Saturday, August 04, 2007

Thomas King's A Short History of Indians in Canada

In a bookstore here* yesterday, I got a copy of a Thomas King book I hadn't seen before. Called A Short History of Indians in Canada, it is a book of short stories. One is "Where the Borg Are." If you're a sci-fi fan, or a fan of Star Trek, you know who the Borg are... Here's the first two paragraphs of "Where the Borg Are."

By the time Milton Friendlybear finished reading Olive Patricia Dickenson's Canada's First Nations for a tenth grade history assignment, he knew, without a doubt, where the Borg had gone after they had been defeated by Jean-Luc Picard and the forces of the Federation. And he included his discovery in an essay on great historical moments in Canadian history.

Milton's teacher, Virginia Merry, was not as impressed with Milton's idea as he had hoped. "Milton," she said, in that tone of voice that many lapsed Ontario Catholics reserved for correcting faulty logic, bad grammar, and inappropriate behavior, "I'm not sure that the Indian Act of 1875 is generally considered an important moment in Canadian history."

Intrigued? I am!

[Note: This post originally appeared yesterday, underneath my post about Graham Greene. I'm reposting it as a stand-alone for searching purposes.]

*I'm in Stratford, Ontario, on vacation. Last night we saw Pentecost at the Studio Theater. During the scene where the art historians are taken hostage, one of the refugees (or terrorists, depending on your perspective) points out the door where the authorities are surrounding the church they're in. He says "Cowboys." He gestures to those inside the church, and says "Red Indians." Later in the play, there's a reference to a brutal murder from the past in which someone's face was, presumably, mutilated. The character made a clawing gesture and said "Red Indians." The murderer wasn't a "Red Indian," but that imagery was used to mean savage/barbaric. I gather "Red Indian" is the phrase Brits used to refer to American Indians.


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