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Dances with Dependency: Out of Poverty through Self-Reliance Hardcover – Feb 21 2008

6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Cubbie Blue Publishing, Inc. (Feb. 21 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932824073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932824070
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 16.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #175,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Dances with Dependency: Out of Poverty through Self-Reliance

Customer Reviews

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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A. Joel Howe on May 13 2008
Format: Hardcover
Don't be fooled by the reviewers who claim this book is too business-oriented or unrepresentative of aboriginal opinion. Certainly none of the reviewers here can claim to speak for the entire aboriginal population (myself included), but it's worth reading this book because, whether you end up agreeing with it or not, it's thought-provoking.

Helin doesn't argue that we need to forget the injustices of the past, but the focus of the book is on the future. How do we make the future better for our aboriginal population? This is a truly important question, because the average standard of living for aboriginals, especially on-reserve, is simply terrible. We cannot accept this as a fact of life going forward; we must work to change it. How we might go about creating that change is the true subject of the book.

Obviously, given the present state of affairs, our current efforts to improve life for aboriginal people are not working. Yet Hanlin notes the government spends in the neighbourhood of 18 billion dollars each year on services for aboriginals and transfers to the reserves. He makes the reasonable argument that if money alone were capable of fixing the problem, we would have seen some success by now. Throwing more money at this issue will not make it go away.

Contrary to the content of some of the reviews here, Helin in fact praises aboriginal ingenuity and ability. He rightly says that long before the Europeans arrived, aboriginals had a thriving economy and culture, and they were able to achieve those civic successes through hard work and ingenuity: qualities he believes aboriginals still possess.

However, a person can be as hardworking as they want, but without opportunities they still may not get very far.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Tupone on March 8 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book has established a proverbial beachhead by opening up a debate that is not taking place in First Nations communities. In my own experience as a FN person/member who has worked with dozens of communities, there is a status quo amongst FN people that isn't being challenged and debated within. Calvin Helin's book does that - it starts a debate and it is pro-business, it is pro-private ownership, it is pro a lot of things. The author doesn't make any false claims about the ideas and concepts he is discussing and about how he expects strategies such as increased private ownership to improve the standard of living of FN people.

The book makes a lot of sound arguments and gives a lot of practical advice. And in my own experience, most of the advice and ideas work in practice; FN communities that have largely been able to participate in resource development by way of increased employment, for instance, tend to have better standards of living. Individuals who are able to integrate into the economy are less dependent on government transfers and on the decisions made by an elite (small and close-knit) group of people that govern many FN communities.

I would expect a lot of people to vehemently disagree with what Helin writes and with his ideas. That doesn't mean the book isn't well-written and it doesn't mean the debate shouldn't be started. This book is very well-written, it has a First Nations perspective and as an instrument of increased debate in FN communities it is successful. There is more than one world-view in FN communities, despite what many of say, there are many opinions, there is a lot of diversity and this book introduces people to some of it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By W. Arkinstall on March 31 2008
Format: Hardcover
This excellent, readable teatise about the status of our Aboriginal peoples provides powerful accounts of the development of their current economic and social situation. It contains realistic scenarios for change and shows us how they will allow the Aboriginal peoples to become the source of their own success and powerful contributors to our nation.
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