Book Review: 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act – Bob Joseph

Book Review: 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act – Bob Joseph

By Fin MacDonald

On May 25, the day before the official opening of the sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library, Gwawaenuk Nation author and trainer Bob Joseph gave a presentation on his new book “21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act”. A full house was in attendance in the new meeting room; so new a workman was drilling holes in the wall to mount the dedication plaque. Bob is the owner of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., which provides services to Government, Corporations and others globally. He is the son of a Hereditary Chief, and will assume that mantle when his father passes away. His theme is Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples, which is also the name of his blog.

Using his recently published book as a guide, Bob led us through the history on indigenous/settler relations and the horror of the Indian Residential Schools. He proposes a way forward and, in the appendices, codifies the harm done, and provides resources to establish better relations in the future. Topics in the appendices include “Terminology,” Residential School Chronology, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, A Teachers’ guide and, in all their hatred, quotations from John A. Macdonald and Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs Duncan Campbell Scott.

Those in attendance thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth between Bob and his audience. One group had read Bob’s book for their book club. I had not, but have found it to be a wonderful, if sometimes sickening, history of our relations with Indigenous People. I heartily recommend it.

21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act, Indigenous Relations Press, Port Coquitlam BC, 2018. $19.95CDN

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