Richard Wagamese

the trees are about to stage a revolution

Here in the mountains the spring birds have arrived early. During our ritual morning walks along the lakeshore the dog and I have heard the unmistakable trill of the red-winged blackbirds. We've heard robins. Despite the thick layer of ice and the snow on

Homelessness is more studied than acted upon

Here in the mountains the days stretch out longer. There's an evening now. As the winter sun flashes all scarlet, pink and orange on the horizon, I feel myself contented, safe and ensconced comfortably in a home it's taken years to achieve. Sometimes, the

Discover the real wealth in your life

I have a friend who's waiting for me every time I get home. He's not a dog or a pet of any kind -- he's an empty peanut butter jar and his name is Smoothy. He's a special edition 2002 Kraft NHL Bear Bank. He's adorned with a Calgary Flames jersey and a...

afn blew it with settlements

My mother called me near the tail end of last year. That in itself wasn't as strange as the reason she called. She needed money. She was having trouble making it to the end of the month when her pension came in. It was a shocking call to receive.

hope is the best word for 2009

According to the folks at Merriam Webster, the ones who produce one of the most popular dictionaries, the word of the year for 2008 is ‘bailout.

how christmas arrived at a railroad line shack

It’s the first white Christmas in nearly 40 years. When I heard that on the late night news it made me smile.

its the time of year for reflection

Maybe it’s the particular age I am that asks this of me come Christmas time or maybe it’s just the plain fact that deeper nights and…

More than ever, slow down and listen

There are crows everywhere around our mountain home. Walking through the bush I always hear them cackling and cawing and they can get quite…

To put it bluntly, development dooms our wild teachers

There are fewer creatures on the timber road. When the dog and I walk into the backcountry behind our home in the mountains we were used to seeing…

Sundance strengthened prospective native leader

A friend of mine is running for the office of the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He declared his intent back in the summer and we…

choices have consequences

I was a problem drinker for a long time. I knew that I was a problem drinker all along. When I chose to drink, armed with that knowledge, I was…

We all share the same beginning and end

It’s taken some time for Olympic organizer Dick Pound’s comments on savages to boil down for me.

The young raise their angry, hopeful voices

The nature of native politics in this country is not expressed by our politicians. It’s not articulated by radicals, the disgruntled, the jaded…

even at this age you can feel the breeze

I turned 53 recently. It was a quiet celebration, no big parties or huge dinners, just a calm recognition of time passing and a life being fleshed…

Working at building community

I’ve come to love the idea of firewood. At our home in the mountains we have a woodstove we use for heat.

The Crash is a big equalizer

It’s been interesting for native people to watch the volatile world of the stock markets lately.

were all in it together

When I was growing up, the differences between Native people and mainstream Canadians were often remarked upon as striking.

change is coming gather round

There are bursts of colour at the foot of the mountain that strain the eye. Across the gun-metal blue of the lake, the scarlet, orange and yellow…

Too many chiefs, not enough Indians

I’ve never voted in a First Nations election. Chances are that I never will. I’m a registered member of an Indian band and as card…

CBC once appealed to the best in us

I got a big part of my education from the CBC. My formal schooling ended with Grade 9 and I moved to the welfare roll and endless unskilled jobs.