'Unsettling Canada': Must-read book is a national wake-up call

The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Image: Modified from book cover -- Between the Lines Press

"We are looking for a partnership with Canada, while Canada is trying to hold on to a harmful and outdated colonial relationship." -- the late Arthur Manuel, from the book Unsettling Canada.

Today's program is an interview with Meg Borthwick, the moderator of babble. As you have probably noticed, books are important at rabble. Meg is relaunching the babble book lounge by inviting readers to discuss an important book with each other. 

Unsettling Canada was written in 2015 by the late Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson.  

The book is part history, part memoir and part blueprint for the future of Indigenous peoples in their relationships with Canada's governments. It is a call to action for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. Immensely readable, it covers nearly 50 years of Indigenous activism and examines successful strategies and tactics while acknowledging mistakes made. It is also a deeply personal story with Manuel recalling his upbringing on reserve in British Columbia's interior, his politicization, and his growing leadership and organizing skills. It is a story about his father, George Manuel, whose community leadership impressed upon the younger activist a vision of what was possible for Indigenous peoples and their relations with a succession of Canadian governments mired in the colonial mindset.

Looking down the path to future negotiations with the government, Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson writes in his afterword, "we have to take our future seriously, get rid of the opportunists in our ranks, and, when we deal with the government, be as tough with them as they have always been with us." Words of wisdom and of experience and something of a template for dealing with the Canadian government. Now more than ever Unsettling Canada is a must-read book. It chronicles a remarkable journey of activism while damning the racism of our government.

In this interview, babble moderator Meg Borthwick talks about why she chose the book and how you can get involved in the discussion. 

Image: Modified from book cover -- Between the Lines Press

Like this podcast? rabble is reader/listener supported journalism.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.