angered by European intrusions
into their lands, killed several white construction workers who were
building a highway through Chilcoten country. Emery’s story centres on
one Chilcoten family and how its members are affected by the ambitions
of Alfred Waddington, the builder of the road.

Although written at a child’s reading level, this book is not
suitable reading for children because of the way in which the Chilcoten
people are portrayed. Their actions are reduced to uncontrolled
emotions; the “massacre of the white men” is nothing but a crime of
passion. The book is not about the Chilcoten people, but rather about
the European development of British Columbia, as illustrated by the
sentimental tribute to Alfred Waddington at the end of the book.


Emery, Maud., “River of Tears,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/13126.