“The most profound truth in the universe is this: that we are all one drum and we need each other.” —Richard Wagamese, One Drum
Fans of Richard Wagamese’s writing will be heartened by the news that the bestselling author left behind a manuscript he’d been working on until shortly before his death in 2017. One Drum welcomes readers to unite in ceremony to heal themselves and bring harmony to their lives and communities.
In One Drum, Wagamese wrote, “I am not a shaman. Nor am I an elder, a pipe carrier, or a celebrated traditionalist. I am merely one who has trudged the same path many of this human family has—the path of the seeker, called forward by a yearning I have not always understood.”
One Drum draws from the foundational teachings of Ojibway tradition, the Grandfather Teachings. Focusing specifically on the lessons of humility, respect and courage, the volume contains simple ceremonies that anyone anywhere can do, alone or in a group, to foster harmony and connection. Wagamese believed that there is a shaman in each of us, and we are all teachers and in the world of the spirit there is no right way or wrong way.
Writing of neglect, abuse and loss of identity, Wagamese recalled living on the street, going to jail, drinking too much, feeling rootless and afraid, and then the feeling of hope he gained from connecting with the spiritual ways of his people. He expressed the belief that ceremony has the power to unify and to heal for people of all backgrounds. “When that happens,” he wrote, “we truly become one song and one drum beating together in a common purpose—and we are on the path to being healed.”
About the author
Richard Wagamese (1955–2017), an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario, was recognized as one of Canada's foremost First Nations authors and storytellers. His debut novel, Keeper 'n Me, came out in 1994 and won the Alberta Writers Guild's Best Novel Award. In 1991, he became the first Indigenous writer to win a National Newspaper Award for column writing. He twice won the Native American Press Association Award for his journalism and received the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for his 2011 memoir One Story, One Song. In 2012, he was honoured with the Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media and Communications, and in 2013 he received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize. In 2015, he won the Matt Cohen Award, a recognition given out by the Writers' Trust of Canada that honours writers who have dedicated their entire professional lives to the pursuit of writing. In total, he authored fifteen books including Indian Horse (2012), the 2013 People's Choice winner in CBC's Canada Reads competition, and his final book, a collection of Ojibway meditations, Embers (2016), received the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award.
“One Drum is the perfect reading companion to witness the stories, principles and ceremonies Richard Wagamese believed in, and took to for strength and renewal as one of Canada’s most beloved authors. These were the places Wagamese went to compose his literary masterpieces … One Drum is a field of medicines for everyone. Mahsi cho.”
Richard Van Camp, author
“The many readers who have been moved and instructed by this author’s luminously beautiful, intelligent and clear-eyed fiction will find in One Drum evidence of the teachings and ceremonies that allowed him to survive and create … Wagamese died too soon, but before he died he created a legacy for his readers. His earlier works will sustain his well-deserved reputation, and anyone who loves this author’s work will welcome this final volume, which provides a look behind the finished works to the spiritual and emotional disciplines that supported his writing … Highly recommended.”
“One Drum is one of the most moving, powerful, and profoundly spiritual books that I’ve ever read. I feel honored to have found this beautiful gem.”
Susan Miller, Seattle Book Review