Voice on the Water Great Lakes Native America Now
Author: Kenn Pitawanakwat
Publish: January 1, 2011
Publisher: NMU Press

Art, poetry, stories representing the different Indian tribes of Michigan. 252 pages.

Grace Chaillier (Editor), Rebecca Tavernini (Editor), Lois Beardslee (Foreword)


Author Details:

Kenn Pitawanakwat is a reserved storyteller.

Kenn published his first poem at fifteen entitled “Oh Great Spirit.” The thoughts express the innate desire of journey and escape from the present and back to the author's history, culture, and community. Kenn tells the story of praying for a pen with an exact and textured grip and telling his grandparents to buy it for him on their long journey from the white-washed log cabin reserve farm to some far-off exotic city Kenn could only imagine – Sudbury. Kenn had been inspired by his grandparents’ stories of old and oratorical skills, and uncle who had a book or two on Judo.
Many visitors would visit the old farm, the last one to reach by horse and sleigh or wagon to politely ask his grandpa to decipher foreign letters (English) into Odawa or the Nishinaabe language. It was here that Kenn absorbed the banter of millennia old language and thought and shaped his desire to scribe. O Great Spirit survives today thanks to one teacher – and the creator of the worlds, who got him published. Kenn is the first and only one from his family to finish high school where he discovered talent for art, and an Honours Baccalaureate where writing came naturally, and a Master’s in Individualized Studies where again the encouragement to write and publish gained momentum.

Kenn resides in two worlds. One in Greater Sudbury and the other on the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island. Kenn remembers trying to find pen pals as a child. Little did one know it was a deep innate desire to write and express friendship. Eager to work with and associate with other writers Kenn chose the Sudbury Writers' Guild, as it was close to home and the entry fee was cheap. The pandemic cut the momentum soon after Kenn’s arrival. Now that the pandemic is seemingly on retreat, Kenn looks forward to breathing the same air as respected story tellers from the Sudbury Writers' Guild. Listening to great stories from experienced authors is the fruit that keeps Kenn intrigued.

My goal is to write a best-seller. Fiction, novel, etcetera. Like my sporadic attendance at group events, Kenn’s writing reflects the pattern. Here, there, not here, and back and start over, then go for a nap describes Kenn’s approach to writing. The best time for writing is from approximately three (3:00) AM.