The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An amazing book written by an amazing essayist and thinker. Funny, scathing, sarcastic, dead on, precise, and unforgiving. Thomas King (Cherokee) unpacks five centuries of Indian-White relations, a history where the goal seems to be to deprive Native Americans of their land base through the off-hand, casual breaking of treaties they have signed with the US and Canadian governments. It is especially funny to read this book in light of the inspirational speeches one hears occasionally during this electoral season, so rife, on one side, with lofty ideas of equality, compassion, respect of other cultures… and so poisoned on the other with hateful racism, violence, and xenophobia. One of them faithfully represents the USA as pertains its institutional true behavior and actual political praxis. The other is just shallow, hypocritical marketing and shameless doublespeak. And this book proves it.

Many things prove it, I’d wager. King ends his book pushing hard for a positive note. I wonder what his thoughts are today, when once again the United States government fails to honor its agreement with a First Nation, this time the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota, through whose territory the United States intends to run an oil pipeline. This project has already been vetoed by White residents who refuse to put their water supply at risk. Obviously the government is not going to put Native American interests before White interests, so guess who’s gotta pick up the bill?

You’d think that Canada is off the hook, but you’d be wrong. A North American first world nation with a better PR budget than the US, Canada usually lords it over us all as a model society… Right. Those of you who, probably with a little help from Justin Trudeau, have swallowed that headline, please step right over this way and come get a generous serving of Thomas King to set your eyesight straight.

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