The Writers Fest, Wab Kinew chats with an admiring reader as he prepares to sign The Reason we Walk. The book is a memoir of his father, an Anishnabe chief called Tobosunakwut. During his final illness, he took an unprecedented step. In order to help us all find a way forward in dealing with aboriginal issues, he adopted the Bishop of Winnipeg as his brother.
His accomplished son Wab is host of Canada Reads on CBC, a musician, a journalist and the Associate Vice-President of the University of Winnipeg. Kinew thinks, speaks, writes and tweets about issues that affect Canada's aboriginal peoples. We need to hear positive stories, he says, move the conversation away from poverty and suffering.
Wab Kinew, still in his thirties, is definitely a rising star, someone to watch. He feels encouraged by the recent success of the Liberals under Justin Trudeau, who he says "sees us, talks to us, believes we're real people." At this recent election, aboriginals voted in record numbers.
Much work lies ahead. First should come the "baby steps" of providing clean water and accessible education to children on reserves. Then the time will come to face for Canadians to work together to cope with the "baked-in" challenges posed by our history and political structures.
One of his memorable quotes at Saturday's event was that "we (aboriginal peoples) are showing you (non-aboriginal Canadians) how to cure the existential meaninglessness at the centre of modern life."