21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality

Bob Joseph. Indigenous Relations, $19.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-9952665-2-0
Consultant and author Joseph (Working with Indigenous Peoples) mines excerpts from the notorious 1876 Indian Act to illustrate the legislated roots of land dispossession and forced relocation, denial of voting and mobility rights, targeted campaigns to destroy traditional languages and cultural practices. He also ties it to the development and growth of a residential school system deemed “cultural genocide” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and a slew of economic and social barriers that prevented many First Nations from accessing the essentials of survival. Joseph presents straightforward examples that shock and enrage—such as prohibitions on indigenous people hiring legal counsel and bars against them entering pool halls—and he packs an extra punch with alarming quotes from late-19th- and early-20th-century Canadian leaders who in no uncertain terms touted their goal of eliminating the continent’s first peoples. Joseph’s appendices—historical timeline, glossary, classroom discussion guide, recommended readings, and the landmark TRC’s calls to action on indigenous rights—expertly complement his all-too-brief prescriptions for dismantling the still extant act. This pocket-size primer is a perfect introduction to a troubling legacy with which Canadians continue to wrestle. Agent: Trena White, Transatlantic. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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