I don’t known enough about the history to be able to say whether Thomas King’s book ‘The Inconvenient Indian: a Curious Account of Native People in North America‘ is strictly accurate. He certainly makes no claim to be strictly unbiased; he is a First Nations person (or, as he is happy to say, an ‘Indian’), and he is telling the story from that viewpoint.
I can report, however, that it is witty, provocative, challenging, and at times deeply discouraging. It is also a very worthwhile read.
Here’s the blurb from Amazon:
The Inconvenient Indian is at once a “history” and the complete subversion of a history—in short, a critical and personal meditation that the remarkable Thomas King has conducted over the past 50 years about what it means to be “Indian” in North America.
Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, this book distills the insights gleaned from that meditation, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.
This is a book both timeless and timely, burnished with anger but tempered by wit, and ultimately a hard-won offering of hope — a sometimes inconvenient, but nonetheless indispensable account for all of us, Indian and non-Indian alike, seeking to understand how we might tell a new story for the future.
I highly recommend it And while we’re talking about Thomas King, don’t forget that you can currently listen to the first season of his CBC ‘Dead Dog Café Comedy Hour‘ radio show on YouTube. Do!