Author: Jesse Wente.
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Unreconciled by Jesse Wente
Jesse Wente remembers the exact moment he realized that he was a certain kind of Indian – a stereotypical cartoon Indian. He was playing softball as a child when the opposing team began to war-whoop when he was at bat. That, and many similar incidents, formed Wente’s understanding of what it means to be a modern Indigenous person in a society still overwhelmingly colonial in its attitudes and institutions.
Part memoir and part manifesto, Unreconciled calls for a new, respectful relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. Wente argues that “reconciliation” is a flawed concept: peace between First Nations and the state of Canada can’t be recovered through reconciliation because no such relationship ever existed.
As the child of an American father and an Anishinaabe mother, Wente grew up in Toronto with frequent visits to the reserve where his maternal relations lived. By exploring his family’s history, including his grandmother’s experience in residential school, and citing his own frequent racial profiling by police who’d stop him on the streets, Wente unpacks the discrepancies between his personal identity and how non-indigenous people view him.
Through the lens of art and pop culture, and with disarming humor, Wente links his love of baseball and movies to such issues as cultural appropriation, Indigenous identity, and Indigenous narrative sovereignty. Storytelling in all its forms, he says, is one of Indigenous peoples’ best weapons in the fight to reclaim their rightful place.
Passionate, incisive, and galvanizing, Unreconciled is an eye-opening look at modern Indigenous life and clarion call to address the gulf between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
Jesse is an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster, and arts leader. Born and raised in Toronto, his family comes from Chicago and Genaabaajing Anishinaabek and he is a member of the Serpent River First Nation. Best known for more than two decades spent as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, he also worked at the Toronto International Film Festival for eleven years. in February 2018 he was named the first Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office. Wente was appointed to Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts in 2020, the only First Nations person to ever hold the position.
|Dimensions||9.25 × 6.25 × 0.75 in|