I have been waiting for the perfect moment to write about this guy. I have never met him in person, so I cannot say that I know him personally, but what I can say is that he is someone I look up to regardless of knowing him or not. Wab is now the new leader of the NDP in Manitoba. I don’t have a particular party that I reserve for my votes, rather I choose to take a look at the person as an individual before submitting a ballot. I can say that if he was ever in my riding, he would certainly get my vote, and if he ever runs for Prime Minister ( which I hope he does), I will certainly vote for the party he is running for. He deserved every bit to win the race for leader, especially against an opponent who was more focused on using the past in attempts to determine the outcome of the present; Wab could have certainly used the past as well to bolster his attempts to win the favour of the party though chose the higher road, and it paid off. Anyways, enough about politics, that’s not even the reason I like this guy so much.
I like this guy because he is endearing to people from all walks of life, but especially to Indigenous people all over our country, and I really like that. He also used to be a rapper, which seems hilarious looking at where he is now, but makes complete sense knowing that great rappers or artists in the hip hop scene are often quick witted and extremely intelligent people. I like that. He also worked for the CBC and did great things for them and for the people of this country in bringing informed and real information about the history of Indigenous people and Canada to the forefront in the 8th Fire series. I like that.
Wab is also an author, and if you have not picked up his book to read it yet, I strongly suggest you do. It is entitled ” The Reason You Walk” and it is a great read. I am about to pick it up for the second time because I think I need a recharge and I feel this book is good for ones soul.
The biggest reason I like Wab is because he is himself; or rather trying to be the best version of himself. I like that he is well spoken, I like that he is educated, and I really like that he is an advocate for Indigenous people, especially young Indigenous people. I enjoy listening to him speak about Indigenous issues because I never feel as though he is blaming people (like myself) for oppression, assimilation, and genocide of Indigenous people over the past several centuries; rather he is demanding that we become educated on Indigenous people and become part of the solution in the present that is equality, equity, truth and reconciliation. He identifies that together all of our people in this country are better, better united than divided and better as people who truly know and understand one another and celebrate our similarities as well as our differences. And don’t get me wrong, when he needs to put ignorant people in their place, I will certainly like that too.
I like that Wab is the guy out in his community, that he is a family man, that he is the everyday guy as well. That is very endearing to me. I like that he is a role model for young Indigenous kids wherever they are located in Manitoba, and hopefully around the country as well. He is a person in the public spotlight who kids see as a younger, non robotic political figure, who is real and honest and engaging. Kids on the rez can see this young man and say “I want to do that and I can do that”. Seeing positive Indigenous role models in the media or in person can alter young Indigenous lives for the better, at least in my opinion; and these positive people and stories of Indigenous people need to replace the negative stories that always seem to grab the headline or spotlight. Wab I feel gives people hope, and yeah you guessed it, I like that.
I could go on and on about this dude and I’m not even the most informed about him as whole, all that I know is that he is out in the communities, both south and north, and he’s a younger voice that this province and country certainly needs. Sometimes when you meet people in person that you have looked up to they may not meet your expectations, however, I feel like if I ever get the chance to meet this guy that will not be the case.
Sometimes your heroes are people you have never met in real life, hopefully one day I can meet him and let him know that as a white man of around the same age, that I look up to him, respect him and stand together with him as an ally for Indigenous people and for truth and reconciliation.
Thanks for being a solid person, using ones voice, and being the hero this country needs.
I’m with Wab for PM.