Unreconciled: Family, Truth, and Indigenous Resistance ~ Jesse Wente (2021)


First of all, I loved, loved, LOVED this book. It has been on my shelf for years and was a book club selection at work, so I pulled it out and downloaded the audiobook and read it over the last two days.

A memoir of growing up with an Indigenous mother and an American father in Toronto, Wente explores his family history, discusses his life and advocacy work, and shines a light on the lie of reconciliation in Canada. “You’ll notice that when colonial politicians espouse this version of reconciliation there’s a crucial word they almost always leave out: truth” says Wente, as he explains Canada’s inertia on the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This book is both engaging as a memoir – over Wente’s multi-decade love affair with movies, and his role as the pre-eminent Indigenous film critic in Canada to his role as the Director of the Indigenous Screen Office – and an intimate history of the trauma of residential schools in Canada. Wente discusses the fact that his family’s home reservation of Serpent River has had a boil water advisory off and on for 15 years, in a country with some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, pointing out the ongoing maltreatment of First Nations persons in Canada.

I highly recommend this book if you have not read it. I think it is important for Canadians and non-Canadians to understand the experience of indigenous peoples and that of Jesse Wente in particular. At under 200 pages, it is worth the read.

(198 pgs)

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