The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

thereasonyouwalk-220(Viking, 2015)

A non-fiction pick by Jean-Louis

If you don’t already know who Wab Kinew is, you should, and if you think you already know who he is, think again and read his book, The Reason You Walk. In the book you will walk along with Wab as he learns more about himself, his spirituality and the difficult relationship he has with his father, Tobasonakwut Kinew.

This is not a standard biography but is rather a shared view into the person who has become Wab Kinew–a public advocate for aboriginal inclusion in Canadian society, a dedicated father, an educator, vice-president of The University of Winnipeg, and a spiritual explorer. Oh, and along the way, Wab was also a journalist for Al Jazeera international and the CBC,  a rap artist, and a mixed martial arts fighter.

At the heart of the story is the Kinew family itself, led by the patriarch Tobasonakwut Kinew–Wab’s father. From the bush home of northwestern Ontario Tobasonakwut was taken to residential school and survived horrendous violence and abuse. These experiences forged a soul (with generational reverberations) intent on maintaining and celebrating aboriginal culture and spirituality. The term “survivor” may sound loaded to some, but Wab tells the story why it is the correct term for those who came through this crucible known as residential schools. Tobasonakwut went on to grow in his faith and to embody the spirit of reconciliation with the Catholic Church. Wab walked with his father as they travelled to the Vatican to meet Pope Benedict and was beside his father when the Kinew family adopted Archbishop James Weisgerber as a member of their family.

This is a fascinating story told by a genuine and humble traveller on this earth. Do yourself a favour and read this book. We are going to be hearing more from Wab Kinew in the years to come.

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