North Wind Man
$24.95 CAD / $23.95 USD
Paperback, 241 pages, plus foreword and introduction
Book Launch: January 26, 2023
Online Release: January 31, 2023
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.
Clarence Cachagee originates from Chapleau Cree First Nation and calls the Waterloo Region his home. He has an undeniable spirit for change. With a primary focus on working with the Spirit within, he is a helper, visionary and author who is known for investing his whole self into his community. Clarence has worked for a variety of social service organizations in the field of homelessness, supportive housing, and education, with a focus on supporting Indigenous communities. Most recently, Clarence initiated Crow Shield Lodge, a non-profit Indigenous organization, and now works as the Executive Director, focusing on land-based healing and teaching for all nations.
Seth Ratzlaff is an emerging writer based in Kitchener, Ontario. He was born in the Niagara Region to Mennonite parents. Seth holds an undergraduate degree in English Rhetoric and a Master of Peace and Conflict Studies degree, both from the University of Waterloo. With a passion for storytelling and local history, he has been involved in a variety of grassroots initiatives, often focused on writing and the arts. Seth has experience in the fields of education and social support. He is now self-employed.
North Wind Man was a powerful reminder about identity, self-discovery, healing and recovery. It is the journey of a Cree man re-connecting with his Indigenous identity, of overcoming struggles with inner demons, and using his healing path to help others.
For those intent on understanding the ups and downs of the walk to sobriety and healing, this is a must read. It contains words from his ancestors and words from his soul! It takes time to read, and is hard-core humanity revealed throughout! I loved it!
—Mary Anne Caibaiosai, Ojibwe Anishnaabe Artist
In learning about the journey that North Wind Man has travelled, I’m grateful for his willingness to share sacred moments with his mind, body and spirt. He eloquently adds quotes throughout the book that make me feel closer to his stories.
The trail from addiction to embracing the honorable gifts that he possesses will inspire many for generations to come.
North Wind Man’s compelling story is medicine for those seeking a road to reconciliation.
—Myeengun Henry, Former Chief of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, University of Waterloo, Traditional medicine and ceremony conductor
Clarence is a helper, visionary, teacher, and brilliant story-teller. Clarence’s story of hope and resilience, reminds us that to be broken is ordinary.
In sharing his very personal journey, we learn the power of community, culture, and connectedness as the foundation of change.
An exceptional book written by a beautiful person.
—John Neufeld, Executive Director, House of Friendship
I held North Wind Man with reverence for the sacred story held within. I was left with a deep respect for the resilience of Clarence Cachagee and all those who have the bravery to share their own story and sing their own song. I admire Clarence’s strength to take the road to find himself. I met Clarence at various turning points along this incredible path and it has been an honour to witness this powerful transformation of intergenerational hurt to wholeness.
It is courageous of Clarence to name the anguish and shame that he endured: in prison, in a broken marriage, in addiction and abandonment. All this to numb the pain of dislocation from the anchor of belonging.
I believe Seth and Clarence have created a book that distills a complex and substantial subject into the particularity of the life of one man who took the journey to find his way home to himself.
Clarence walks with his scars making him an essential helper, healer, speaker and authentic presence in his community. He is a gift for all of us. Clarence who lost himself because of historical trauma has been restored to life and bears witness to the healing and hope that is possible.
This book will be an asset for anyone seeking guidance on their own healing journey and for those of us seeking insight into the indigenous experience in our day.
—Margaret Nally, Spiritual Director, Community Ministry