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Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit issues in Canada

by Chelsea Vowel

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1341201,308 (4.44)2
"In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel initiates myriad conversations about the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. An advocate for Indigenous worldviews, the author discusses the fundamental issues--the terminology of relationships; culture and identity; myth-busting; state violence; and land, learning, law and treaties--along with wider social beliefs about these issues. She answers the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger community."--… (more)
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** spoiler alert ** Important book. Although Vowel argues passionately for her cause, she is overzealous in her support of the indigenous peoples of Canada. I do not say she is wrong...she is almost fully correct in her assessments of the current situation. The one point on which I believe she is off target is her discussion of the problem of alcohol and the natives. Yes, there are indeed many indigenous individuals who have no problem with alcohol (was that ever in question?) But the single fact of the rate of fetal alcohol syndrome speaks loudly to the incredible dysfunction among many alcohol users within that population. She does bring up the canard (which I did not realize was a canard) that "the Indian cannot handle alcohol due to genetic predisposition." As she has studied this question, it becomes evident even here that her knowledge is more complete than that of many others, including me. But, her desire to whitewash her peoples (not just her specific group, the Metis, but all indigenous peoples) overrides common sense. A major, significant issue that destroys untold numbers of lives is the plague of alcoholism. It is not unique to the aboriginal populations, but it is likely at a higher degree of impact due to the percentages involved.
This one point makes me wary of giving a blanket approval of her conclusions, although her advocacy has convinced me in the vast majority of her concerns. The Bible says clearly that when one hears the first speaker, one is often convinced UNTIL the opponent has a chance to present his/her case. However, even granting that word of wisdom, it remains difficult (nigh on impossible) to credit the opposing side with any serious chance of significantly modifying her position which, to me, seems to hold both the center and the high ground, both morally and factually.
It does not seem to me, though, that she has much in the way of concrete solutions. She would scream in frustration at this. But, more talks, more agreements, more words will, in my opinion, be of little worth. Again UNTIL there is a good faith determination on the majority side to ACT. Vowel does have some vital points...the most important one being, in my mind, that decisions about native issues must be made in consultation with the various players...including the "non status" players, both native and Metis and Inuit. This is an extremely vexing situation where much good will needs to be earned, especially by the majority side, before other attempts at resolving these longstanding issues is begun. For me, one expensive but incontrovertible place to start would be to provide clean drinking water and state of the art sewage treatment plants for all reserves in Canada. Clean water and a clean environment unspoiled by human waste would begin, but not establish, good will. ( )
  thedenathome | Jun 6, 2018 |
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"In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel initiates myriad conversations about the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada. An advocate for Indigenous worldviews, the author discusses the fundamental issues--the terminology of relationships; culture and identity; myth-busting; state violence; and land, learning, law and treaties--along with wider social beliefs about these issues. She answers the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger community."--

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