Author: Wab Kinew
On Sale Date: September 29, 2015
I am embarrassed to say that before last year, I had no idea who Wab Kinew was (Sorry!). Before starting my blog, reading Canadian literature was a rare occurrence. Enter, Canada Reads 2015. From the moment I learned about the competition, I immersed myself in everything I could including reading all of the short listed books, participating in the Google Hangout, live tweeting the first four days and attending the final debate in person at the CBC. I also began researching (this is the same as Googling right?) the authors, panellists and of course the host of the show, Wab Kinew. I picked up The Reason You Walk a couple weeks after it was released and I only wish I had read it
sooner. I don't even think I can write a review that can properly express how I feel about this book. But, I will try...
The Reason You Walk is Wab Kinew's ode to his father, Tobasonakwut. Tobasonakwut was a survivor of the Residential School program in Northern Ontario and Manitoba whose mission was to "kill the Indian in the child". Tobasonakwut grew up in hardship, away from his parents and forced to forget his culture and beliefs. He grew up in a country that did not recognize him as a citizen, a visible minority with few rights and freedoms. But, despite all of this negativity, he managed to turn it all around and rise above it. Tobasonakwut became an inspiration to his children, his community, those striving to preserve Anishinaabe culture and everyone who is pushing for Indigenous equality across Canada.
"More than any inheritance, more than any sacred item, more than any title, the legacy he left behind is this: as on that day in the sundance circle when he lifted me from the depths, he taught us that during our time on earth we ought to love one another, and we out to work hard to make them whole again.
This is at the centre of sacred ceremonies practised by Indigenous people. This is what so many of us see, no matter where we begin life.
This is the reason you walk."
"If a son helps his father when he is sick, then his son will help him when he is old."
To say I enjoyed this book is an understatement. The amount of raw emotions it elicited and the soul searching that it prompted will stay with me for a lifetime. Thank you Wab Kinew for masterfully telling your story and helping make the world a better place for our children.
"We have a choice in life-we can choose how we are going to behave. We can determine whether we reflect the good around us or lose ourselves in the darkness."