This book tells Canada's history from a Native perspective. She strives to be even-handed in dealing with all of Canada's nations. For example, she recognizes Norse and Basque peoples and their interactions with the First Nations even before the French arrived. She has also written the book in a very careful, balanced style, and there are no polemics here. I should note that Dickason is herself of Metis heritage; the Metis are of mixed Native-white heritage and now comprise their own nation. Doubtless that personal background contributes to her perspective here.
Dickason excels at presenting the big picture, especially in the period up until about 1850. She does not focus on the details of individual battles or treaties, but discusses trends and analyzes patterns. That wider perspective breaks down a bit as the book gets closer to the present day, with greater emphasis on individual events and people.
Because of this analytical approach, the book does not follow chronology strictly. For example, Chapter 14 begins with Native resistance and its successes in the 1960s and 1970s before looking further back at a League of Nations case in the 1920s. After that, the chapter whipsaws forward again to century's end. I prefer this kind of history, where themes dominate sequence, but others might not.
Though fairly long itself, this book is a condensation of Dickason's longer history (which I haven't read). Calder was in charge of cutting the book down, rewriting sections as needed to make the condensation work. She has succeeded - - this book feels as if it was written this way, not adapted or condensed from a longer work. It feels thorough, though not exhaustive.
I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could; it misses out on 5 stars by not having that extra something that would appeal to people who aren't already interested in these topics. All in all, it's a very good book to have on your shelf if you are interested in aboriginal history in North America, Canadian history, or the intersection between them.