From the acclaimed author of Keeper'n Me and For Joshua , Dream Wheels is a vital and unsparing novel from one of the most fascinating voices in Canadian writing. Joe Willie Wolfchild is on the verge of becoming a World Champion rodeo cowboy when a legendary bull cripples him. At the same time, in the same city, Claire Hartley is brutally assaulted and her 14-year-old son, Aiden, is critically injured during a burglary. The young Ojibway-Sioux man, the black single mother and her mulatto son find their lives irrevocably changed. Joe Willie, a rodeo cowboy since he was a child, smolders in angry silence over a deformed left arm and a limp that make it impossible for him to compete. Claire, a victim of numerous bad relationships, withdraws from men and swears a bitter celibacy. Aiden gains notoriety among his criminal peers and slips into a self-destructive spiral of drugs and violence. Eager to find a place for her son to channel his explosive energies, Claire brings Aiden to a rodeo camp run by the Wolfchild family, where he is drawn to bull riding and proves to be a stunning natural. But Joe Willie refuses to have anything to do with the camp, remaining an aloof, mysterious presence to Claire and the boy. Birch Wolfchild, Joe Willie's father, sees the potential for Aiden to become a champion and for his son to heal himself, if they can move beyond anger to forge a partnership. Claire's and Joe Willie's wounds bring them together in a surprising romance, and beneath it all is Birch Wolfchild's tale of the changing of the life of the Indian cowboy. Dream Wheels is a story about change. Moving from the Wild West Shows of the late 1880s to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas to a lush valley in the mountains, it tells the story of a people's journey, a family's vision, a man's reawakening, a woman's recovery, and a boy's emergence to manhood.
When Garnet Raven was three years old, he was taken from his home on an Ojibway Indian reserve and placed in a series of foster homes. Having reached his mid-teens, he escapes at the first available opportunity, only to find himself cast adrift on the streets of the big city. Having skirted the urban underbelly once too often by age 20, he finds himself thrown in jail. While there, he gets a surprise letter from his long-forgotten native family. The sudden communication from his past spurs him to return to the reserve following his release from jail. Deciding to stay awhile, his life is changed completely as he comes to discover his sense of place, and of self. While on the reserve, Garnet is initiated into the ways of the Ojibway--both ancient and modern--by Keeper, a friend of his grandfather, and last fount of history about his people's ways. By turns funny, poignant and mystical, Keeper'n Me reflects a positive view of Native life and philosophy--as well as casting fresh light on the redemptive power of one's community and traditions.