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Geoffrey York

Toronto, Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1989. 356pp, cloth, $24.95
ISBN 0-88619-250-1. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Ruth Bainbridge.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

The Dispossessed s a very readable treatise describing the conditions of Canada's native peoples. Divided into ten chapters, it covers a wide variety of topics beginning with gas sniffing and its probable cause, cultural dislocation. The second chapter deals with the education of native children. Land claims and the establishment of reserves are dealt with in Chapter 3. Suicide, gang violence and self-government are the focus of Chapters 4 and 5.

Chapter 6 deals with problems of Canada's judicial system as it relates to the native population; the next chapter uses the example of Alkali Lake to illustrate the destruction of a commu­nity by alcohol abuse and its recovery. Chapter 8 deals with the dislocation of many adopted native children separated from their own families and communi­ties. The last two chapters deal with Indian political activism.

York covers these topics very thor­oughly, painting a very vivid picture of the life of a native person in Canada. To research his book, he interviewed many native Canadians and travelled from one end of Canada to the other. He provides an historical perspective as well as compares the treatment and conditions of Canada's aboriginal peoples with those in the United States and Australia. To those readers familiar with conditions on reserves, the book is an accurate, credible account. Others will find it hard to believe and to admit that such conditions actually exist in Canada.

The author provides an annotated list of resources, but the book lacks an index. This highly readable book is rec­ommended as a basic primer for anyone interested in Canada's native people.

Ruth Bainbridge, Humber College, Rexdale, Ont.
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