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Goodwill, Jean and Norma Sluman.

Winnipeg, Pemmican Publications, c1984. 233pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-919143-39-3.CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Joanne Robertson

Volume 13 Number 6
1985 November

John Tootoosis is written by Jean Goodwill, his daughter, and Norma Sluman, author of Poundmaker (Ryerson, 1967) and Blackfoot Crossing (Ryerson, 1959). The book's stated aim is to show, through the life of John Tootoosis (a leader of the Plains Cree Indians), what it is like to be a Treaty Indian. It does not do this.

Part one of the book is a fictionalized account of the events leading to the signing of Treaty No. 6 and of the Frog Lake Massacre of 1885. It is offered as the Cree version of these events, an alternate historical viewpoint.

The balance of the book deals with the life of John Tootoosis: part'two is about his childhood, part three outlines his participation in the Indian efforts to organize politically. The book would have been better had the authors continued in the style of a historical novel. However, they frequently state that John is a private person and will not talk about personal matters. This leaves the reader with only glimpses of everyday Treaty Indian life. The main thrust of the book becomes John Tootoosis's public lire in working for the establishment of Indian organizations.

John Tootoosis includes a number of black-and-white photographs. It has a few footnotes, but no index, and no bibliography. This book was not intended as a scholarly work, but it also fails as a biography of John Tootoosis, Cree Indian.

Joanne Robertson, The Pas, Man.
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