Books: Looking at Canada’s Future Through an Indigenous Lens

Editor Drew Hayden Taylor, award-winning playwright and writer, has put together a welcome and valuable addition to our national conversations on reconciliation

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Me Tomorrow: Indigenous Views on the Future

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Drew Hayden Taylor (Editor) | Douglas & McIntyre (Madeira Park, BC, 2021)

$22.95 | 211 p.


Most non-Indigenous Canadians, when we think of Indigenous peoples at all, think of the multiple horrors of colonization, past and present.

We think of dormitories, the Sixties Scoop, plague blankets, dirty water, missing women, intergenerational trauma and addiction. Or we romanticize the indigenous past by icing the cake of injustice with saccharine images of the noble savage.

Drew Hayden Taylor, an award-winning playwright, novelist, screenwriter, and journalist from the Curve Lake First Nation of central Ontario, seeks to expand our vision of indigenous opportunities. As editor, Taylor has collected testimonies from 15 prominent Indigenous leaders, writers and activists in Me Tomorrow. It is a welcome and valuable addition to our national conversations on reconciliation.

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One of the many treasures in this remarkable collection is a statement by Lee Maracle. Maracle, who died last year after a distinguished career as an author and activist, writes in the collection’s final essay: “In a hundred years we will be more united on this island than ever before… Our young people will lead the way back to our beliefs and forward to their humanity.”

Taylor has assembled a powerful chorus of voices ranging from a coda by acknowledged elder and genius Maracle to Autumn Peltier, a teenage Anishinaabe water rights activist, a youth charting a vision of their own future. Others contributing to this instructive and often moving chorus of voices include Cree lawyer and former MP Romeo Saganash, who helped draft the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a document many refer to of the essays collected here. Another key contributor is T’Sou-k Nation artist Jordanna George, whose stunning visual “motherboard” graces the cover of the book.

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Many of the book’s essays refer to the indigenous teaching that all decisions should take into account the seven generations that follow a decision. Generally, this teaching is drawn upon in the context of creating a sustainable future for all through the implementation of such careful planning.

A stubborn and angry essay by Clarence Louie, the longtime elected leader of the Osoyoos Indian Band, is both a skeptical view of the seventh-generation doctrine and a call for entrepreneurial solutions to his people’s suffering that some readers might find unconvincing. This collection insists that we all remember that indigenous peoples are not monolithic in their views of the future and learn to respectfully listen to all voices that are raised.

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Highly recommended.

Tom Sandborn lives and writes in Vancouver. He welcomes your feedback and story suggestions at tos65@telus.net


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