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Book Reviews I Have Lived Here since the World Began: The Illustrated History of Canada's Nativt< People. ARTHUR H. RAY. . Toronto: Key Porter Books 1996. Pp. 416, illus. 45.00 Not many years ago, teachers of undergraduate surveys of Canadian Aboriginal history had little choice when it came to selecting a suitable textbook. That began to change with the publication of J.R. Miller's Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens (1989) and Olive Dickason's Canada's First Nations (1992). Arthur Ray's I Have Lived Here since the World Began: An Illustrated History of Canada's Native People is the newest entry in this field, but prospective teachers of Native history courses may be misled by the book's subtitle, which suggests that it is a lavishly illustrated, 'popular' book of the coffee table variety. It is not; it is a first-rate survey that deserves serious consideration. Charging that 'the economic history of Aboriginal people is still essentially ignored,' Ray promises that his text will examine the 'fascinating story about the many ways in which Native people took advantage of new economic developments or resisted those that offered them no benefits or degree of control' (xvii). As might be expected from Canada's leading historian of the fur trade, this aspect of the Aboriginal past is covered especially well, but Ray's treatment of the cultural, legal, and political dimensions of the Native experience should also meet with the favour of most academics. Ray may have chosen an economic emphasis to counter 'notions such as the idea that "Indians" were by nature economically conservative and had no conceptions of commerce or systems of land and resource ownership and management' (368). In fact, he has convincingly demonstrated the flexibility and capacity for innovation in Native cultures, which, clearly, have faced obstacles perhaps greater than those of any other element of Canadian society. In this regard, Ray believes it is only through an understanding of the Aboriginal past that non- . Native Canadians can begin to understand the reasons for present-day Book Reviews ·329 Native actions. At a time when there is a danger of a growing backlash against Native 'demands,' this book is especially relevant. Euro-Canadians who are disturbed by what might appear to be Native 'intransigence ' about land claims in disputed, mineral-rich areas such as Voisey's Bay, Labrador, are well advised to read this text. Similarly, for those Canadians to whom the confrontation at Oka was a frightening surprise, Ray's survey explains the long train ofprovocations that drove the Mohawk to armed resistance. Native concerns are also well addressed in the case of British Columbia, where disputes over the fishery and the land claims process have frayed the nerves of Natives and non-Natives alike. Remarkably, for a one-volume work, Ray has managed to survey thoroughly - in clear, direct language - the major contours of Inuit, Indian, and Metis history. Chronologically, the work is balanced, beginning with a brief treatment of pre-contact Canada and ending with an extended and enlightening treatment ofthe Delgamuukw (1991) case in which Chief Justice Allan McEachern of the British Columbia Supreme Court disallowed almost all the oral tradition painstakingly provided over the months by Gitskan and Wet'suweten hereditary chiefs and elders. The resulting decision, which concluded that 'aboriginal interests did not include ownership or jurisdiction over the territory ' (364), ran against the direction of the overwhelming majority of the historical and anthropological scholarship of the past thirty years. Ray's text is a useful corrective to the sort ofthinking exemplified by the Delgamuukw decision, and one hopes it will find a wide audience. Although the colour plates are beautiful and the maps clear and relevant , too many ofthe small black-and-white photographs are murky. As well, the book's usefulness for academics would be enhanced by a more comprehensive bibliography. Because only a selection of booklength entries is provided, much of the recent anthropological and archaeological literature, which is in the form of journal articles, is excluded. RALPH PASTORE Memorial University of Newfoundland New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America. COLIN G. CALLOWAY. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press 1997· Pp. xxi, 229, illus. $24.95 The 'brave new world' that millions of immigrants were looking for when they came to the Americas after 1492 was a goal that fragmented into the multiplicity of national worlds that today makes up the West- ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 328-329
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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