The Reason You Walk

The Reason You Walk Review

A moving story of father-son reconciliation told by a charismatic Aboriginal star.

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 that 2012 year, 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, itself 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 for a wider conversation about the future of aboriginal peoples.

Title:The Reason You Walk
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Carolyn

    WOW what a great read. I am not sure this will go down as a life altering book. It certainly will not go down as fabulous literature. This is however a really great love story between a boy and his fa...

  • Shannon

    This book is a powerful and important memoir for all Canadians! The Reason You Walk should be mandatory reading in High School/University! Wab Kinew has the gift of storytelling and brings to life our...

  • Fischwife

    I really wanted to like this book more than I did.I am Cree, and I have worked in the Aboriginal community, teaching Native Studies. My grandmother was a residential school survivor. I live with the i...

  • Anne Laurie

    Every Canadian should read this book. It teaches us not only about Canada's past in the treatment of First Nations, but understands how we can all learn to forgive and love one another. Moreover, it g...

  • Hilary Scroggie

    I started this the day before my mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sometimes the right book finds you at the right moment and you can only be grateful....

  • Sarah

    Watching Canada Reads a couple years ago and being so moved by Wab's impassioned defence of Joseph Boyden's The Orenda, I wondered 'who is this guy!? Then, being so impressed seeing him speak here in ...

  • Chelsey

    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 fille...

  • Krista

    I am the reason you walk. I created you so that you might walk this earth.I am the reason you walk. I gave you motivation so you would continue to walk even when the path became difficult, even seemi...

  • Steven Langdon

    Canada is being shaken by the strength of ongoing protest from aboriginal peoples about their past treatment by the national government and other institutions of our society, particularly the church a...

  • Krista

    Wab Kinew came to speak at a staff event I attended, and he was an amazing speaker. While I didn't enjoy his book as much as his speech, he does have some very important messages that we would all ben...