Unsettling Canada by Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, forward by Naomi Klein

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MegB
Unsettling Canada by Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, forward by Naomi Klein

Hey folks,

Would anyone like to read Unsettling Canada. A discussion will follow and perhaps we can get an appropriate special guest to attend.  Please let me know if you'd like to help rejeuvenate the babble book lounge by reading and discussing this important book. It promises to be an excellent opportunity for conversation.

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
MegB

Bump!

Sineed

I would read this, and timely choice too.

MegB

That's great Sineed. I'm waiting on a copy and will read it shortly.

MegB

From publisher Between the Lines promo blurb:

Quote:
Unsettling Canada is built on a unique collaboration between two First Nations leaders, Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ron Derrickson.

Both men have served as chiefs of their bands in the B.C. interior and both have gone on to establish important national and international reputations. But the differences between them are in many ways even more interesting. Arthur Manuel is one of the most forceful advocates for Aboriginal title and rights in Canada and comes from the activist wing of the movement. Grand Chief Ron Derrickson is one of the most successful Indigenous businessmen in the country.

Together the Secwepemc activist intellectual and the Syilx (Okanagan) businessman bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to Canada’s most glaring piece of unfinished business: the place of Indigenous peoples within the country’s political and economic space. The story is told through Arthur’s voice but he traces both of their individual struggles against the colonialist and often racist structures that have been erected to keep Indigenous peoples in their place in Canada.

In the final chapters and in the Grand Chief’s afterword, they not only set out a plan for a new sustainable indigenous economy, but lay out a roadmap for getting there.

quizzical

i've ordered this through our library today and will read it when it comes in.

MegB

Awesome. Thanks so much quizzical. Please let me know when you've read it so I can try to organize a date and time for everyone.

quizzical

ok

Unionist

Looks fascinating - thanks Meg. Sadly, Arthur Manuel passed away earlier this year.

MegB

That is very sad. We're going to approach someone from Idle No More as a special guest. Are you going to read it Unionist?

Unionist

MegB wrote:

That is very sad. We're going to approach someone from Idle No More as a special guest. Are you going to read it Unionist?

I've asked the BANQ to get it on inter-library loan - so it all depends on when I get it - or should I break down and buy it? Definitely will read it as soon as I get my hands on it.

MegB

There is a downloadable pdf of a 28 page excerpt here.

MegB

Bump!

MegB

I've just started reading it and already can see it as a very important book. 

MegB
quizzical

just got the book today.

i'm not done page 4 yet and it may be too much for me to handle emotionally all in  a few days.

i had no idea it would affect me like it is. i've spent several hours now just thinking about the "doctrine of discovery".

even though i've read or heard it before. it just flittered through. today it stuck. the enormity and facets of it stuck.

are we supposed to wait until we've read it all, or all have read it, or what's the rules?

MegB

quizzical wrote:

just got the book today.

i'm not done page 4 yet and it may be too much for me to handle emotionally all in  a few days.

i had no idea it would affect me like it is. i've spent several hours now just thinking about the "doctrine of discovery".

even though i've read or heard it before. it just flittered through. today it stuck. the enormity and facets of it stuck.

are we supposed to wait until we've read it all, or all have read it, or what's the rules?

I'm about halfway through it now and I can understand why it would be emotionally difficult. I often feel a sense of anger and frustration when reading it - what the government has done and continues to do is so racist, so morally reprehensible, it's no wonder it is at times difficult to read. That said, I have trouble putting it down.

I don't think we have to finish reading it necessarily, nor do I think that we need to wait for everyone to read it. Next week is National Aboriginal Day and we're inching ever closer to that 150th anniversary, so it would be especially appropriate to discuss it throughout the month of June and beyond. 

 

Unionist

Got the book, am starting Chapter 4. So no surprise - even though I read "The Inconvenient Indian" when we discussed it in babble book club, and some other things, I realize yet again that I know nothing about Canada. So I'll just shut up and keep reading. Thanks so much for suggesting this!

[Note to self: Gotta PM Caissa, Left Turn, infracaninophile, and other usual book suspects...]

EDITED TO ADD: Besides all the other annoyances of the new so-called upgrade, it wouldn't let me send a message to more than one person at a time. If someone is trying to undermine babble, this is definitely the way.

