The Reason You Walk: A Memoir by Wab KinewThe Reason You Walk: A Memoir by Wab Kinew

The Reason You Walk: A Memoir

byWab Kinew

Paperback | May 30, 2017

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A moving father-son reconciliation told by a charismatic First Nations broadcaster, musician and activist.
          When his father was given a diagnosis of terminal cancer, Winnipeg broadcaster and musician Wab Kinew decided to spend a year reconnecting with the accomplished but distant aboriginal man who'd raised him. The Reason You Walk spans the year 2012, chronicling painful moments in the past and celebrating renewed hopes and dreams for the future. As Kinew revisits his own childhood in Winnipeg and on a reserve in Northern Ontario, he learns more about his father's traumatic childhood at residential school. An intriguing doubleness marks The Reason You Walk, a reference to an Anishinaabe ceremonial song. Born to an Anishinaabe father and a non-native mother, he has a foot in both cultures. He is a Sundancer, an academic, a former rapper, a hereditary chief, and an urban activist. His father, Tobasonakwut, was both a beloved traditional chief and a respected elected leader who engaged directly with Ottawa. Internally divided, his father embraced both traditional native religion and Catholicism, the religion that was inculcated into him at the residential school where he was physically and sexually abused. In a grand gesture of reconciliation, Kinew's father invited the Roman Catholic bishop of Winnipeg to a Sundance ceremony in which he adopted him as his brother. Kinew writes affectingly of his own struggles in his twenties to find the right path, eventually giving up a self-destructive lifestyle to passionately pursue music and martial arts. From his unique vantage point, he offers an inside view of what it means to be an educated aboriginal living in a country that is just beginning to wake up to its aboriginal history and living presence.
     Invoking hope, healing and forgiveness, The Reason You Walk is a poignant story of a towering but damaged father and his son as they embark on a journey to repair their family bond. By turns lighthearted and solemn, Kinew gives us an inspiring vision for family and cross-cultural reconciliation, and a wider conversation about the future of aboriginal peoples.
WAB KINEW was named by Postmedia News as one of "9 Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know." He is the Associate Vice-President for Indigenous Relations at The University of Winnipeg and a correspondent with Al-Jazeera America. After successfully defending Joseph Boyden's The Orenda on CBC's Canada Reads literary competition, he ...
Title:The Reason You Walk: A MemoirFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:288 pages, 8 × 5.19 × 0.76 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.19 × 0.76 inPublished:May 30, 2017Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143193554

ISBN - 13:9780143193555


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Powerful Memoir! A memoir that packs emotion, spirituality, and history as we embark on a journey with the author as he looks back on his life and that of his deceased father. Even though the events take place in northwest Ontario, the lessons about reconciliation and aboriginal rights and justice need to be read by all! An important book to understand the struggles and dynamism of our rich Indigenous cultures.
Date published: 2019-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great A great read on resilience and forgiveness. Talks about residential school system. Essentially, the story of his father's journey.
Date published: 2018-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One true story of this land Kinew shares a truth that everyone on this land should know. I really appreciate how he demonstrates the link between Canada's hidden history of Indian Residential Schools and shows one of many ways cultural genocide has impacted our First Nations, Métis and Inuit Nations. This is a true story of resiliency and Anishinaabe resiliency. Chi miigwetch Wab for your strength to write this story and to share it with everyone!
Date published: 2017-05-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Moving Memoir A moving story about resilience, forgiveness, culture and the strength of family. Wab's father, a residential school survivor, endured years of horror at the hands of others and as a result, was filled with anger as a young man. Wab tells the story of his father's journey through reconciliation and forgiveness and ties in his own personal story as well. I absolutely loved learning about the Anishinaabe culture, and getting to know Wab's family, whom he speaks so warmly and candidly about that I felt like I knew them. I stayed up late last night to finish and shed a few tears at the end. Touching and important - I highly recommend this one!
Date published: 2017-05-24

Editorial Reviews

#1 Globe and Mail Nonfiction BestsellerA Toronto Star Nonfiction BestsellerFinalist for the RBC Taylor PrizeShortlisted for the Ontario Library Service North 2017 Louise de Kiriline Award for Nonfiction“Witness the thrilling rise of not only a First Nations star but a Canadian one. The Reason You Walk points the way toward a new era of reconciliation and redemption - and shows us how a man who's anchored by his language, his culture and his family is unstoppable.”—Joseph Boyden, author of The Orenda"Brutally honest, original, funny, uncomfortable, and compelling.” —RBC Taylor Prize Jury Citation“This book combines Kinew’s disarming personality and his willingness to share highly personal material – in this case, the life and death of his father, Tobasonakwut – to demonstrate the immense power of family and forgiveness as tools of reconciliation… This is not just a memoir, it’s a meditation on the purpose of living.” —The Globe and Mail   “His story has no filters. It pursues forgiveness, but not by running away from the ugliness that makes forgiveness necessary.” —Quill & Quire