A dense but captivating window into Canada’s modern land wars.

DO YOU EAT THE RED ONES LAST?

CANADA'S NOT-SO-CLANDESTINE WAR TO EXPROPRIATE INDIGENOUS LANDS AND RESOURCES

This nonfiction work delves into the perennial land disputes between Indigenous and settler institutions in Canada.

Canada’s war on its own Indigenous population has never ended, at least according to anthropologist and activist Stevenson. “The war is unfolding on multiple fronts—social, economic, political, cultural, spiritual, and psychological—and is being fought in arenas where the rights and interests of the two cultures clash,” writes the author in his introduction. “But first and foremost, the war is being waged in the minds of Canadians.” Whatever the intentions of the Canadian governmental and corporate authorities, many of the battles come down to a paternalistic sense that non-Indigenous institutions know better than Indigenous groups when it comes to what’s best for the land—and even what’s best for the Indigenous groups themselves. The book, which blends reportage, memoir, and analysis, explores transgressions such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ attempts to shut down the Baffin Inuit beluga hunt and the relocation of the Sayisi Dene in a misguided attempt to protect the caribou population. Other topics include issues of land management, Indigenous contributions to ecological knowledge, continued marginalization of Indigenous governing bodies, and the fight for Indigenous rights across many facets of Canadian society. Stevenson’s prose is always technical, often fiery, and usually rooted in that most intricate and foundational of topics, the land: “On numerous occasions when discussing Aboriginal title and land ownership with First Nations elders, they have corrected me employing the epithet: ‘We do not own the land, the land owns us.’ Perhaps more than any other, this characterization captures the true nature of Aboriginal title and the right to sovereignty over their lands.” The author is a passionate advocate, and his enthusiasm for addressing the injustices still perpetrated against Indigenous people is contagious. Most intriguing are the sections in which Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge challenges the claims of environmental scientists—a dispute many readers may not know much about. The volume is a bit too legalistic for general readers, but for those with questions about the current fault lines in the struggle for greater Indigenous autonomy in Canada, this is a wide-ranging and well-researched work.

A dense but captivating window into Canada’s modern land wars.

Pub Date: March 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5255-8584-5

Page Count: 212

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: March 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

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A PROMISED LAND

In the first volume of his presidential memoir, Obama recounts the hard path to the White House.

In this long, often surprisingly candid narrative, Obama depicts a callow youth spent playing basketball and “getting loaded,” his early reading of difficult authors serving as a way to impress coed classmates. (“As a strategy for picking up girls, my pseudo-intellectualism proved mostly worthless,” he admits.) Yet seriousness did come to him in time and, with it, the conviction that America could live up to its stated aspirations. His early political role as an Illinois state senator, itself an unlikely victory, was not big enough to contain Obama’s early ambition, nor was his term as U.S. Senator. Only the presidency would do, a path he painstakingly carved out, vote by vote and speech by careful speech. As he writes, “By nature I’m a deliberate speaker, which, by the standards of presidential candidates, helped keep my gaffe quotient relatively low.” The author speaks freely about the many obstacles of the race—not just the question of race and racism itself, but also the rise, with “potent disruptor” Sarah Palin, of a know-nothingism that would manifest itself in an obdurate, ideologically driven Republican legislature. Not to mention the meddlings of Donald Trump, who turns up in this volume for his idiotic “birther” campaign while simultaneously fishing for a contract to build “a beautiful ballroom” on the White House lawn. A born moderate, Obama allows that he might not have been ideological enough in the face of Mitch McConnell, whose primary concern was then “clawing [his] way back to power.” Indeed, one of the most compelling aspects of the book, as smoothly written as his previous books, is Obama’s cleareyed scene-setting for how the political landscape would become so fractured—surely a topic he’ll expand on in the next volume.

A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6316-9

Page Count: 768

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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