For Joshua

An Ojibway Father Teaches His Son

Publisher: Anchor Canada
Celebrated Ojibway author Richard Wagamese 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.

Richard Wagamese stares the modern world in the eye and takes careful note of its snares and perils. He sees people coveting without knowing why, people looking for roots without understanding what might constitute rootedness, people looking for acceptance without offering reciprocal respect, and people longing for love without knowing how to offer it. And underneath all lurks the seductive oblivion of substance abuse. These are the pitfalls of his own life, dangers he hopes his estranged son, Joshua, will be able to navigate with the guidance afforded by this heartfelt memoir.

Richard Wagamese has no easy answers. His road to self-knowledge has been long and treacherous -- and it is in part this series of trials that has furnished him if not with a complete set of answers then at least a profound understanding of the questions. Again and again Wagamese brings universal problems into astonishingly sharp focus by sharing the special wisdom of Canada’s First Nations, while reminding us that we are not so different after all.

From the Hardcover edition.


I was created to be Anishanabe-niini -- Indian Man. Thus, I was born Ojibway. I emerged onto Mother Earth as a human being gifted with this identity -- male Ojibway human being. Since 1955, learning to be who I was created to be has been my journey, my trial, my ongoing process of creation.

This thing we call...
Read More


“[For Joshua] is revealing, open, and tragic. It is also a remarkably touching and well-written journey.” -- The Globe and Mail

“I hope that when Joshua does eventually read this book, he has the maturity to appreciate his father’s act of bravery, and to learn from it. For the rest of us, For Joshua is a fascinating and moving portrayal of one man’s search for his heritage, his true place in the world, and in the process, his discovery of himself.” -- Hamilton Spectator

“This well-written and perceptive book shows that it is possible for aboriginal people -- for any person -- to get back from there to here.” -- Quill & Quire

"Graceful and reverberating... A harrowing life story but also a ceremony, a gathering of traditional knowledge, and a love letter across the generations, For Joshua is a book we need, a book we can all treasure. Every page is infused with such tenderness and emotional intensity that I was shocked again and again with the thought: this is the true strength and reach and burden of love." -- Warren Cariou, author of Lake of the Prairies