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A Short History of Indians in Canada


Thomas King

Publication Year: 2013

 Winner of the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year and the Aboriginal Fiction Book of the Year—a collection of twenty short stories told in Thomas King's classic, wry, irreverent, and allegorical voice.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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A Short History of Indians in Canada

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pp. 1-4

...Can’t sleep, Bob Haynie tells the doorman at the King Eddie. Can’t sleep, can’t sleep. First time in Toronto? says the doorman. Yes, says Bob. Businessman? Yes. Looking for some excitement? Yes. Bay Street, sir, says the doorman...

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Tidings of Comfort and Joy

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pp. 5-19

...It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and the winter storm that drifted through the Caledon Hills during the night should have raised Hudson Gold’s spirits. Winter was, after all, his favourite season, and he was always delighted with the first snow, with the way it lay on the dense firs thick...

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The Dog I Wish I Had, I Would Call It Helen

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pp. 20-33

...Jonathan lay in the tub with just his head and butt out of the water and practised his swimming. “I am swimming because I am four now, and, when you are four, you have to know how to swim.” “That’s right,” said Helen. “In case a ghost throws you...

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The Baby in the Airmail Box

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pp. 34-49

...The baby arrives in a cardboard box with a handful of airmail stamps stuck on top and a label that says, “Rocky Creek First Nations.” Orena Charging Woman brings the box to the council meeting and sets it in the middle of the table. “All right,” she says, after all of the band councillors have settled in their chairs, “who ordered the baby?” “Baby?” says Louis Standing, who...

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Coyote and the Enemy Aliens

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pp. 50-70

...You know, everyone likes a good story. Yes, that’s true. My friend Napioa comes by my place. My good place. My good place by the river. Sometimes that Napioa comes by my good place and says, tell us a good story. So I do. Sometimes I tell those good stories from the Indian time. And sometimes I tell those good stories...

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Haida Gwaii

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pp. 71-77

...He hit an eagle. The phone rings. I wake up. An eagle, Steven says. Would you believe it? At Queen and Yonge. Making a right turn. What time is it? You’re Native, he whispers into the phone. Do something. I squeeze the pillow against my breasts. There are no eagles in Toronto, I tell him. It’s a seagull, they don’t mind being hit. A friend in Alberta once showed...

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Little Bombs

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pp. 78-85

...So far as Larry could remember, Janice started hiding the bombs the same week that the Plymouth died. There had been symptoms, of course. A deep, grinding growl. Iridescent pools of oil and gas in the driveway. A thumping knock that telescoped up through the steering wheel and made Janice’s hands and arms numb. It was Janice’s car, and, for the eight months that it staggered and sputtered about, Larry was sympathetic...

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The Colour of Walls

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pp. 86-89

...Harper Stevenson arrived at work on Friday and discovered that the walls in his office had been painted brown. “I asked for white,” Harper told his secretary, “not brown.” “They’re not brown,” said his secretary, “they’re polar almond.” Harper held his hand up against the wall. “See that?” he said. “Let’s paint it again.” On the weekend Harper went to the cottage...

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Bad Men Who Love Jesus

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pp. 90-93

...Jesus takes the bus as far as the Rolling Rock Café in Testament, Alberta, and walks the forty miles to the Garden River Indian Reserve. Hide me, he begs the secretary at the band office, for the love of God, hide me. You know how to run a copier? Mary hands...

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The Closer You Get to Canada, the More Things Will Eat Your Horses

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pp. 94-106

...The Fernhill Senior Game Preserve was alive with activity. All morning, the trucks had been bringing in the racks of camouflage clothing, tins of candle black, and hundreds of pairs of high-top boots, running shoes, and woolen gloves. Mason Walthers leaned on his cane. The arthritis was getting worse. He could feel it in his knees and hips now. It would be sheer luck if he got through...

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Not Enough Horses

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pp. 107-111

...When Clinton Merasty showed up at Sarah Heavyman’s place with the box, Sarah’s father, Houston, was not particularly impressed. “Kittens?” “Kittens,” said Clinton. “I want to marry your daughter.” “That’s the way we used to do it in the old days, all right,” said Houston. “Yeah,” said Clinton, “I know.”...

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Noah’s Ark

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pp. 112-126

...After Papa and William and Mary died, Mum took me and Luke to live with Granny. She had a squat, white stucco house hedged in by white and pink hydrangea bushes that leaned on the windows and blocked the light. There was a pasture behind the house and a creek, and, beyond the creek, Mr. Noah and the zoo. At night...

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Where the Borg Are

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pp. 127-147

...tenthgrade 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...

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States to Avoid

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pp. 148-159

...Avoid Utah. Laura and I were living in Yuba City, and I told her I was willing to stay, that Yuba City was dull but in a nice, ordinary way, and staying wouldn’t be a disaster like Vacaville or Modesto. But Laura said, “No, let’s do what you want to do. You can’t be afraid of change,” she told me. “You’ve got to follow your dream.” And, I could see her point, you know...

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Fire and Rain

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pp. 160-168

...I should tell you from the outset that I am a man who has been married. I should further say that I was happily married. Content. Relaxed. Fulfilled. My wife left me. No, no need to say you’re sorry. It happened months ago, and if it wasn’t for James Taylor, I wouldn’t even mention it at all. Yes, of course, the singer. Yes...

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pp. 169-177

...On the morning of the first day, the skunks appeared in the garden as Evelyn Doogle was having morning tea under the tree. “You should have seen it,” she told her husband, when he got home that night. “A mother and four babies. Paraded right past me as if they owned the place.” Alistair Doogle wasn’t at all sure about...

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Domestic Furies

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pp. 178-189

...My mother always wanted to be the heroine in a play, a strong woman who rose above adversity or held her family together during desperate times or died beautifully of something that wasn’t contagious or embarrassing. She could have been an actress, she liked to tell me, and I believe that this is true, for she would move around the beauty shop as if she knew where...

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The Garden Court Motor Motel

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pp. 190-199

...Sunday. And the train is late. Sonny stands at the edge of the pool at the GARDEN COURT MOTOR MOTEL scooping bugs out of the water with the long-handled net and waits for the train to come chug-chug-chugging along. So he can hear Uncle HOLIE blow the train’s horn. So he can wave to all the passengers on their way to the coast. Water...

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Not Counting the Indian, There Were Six

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pp. 200-208

...Auntie Beth was the scandal in our family. Before her death in a scuba-diving accident, she had had seven husbands. Not counting the Indian, there were six. Granny preferred not to count the Indian, because Beth and Juan “Kid Savage” McTavish were married in Mexico. It was an Indian ceremony; Beth sent back pictures but...

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Another Great Moment in Canadian Indian History

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pp. 209-229

...Until Chief Justice Gordon Steels and the rest of the British Columbia Supreme Court decided that Owen Allands could not hunt on band land because Native rights in the province had been extinguished somewhere in the nineteenth century, the main topic of conversation in Fort Goodweatherday centred on why the...

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pp. 230-231

...These stories, with occasional variations, have been published and/or broadcast, as follows: “A Short History of Indians in Canada” in Toronto Life and Canadian Literature; reprinted as “A Short History of Indians in America”...

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About the Author

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p. 232-232

...Thomas King is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter, and photographer. His many books include Medicine River, Truth and Bright Water, The Truth About Stories (Minnesota, 2005), One Good Story, That One...

E-ISBN-13: 9781452940359
E-ISBN-10: 1452940355
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816689811

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2013