By the way, long ago I suggested that on the Active Forums page, we eliminate all the stupid "Thursday" and "08:17 am ET" or whatever references, which are useless, and which make it frustratingly difficult to look at. It would be nice if someone, anyone, had actually looked at the various suggestions that were made at the time, and said: "Sorry, can't do that, too expensive, too time-consuming, we don't agree..." Whatever - anything - a response - not too much to ask for.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I'm definitely interested in reading this; question is when I will be able to put my hands on a copy. I've placed a hold on it at the Vancouver Library, but there are 22 holds on 9 copies, so it may take a while for my turn to come up. Burnab has this book restricted to in--library use, and New West has it on order.

The People's Co-Op Bookstore had a couple of copies on sale when I was in there about a month ago; not sure if they currently have any copies on sale.

6079_Smith_W

How about Spartacus Books?  If not, check used stores. Or worst comes to worst there is the online monolith that can have it at your door by drone in two days. It is there; I checked.

I was really happy to see a copy of this front and centre in a school library where I attended an event last weekend.

Unionist

In the absence of free options, green readers can an electronic copy for about $11 plus tax - there's a discount on till the end of June:

Between the Lines

6079_Smith_W

Thanks U. I had to spit as I mentioned the devil. Good to know there are better options.

quizzical

i can't get past chapter 5 at the moment.

MegB

quizzical wrote:

i can't get past chapter 5 at the moment.

A lot of the book is difficult to read, but necessary I think. Read what you can when you can. If you find yourself bogged down, there's always the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) at the back of the book, a hopeful document whose only flaw is that it is unenforceable. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I'm trying to understand the whole concept here...Yes, the land was stolen, and that wrong needs to be made right, what would be the implications of what he is calling for?  How do you "unsettle" North America when it's not practical to make everyone descended from settlers physically leave North America?

​Is it mainly about acknowledgment, reparations and apologies?  If not, what parts of the book would say what else might be involved?

Unionist

Ken Burch wrote:

​Is it mainly about acknowledgment, reparations and apologies?  If not, what parts of the book would say what else might be involved?

I haven't finished the book, but no, I don't think it's about any of that stuff. I believe it's about Canada finally giving up the colonial notion that Indigenous rights are actually privileges, to be granted and denied as need be. It's about sovereignty and self-government. It's about recognizing ownership of land. It's about power emanating from mass mobilization here and internationally, not from a handful of "representatives" conducting negotiations in back rooms. That's how far I've got, and I'm only in Chapter 7.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Unionist wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

​Is it mainly about acknowledgment, reparations and apologies?  If not, what parts of the book would say what else might be involved?

I haven't finished the book, but no, I don't think it's about any of that stuff. I believe it's about Canada finally giving up the colonial notion that Indigenous rights are actually privileges, to be granted and denied as need be. It's about sovereignty and self-government. It's about recognizing ownership of land. It's about power emanating from mass mobilization here and internationally, not from a handful of "representatives" conducting negotiations in back rooms. That's how far I've got, and I'm only in Chapter 7.

Thanks.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

​Is it mainly about acknowledgment, reparations and apologies?  If not, what parts of the book would say what else might be involved?

I haven't finished the book, but no, I don't think it's about any of that stuff. I believe it's about Canada finally giving up the colonial notion that Indigenous rights are actually privileges, to be granted and denied as need be. It's about sovereignty and self-government. It's about recognizing ownership of land. It's about power emanating from mass mobilization here and internationally, not from a handful of "representatives" conducting negotiations in back rooms. That's how far I've got, and I'm only in Chapter 7.

I am on Chapter 7 as well. This is a well written personal account of Canadian history as seen from the eyes of an indigenous activist.  I have been following aboriginal rights issues since the infamous White Paper and the Calder decision. I think that because it is a personal account it means that the BC history is front and centre and that is the struggle I am most familiar with.

It is that BC perspective that caused me to say that any of the NDP candidates who are equiviocal about Kinder Morgan have no understanding or respect for the concept of aboriginal title to unceded lands. Burrard Inlet is the home of three Nations that have occupied their territories for at least two millennia.  Holding the idea that they have no right to say that a oil terminus is too large a risk to take for profits and a national interest that will last at best a couple of decades says that you don't believe they have any sovereign indigenous rights. So Ken here is a link to one of the Nations battling in the courts and you will see that this fight is not about acknowledgment, reparations and apologies it is about land and who owns it. 

