Keeper’n Me by Richard Wagamese

It took me awhile to finish reading this book. I read it in small pieces; I felt  there was such a high concentration of wisdom within it that I wanted to savour a little at a time.

Garnet Raven was only three years old when he was taken from his Ojibway family and placed into foster care. Ever since, there was no contact with his family, or any exposure to the Ojibwa way of life, until, in his twenties, he receives a letter from his older brother, who has finally tracked him down after years of searching.

Keeper’n Me is the story of Garnet’s journey to reconnect with his family and his culture; how he goes from feeling lost and empty, to found and whole. Garnet’s main mentor is “Keeper”, an old friend of his grandfather. Through Keeper’s teaching and through Garnet’s reflections the reader is offered insight into the Anishanabe way of life, their traditions, and their values. Keeper’n Me shows the beauty and wisdom of the Anishanabe teachings on respect, humility, gentleness, self-awareness, community, and connecting with nature.

Not to sound cheesy, but I sincerely feel that this book has shared with me some truths that can be linked to that elusive “meaning of life”.

“That’s what ma says. Says that magic’s born of the land and the ones who go places in life are the ones who take the time to let that magic seep inside them. Sitting there, all quiet and watching, listening, learning. That’s how the magic seeps in. Anishanabe are pretty big on magic, she says. Not so much the pullin’ rabbits outta hats kinda of magic but more the pullin’ learning outta everything around ‘em.” -Richard Wagamese, Keeper’n Me