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The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America Audio CD – Dec 1 2018
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The Inconvenient Indian is at once a “history” and the complete subversion of a history—in short, a critical and personal meditation that the remarkable Thomas King has conducted over the past fifty years about what it means to be “Indian” in North America.
Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, this book distills the insights gleaned from that meditation, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.
This is a book both timeless and timely, burnished with anger but tempered by wit, and ultimately a hard-won offering of hope—a sometimes inconvenient, but nonetheless indispensable account for all of us, Indian and non-Indian alike, seeking to understand how we might tell a new story for the future.
About the Author
Thomas King is one of Canada’s premier Native public intellectuals. He was the first Aboriginal person to deliver the prestigious Massey Lectures, and he is the best-selling, award-winning author of six novels, two collections of short stories, and two nonfiction books. The Inconvenient Indian won the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Nonfiction and the RBC Taylor Prize. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada and lives in Guelph, Ontario.
- Publisher : Author's Republic and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged AUDIO edition (Dec 1 2018)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1518996604
- ISBN-13 : 978-1518996603
- Item weight : 90.7 g
- Dimensions : 14.73 x 2.79 x 14.22 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,085,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in Canada on January 18, 2023
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I have duly followed my friend's excellent advice, and I have finished the King book & marked key parts for reference. I am also jumping around enjoying FLINT AND FEATHER: THE COMPLETE POEMS OF E. PAULINE JOHNSON (TEKAHIONWAKE). In the back of my mind, while I'm absorbing the King & Johnson books, is another relevant work I read a few years ago, not long after it was published, A FAIR COUNTRY by John Ralston Saul. Saul is a White man (a term King uses), & his book is more formal & limited in scope than King's, but with a very central & interesting thesis.
So this is a real reading mash-up, which should answer the smaller questions, for me at least, about Johnson's poetic & political legacy & modern relevance. But these books & authors will also help us to frame the much larger issues facing Canadian society, & even the planet. With global climate change bearing down on our tiny blue marble with unforgiving speed, it may well be First Nations & their control of key territories which will help block & stop transnational pipelines, dams, reckless mining & other activities which are the key contributors to this human-caused planetary blight. Rethinking & reforging centuries old alliances among all Peoples is fast becoming a necessity for all human survival. It is obviously the duty of People's Poets to tailor our work & visions for the survival of our planet, or we won't have any future generations around to admire our brilliant poetics ; )
So shoot me for cribbing the following. It's been 3 or 4 years since I read A FAIR COUNTRY: TELLING TRUTHS ABOUT CANADA. This back cover blurb does a great job of summarizing John Ralston Saul's central thesis, & it's in his own words:
We are a people of aboriginal inspiration organized around a concept of peace, fairness and good government. That is what lies at the heart of our story; at the heart of Canadian mythology, whether Francophone or Anglophone. If we can embrace a language that expresses that story, we will feel a great release. We will discover a remarkable power to act and to do so in such a way that we will feel we are true to ourselves.
A central theme of THE INCONVENIENT INDIAN is land. Indians (King's preferred term for First Nations) have been & continue to be inconvenient because they are the original owners of North America. Although most of their territories and nations have been stolen through murder (genocide), forced relocations, deliberate poisonings & sickness, assimilation, Christianity & outright trickery & theft, large swathes of North America remain in the control of First Nations Peoples.
There are many other themes winding through King's blackly humorous historical account of Indian/White relations. King even has ironic fun describing three categories of Indians - those DEAD (e.g. prone to wearing headdresses & feathers), those LIVE (the most inconvenient & annoying, because, well, they're just too damn real & ubiquitous), and those who are LEGAL or STATUS.
It ain't happy but it is honest!
An author is mentioned by Mr. King by name of Karl May. All the adventures that May put to pen were of his imagination although he was astute in his descriptions of geographical areas, customs of people, etc. This author managed to write 65 books, some in prison, and an entire book of poetry. My father was kind enough to purchase all of them..........in the German language in which I was/am fluent. He said that these books should be read three times during three stages of life. The first as a kid to enjoy the adventures, then in the mid-30's to gain wisdom, lastly in old age to reminisce. This I did. The series of books titled WINNETOU involved an Indian noble and a white man nicknamed Old Shatterhand and their subsequent friendship.
My admiration, utter respect and deep sorrow for the real North Americans, i.e. "Indians" came from reading these books, which covered every aspect of the genocide inflicted upon them by the "Whites". I understand Mr. King's words and feelings. Although the May books are not a creditable recital of truth and consequences, they are after all only novels of adventure, but reading between the lines was the education of my mind. I began to see matters for what they were and are. There are parallels, such as the Raj in India, South Africa, Rhodesia, Polynesia, Australia, indeed also the black race in our own backyard, and more. The Whites were not alone in their fury, the Japanese had their own agenda, and once we get into religious-com-racial subjects, then the Hitler approach was an example of maniacal proportions.
I have no, and can offer no, solutions for the future. Attempting to turn back history to day one cannot be done. I can only hope the future will resolve itself into something acceptable to both sides. Perhaps it will be easier with successive future generations. Too late for me to see. At 73 years of age I must accept the status quo. As Mr. King's legitimate bitterness lingers, so does mine alongside his. I wish I had his eloquence, if so, I would write my own book, perhaps titled "The Pestilence of the White Race".