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The Reason You Walk

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,742 ratings  ·  337 reviews
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 c
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Viking Canada
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Han Ya It is, I have read and would recommend it to anyone.

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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  2,742 ratings  ·  337 reviews

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Dec 12, 2015 rated it liked it
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 intergenerational effects of that. My mother-in-law and her sisters and brothers are residential school survivors.

In addition, my mother died of cancer. She was only in her 50s.

So, there were many reasons for me to read this book and to feel connected to it.

Furthermore, I greatly admire Wab Kinew. H
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it

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 father, between a man and his people, and between a people and their desire to hold onto and live their culture (not to mention a fabulous tribute that recognizes a remarkable life journey). Having heard Mr. Kinew speak on a couple of occasions, I could hear his voice very clearly as he takes on the r
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
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 painful (and shameful) history. From the abuse that his Father and thousands of others endured at the hands of those running the Residential Schools, to the vital Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. He talks about how important our families and friends are in our lives, and the painful p ...more
MissBecka Gee
If you read my reviews, well, you already know I am highly judgy...especially on memoirs.
They tend to be disjointed and sloppy, which irks me more than it would in fiction.
After all this is YOUR story, you should be able to tell it coherently.
Colour me happy that this was not the case with Wab Kinew's book!

He had a beautiful flow that allowed all his memories and emotions to join and transition in a most pleasing manner.
Total bonus: He reads the audio himself (I think his voice is rather dr
Anne Laurie
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 gives an inside look of several First Nations traditions. Everyone can learn a lot from this reading. ...more
Hilary Scroggie
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 seemingly impossible.

I am the reason you walk. I animated you with that driving force called love, which compelled you to help others who had forgotten they were brothers and sisters to take steps back towards one another.

And now, my son, as that journey comes to an end, I am the reason you walk, for I
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-author, 2015
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 Kelowna a few weeks ago I knew I wanted to know more about this polished orator, activist and forthright man. Writing of his childhood, Anishinaabe culture and traditions, the chapter describing the sundance ceremony was especially moving. Even more-so, this is a touching honour-song to his father, ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
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 ...more
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable and inspiring memoir focusing on forgiveness and reconciliation. A father and son on a journey together in the last years of the father’s terminal cancer diagnosis to preserve the Anishinaabe culture for future generations, and to find healing. Tobasonakwut Kinew amazed me more and more in every chapter. He continuously sought out ways to fight for the human rights of Canada’s indigenous people while also forgiving those who had abused him and his people. I appreciated the look into ...more
Steven Langdon
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: super
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 authorities who implemented the residential schools to which indigenous children were forced to go, where they were subject to abusive treatment and forced assimilation. This book is a forceful explanation of this protest, a heartfelt plea for new directions -- and an emotional biography of the life ...more
Jennifer Mathison
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading about Wab's exploration of his relationship with his father and his growth as a man looking inward and questioning his culture and its importance, was enlightening. I always enjoy a book which references places I have been - having lived in NorthWestern Ontario for 5 years, I was familiar with many of the locations he mentioned, such as Washusk Onigum, Washagmis Bay, Kenora, and Shoal Lake. I was also able to relate to his descriptions of the poor relationships between aboriginal and non ...more
Oct 29, 2015 rated it liked it
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 benefit from listening to. ...more
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For all those asking, "Now what?" when referring to reconciliation with Canada's aboriginal peoples, this book is a promising place to start. ...more
Rebecca Jones
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having grown up beside Six Nations Reservation, and gone to high school as a minority, I was/am ashamed that I really understood/understand(?) so little of the history of the Aboriginals in Canada. Wab Kinew writes of his father's residential school experiences - in fact, his childhood experiences, and how he and Phil Fontaine helped architect the Truth & Reconciliation work. It is fascinating - so fascinating. Learning about the residential schools and about the sundance ceremony was so interes ...more
❀ Susan G
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads

“We have a choice in life – we can choose how we are going to behave. We can determine whether we reflect the good around us or lose ourselves in the darkness”.

The Reason You Walk is a memoir written by Wab Kinew which describes the time he spent with his father reflecting on their relationship, his childhood and forgiveness. The story is told in the shadow of his father’s traumatic experience in a residential school where he was physically and sexually ab
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was first introduced and wooed by Wab Kinew when he hosted Canada Reads. He's clearly an intelligent and impressive man, and since that 2015 series ran, I've kept a distant eye on him. When he was interviewed on "The Next Chapter" for this autobiography, I ran out immediately and purchased the book. I dove in.

The book is so thoughtful and is a lovely testament to a love, a healing, between a man and his father. I appreciated it as such. I also learned a great deal about the Sundance tradition
Erin L
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wish I could properly thank the author for a book that shares a family's life and experience with readers. Actually, there are a lot of things I wish after reading this book, but wishes do nothing for us.

I highly recommend reading this if you've ever had any interest at all in knowing more about residential schools in Canada. If you've ever thought that indigenous people demanded too much. If you ever wished they would just go away. Wab's father lived an interesting life filled with abuse, tr
Janice Beecraft
Sep 26, 2021 rated it liked it
This author has many accomplishments, and continues to work for the betterment of indigenous people, but that does not make him an excellent storyteller. As is often the case with memoirs, the book becomes a list of events rather than literature, and maybe that’s okay. I did learn a lot about his culture, and the steps his father made to make reconciliation and forgiveness because of his residential school life.
Orie at Let's Take A Shelfie
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review and more can be found on my blog Let's Take a Shelfie.

