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Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation Paperback – Oct 24 2008


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Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation + First Nations? Second Thoughts: Second Edition + Aboriginal Consultation, Environmental Assessment, and Regulatory Review in Canada
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press (Oct. 24 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0773534210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0773534216
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #66,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry does an excellent job of pointing out logical inconsistencies in the Aboriginal political movement - a matter of great practical as well as academic importance." Tom Flanagan, author of First Nations? Second Thoughts "Insightful, carefully argued and meticulously documented." John Richards, Simon Fraser University

About the Author

Frances Widdowson is a visiting assistant professor of political science, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University of Newfoundland.<br><br>Albert Howard has worked as a consultant for government and Native groups, and is currently an instructor and D

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

41 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Prairie Pal TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Feb. 14 2009
Format: Paperback
It is not surprising that this book has engendered such polarized reviews. Those who dismiss the authors, however, have probably never seen the roots causes of aboriginal cultural dysfunction as up-close as Widdowson and Howard. Before calling these earnest left-wingers "racists" or "colonialists", critics should spend time working with natives to see first-hand how these communities have been betrayed by their leaders and bureaucrats. The continuing shipwreck of the aboriginal rights industry could be solved by paying attention to this book which I recommend to all Canadians who are baffled as to why the billions spent on the problem have been wasted.
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14 of 22 people found the following review helpful By E. Palmer on Dec 6 2010
Format: Paperback
When the authors said they were going to abandon old politically charged understandings of aboriginal policy in Canada for an honest look at the facts, I was excited. When the authors announced in the introduction that they were going to be using the lens of a marxist theory of development, my heart sank.

In short, the authors do a good job of knocking down a few sacred cows of contemporary aboriginal policy in Canada. "Traditional knowledge" and "oral histories" are given far too much credit in policy making and the courts. Policies that identify self government as a panacea without taking a good look at the often corrupt inner workings of aboriginal communities, are doomed to failure. Some misstatements and exaggerations included, this book provides a good overview of everything that has gone wrong.

The problem comes when the authors try to explain why things are in a dismal state. They have essentially knocked down one false intellectual idol, only to put another in its place. The theory of "development" the authors espouse has been relegated to the dustbin of academia for decades. The very title of the book is a slap in the face to critical thinkers everywhere as the existence of an "aboriginal industry" is assumed with no evidence being presented. No where to be found is a moderate discussion over the place of traditional knowledge and oral histories. While not up to the standards of the scientific method and written history, they are not devoid of value.

I don't think I am alone in having exited my formal education with a feeling that too many academics waste much of their (supposed) talents and intellect on tearing down. "The Aboriginal Industry", has done nothing to improve the situation.
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29 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Nixon on Jan. 21 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The authors are bold enough to scrape away the buffalo paddies and brilliant enough to discern the texture of reality beneath them. It is long past time someone looked through all the nonsense that has been foisted upon the First Nations People themselves as their "culture", but which in reality never existed as a unified entity the way it is today portrayed. First Nations people are being encouraged to create a culture of the past right here and now in the present ' a unified Native culture that crosses tribal boundaries without much attention to the very real differences that existed (and may still continue to exist amongst the oldest people). Any First Nations person should feel a new pre-fabricated cultural tradition is being foisted upon them, in the very same way the Jesuits and Catholics attempted to foist an artificial, pre-fabricated culture upon them in the 19th century.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JB on Aug. 26 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As this is no place for a thorough book review, I'll keep it brief. In general, I liked it, in spite of the majority of "scholarly" reviews being perversely negative, spitting pure vitriol and never forgoing personal attacks on the authors, while lacking the ability to refute arguments made in the book with references from pure scholars, i.e. non-activists. The structure is perfectly sound, the arguments are thoroughly referenced with works that have received genuine recognition in international academic circles and the themes covered are of the utmost importance to all Canadians. Those who actually read it, word for word from beginning to end, may find it to be insensitive. I myself found it a bit condescending at times, hence my 4/5 star rating. However, the disingenuous political correctness demanded by those in the "Aboriginal Industry," and supporters, both intentional and unintentional, thereof, does not negate the legitimate concerns of Canadians regarding billions upon billions of their tax dollars disappearing into a black hole, while so many Aboriginals on reserves still enjoy 2nd to 3rd world living standards. This book gives voice to the silenced majority of Canadians.
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19 of 33 people found the following review helpful By W North on Oct. 21 2009
Format: Paperback
The tragedy with this poorly written AM radio rant of a book is that it fails to bring either the level of analysis or the quality of research and insight that would shed light on what is a legitimate problem - namely that consultants (like the authors), governments, and certain aboriginal elites are recreating the conditions that require their services to the detriment of the poor.

The author's argument that aboriginals need to get white to get rich has no grounding in any successful theory of development and is a throwback to the worst aspects of 19th century thinking.

The author's unadulterated denigration of traditional knowledge is unfortunate given the history of arrogance and destruction on the part of outsiders who show up with their ears closed and their mouths open. The authors would have us believe that traditional knowledge is the result of so many vision quests while scientific knowledge is an arrow to the heart of truth. More often the scientific method spits back our own ignorance of the North, and leaves us to go and talk to the people who have been living here for hundreds of years.

At the end of the day, and after all of the philosophical debates, the scientific method is a biologist flying in a plane looking out the window, and traditional knowledge is a hunter following habitat trails and visiting traditional hunting grounds frequented by his forebears. Both perspectives are valid and important and everyone other than the authors of this book know it.

This book is yet another unfortunate symptom of the North's problems not a cure.
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