Bob Bartel was raised in the small town of Waldheim, Saskatchewan. He and his family volunteered with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) – a global relief, development, and justice organization – in Jamaica and Labrador. These experiences were life-changing.
From 1986-89, Bob resided in Happy Valley, Labrador as regional coordinator for MCC. Happy Valley, the adjoining NATO air force base of Goose Bay, and the nearby Innu community of Sheshatshiu formed a diverse and uneasy trio of cultural outposts on Canada's remote eastern coast. All are part of Nitassinan, the traditional homeland and unceded territory of the Innu people.
While in Happy Valley, Bob and his family supported the Innu struggle against the destructive effects of NATO supersonic flight training. There are many personal stories associated with this historic time of protest, but perhaps none are as poignant as that of the young Innu girl Nanass' response to her father's arrest. Bob and his family remain forever indebted to the Innu for their friendship, trust, and teachings about life under Canadian colonization.
Bob now lives, writes, and gardens in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with his wife Dorothy.