Originally from Onigaming First Nation in northwestern Ontario, Wabanakwut (Wab) Kinew moved with his family to Winnipeg as a child. A journalist, author, hip-hop artist, producer, media personality and university administrator, Wab was hailed by the National Post as “an aboriginal leader seeking to engage with Canadians at large.”
He proudly serves as the MLA for Fort Rouge and was elected Leader of the Manitoba NDP on September 16, 2017.
Wab's career in the media began when a CBC producer noticed a letter to the editor he had sent in about Team Canada hockey and invited him to adapt it into a radio piece.
As an on-air host on CBC Radio and Television and a correspondent for Al Jazeera English, Wab strived to bring local, national and international attention to social justice issues. In 2012, he hosted CBC's award-winning “8th Fire” documentary series, which challenged Canadian stereotypes of Indigenous people and laid out a path to reconciliation.
In 2015 Wab published his first book, “The Reason You Walk,” which recounts his relationship with his father, a survivor of the residential school system. The book was a national Number 1 bestseller. In 2018, Wab published a children’s book called “Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes,” which shares the stories of notable Indigenous people throughout history. Wab is also an award-winning musician. His 2009 album “Live By the Drum” won an Aboriginal People's Choice Music Award.
In 2011, the University of Winnipeg named Wab as its first Director of Indigenous Inclusion. He was the Associate Vice-President for Indigenous Relations at the University of Winnipeg from 2014 to 2016. Wab is also an Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Wab holds a B.A. in Economics and a master’s degree in Indigenous Governance from the University of Winnipeg. He also has an honourary doctorate from Cape Breton University.
Wab and his wife Lisa, a physician, welcomed a baby boy in 2018. Wab also has two teenage sons, Dominik and Bezhigo. Wab spends his free time playing outdoor hockey and trying out new recipes.