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07 July, 2012


Author Herman Roote (right) leads a dance of honour.
We in white society have little appreciation for the heritage of our First Nations people.  Brief news stories of what goes on in Canadian Indian reserves are more often than not negative and given a short shift by readers. I think that is a shame.  We miss out on some wonderful and colorful traditions.

For instance, Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON), located a few thousand yards north of Southampton, this past week celebrated the launch of a book at the Saugeen First Nation Amphitheatre with a ceremony complete with singing, drumming and dancing as depicted in the accompanying photographs.  It was a celebration truly fit for a celebrated author and respected elder who is one of their own. 

Vernon Roote, former chief of Saugeen First Nation and Council member, shares his personal teachings and how they apply to men today through his new book M'daa Kendaaswin - To Look for Knowledge.

Roote not only relates personal stories in the book, but explains how many men grow up without fathers in their lives.  He also speaks to those boys and men who are searching for advice on "how to be a good man". "I wanted this to be a simple teaching of how men should grow and support their families," says Roote, also a talented nature photographer.

The forward to Roote's book was written by Wab Kinew, a CBC radio producer and host who exemplifies what it means to be multicultural.  He holds a Bachelor or Arts degree in Traditional Medicine Training and is also a recipient of the Adrienne Clarkson RTNDS Award. In the forward to Roote's book he wrote:

"There are many problems facing the First Nation people today.  Yet for all of the problems in our community, there is one solution: to raise a new generation of people who know they are important enough to be healthy, feel good about themselves enough to achieve, and who are strong enough to keep going even when the chips are down.  We have the power to conquer all of the obstacles we face.  We can do it together.  But it starts with you."

The book is available through Ningwakwe Learning Press in Owen Sound and is well worth reading.

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