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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: We Are All....Treaty People

Review: We Are All…Treaty People
By: Christine McFarlane

Text By: Maurice Switzer/Illustrations by Charley Hebert
Published By: Creative Impressions Inc.
Pages: 34

This book gives an overview of the life of Native people, specifically the Anishinaabeg/Anishinabek peoples who make up one of the oldest nations in North America, or what Native peoples understand as Turtle Island.

Told in a easy and accessible way for all readers, it shows Native peoples contribution to early settlement where “When Europeans first arrived in the northern part of Turtle Island, their primary concern was survival in an environment much different than they were used to in countries like France and Britain,” and if it “were not for the help of the various Native peoples they encountered, settlers would not have been able to find sources of food, or survive the bitter and harsh winters.”

It also speaks of the negative treatment that Native peoples have received through the years. Examples include when the colonial government “actually began assisting companies to displace Indians from land that was identified as having commercial value,”  the implementation of the Indian Act, the residential school system and three high profile standoffs in the 1990's such as Oka, Gustafen Lake and Ipperwash, where the latter resulted in the death of Anthony Dudley George. Dudley George was killed by a police sniper on September 6, 1995 when unnamed unarmed Native protesters camped in Ipperwash Provincial Park to protest Canada's failure to return nearby land expropriated in 1942 for use by the Canadian military.

Author Maurice Switzer, Director of Communications at the Union of Ontario Indians  does a great job in presenting an overview of Native history and making it accessible to Native and non-Native people alike. It is also a book that is ideal for use in the classroom, where it can rightfully start the discussion of Native people and how they are a vital part of Canadian history. The beautiful illustrations that go along with the text, will appeal to everyone, even those who struggle with reading.

We are all…Treaty People-Union of Ontario Indians is written by Maurice Switzer and illustrated by Charley Hebert and is printed by Creative Impressions Inc. Copies of the book can be purchased from the Union of Ontario Indians, ( or at, (

For more information please call (705) 497-9127 ext 2288.

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