Upcoming Saskatoon literary festival guest Wab Kinew talks about his memoir
The Reason You Walk tells story of reconciliation with father
Well-known broadcaster, musician and author Wab Kinew spoke with Saskatoon Morning's Leisha Grebinski today about his upcoming memoir The Reason You Walk.
The memoir spans Kinew's relationship with his father Tobasonakwut, a well-respected traditional chief and respected elder leader.
"When I was a kid, I didn't have the greatest relationship with my father," said Kinew. "He was a very angry man and I saw him as the scary, angry dude."
Kinew's father had many unresolved issues from his time at residential school. That didn't change until he embraced traditional spirituality.
"I think a lot of it came from the sun dance," said Kinew. "He lost two sons — my older brothers — in the early 80s. And it was following that, probably the darkest days of his life, that he really devoted himself to the sun dance and traditional spirituality. And that put him back together in an important way."
Kinew said his father also spent time reconciling with the Roman Catholic church. At one point, he adopted the area archbishop as a brother in a traditional ceremony.
"To watch somebody who had every right to be angry, instead put an end to that, and instead embrace the people who had caused him so much of his sorrow, with love and compassion and grace, to me, was one of the great examples of humanity," said Kinew
Kinew said the book is a tribute to his father and his work. He says his father taught him many important life lessons.
"The thing that I learned from him is you never benefit from ceding the high ground, morally speaking," said Kinew. "You should always carry yourself as a morally upstanding person. Even if you have a right to be angry."
Kinew will be presenting at Saskatoon's Word on the Street literary festival on Sunday.
The Reason You Walk will officially launch Sept. 29.
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