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INDIAN COUNTRY: INSIDE ANOTHER CANADA

Krotz, Larry
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1990. 254pp, cloth, 528.95, ISBN 0-7710-4547-6. CIP


Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up

Reviewed by Lillian M, Turner

Volume 18 Number 5
1990 September


Krotz, who lives in Winnipeg, is a writer, filmmaker and novelist who has worked with Canada's native people for over twenty years. The stimulus for writing Indian Country arose from his attending the Aboriginal Leaders/First Ministers conference in April 1987, when the Indian leaders attempted to have aboriginal rights to self-government written into the constitution of Canada, but were refused because a specific definition couldn't be provided. As Krotz later travelled across the country for a year and a half visiting reserves, government offices and politicians for his study, he became aware of the two fundamental differences in outlook the white people wanted "solutions" while the Indian people talked of "justice."

The five reserves he visited were Norway House, a Cree reserve in northern Manitoba; Kahnawake, a Mohawk reserve on the St. Lawrence River near Montreal; Cape and the Kwakiutls off the west coast of B.C.; Tobique, N.B., a Maliseet community; and Onigaming, Ont., an Ojibway reserve in the Lake of the Woods area. They vary greatly in population, means of livelihood, economics, and social condition. Each community has its own dreams for the future and its own ideas of how to achieve them.

Krotz highlights his insights culled from interviews with four well-known men who have worked closely with native people: Thomas Berger, former commissioner of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry; Dr. Lloyd Barber, a former commissioner on Indian land claims and now president of the University of Regina, which houses the Indian Federated College; Keith Penner, former MP, who chaired the Parliamentary Special Committee on Indian Self-Government; and George Erasmus, chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the articulate spokesperson often seen on television. They eloquently address the urgent issues of land claims, self-government, and the role of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Indian Country is an important resource. Another book we should look at for the native view is Drumbeat: Anger and Renewal in Indian Country (Summerhill Press, 1989).

Highly recommended for native studies and political science courses.


Lillian M, Turner, Board of Education for the City of York, Toronto, Ont.

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