We are the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, "The People of the Inlet." We have inhabited the lands and waters of our traditional territory surrounding the Burrard Inlet in British Columbia since time immemorial.

Many generations of men, women and children have lived, had families, and thrived in this area, and we have a sacred trust, a commitment to care for our lands and waters.

Our vision is to once again put the Tsleil-Waututh face on our traditional territory, to be active participants in all social, economic, cultural, and political activities that take place on our lands by building strong relationships based on trust and mutual respect.

We welcome you to learn more about us.

http://www.twnation.ca/

 

Unionist

Thanks, kropotkin. And what about this - which highlights not only the struggle to maintain ownership of the land, but the complex (to me, anyway) politics that can pit hereditary leaders against not only governments and oil barons, but also elected band councils - in this case, with regard to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project. Don't want to divert from the book, but if someone (kropotkin?) can explain this to me, I'd be appreciative. [HINT: to get past the Globe's paywall, right-click on the link and select "open in private window" or the equivalent. Sorry Globe, your secret is out.]

Beyond appropriation of our culture, the most important fight is for our land

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I suspect that we are going to have some of those questions answered in the rest of the book. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Interesting article about the fight between the heriditary Chiefs and Indian Act Bands. One is based on the traditional laws of the Nation and the other is a white man's law based system.

In BC though it is best not to get too simplistic because in some places the Traditional Chiefs and the Band Chiefs are the same people or at least from the same family and in some cases the heriditary Chiefs have supported oil and gas projects and some Band Chiefs have opposed the same type of oil and gas projects. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..another place to get the book

Turning the Tide

Turning the Tide is responding to a call to action from Idle No More - OFFICIAL and Defenders of the Land to mark Canada's 150th birthday by educating ourselves and our community about the history of colonization.

We will be reading Arthur Manuel's book "Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call" as part of the "Canada Reads: The Unsettling of Canada Edition"

Throughout June and July, we will be offering the book at a 20% discount at our Saskatoon and Regina locations and on our online bookstore at http://www.turning.ca. We will also have sponsored copies available for loan.

Gatherings will be held in both Saskatoon and Regina to discuss the book and we encourage people to hold book clubs across the Northern territories of Turtle Island known as "Canada."

quizzical

i'm continuing to read.  anger dispair and hope recycle through me.

the doctrine of discovery permiates our whole society in big and small ways.

extinguishment continues to be the political and social action happening to the Indigenous in this country.

i see most non-Indigenous as not realizing what they`re participating in and not realizing they`re living off of the backs of Idigenous peoples not the other way aound..

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..hoping this webinar is helpful to this conversation. in particular the contribution by russell diabo who lays out the current liberal plans and strategies. he begins at the 16.14 mark. the webinar itself is about 2 hrs long.

UNsettling Canada 150

Moderated by Kanahus Manuel with presentations and discussions from land defenders Ellen Gabriel, Russell Diabo and Beatrice Hunter

kim elliott kim elliott's picture

Thanks for launching this Meg! I'm on about page 90. I'm looking forward engaging in discussion on this. 

MegB

kim elliott wrote:

Thanks for launching this Meg! I'm on about page 90. I'm looking forward engaging in discussion on this. 

Me too!

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Turns out that there's an audiook version of Unsettling Canada available for free online:
http://indianandcowboy.ca/2017/07/03/arthur-manuels-unsettling-canada-a-...

 

quizzical

i'm done.

Unionist

Me too.

quizzical

"There is room on this land for all of us and there must also be, after centuries of struggle, room for justice for Indigenous peoples...and we will settle for nothing less...

"Warriors of Love"

 'Wake up'

 'Fight for it'

 'The journey's just begun...'

...For Indigenous peoples today, it is the only journey worth taking"

it was a journey of learning and re-affirming.

Arthur Manuel's capacity to change thought patterns through this book almost instantly is a gift to humanity. it should become part  of our national education  system at the elementary and high school levels.

MegB

Left Turn wrote:

Turns out that there's an audiook version of Unsettling Canada available for free online:
http://indianandcowboy.ca/2017/07/03/arthur-manuels-unsettling-canada-a-...

 

That's fantastic! Thanks so much for the link.

