When Garnet Raven was three years old, he was taken from his home on an Ojibway Indian reserve and placed in a series of foster homes. Having reached his mid-teens, he escapes at the first available opportunity, only to find himself cast adrift on the streets of the big city.
Having skirted the urban underbelly once too often by age 20, he finds himself thrown in jail. While there, he gets a surprise letter from his long-forgotten Indigenous family.
The sudden communication from his past spurs him to return to the reserve following his release from jail. Deciding to stay awhile, his life is changed completely as he comes to discover his sense of place, and of self. While on the reserve, Garnet is initiated into the ways of the Ojibway — both ancient and modern — by Keeper, a friend of his grandfather, and last fount of history about his people's ways. (From Anchor Canada)
You gotta drive for miles on this bumpy as hell gravel road to reach White Dog. You turn off the Trans-Canada Highway a few kilometres outside Kenora and head north. Heading towards the little railroad town of Minaki, you follow this curving little paved highway as far as teh White Dog turnoff, and that's about where you leave things like cottages, road signs, picnic tables and civilization behind. From there it's an agonizing trip on this washboard road that's hard as dusted steel in summer, soupy as a poor stew in autumn and slippery as the Department of Indian Affairs at funding time in winter. Calling it a road's a stretch even by White Dog standards, but it's the only way in here unless you care to boat it up the Winnipeg River about a hundred k. The only thing that makes the trip bearable is the country. And what country. The trees come right out to the very shoulders of the road in places and are so tall and green it'll make you blink and just when you're getting used to that a big silver lake'll flash into view like a big mercury platter in the sunlight. My favorite thing is how on summer days the sun'll throw big stretches of shadows from those trees across the road and when you drive through 'em, all shadows ad light, it's kinda like seein' the world through a strobe light.
From Keeper'n Me by Richard Wagamese ©2006. Published by Anchor Canada.