Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese was one of Canada's foremost First Nations authors and storytellers. Working as a professional writer since 1979 he was a newspaper columnist and reporter, radio and televison broadcaster and producer, documentary producer and the author of thirteen titles from major Canadian publishers.

He was a success in every genre of writing he has tried. The 55 year-old Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in Northwestern Ontario became the first Native Canadian to win a National Newspaper Award for Column Writing in 1991. As a published author he was won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction for his third novel Dream Wheels, in 2007 and the Alberta Writers Guild Best Novel Award for his debut novel, Keeper'n Me in 1994.


He published an anthology of his newspaper columns, The Terrible Summer in 1996 with Warwick Press and his second novel, A Quality of Light, in 1997 from Doubleday. A critically acclaimed memoir entitled For Joshua: An Ojibway Father Teaches His Son arrived in October 2002, Dream Wheels in 2006, and the novel Ragged Company and his acclaimed and bestselling memoir One Native Life in 2008.


He twice won the Native American Press Association Award and the National Aboriginal Communications Society Award for his newspaper columns. Currently, his series One Native Life runs as a radio commentary and newspaper column in both Canada and the U.S. and was a weekly television commentary on CFJC-TV 7 in Kamloops, BC from 2007 to 2010.

Richard led writing and storytelling workshops entitled From the Oral Tradition to the Printed Page in communities across the country. He was honored with an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops in June 2010 in recognition of lifetime achievement in writing and publishing and is the 2011 Harvey Stevenson Southam Guest Lecturer in Writing at the University of Victoria.

He was an esteemed public speaker and storyteller and had lived outside of Kamloops BC with his wife, Debra Powell, and Molly the Story Dog.

We will all greatly miss Richard and the incredible contributions he made to Canadian culture.

Richard Wagamese, October 14, 1955 – March 10, 2017)
A Quality of Light
Traditional Territory: Ojibway
Format: Paperback
  • My life as a Kane was lit in the Indigos, Aquamarines and Magentas of a home built on quiet faith and prayer. But Johnny changed all that. Where I had stood transfixed by the gloss on the surface of living, he called me forward from the pages of the books, away from the blinders that faith can surreptitiously place upon your eyes and out into a world populated by those who live their lives in the shadow of necessary fictions.

    Only 3 in stock.

$28.00

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Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations
Traditional Territory: Ojibway
Format: Paperback
  • "Life sometimes is hard. There are challenges. There are difficulties. There is pain. As a younger man I sought to avoid them and only ever caused myself more of the same. These days I choose to face life head on--and I have become a comet. I arc across the sky of my life and the harder times are the friction that lets the worn and tired bits drop away. It's a good way to travel; eventually I will wear away all resistance until all there is left of me is light. I can live towards that end."

    --Richard Wagamese, Embers

    In this carefully curated selection of everyday reflections, Richard Wagamese finds lessons in both the mundane and sublime as he muses on the universe, drawing inspiration from working in the bush--sawing and cutting and stacking wood for winter as well as the smudge ceremony to bring him closer to the Creator. Embers is perhaps Richard Wagamese's most personal volume to date. Honest, evocative and articulate, he explores the various manifestations of grief, joy, recovery, beauty, gratitude, physicality and spirituality--concepts many find hard to express. But for Wagamese, spirituality is multifaceted. Within these pages, readers will find hard-won and concrete wisdom on how to feel the joy in the everyday things. Wagamese does not seek to be a teacher or guru, but these observations made along his own journey to become, as he says, "a spiritual bad-ass," make inspiring reading.

$18.95

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Indian Horse
Format: Paperback
  • In 2013-2014, Indian Horse was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

    Saul Indian Horse is dying. Tucked away in a hospice high above the clash and clang of a big city, he embarks on a marvelous journey of imagination back through the life he led as a northern Ojibway, with all its sorrows and joys. With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he's sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement. Indian Horse unfolds against the bleak loveliness of northern Ontario, all rock, marsh, bog and cedar. Wagamese writes with a spare beauty, penetrating the heart of a remarkable Ojibway man. Drawing on his great-grandfather's mystical gift of vision, Saul Indian Horse comes to recognize the influence of everyday magic on his own life. In this wise and moving novel, Richard Wagamese shares that gift of magic with readers as well.

$21.95

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Medicine Walk (Wagamese) PB
Format: Paperback
  • By the celebrated author of Canada Reads Finalist Indian Horse, a stunning new novel that has all the timeless qualities of a classic, as it tells the universal story of a father/son struggle in a fresh, utterly memorable way, set in dramatic landscape of the BC Interior. For male and female readers equally, for readers of Joseph Boyden, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas King, Russell Banks and general literary.
    Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He's sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they've shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son's duty to a father. He finds Eldon decimated after years of drinking, dying of liver failure in a small town flophouse. Eldon asks his son to take him into the mountains, so he may be buried in the traditional Ojibway manner.
    What ensues is a journey through the rugged and beautiful backcountry, and a journey into the past, as the two men push forward to Eldon's end. From a poverty-stricken childhood, to the Korean War, and later the derelict houses of mill towns, Eldon relates both the desolate moments of his life and a time of redemption and love and in doing so offers Frank a history he has never known, the father he has never had, and a connection to himself he never expected.
    A novel about love, friendship, courage, and the idea that the land has within it powers of healing, Medicine Walk reveals the ultimate goodness of its characters and offers a deeply moving and redemptive conclusion.
    Wagamese's writing soars and his insight and compassion are matched by his gift of communicating these to the reader.

$19.95

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One Story, One Song
Format: Hardcover
  • A new collection of warm, wise and inspiring stories from the author of the bestselling One Native Life.

