John, I wanted to let you know that I finished reading your book.You really tackled some tough subjects throughout this book. As promised on the back cover, I experienced a range of emotions. I wondered how I could live in Canada, the capital no less, and be totally ignorant of the history of Nunavut and the Inuit people. I was shocked by the High Arctic relocation – I had never heard of that before. I have since gone on-line to read more about it – a very sad tale. I think it is quite an accomplishment for you, as a writer, to pique my interest enough for me to want to learn more about your topic and also to impact my opinion on the importance of the northern region to Canada. I truly enjoyed the book, especially the short stories, and your summary at the end. Congratulations on a great read!        Paula

I spent considerable time in the North while serving in the navy. I was interested in how perceptive your book was about the people and the issues.          Peter

John Dunphy’s second book, TRUer NORTH gives a firsthand account of life in the Canadian far north. A retired teacher, John was invited to visit Nunavut to teach business practices to new government workers there. Travelling on several occasions to some of the smallest outposts, he visited with both the Inuit and with other southerners who were in the north on business. The book is divided into small vignettes of Dunphy’s time there, of the things he saw and the stories he heard. The places he visited, places like Rankin Inlet and Resolute Bay are known to most Canadians—by name only. They come alive in the pages of this book. Anyone who is interested in the north would profit by reading it. Of particular interest and poignancy is the section about relocation– a shameful practice of the Canadian government. How the settlers ever survived their first winter is hard to imagine.

The book is well illustrated with some of Dunphy’s own photographs and has maps of the various territories that make it easy to follow his travels. Throughout, Dunphy offers his own reflections on what he is learning and how he thinks life could be improved for Canada’s indigenous peoples. TRUer NORTH is a very interesting and provocative read.     Joan


Read TRUer North with great interest and you inspired an interest in putting a visit to Canada’s North on my bucket list. What an amazing experience you had! I had no idea you visited there so frequently over the span of several years. I look forward to speaking with you about your book at our next rendezvous.             Ross

I have finished TRUer NORTH,and wish to congratulate you on a fine effort.  I thought the maps and charts at the beginning of each section were very well done and pretty necessary for readers.  I worked in the North and was familiar with many of the communities you mention; however, many names have shifted from British to Inuit over the years so the maps were most helpful.  Many of the stories were outstanding, and the Nunavut Moments were enjoyable–so many good ones.  Your writing about transition from nomadic lifestyle to modern lifestyle is provocative .  You keep the reader thinking about the issues.  Probably your book should be required reading for most employees of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

The real meat of your book is in the second half where there are more detailed and excellent stories such as “Angel Baby” and “Johnny from Inukjuaq.”  Having been in Resolute myself, I found the redirected life of Allan Cameron most interesting.  Bob

So glad you wrote this book, John.  Both of us really enjoyed reading it.  Sid & Marg

Cheers on your new book!  I read TRUer NORTH with great respect for your buoyant humanistic spirit.  Your insights into contemporary Inuit culture are sensible and well founded.  Tony

I am glad that you took the time to write this book and then put forth the effort to publish.  An interesting read.     Sandra

In the end, I think TRUer NORTH is an interesting book about building a bridge: Dunphy is building a bridge from the South side; in time, Inuit will complete the bridge from the North side.  At the outset, it took me time to adjust to the diary and Nunavut Moment form, but I soon got used to the form.  I did think that organizing Nunavut Moments by place and year encouraged the reader to keep track.  The maps proved to be helpful and important.  I found the accounts of Kiilinik High School, the observations on alcohol abuse and treatment, the review of church life in the North, and the examination of the Northern economy  all to be interesting.  The stories of Jean Voysey and Allan Cameron were particularly memorable.  The language of “On the Land” is so natural.  “Angel Baby” fits well into the cultural buildup that has come before it in the book.  “Johnny from Inukjuaq” maintains a certain suspense and is powerfully moving.  The kitchen chat with Looty Pijamini deepens the reader’s interest in stone carvings by making the reader desire  to see or possess one of Looty’s works. The article on the July festival in Iqaluit and the importance of maintaining Inuktitut language leads nicely to your final section.  I loved the essay on leadership for the future of the Canadian North.  Finally, concrete cases added strength to your summaries of the problems of the Northland.  A good read for anyone wanting an update on Canada’s North today.    Leonard



Thank you for writing Indian River.It’s a true story of a a family, friendly as a big hug, woven like a quilt.  The writer has certainly given the voices from his memory ” one more round in the kitchen.”  I hear his voice too, all through.  Bella is immensely alive at every stage of her life; and so is Daniel, done in defter touches but memorably many men in one.  A tour de force, very enjoyable.  Tony

The book arrived about 4 p.m..  After an announcement that I had it in hand, I retired to devour it until it was time for supper.  That was the last I had my hands on it before the lights went out at 11:30 p.m.  My husband heehawed and laughed all evening.  He jumped out of his chair when he read about Henshit.  Maybe I will get to read it this afternoon!!!!  Anne

I thoroughly enjoyed  Indian River and couldn’t put it down till I finished it. Pat

I read your book the day it arrived and reread it again from cover to cover the second day.  Lorena

I enjoyed reading Indian River.You did a very good job of presenting a large number of characters and keeping them differentiated, something many authors can’t do.  You succeeded by using many authentic details, historic and imagined, and by the skilful use of Irish and Scottish dialects.  You also gave a sense of the passing of time and the changes in people and society, generation by generation.  I especially enjoyed the section on the difference between growing up on an island and on a mainland.  I’ll definitely buy a copy of your next book.  Gary

How often we have the opportunity to read stories of Jewish family life, yet how seldom do we find the chance to read stories of Catholic family life, let alone Canadian Catholic family life.  Indian River is one.  A mixture of narrative stories, geneology, and reflections, its locations shift from Scotland and Ireland to Prince Edward Island and Saint John, New Brunswick.  I especially liked the first story of Bella and the two dramatized histories of emigration.  This book would be of interest to anyone who wants to know how their forebears might have gotten over to Canada and managed to survive.  Rev. Leonard St. John

Best of luck with the promotion of your book. It deserves to be widely read!

“New book focuses on history of Indian River”  Island briefs, Community, The Guardian, Charlottetown, PEI   Thursday, August 6, 2009  (News Release)

  • Indian River is the title of a new book detailing the history of the Maclellans from Scotland and the Dunphys from Ireland whose common destination, Indian River, brought the families together.
  • The 164-page book is written by John Dunphy, a Saint John, NB native who now lives in Nepean, Ontario.
  • “I intended to write a children’s story about my grandfather, the lighthouse keeper, but when I realized I didn’t have enough information about the families, I started the research and wrote a family history,” he says.
  • The book starts with the story of a light house, includes two stories of the Maclellans and Dunphys and ends with stories about the area.
  • Copies are available at The Book Mark, UPEI Bookstore, and The Dunes. For information contact info@johndunphy.ca.