As someone with no native roots, I wasn’t exactly sure of what to expect when reading Without Reservation. While I have always had an affinity to indigenous beliefs and culture, I always felt like I had to keep a slight distance as I cannot claim it for my own. The author Randy Kritkausky writes in a way to include all who are interested. He begins with his own powerful story into Native American connections. He grew up “off reservation”, and we get to tag along on his journey with his own ties to his Potawatomi tribe. What I came to learn after reading is that even as a non-native, we too can experience ancestral connections as well as communicating with the natural world without overstepping any boundaries or shame. This spirituality is available to all.

Reading the authors story of his awakening brought me to tears. He offers an intimate moment of his mother’s passing and the loss, and yet during this sad time he also reconnects with his ancestral traditions and begins his own awakening. His storytelling voice is gentle and I truly felt like I was sitting near a campfire listening to his tale. The loss of his mother bears an uncanny parallel to the lost connection with mother Earth.

Kritkausky shares that before his awakening he grew up in a middle class white suburban neighborhood that was most likely built over an Indian burial ground. His childhood was not filled with his native background or history. It is not until later that he begin the journey that deepens his connection to his native history.

The story of Coy-Wolf (coyote wolf) was one of my favorite parts to read and gives the reader insight into the author. I won’t spoil it here in the review, but I do recommend checking it out!

The authors spiritual awakening and incredible storytelling allows the reader to connect and see the world in a new light. While the book is mostly following along his journey, it does open up the readers mind on how they too can reconnect to mother Earth, our ancestors and nature that is all around us. No matter what your family history entails, I highly recommend this book for everyone.

~review by Amber Barnes

Author: Randy Kritkausky
Bear & Company, 2020
pp. 288, $20.00