Monday, February 4, 2013

One-Minute Book Review: The Inconvenient Indian

My blog's been quiet lately, and one of the reasons for it is that I was teaching a class at Algonquin College. If I had the opportunity to teach the class again, I would use Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America as the textbook.

King has been working on this book throughout the majority of his career, and he takes readers with him on select journeys. We begin at home with him and his wife, Helen, and their difference of opinions on where the book begins. We go back in time with King to his job as a administrator in a Native American student centre at a university (what I do now!). Later, we're with him in the spirit world as he waits to find out whether the Musqueam Nation will renew the Shaugnessey Golf Course's lease in 2064.

It seems cliche to write a book review admiring King's prowess as a storyteller, but to ignore the way King tells spells out the history of post-contact, colonial relations on Turtle Island would be an injustice. He does it through stories. Imagine that! He, of course, doesn't give a dry outline of the nation-to-nation relationship, and how it went wrong, by essentially listing government acts, court cases and other material we usually read in textbooks. He tells the stories of the people who's land has been stolen, how its affect them, and what they've done about it.

While King certainly brings the book to a close in a powerful way (and I couldn't help tweeting about it--sorry for the spoiler!), what sold me is the epigraph.

1 comment:

  1. I'm new to your site, but I wanted to say your review makes me want to find and read the book immediately. Thanks for the work you do. L.Charleigh/TN, USA