Namwayut – A Pathway to Reconciliation

“Reconciliation has given me a gift, and therefore I want to give my own gift back to the world.”

I have written a book called Namwayut. In the Kwak’wala language, this word conveys the deep understanding that we are all one. One common humanity. One connected whole. 

In this book, I share my own journey from childhood surviving residential school to who I have become today. 

In telling my own story, I expose my deepest vulnerabilities for a reason. I have felt succumbed to the darkness of trauma that many of us may feel, and I was able to rise above it. And so can anyone else who has emerged from trauma. And for the good people who just want to live reconciled lives, I hope that when they hear my story, they understand.

It is you, reading these words, who give me hope. It is you who give me inspiration. As you read my own story, as I hope you will, you are witnessing me, and, in turn, opening yourself up to be witnessed. 

As we move forward, day after day, engaging with each other, we learn more about each other. 

And that’s all it takes to start a journey of reconciliation. 

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About this Book

In this book, Chief Robert Joseph traces his journey from his childhood surviving residential school to his present-day leadership journey bringing individual hope, collective change, and global transformation.

Before we get to know where we are going, we need to know where we came from. Reconciliation represents a long way forward, but it is a pathway toward our higher humanity, our highest selves, and an understanding that everybody matters. In this moving and inspiring book, Chief Joseph teaches us to transform our relationships with ourselves and each other.

“As we learn about, honor, and respect the truth of the stories we tell ourselves and each other, we can also discover how to dismantle the walls of discrimination, hatred, and racism in our society.”

Chief Joseph is recognized as one of the leading voices on peace-building in our time, with his dedication to reconciliation recognized with multiple honorary degrees and awards. A Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk people and one of the remaining first-language speakers of Kwak’wala, his wisdom is grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing while making space for something bigger, better for all of us. 

Our common humanity is what we all share. No matter how long or difficult the path ahead, we are all one.

About Chief Robert Joseph

Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, OBC, OC is a Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk people, Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, Chair of the Native American Leadership Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation, and the 2016 winner of the Indspire Lifetime Achievement Award. He has worked with social change leaders around the globe, including South Africa, Israel, Japan, and the US, was Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, and is an honorary witness to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.