Richard Wagamese

living with bears

Here in the mountains, the bears are coming down from the high ground. Every August it’s the same thing.

Native gangs are not about native pride

I was in a street gang once. It was a long time ago and I was 17. There were 10 of us and we were called the Freaks.

Reconciliation is a challenging but worthy task

I am a victim of Canada’s residential schools. When I say victim, I mean something far different from ‘survivor.

Simple does it

Here in the mountains we limit our trips to town. It’s a 25-kilometre jaunt and while the drive is wonderful, the landscape shifting from…

Aging egos ensure Assembly of First Nations remains out of touch

As an off-reserve First Nations person it can sometimes feel as though Indians are like policemen. They’re never around when you need one.

we must choose our battles

When I was small, they called me Itchybum. It was my part of our favourite neighbourhood game called Cowboys and Itchybums.

wed do well to recover old neighbourly ways

Here in the mountains of the BC Interior, time assumes a different quality. Where we live there’s a community of us spread along the north…

communities lose the will to protect themselves

Here in the mountains time becomes a lesser commodity. We live a half-hour drive from the nearest stop light and there is no commerce anywhere…

Government taxes little people, lets big polluters skate

Where the highway spills out of the backcountry there’s a view of the river valley that stretches three directions here.

marginalized people find hope in obama

I watched the US Democratic presidential nomination race with great interest. Normally I’m blasé about US politics.

Apology resonates with native author

When I heard the prime minister of my country say the words, ‘I’m sorry,’ for the debacle of the Indian residential school system…

an true apology is made of more than words

The government of Australia has apologized to the Aborigine population. On February 13, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd offered a four-minute apology in…

learning to walk

I’ve learned to walk differently. It’s happened gradually, and as the dog and I made our way around the loop that leads by the lake this…

the kid in me

When the morning sun breaks over the mountain, the air seems to magnify everything. Standing on the rock at the edge of the lake, the tree-pocked…

in hockey it helps to see the ice

I played organized hockey for the first time in 1965. I was 10. My adopted family lived in Orangeville, Ontario, and I was registered for the minor…

The rooming house

Isotropic. It’s a 1,000-pound word that refers to the experience of having everything look the same in each direction. Astronomers invented it.

learning to see the birds

The birds are on the move. By the lake they’re flocked around the bushes and saplings. They’re travellers and migrants, called by…

Mrs. Fricke and the Bullies

In 1966 I was 11 years old. My adopted family moved that summer to a rented farmhouse in Bruce County in southwestern Ontario.

life on the dial

Here in the mountains radio reception is an iffy proposition at best. On clear nights it sometimes seems like the world is at my fingers.

yoknapawtapha and the field of dreams

You could not dream this place. In the hard glint of early morning everything is over-exposure and shadow.