    Since its publication in 2008, readers and reviewers have embraced Richard Wagamese's One Native Life. In quiet tones and luminous language,wrote the Winnipeg Free Press,Wagamese shares his hurts and joys, inviting readers to find the ways in which they are joined to him and to consider how they might be joined to others.

    In this new book, Richard Wagamese again invites readers to accompany him on his travels. This time, his focus is on stories: how they shape us, how they empower us, how they change our lives. Ancient and contemporary, cultural and spiritual, funny and sad, the tales are grouped according to the four Ojibway storytelling principles: balance, harmony, knowledge and intuition.

    Whether the topic is learning from his grade five teacher about Martin Luther King, gleaning understanding from a wolf track, lighting a fire for the first time without matches or finding the universe in an eagle feather, these stories exhibit the warmth, wisdom and generosity that made One Native Life so popular. As always, in these pages, the land serves as Wagamese' guide. And as always, he finds that true home means not only community but conversation good, straight-hearted talk about important things. We all need to tell our stories, he says. Every voice matters.


$29.95

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Runaway Dreams
Format: Paperback
  • Having developed a large reputation for his many novels and nonfiction works, Richard Wagamese now appears before us as a poet, with a collection of stunning poems ranging over a broad landscape. He begins with an immersion in the immemorial landscape where “the ancient ones stand at your shoulder . . . making you a circle / containing everything.” These are Medicine teachings told from the experience of one who lived and still lives them. He describes his life on the road when he repeatedly ran away at an early age, and the beatings he received when the authorities tried “to beat the Indian right out of me.” Yet even in the most desperate situations, Wagamese shows us Canada as seen through the eyes and soul of a well-worn traveller, with his love of country, his love of people. Through it all, there are poems of love and music, the language sensuous and tender.

$15.95

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The Next Sure Thing
Format: Paperback
  • Cree Thunderboy wants nothing less than to be the next great blues man. But, playing to tiny audiences in shabby rooms like Shelly's Crab Shack, his career is stalled. Then at the race track he meets Win Hardy, a seemingly charming rogue who spots Cree's knack for picking winning horses. He offers to record his first CD and send him on tour, as long as Cree can keep coming up with the hot tips at the track.

    Things are looking good for Cree until he discovers Win's connections to the mob and his violent response to anything that doesn't go his way. And when things inevitably go bad, Cree discovers that in life and in gambling there is never really the next sure thing.

$9.95

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Dream Wheels
Format: Paperback
  • Cowboy lore and First Nations mysticism in this affecting novel about the healing effects of family. In pursuit of a world-champion title, Joe Willie Wolfchild suffers a horrific, career-ending accident while riding a temperamental bull named C-4. His supportive family, longtime rodeo people, whisk him back to their ranch to recuperate. Far from the laconic stereotype, this book is filled with his soaring descriptions of the desert landscape, action- packed rodeo scenes, and reverence for hearth and home which will strike a chord with readers. Ages 15+

$21.00

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For Joshua
Format: Paperback
  • Celebrated Ojibway author shares the traditions and teachings of his people, entwining them with an account of his own life-long struggle for self-knowledge and self-respect.

$19.95

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Him Standing
Traditional Territory: Ojibway
Format: Paperback
  • When Lucas Smoke learns the Ojibway art of carving from his grandfather, he proves to be a natural. He can literally make people come to life in wood. Then Lucas's growing reputation attracts a mysterious stranger, who offers him a large advance to carve a spirit mask.
    This mask is to represent the master, but Lucas must find its face in his dreams. As his dreams become more and more disturbing, he feels himself changing. And the mask takes control of his life. Then a chance encounter with an old woman introduces him to the identity of the master. He is an ancient sorcerer named Him Standing, a powerful and dark wizard. The more Lucas works on the mask, the closer Him Standing comes to emerging from the dream world to walk the earth again. What follows is a race against time and the forces of evil in this supernatural thriller.

$9.95

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Keeper 'N Me
Format: Paperback
  • A mystical novel reflecting a positive view of native life and philosophy, it's about a three-year-old who was taken from his home on an Ojibway reserve and placed in a series of foster homes. Join him as he travels back to the reserve and discovers his sense of place and of self.

$21.00

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One Native Life
Format: Paperback
  • In One Native Life, Wagamese looks back down the road he has travelled in reclaiming his identity and talks about the things he has learned as a human being, a man and an Ojibway in his fifty-two years. Whether he's writing about playing baseball, running away with the circus, attending a sacred bundle ceremony or meeting Pierre Trudeau, he tells these stories in a healing spirit. Through them, he celebrates the learning journey his life has been.

    Suggested Grades: 9-12
    ABPBC

$19.95

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Ragged Company
Format: Paperback
  • Four chronically homeless people–Amelia One Sky, Timber, Double Dick and Digger–seek refuge in a warm movie theatre when a severe Arctic Front descends on the city. During what is supposed to be a one-time event, this temporary refuge transfixes them. They fall in love with this new world, and once the weather clears, continue their trips to the cinema. On one of these outings they meet Granite, a jaded and lonely journalist who has turned his back on writing “the same story over and over again” in favour of the escapist qualities of film, and an unlikely friendship is struck.

    A found cigarette package (contents: some unsmoked cigarettes, three $20 bills, and a lottery ticket) changes the fortune of this struggling set. The ragged company discovers they have won $13.5 million, but none of them can claim the money for lack of proper identification. Enlisting the help of Granite, their lives, and fortunes, become forever changed.

    Ragged Company is a journey into both the future and the past. Richard Wagamese deftly explores the nature of the comforts these friends find in their ideas of “home,” as he reconnects them to their histories.

$21.95

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