Distant Relations by Victoria Freeman
How My Ancestors Colonized North America

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In this fair-minded and highly readable book, Victoria Freeman traces her European ancestors’ involvement in settling lands occupied by indigenous peoples in what would become New England and Ontario. It is a story of land fraud, broken treaties, displacement, massacre, and warfare, yet Freeman portrays her forebears with compassion and understanding. The result is a meticulously researched history, filled with photos and maps and a passionate discussion of how whites and American Indians have worked with, fought, courted, befriended — and, too often, killed — one another over four centuries. Among other memorable characters, readers meet Thomas Stanton, a fur trader who participated in a genocidal war against the Pequots and later became one of the most trusted intermediaries between the colonists and the Native Americans. "[Freeman] puts a uniquely personal spin on 400 years of ethnic cleansing by tracing her own family’s role as perpetrators." — Toronto Star

About Victoria Freeman

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Victoria Freeman was born in Ottawa and attended the University of Toronto. Her working life has included supervising a model-rocket launch site, practising sheep midwifery, teaching English in Swaziland, Africa, co-coordinating a major women's literary conference, raising funds for the world's first circumpolar English/Inuktitut literary magazine, and writing, editing, and mothering. She lives in Toronto.
Published January 1, 2000 by McClelland & Stewart. 535 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction

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After a massacre of some Pequots (in which gory business her ancestor Thomas Stanton played a role), she muses, “I wish I knew if he was elated or horrified.” In the earlier segments she is reduced to making such comments often, since the documentary record for obvious reasons is slight.

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Publishers Weekly

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In her first book, Canadian writer Freeman makes history personal in a study that is part genealogical research, part history and part memoir.

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