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The Reason You Walk
Written by Wab Kinew
Published by Viking Canada


Brutally honest, original, funny, uncomfortable, and compelling, Wab Kinew’s memoir explores the personal reconciliation of a father and son and that of a country searching for healing and a way forward. When Wab Kinew’s father was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to reconnect and in so doing learned about his dad’s terrifying childhood at residential schools. The reader is transported into an extraordinary world of truth and reconciliation. As he explains: “during our time on earth, we ought to love one another, and that when our hearts are broken, we ought to work hard to make them whole again.


From the Publisher’s Summary: The Reason You Walk recounts a year spent reconnecting with Wab Kinew’s father, who has been diagnosed with cancer; chronicles painful moments in the past and celebrates renewed hopes and dreams for the future. 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. 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. Offering an inside view from a unique vantage point, the book invokes hope, healing and forgiveness and gives us an inspiring vision for family and cross-cultural reconciliation, and a wider conversation about the future of aboriginal peoples.


Wab Kinew


Wab Kinew

is the Associate Vice-President for Indigenous Relations at the University of Winnipeg and a correspondent with Al-Jazeera America. He is a member of the Midewin and Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. He lives in Winnipeg with his family.