Skip to content

Autobiography paints historic picture of Northern Ontario

Gordon Miller's new book focuses on the tragedy that shaped his younger years in Gogama
Gordon Miller's new book Lost Boy: From a Line of Heroes chronicles his life after the loss of his mother and sister in a plane crash when he was 12 years old.

TIMMINS — Gordon Miller’s new book, Lost Boy: From a Line of Heroes started as a way to tell his family his story.

The book grew out of Miller’s desire to answer his family’s questions and tell them about his childhood, his parents and his grandparents, however, the loss of his mother and his sister in a plane crash on Lake Biscotasing in 1943, made the telling of it all impossible.

Miller was 12 years old at the time.

“They’d ask me ‘what did you do when you were small?’ and I couldn’t tell them, I’d just cry,” he said about the questions his children and grandchildren had. “So, as I got older, I still couldn’t tell it, but I could write it.”

The book chronicles Miller’s journey from Gogama in his youth as he dealt with the loss first of his mother and sister, and then later of his father, when he passed away in 1950.

It tells of his move to Sudbury after his mother and sister’s death, his struggles and the trouble he got in, the strained relationship he had with his father before his death, and how growing up in Northern Ontario at the time shaped his journey. 

Miller’s first book, Kokum’s Gift, explored Cree and Ojibway spirituality through art and poetry, but he’s always exploring new forms and new techniques in painting.

“I’ve been doing a lot of abstract work lately,” he said.

Miller is a member of Mattagami First Nation and says he’s looking forward to visiting this year.

“If you are at the museum, you might just see me there,” he says about the Gogama Heritage Museum. 

His work painting and writing, and his connection to his history and culture have helped him through some of the trauma he experienced as a child.

“I went to therapy a while ago and that helped me work through it and I’m able to talk about my mother and my sister,” he says. “I’m a new man now.”

While he was unable to share a lot of these stories with his wife, who died before he started working on the book, he says that his children and grandchildren were proud of him for taking the plunge.

“There’s a lot in there that they didn’t know, and that they’d asked about for a long time,” he says. “I think they’re really proud of me.”

The book incorporates many parts of the history of the area around Gogama with ties to the Hudson Bay Company, voyageurs, trapping and Indigenous culture.

But Miller’s ambition as an author hasn’t slowed with the book's release.

He says he’s currently in the editing stage with another novel, though he’s not sure yet if he’ll submit it to be published.

“I know a lot of publishers want at least two or three books, so they want younger people,” he says. “This might be my last one.”

Lost Boy: From a Line of Heroes is available online at, which focuses on Indigenous books.


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Amanda Rabski-McColl, LJI Reporter

About the Author: Amanda Rabski-McColl, LJI Reporter

Amanda Rabski-McColl is a Diversity Reporter under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
Read more