THE BOOKS

Seven Sacred Truths presents a powerful exploration of an Indigenous woman's healing journey. Seeing the world through "brown" eyes, poet Wanda John-Kehewin makes new meaning of the past, present, and future through a consideration of Love, Wisdom, Truth, Honesty, Respect, Humility, and Courage. By sharing her views on these Seven Sacred Truths and what they meant to her growing up, John-Kehewin instigates a therapeutic process of restoration and transformation. Her Seven Sacred Truths uncovers new meaning in the written word – meaning that can be shared with others who have lived trauma or who want insight into it. John-Kehewin strives to create a safe space and provide the opportunity to experience another perspective; she invites readers to embark on their own healing journeys. The closer you are to the truth, she writes, the freer you become.

Wanda John-Kehewin uses writing as a therapeutic medium to understand and respond to the near-decimation of First Nations cultures and traditions. Recipient of the World Poetry Foundation's Empowered Poet Award for her first collection, In the Dog House. (From Talonbooks) 

In the Dog House
By Wanda John-Kehewin

 

In her first idiom-shattering book of poetry, Wanda John-Kehewin endeavors to “speak her truth,” combining elements of First Nations oral tradition with a style of dramatic narrative that originates from the earliest traditions of cultural storytelling and also keeps pace with the rhythmical undulations of Canadian poets such as James Reaney and E.J. Pratt.

However, in a contemporary setting, the magniloquent narrative of nation-building has given way to fragmentary and reflexive self- examination that is inextricably bound to a history of colonization, the residual effects of which are buried deep within silent sufferers. Divided into four aspects of the Medicine Wheel – one of many stone structures scattered across the Alberta Plains – this collection calls for us to acknowledge the blatant neglect of quality of life on Native reserves and to explore ameliorative processes of restorative justice.

In emotive and yet wryly unsentimental tones, John-Kehewin lends her voice to many forms of suffering that surround enforced loss of culture, addressing topics such as alcohol addiction, familial abandonment, religious authority, sexual abuse, and the pain of mourning for loved ones. John-Kehewin does not spare herself when relating her own stories, even as she tells the stories of others that are so like her own, admonishing humanity for its lack of conscience in poems that journey from the turmoil of the Gaza Strip to rapidly dissolving ice floes …

Wanda John-Kehewin is, as she describes herself, “a First Nations woman searching for the truth and a way to be set free from the past” – shoving aside that lingering sense of shame and stigma – taking the reader on a healing journey that reveals language to be an elusive creature indeed and one that gives new definition to what being “in the dog house” could be, if we as human beings listen carefully and learn to remedy our misunderstandings

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