26@26: Drew Hayden Taylor & Jesse Wente

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Series Pass $89
Single Ticket $15
@ - MT
Single Ticket: Nov 16 Drew Hayden Taylor & Jesse Wente
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26@26 Series Pass
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Jesse Wente maintains that reconciliation will never be a realistic path forward – storytelling in all its forms is one of Indigenous peoples’ best weapons in the fight to reclaim their rightful place.  Drew Hayden Taylor called upon Indigenous writers, elders, and youth to envision a future that is jolting in the very best sense. Leave the clichés and settler comfort zones behind. Listen instead as these generous writers explore the bracing rethinks that fuel two of fall 2021's most anticipated memoirs and anthologies.

The one-hour livestream event on Wordfest.com starts at 7:00 PM MT and will be hosted by Zain Velji. (The pre-show begins at 6:50 PM.) The day after the show, we'll email you our unique Digital Doggie Bag, featuring links and extras sparked by the conversation. 

Can't watch live? Want to rewatch? Purchasing the 26@26 series pass or a single ticket gives you exclusive access to this show on demand until midnight on April 30, 2022. 

We’re grateful to Douglas & McIntyre and Penguin Random House Canada for making it possible for us to connect you with these authors.

About Drew Hayden Taylor

Drew Hayden Taylor is an award-winning playwright, novelist, scriptwriter, and journalist. He was born and raised on the Curve Lake First Nation in Central Ontario. Taylor has authored more than 30 books, including The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel, and Motorcycles and Sweetgrass; he also edited Me FunnyMe Sexy, and Me Artsy. Taylor has been nominated for two Governor General's Literary Awards and three Gemini Awards. Accolades by his peers include the Floyd S. Chalmers Award, the Dora Mavor Moore Award, and the Canadian Author's Literary Award. He lives in Toronto.

Visit him at drewhaydentaylor.com or follow him on Twitter @theDHTaylor.

About Me Tomorrow: Indigenous Views on the Future

First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists, activists, educators, and writers, youth and elders come together to envision Indigenous futures in Canada and around the world.

Discussing everything from language renewal to sci-fi, this collection is a powerful and important expression of imagination rooted in social critique, cultural experience, traditional knowledge, activism, and the multifaceted experiences of Indigenous people on Turtle Island. In Me Tomorrow: Darrel J. McLeod, Cree author from Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta, blends the four elements of the Indigenous cosmovision with the four directions of the medicine wheel to create a prayer for the power, strength, and resilience of Indigenous peoples; Autumn Peltier, Anishinaabe water-rights activist, tells the origin story of her present and future career in advocacy and how the nine months she spent in her mother’s womb formed her first water teaching; and Lee Maracle, acclaimed Stó:lō Nation author and educator, reflects on cultural revival imagining a future a century from now in which Indigenous people are more united than ever before. Other essayists include Cyndy and Makwa Baskin, Norma Dunning, Shalan Joudry, Shelley Knott-Fife, Tracie Léost, Stephanie Peltier, Romeo Saganash, Drew Hayden Taylor, and Raymond Yakeleya.

For readers who want to imagine the future, and to cultivate a better one, Me Tomorrow is a journey through the visions generously offered by a diverse group of Indigenous thinkers.

About Jesse Wente

Jesse Wente is an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster, and arts leader. Born and raised in Toronto, his family comes from Chicago and Genaabaajing Anishinaabek and he is a member of the Serpent River First Nation. Best known for more than two decades spent as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, he also worked at the Toronto International Film Festival for 11 years. In February 2018, he was named the first Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office. Wente was appointed Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts in 2020, the only First Nations person to hold the position.

Follow him on Twitter @jessewente and Instagram @jesse.wente.

About Unreconciled

Unreconciled is one hell of a good book. Jesse Wente’s narrative moves effortlessly from the personal to the historical to the contemporary. Very powerful, and a joy to read.” Thomas King, author of The Inconvenient Indian and Sufferance

A prominent Indigenous voice uncovers the lies and myths that affect relations between white and Indigenous peoples and the power of narrative to emphasize truth over comfort.

Part memoir and part manifesto, Unreconciled is a stirring call to arms to put truth over the flawed concept of reconciliation, and to build a new, respectful relationship between the nation of Canada and Indigenous peoples.

Jesse Wente remembers the exact moment he realized that he was a certain kind of Indian – a stereotypical cartoon Indian. He was playing softball as a child when the opposing team began to war-whoop when he was at bat. It was just one of many incidents that formed Wente’s understanding of what it means to be a modern Indigenous person in a society still overwhelmingly colonial in its attitudes and institutions.

As the child of an American father and an Anishinaabe mother, Wente grew up in Toronto with frequent visits to the reserve where his maternal relations lived. By exploring his family’s history, including his grandmother’s experience in residential school, and citing his own frequent incidents of racial profiling by police who’d stop him on the streets, Wente unpacks the discrepancies between his personal identity and how non-Indigenous people view him. 

Wente analyzes and gives voice to the differences between Hollywood portrayals of Indigenous peoples and lived culture. Through the lens of art, pop culture, and personal stories, and with disarming humour, he links his love of baseball and movies to such issues as cultural appropriation, Indigenous representation and identity, and Indigenous narrative sovereignty. Indeed, he argues that storytelling in all its forms is one of Indigenous peoples’ best weapons in the fight to reclaim their rightful place.

Wente explores and exposes the lies that Canada tells itself, unravels “the two founding nations” myth, and insists that the notion of “reconciliation” is not a realistic path forward. Peace between First Nations and the state of Canada can’t be recovered through reconciliation – because no such relationship ever existed.

About Host Zain Velji

Zain Velji is Partner and VP Strategy for Northweather, working with both companies and non-profits, as well as political campaigns. He was campaign manager for Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s 2017 run and worked on the campaigns for US Senator Elizabeth Warren and US President Barack Obama. Velji is the host of the award-winning podcast “The Strategists”, where he dissects political strategy and public affairs issues, and his writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post. He is a frequent public speaker and regular political commentator on CBC radio and television and co-hosted the 2019 federal election for CTV.


  • Jesse Wente faces Canada's history, flawed notion of reconciliation in upcoming book Toronto Star
  • 2021 Indspire Awards recipient Drew Hayden Taylor talks about how he wrote the novel Motorcyles & Sweetgrass The Next Chapter

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