Publisher: Robert P. Wells
Date: January 2014
Duration: 3 hours 43 minutes
Comments about Bob Wells’ “Wawahte”
I came to know Bob Wells when he was with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in southwestern Ontario. Bob was a senior enforcement specialist, and the only enforcement person whose advice I felt I could rely on with respect to the issues I was entrusted with. He took the broader – and, at the time, heretical - view that sometimes the best way to achieve consent is by talking, and not by due process.
Bob’s little book - Wawahte – is exactly the kind of book I needed, but couldn’t find, when I was trying to sort out natural resource management issues involving Aboriginal harvesting rights. To learn all I could about the Anishinabek and their history and culture, I read everything I could find at the time, and listened to anyone who would talk. Wawahte would have helped so much.
In Wawahte, three people tell their stories about residential schools, how the schools affected the lives of their generation, and of the generations to follow. Without an understanding of this aspect of Canada’s history, one cannot properly understand Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.
The book is especially readable because Bob doesn't scold or rail against the evil Crown; there is none of that. Rather, he steps into the background and simply lets the three narrators tell their stories.
Wawahte is one of the few books that I would strongly recommend to anyone who needs to understand Aboriginal issues in Canada. It is important enough and good enough and readable enough that I am optimistic that those who need to read it will do so.