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Trigger, Bruce G.

Kingston, McGill-Queen's University Press, c1985. 430pp, cloth, $35.00, ISBN 0-7735-0594-6. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Hugh A. Cook

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

Bruce Trigger has chosen to challenge much of what has been written about Canada's native peoples and early European settlers. He has been careful not to emphatically state that other authors were wrong in their thoughts and writings. Instead he has chosen to call upon more recent and thorough research methods to point out probable errors in their views. Earlier archaeological digs tended to record only what was found. Today's digs are more interested in: where the items were located, exact dating, probable original source, probable user, age of user, use of item to the group, and so on. Trigger stresses that today's beliefs about early native peoples are still tentative and subject to change as new evidence is gathered. Previous knowledge that was almost engraved in stone is now considered a viewpoint at that place in time. Historical accounts of early European settlement have also come under severe scrutiny. Many events that were recorded with all their bias and nationalistic fervour are now found to be lacking in authenticity.

Trigger does not ask his readers to take his views as gospel. He has included exhaustive footnotes, twelve pages of "Notes on Sources," and forty pages of "References." The book is divided into six chapters dealing with pre-history to the mid 1600s. An index is included. Students of this period of Canadian history, and certainly any instructor of this topic, should include this as essential reading.

Hugh A. Cook, North York Board of Education, North York, Ont.
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