I am embarrassed to say that before last year, I had no idea who Wab Kinew was (Sorry!). Before starting my blog, reading Canadian literature was a rare occurrence. Enter, Canada Reads 2015. From the moment I learned about the competition, I immersed myself in everything I could including reading all of the short listed books, participating in the Google Hangout, live tweeting the first four days and attending the final debate in
Jennifer Rayment
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very powerful memoir and one that really made me think about my own ignorance of my fellow Canadians. This one has been really sticking with me and makes me want to discuss with others. The abuse the Indigenous people of Canada have suffered at the hands of the priests and nuns - both sexual, physical and mental have such long reaching consequences. It sickens me that someone who is supposed to be a messenger of god could do such harm. I know people around the world think of Canada as a place ...more
Karen Gallant
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Whilst the book was different to some extent from what I had imagined, it was an important and moving book for me to have read. I had expected more detail on the Truth and Reconciliation process and what lead up to/came out of that for the First Nations as a holistic community but was this really was was a very personal story of the relationship between a boy and his father and how their cultural background and the residential schools history shaped that as well as being a 'coming of age' story ...more
Kath Curran
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Like Wab Kinew’s father, my mother died of pancreatic cancer. Both of our parents were warriors, meeting life head-on, leaving behind a trail of tragedies – and reasons for love. Like Kinew, I often fought against accepting my mother for who she was; like Kinew, before my mother died, Mercy and Compassion came to walk beside me and guide me home, to a place where I could embrace my mother as a whole person. To where I could begin to see myself as a whole person.

Kinew: To be hurt, yet forgive. To
I have no intention of reading this book. I am more concerned with what was not in the book ( I presume!) but rather what has turned up lately on Kinew's Tweets which have now brought the NDP party in Manitoba close to ruin. The provincial election is on April 19th and many of us in Canada view Kinew's candidature as an insult to all right-thinking Canadians. A man who has found it possible in his mid-to-late twenties, when he certainly should have known better, to write rap music encouraging th ...more
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'd never heard of Wab Kinew before he defended Joseph Boyden's novel "The Orenda" for Canada Reads (it later won). I didn't know much else beyond that, and that he hosts Canada Reads now, before I picked this up for book club. It was a fascinating read. It was also an easy and compelling read, which I think is a lot because it is written in much the way he speaks. You can hear him, and the rhythm in his words easily.

Kinew tells his story growing up with his emotionally distant father but he goe
Lynda Archer
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't read a lot of memoir, but I really liked this book and am glad I read it. It has been on the best seller lists in Canada for several months. I would probably give it 4.5 stars; there were a few sections that could have done with a bit more editing. This is the story of Kinew's personal journey, claiming his indigenous heritage and creating a close relationship with his father, Ndede, who was a residential school survivor, and not a very emotionally attentive father when Kinew was young. ...more
Caroline Mcphail-Lambert
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading Wab Kinew's "The Reason You Walk," made me pause and wonder about my own father and the burdens he carried to his grave. Kinew, through his father, explored the significance of reconciliation and what it means. "Reconciliation is realized when two people come together and understand that what they share unites them and what is different about them needs to be respected." (Pg 211) This concept applies to families as well as communities and countries. Kinew showed this through his own reco ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I feel rather bad reading this book only two stars. Wab shared much of his story and his father's story as well as providing some illuminating insights into his culture. He touched on the impacts of colonialization, and residential schools; the efforts undertaken by aboriginal peoples to maintain traditional practices and language; the importance of family and was very honest about human failings. The reason I couldn't connect this book had much more to do with the writing style and that may be ...more
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
My only problem with this book was that I read it in spurts. I had a copy, had to return it to the library and then read it on ebook. It's a great book and it really teaches a reader about Anishnaabe ceremonies and tradition. I also learned a lot about reconciliation. Wab is a good writer and this book has important themes about residential schools and father and son relationships.

I hope lots of people read this, because it's such an informative and moving book and gives a good window into Nati
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is easily accessible and powerful. Recommended for anyone interested in the state of Native Canada and attempts at reconciliation with the settler community. I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of Native rituals, like the Sundance, naming rites, and adoption rites. Another surprise was the role the Catholic Church played in both the book and the spirituality of the Kinew family. Despite all the ugliness the Church has inflicted on the Natives of Canada, many continue to see bea ...more
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Oakville Reads: National Aboriginal Day Giveaway! 6 16 Jul 04, 2016 01:45PM  
Oakville Reads: * Question #5: Thoughts about reconciliation 3 13 Jun 30, 2016 01:37PM  
Oakville Reads: * Question #2: Indigenous traditions 5 14 Jun 30, 2016 01:23PM  
Oakville Reads: Question #1: Truth and Reconciliation 17 24 Jun 30, 2016 01:14PM  
Oakville Reads: * Question #3: Truth in memoir 4 14 Jun 30, 2016 01:05PM  
Goodreads Librari...: multiple listings for the same book 2 71 Jun 06, 2016 11:24PM  

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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 was named the 2015 host. In 2012, he also hosted the acclai

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“We ought to recognize that our greatest battle is not with one another but with our pain, our problems, and our flaws. To be hurt, yet forgive. To do wrong, but forgive yourself. To depart from this world leaving only love. This is the reason you walk.” 10 likes
“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 seemingly impossible.
I am the reason you walk. I animated you with that driving force called love, which compelled you to help others who had forgotten they were brothers and sisters to take steps back towards one another.
And now, my son, as that journey comes to an end, I am the reason you walk, for I am calling you home. Walk home with me on that everlasting road.”
More quotes…