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In fact, all the children in your community have disappeared. Even those as young as five years old have vanished.

No, this is not the opening line in a science fiction story.  It isn’t fiction of any kind.  It’s the shocking truth.

The Reason You Walk’, a memoir by Wab Kinew

9780670069347In preparation for the launch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) in 2010, CBC tasked Wab Kinew with preparing news stories, accounts from residential school survivors.

He sat with his five-year old in his lap witnessing the crew tape his father’s account.  He realized his boy was the age kids were when taken from their families. He wondered how such a tiny child could survive a beating as his father had. He wondered how his child could survive for ten months without his parents.

He asked these questions of his TV audience.

Indigenous people responded that the story did justice to their experiences. Non-Indigenous people said it helped them relate to the residential school experience, that … they were delivered to a place where they asked themselves what they would do if their children disappeared, or what would happen if all the children in their neighbourhood vanished.

I asked myself these questions

Why, I’d go straight to the authorities for help, right? But what if going to the authorities wouldn’t get my five-year old back? What if the authorities were implicit in the system that stole my child, all the children in my neighbourhood?  What if the authorities had knowingly aided and abetted church and government officials in a scheme of assimilation?

Wab Kinew believes … asking these questions is the beginning of building empathy, and empathy is the beginning of reconciliation.

I’ve just finished reading Part One – Oshkaadizid (Youth).  On now to Part Two – Kiizhewaadizid (Living a Life of Love, Kindness, Sharing and Respect).

I’m learning so much.

Related Stories

  • Globe & Mail Review by Carleigh Baker, October 2015. “The philosophy of forgiveness instilled in Wab Kinew by his father is evident in The Reason You Walk.”
  • Why is the TRC Important to Canadians? “… Residential Schools are a part of our shared history, a history that is not well understood by many.”

Shaena Lambert

You know how when you have a scrumptious treat you know just won’t last?  So you eek it out a wee, delicious morsel at a time?

That’s how I feel about Shaena Lambert’s collection of short stories, “Oh, My Darling”.  I’m savouring one story at a time. Always early morning when everyone else is asleep. I cozy up in the overstuffed, red chair under the big lamp. Shaena tells me a story, and I listen, entranced. And this is how the day begins …just so.


Only four of ten stories left.  How slowly can I read, and re-read, to make this delectable delight last, and last?

Another favourite Canadian author is Lisa Moore who says Sheana’s collection is “Fist-pump marvellous.”  It is.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-44342-434-9

downloadFrom my dedicated poetry shelf today’s selection, The Nights Also by Anna Swanson.

Without judgment or censorship, shared here with you, random poem, “Lullaby for small” at page 15.

Dedicated to Diana.

After you’ve read this poem, I’d love to hear what you think about it, your reactions, what feelings or memories the piece evoked.


What do I know of the world these days?
This room, the merciful windows
and whatever weather hits them. The world is
this: the eagles calling out into the sleepless night,
and me, small enough to fit in a coat pocket.
There is a box I keep on the table by my bed.
A box just large enough for all the doctors’
perfect remedies. The eagles call out into the night,
the falling notes of their cries like ripples around a pebble,
which has disappeared into dark water.
At five, a peacock walks the ledge
outside my bedroom window. The light
begins so slowly.  And me, curled in my bed,
small enough to fit in a coat pocket.
I have worn out my anger, and there is not much
of me left. I want the backseat
of our old orange Datsun. I want my father
to carry me in. I swore I’d never get too big.
sleep, baby, sleep. All the old songs.
Thy father tend the sheep. I want
The falling notes like ripples. The pebble.
The dark water closing around it.

Publisher: Tightrope Books
SBN: 978-1-926639-13-0

Other “Off the Shelf” Selections.

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