Canku Ota Logo
Canku Ota
Canku Ota Logo
(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
pictograph divider
Writer Invites Readers Inside His Midnight Sweatlodge
by Charlene Peck Cottage Country Now

In a remote corner of the Wasauksing First Nation community, Waubgeshig Rice developed a passion for story telling at an early age.

”I’ve always enjoyed writing short stories and part of it was due to my upbringing on Wasauksing and a lot of the traditional stories I heard from my grandmother and my aunts and my uncles,” he says.

To pass the time and challenge himself creatively, the Rice would write fictional stories about depression, alcohol and drug abuse, identity confusion and other struggles of aboriginal youth in Canada today, loosely based on some of Rice’s own experiences and those of friends and family on Wasauksing.

The short stories accumulated into a collection that sat dormant for more than a decade, until he received a Canada Arts Council grant in 2004 to develop the work into a book. Through a sweatlodge-style narrative and setting Rice has tied the best four of his short stories into a fluent 90-page collection entitled Midnight Sweatlodge, published in June 2011 by Theytus Books.

On October 21, he invites friends, family, former classmates, and book lovers to join him at the Charles W. Stockey Centre as he reads from his fiction debut.

Response to the book has been good so far and he’s been asked to do readings across the country.

“There’s an appetite for stories like this, which is really encouraging,” he says.

Each of the stories is centered on an issue or a theme that is unique to being a young aboriginal person.

“It explores things like identity crisis, cultural reclamation, depression, substance abuse, isolation,” explains Rice, now 32. “That’s why I wanted to get the book out there – to highlight some of the unique challenges young people face as various aboriginal groups in this country.”

In addition to his reading at the Stockey Centre, Rice is hoping to organize a presentation or workshop at the high school.

Although Rice left Wasauksing First Nation as a 19-year-old university-bound student 13 years ago, the local reading is a special stop on his book launch tour in Canada.

“I drew inspiration from a lot of the people around here in writing the stories,” he explains. “The setting is very unique. I don’t identify the communities in Midnight Sweatlodge as

Wasauksing but they’re very similar geographic make-up here. And of course, most of my support comes from Wasauksing and Parry Sound communities.”

He believes the book will appeal to a diverse audience of readers.

“I wrote it with youth in mind,” he explains. “So I hope readers in the younger demographics really relate to it or take something away from it – anybody in their teens up to their late twenties. But I also wanted to showcase what some of these unique challenges are to non-native people too. So I hope it gives people just a little glimpse into what life may be like in some aboriginal communities in Canada.”

He describes it as and “eye-opener” explaining that creating awareness was a goal.

pictograph divider
Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us
Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us
pictograph divider
  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  
Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 of Vicki Barry and Paul Barry.
Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo
The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 of Paul C. Barry.
All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!