MegB

quizzical wrote:

"There is room on this land for all of us and there must also be, after centuries of struggle, room for justice for Indigenous peoples...and we will settle for nothing less...

"Warriors of Love"

 'Wake up'

 'Fight for it'

 'The journey's just begun...'

...For Indigenous peoples today, it is the only journey worth taking"

it was a journey of learning and re-affirming.

Arthur Manuel's capacity to change thought patterns through this book almost instantly is a gift to humanity. it should become part  of our national education  system at the elementary and high school levels.

Manuel's clarity of expression is indeed valuable. You're absolutely right that this book should be part of the school curriculum. It's not just valuable for its historical record (though the histories of Indigenous peoples is an essential part of our of our collective knowledge that is ignored by the public school system), it's a roadmap for effective resistance of colonialist Canada. The denial of sacred knowledge kept by Indigenous peoples makes me incredibly sad, but this book offers some hope.

 

Caissa

I will be starting the book this evening.

quizzical

the link to the audio version doesn't work.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

MegB wrote:

Left Turn wrote:

Turns out that there's an audiook version of Unsettling Canada available for free online:

">http://indianandcowboy.ca/2017/07/03/arthur-manuels-unsettling-canada-a-...

That's fantastic! Thanks so much for the link.

The bad news is that hte link nows goes to a page on the Cowboys and Indians site that says "OOPS! THAT PAGE CAN'T BE FOND". A search for 'Unsettling Canada' on the site seems to reveal that all but the first chapter have been removed from the site.
 

The reading of Ch. 1 is at the following link
http://indianandcowboy.ca/podcasts/ch1-the-lay-of-the-land-troy-sebastia...

Underneath the podcast is the following:

Quote:
This podcast is a collection of community readings of Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call by Secwepemc / Ktunaxa leader Arthur Manuel. These are published with expressed permission from Nuxalk Radio, Art Manuel’s family and the book publisher. We encourage you to support Art’s family by purchasing a copy of the book at the link provided here. We also encourage you all to show up on the frontlines & continue to support the liberation of Indigenous Peoples.

A group of 17 Indigenous people and settlers came together to record from living rooms, on the road or radio stations, chapters of Arthur’s book to be broadcast as part of an ‘Indigenous Day of Action – Unsettling Canada’ July 1st, 2017 for Nuxalk Radio with a simultaneous broadcast on the Wawatay Radio Network.

This is not an official audiobook. We encourage you to support the legacy of Arthur Manuel, by purchasing and sharing his work: btlbooks.com/book/unsettling-canada

Caissa

I read the first 60 pages last night. It is agood first person account of a part of our history,that although I have two degrees in Canadian history, I do not have a solid foundation in. I grew up in the Maritimes. My first memories of learning about first peoples was in grade  3  ( 1972-3)when we were introduced to (spelling used in the class) Micmac, Malicite and eskimo culture. Of course, it was teepees, canoes and igloos. From 1973 until 2000, my home base in Saint John was an area known as Indiantown. This link discusses the origin of the term http://www.saintjohn.ca/site/media/SaintJohn/North%20End%20EN.pdf . In university, I learned little about the first peoples other than in relation to European contact. This changed when I was a teaching assistant in a first year Canadian history course at Western (1987-8). The first lecturer in the course examined the first peoples as having agency. Much of his lectures were based on the work of Bruce Trigger. I new nothing about the White paper until it was an option for our students to write about in the course and I graded some papers on the topic.  This gives you some context to the lenses with reach I am reading the book. I have enjoyed the first 60 pages and look forward to the later chapters when the authors discuss unsettling.

Caissa

I have been simultaneously reading Tom King's 2003 Massey lectures, The Truth About Stories. The books complement each other quite well.

Caissa

It seems that one comes late to the dance and kills all of the discussion.

Caissa

Finished the book yesterday. Good summary of recent history and a clear argument for the way forward.

Caissa

Finished the book yesterday. Good summary of recent history and a clear argument for the way forward.

MegB

Caissa wrote:

Finished the book yesterday. Good summary of recent history and a clear argument for the way forward.

That's a pretty goodd summing up of the book. Were you at all surprised by successive governments efforts to quash land claims and treaty rights. I've had a superficial knowledge about Indigenous struggles against various government officials, but to have it so clearly and comprehensively laid out makes it an important document that more Canadians need to read.

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