In university, I took a graduate-level class on postcolonial literature. This was the first time I had been seriously exposed to not just the concept of colonialism, but the ramifications on colonialism after independence. We looked at Kenya, Senegal, Zimbabwe, and other countries in Africa who had lost, then gained their freedom over the past century or so. We tut-tutted the colonialist attitudes of the British and French, and felt heartbroken over their effects.
More than a decade later, I came to understand Canada's colonial nature. This was one of the books that led to that uncomfortable realisation. I had never thought of myself as a descendent of a settler, with all of the resultant moral and ethical ramifications. I didn't know that Canada's poor international reputation on how it has treated with the Indigenous nations within its boundaries. I didn't know that the government of Canada has ensured that Indigenous nations are kept on the brink of poverty unless they sacrifice their sovereign rights.
I didn't know that logging and mining companies were able to freely take trees and precious metals off of Indigenous land, even land granted to them under archaic and one-sided agreements, without returning a penny to them.
Imagine if somebody came on to your farmland without permission, started drilling oil out from under you, and didn't give you a cent. Any non-Indigenous person in this country would pitch a fit, and the media would agree with them. This has been happening to Indigenous nations for years.
Every Canadian who believes in fairness needs to read this book, then needs to do something about it. This is 2016, and we need to send a message to our federal government that this is something that is unacceptable.
There is no downside to justice and no justification for delay. Canada will be a much better, stronger, cleaner, prouder, fairer and wiser place when relations with Indigenous peoples have been corrected and resolved. This book provides many lessons from our shameful history, as well as practical suggestions for how we can make it happen together.
talk about political correctness,this book hits the nail on the head.its to bad he did not pick on the civil service a little more. we must remember that governments come and go, the civil service comes to work the next day and carries on. you know business as usual just another day to keep the train going towards the day when the problem will be finally dealt with.
This book, alongside the Reconciliation Manifesto, changed my life. If you're a settler and doubting whether you need to read this, don't; Art Manuel's story and wisdom from a lifetime of resistance provides crucial context to ongoing aggression from the Canadian state and corporate interests in these lands.
As well, one of my parents was a boy when Jean Chrétien stayed with his family in the NWT while preparing the White Paper -- hearing the other side of the resistance at the time to those assimilation policies was a huge eye opener and gave me much more language to help explain to other settlers.
t is a very perceptive, well written expose’ of the tragic history of colonization in Canada that encourages the reader to have more empathy for the plight of the first peoples of this land. Arthur tells it like it really is and holds back no punches. I strongly recommend for everyone who is concerned about Indigenous people to read this book.
An honest and articulate account of the heavy price First Nations have paid for colonization. Manuel points towards a future if mutual respect and prosperity. A must read for anyone interested in Canadian history and curious about reconciliation