Unreserved

Indigenous Reads book club panel on Keeper 'n Me

The Indigenous Reads book club discusses the late Richard Wagamese's Keeper 'n Me on this week’s Unreserved.
The Indigenous Reads book club takes a closer look at the late Richard Wagamese's Keeper 'n Me.

The Indigenous Reads book club discusses the late Richard Wagamese's first novel Keeper 'n Me​.

Keeper 'n Me is the story of Garnet Raven. As a small child he was taken from his home on an Ojibway reserve and placed in a series of foster homes during the Sixties Scoop.

Garnet eventually finds his way back home to the Whitedog Reserve in northwestern Ontario where he hails from, but it isn't an easy journey.

The Sixties Scoop was government-sanctioned program called AIM - Adopt Indian Metis children.  It saw the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families.

Discussing the book on the Indigenous Reads book club is: Heather White, who plays Kaitlyn on the TV series Mohawk Girls; Trevor Greyeyes, owner and publisher of First Nations Voice - an Indigenous newspaper; and Krista Michie who is non-Indigenous and the co-ordinator of events and facility rentals at Red River College in Winnipeg.

Trevor Greyeyes and cultural appropriation:

For Greyeyes, the book relates to recent conversations about cultural appropriation.
Trevor Greyeyes is the owner and editor of First Nations Voice, an Indigenous newspaper based in Winnipeg. (CBC)

"He starts knowing absolutely nothing about his culture, so in a way for a reader who doesn't know much about the Anishinabe culture and that sort of thing it's like almost like going on a ride for him," he says.

He also appreciates the humour in the novel. He said his favourite part is when Garnet goes to his reserve.

"I think for me it was the original image where he goes back home and decides that he's going to show these Indians you know how he rolls in the Big Smoke," he says.

Heather White on what stuck with her:

For White, it's the rich mix of Indigenous cultures the book brings out.

"It's like a beautiful blend of all of it," she says adding the book made her homesick for the Rocky Mountains.
Heather White plays Kaitlyn on the TV series Mohawk Girls. (Red Works Photography)

Krista Michie on how she related:

Krista Michie is the co-ordinator of events and facility rentals at Red River College in Winnipeg. (Facebook)
Even though Michie is non-Indigenous, she said she still felt a strong connection to the book.

Like White, it reminded her of the feeling of wanting to be at home. It also brought back memories of favourite past times visiting rural Manitoba.

"We all just want to belong," she says.


Click the listen button above to hear the panel's full discussion of Keeper 'n Me.

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