Jesse Wente faces Canada's history, flawed notion of reconciliation in upcoming book

TORONTO — Indigenous writer Jesse Wente will challenge the notion of reconciliation in a new book described as "part memoir, part manifesto."

The Ojibwe broadcaster and public speaker says "Unreconciled: Family, Truth and Indigenous Resistance" will be released by Penguin Random House Canada later this year.

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The book explores Wente’s fascination with the crossroads of Indigenous representation and popular culture while sparking conversation on "the lies Canada tells itself" about its history.

An outline for "Unreconciled" says Wente asserts that peace between First Nations and Canada can’t be recovered through reconciliation because no such relationship ever existed.

The Toronto-raised writer also opens up about his childhood, being raised by an American father and an Anishinaabe mother. He recounts his grandmother’s experience at a residential school and his racial profiling by police.

Wente is a prominent advocate for an increased presence of Indigenous voices in Canada's cultural landscape. He was appointed chairman of the Canada Council for the Arts last year, andis executive director of the Indigenous Screen Office. He previously worked for the Toronto International Film Festival and as a CBC Radio columnist.

The publisher describes the book as "a stirring call to arms to put truth over the flawed concept of reconciliation" with an eye towards building "a new, respectful relationship between the nation of Canada and Indigenous peoples."

"Unreconciled" is due to arrive Sept. 21.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.

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