Friday, 28 November 2008

One Native Life by Richard Wagamese Mushkotay Beezheekee Anakwat

"That's what this journey is all about - to learn to express yourself as whom you were created to be."
was raised in foster homes and by his adoptive family till he struck out on his own at 16. He was rootless and searching for a sense of belonging.
During his life so far, he has met a wide variety of people who have had significant impacts upon him. This book shares these glimpses into his life and the significance of these people.
A pivotal point seems to occur when he meets John Thunder Rock, who teaches him that first you have to be a good human being. Through that he will learn to be a good man. Only then can he be the good Indian that he has always wanted to be. That it isn't the wearing of Indian clothing that makes him into a good Indian.
There are dozens of shaping moments/messages contained within these covers. Many brought tears to my eyes and a catch in my throat. Particularly the passage when Richard meets his grandfather for the first time. I can't even imagine the impact that would have had on him. It did cause me to reflect on my relationship with my grandparents and the varying roles they have played in my life and my development.
This book is best read in little bits, each section savoured and enjoyed. Meditate of them if you chose. I had to rush through as I borrowed it from the library, but I will be ordering my own copy to which I plan to add my own comments and a few photos that were brought to mind by the reminiscences.
There is so much wisdom contained within the pages of "One Native Life" that I know I will be coming back to various passages again and again. With a lot of help and guidance, Mr. Wagamese or Mushkotay Beezheekee Anakwat (Ojibway for Buffalo Cloud) seems to have found peace with his past and is most comfortable in his skin. He has definitely become the Indian that John Thunder Rock knew was lurking inside all along. I feel privileged to have had Richard's life and experiences shared with me.

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