Reconciliation Reading Series (#3): “Permanent Astonishment”
Reconciliation Reading Series (#3): “Permanent Astonishment”
Reconciliation Reading Series (#3): “Permanent Astonishment”
Julia Rohan

Reconciliation Reading Series (#3): “Permanent Astonishment”

Regular price $40.00 $0.00

This event series took place in January 2023



“Establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour.” - Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report [2015]. Learn more about Reconciliation on the Indigenous Corporate Training Inc website.

Spiritual Path to Awakening (SPA) is proud to introduce Julia Rohan’s Reconciliation Reading Series, as an opportunity for learning and dialogue related to reconciliation. SPA takes pride in our commitment to making Indigenous Knowledge and Truth and Reconciliation an integral part of our event culture.

The primary focus of the series will be on Indigenous authors from across Turtle Island but may also include books from indigenous allies who use their writing to advocate in solidarity with Indigenous peoples. If you have a novel to suggest, kindly email it to

The third Reconciliation Reading Series will take place over 4-consecutive weeks in January and focus on “Permanent Astonishment: Growing Up Cree in the Land of Snow and Sky” by Tomson Highway, 2021. An utterly riveting memoir, Tomson Highway describes his life that began when he was “born in a snowbank” in the middle of a vast winter wilderness. Like the trickster he so admires, the two-spirited Highway laughs at adversities that would shatter lesser humans. And despite the challenges of residential school and personal losses, he remains defiant and determined to find joy. The full book description and about the author can be found below & on the Penguin Random House Canada website.

As an attendee of the Reconciliation Reading Series, you are responsible for obtaining your own copy of the novel and having the first 78 pages (to end of Chapter 12) read by the first session on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. SPA has created a suggestion list on where to get your copy HERE.

Registered attendees will be provided a digital “Book Study Guide,” developed by the facilitator, by email ahead of the first session. Upon registering, you will be prompted to download a digital document that contains all the event details. Please email if you have difficulty downloading the pdf.

Reconciliation Reading Series (#3): “Permanent Astonishment: Growing Up Cree in the Land of Snow and Sky” by Tomson Highway 

Weekly: Tuesday, January 10, 2023 - Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Downtown Abbotsford, Conference Room B, Trinity Memorial United Church 

1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. (each week)

$40.00 (total for the full 4-week series)

This event is open to all members of the community. Space is limited, please pre-register on the SPA website to reserve your spot. The first attendee to register will receive an Indigenous artwork tote bag, purchased locally from The Book Man.

Trinity Memorial United Church is located at 33737 George Ferguson Way in downtown Abbotsford, BC. V2S 2M4. Free parking is available onsite (in the church parking lot) for event attendees. The event will take place in “Conference Room B,” located on the upper level of the church. Entry points: the office’s entrance if you’re comfortable with stairs or accessible entry via the sanctuary. Both entry points are located off Trinity Street. 

By attending this event, you consent to you and your party (if applicable) potentially having your photo taken. The photos may be shared on the website and/or social media accounts for Spiritual Path to Awakening and the event facilitator.

By registering for this event, you also agree to SPA's Event Ticket Cancellation Policy, downloadable HERE.  

Kindly note, there is no outside food permitted at SPA events. 


Julia Rohan is an author, singer-songwriter and visual artist. A graduate of the Honours English Literature program (with Distinction) at Concordia University in Montreal, she has since self-published a fantasy trilogy (“The Weaverworld Trilogy”) and produced two CDs of original music. In 2002 she was a runner-up in the CBC-QWF short story contest. 

Since moving to BC in 2018, she has published two more books. One is a work of local history entitled “The Trethewey Women: 1800-1900”, available through Heritage Abbotsford Society. The other, a book of quotes, poems, prayers, photographs and lyrics by various contributors, is available from the author and at local retailers. Titled “Everyday Inspirations”, it includes her own work as well as that of friends and famous writers throughout the centuries. 

Julia has been twice nominated for the Abby Award given out annually by the Abbotsford Arts Society – once in 2019 and again in 2020. She is currently at work on a book regarding certain women in the Bible. She and her husband, retired architect Ted Yudelson, enjoy sharing their passions with others – and Reconciliation is high on their list of priorities.




Capricious, big-hearted, joyful: an epic memoir from one of Canada’s most acclaimed Indigenous writers and performers.

Tomson Highway was born in a snowbank on an island in the sub-Arctic, the eleventh of twelve children in a nomadic, caribou-hunting Cree family. Growing up in a land of ten thousand lakes and islands, Tomson relished being pulled by dogsled beneath a night sky alive with stars, sucking the juices from roasted muskrat tails, and singing country music songs with his impossibly beautiful older sister and her teenaged friends. Surrounded by the love of his family and the vast, mesmerizing landscape they called home, his was in many ways an idyllic far-north childhood. But five of Tomson's siblings died in childhood, and Balazee and Joe Highway, who loved their surviving children profoundly, wanted their two youngest sons, Tomson and Rene, to enjoy opportunities as big as the world. And so when Tomson was six, he was flown south by float plane to attend a residential school. A year later Rene joined him to begin the rest of their education. In 1990 Rene Highway, a world-renowned dancer, died of an AIDS-related illness.

Permanent Astonishment is Tomson's extravagant embrace of his younger brother's final words: "Don't mourn me, be joyful." His memoir offers insights, both hilarious and profound, into the Cree experience of culture, conquest, and survival. 

From Penguin Random House Canada



TOMSON HIGHWAY is best-known for the plays The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, as well as the best-selling novel Kiss of the Fur Queen. He divides his year between Gatineau, Quebec and Naples, Italy.

From Penguin Random House Canada

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