North Wind Man is a co-authored biography in which Clarence Cachagee courageously shares his challenging and inspiring path to becoming a helper and leader in his community - a multi-generational healing journey that reveals cycles of trauma and oppression, beauty and resilience.
After being displaced into foster care as a young child, and raised by a Mennonite family, Cachagee struggled for years with addictions and homelessness, until he embarked on a new path by reconnecting with his Indigenous culture and accepting the support of his community. Along with Clarence's storytelling voice, the book includes interviews with family members, social workers, and community leaders, and integrates local history of the Waterloo Region and Chapleau Cree First Nation. It also includes the voice of Cachagee's late father, also named Clarence Cachagee, recorded during an interview in 1991 about his experience in Canada's Residential School System. Co-written with Seth Ratzlaff, an emerging Mennonite writer and friend of Cachagee, the book's co-authorship is guided by a spirit of friendship, equality, and respect.
In this insightful biography, Cachagee thoughtfully and graciously recounts a life haunted by unanswered questions and unaddressed trauma, revealing the challenges he experienced as a Cree man of mixed heritage displaced into the Sixties Scoop in colonial Canadian society. Not afraid to disclose the dark periods in life, Cachagee also identifies the beauty throughout, illustrating how cultural teachings, spiritual practice, and the embrace of community can lead to finding one's voice and becoming a helper.