Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

First Nations First Dogs

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

First Nations First Dogs

Article excerpt

Cummins, Bryan D. First Nations First Dogs. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises Ltd., 2002. 351 pp., illustrations, photographs, maps, appendices, bibliography, index. ISBN 1-55059-227-0 Paperback CDN$29.95.

First Nations First Dogs situates the importance of dogs within the culture and history of Native peoples now living in Canada. After providing an overview of canine domestication and a discussion on the lack of serious studies on Native dogs, Cummins uses the concept of anthropological culture areas to explore First Nation and dog interactions. Since this approach makes it difficult to delineate the differences between cultures within each zone, Cummins carefully highlights specific Nations' cultures and explains how each incorporated the dog not only into their daily lives but into their spiritual and mythological world views. He shows that dogs were not simply tools, but an integral part of the culture.

In the conclusion, Cummins notes that more sedentary societies, such as the Iroquois, treated dogs differently than those more mobile. Readers may be shocked by some of the accounts relating to the treatment of dogs, but Cummins gently reminds us that the written evidence is largely created by Westerners who generally held different views of dogs and their role in the world. …

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