Scratching River weaves multiple stories and voices across time to explore the strengths and challenges of the ways in which Métis have created, and continue to create, home through a storied and mobile social geography that is always on the move.
The book foregrounds the story of a search for a home for Michelle Porter’s older brother, who holds dual diagnoses of schizophrenia and autism, and the abuse he endured at the rural Alberta group home that was supposed to care for him. Interspersed throughout are news clippings about the investigation into “The Ranch,” the home in question. Métis history is woven between the contemporary stories of the author, her brother, and her mother. As the pieces come together, the book uses the river as a metaphor to suggest that rather than a weakness, the ability to move and move again and to move on has enabled survival, healing, and ongoing reconciliation.