Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

#IdleNoMore and the Remaking of Canada

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

#IdleNoMore and the Remaking of Canada

Article excerpt

Ken Coates, #IdleNoMore and the Remaking of Canada (Saskatchewan: University of Regina Press, 2015), 204 pp. Paper. £21.50. ISBN 978-0-88977-342-4.

In pondering how to commence a review of this book, I found myself returning to its cover where Ovide Mercredi describes it as 'A sincere and insightful book'. Overall, that now seems to me - as an 'interested outsider' looking to learn more about Idle No More - to be pretty fair. Of course, the very position of an 'outsider' carries hefty baggage as does the status of the author himself. Ken Coates is not Aboriginal but, having worked with, and clearly sympathised with, some of Canada's Aboriginal peoples, he is clearly far closer than I am to the origins and originators of Idle No More: so, a near outsider whilst I remain a far outsider.

With researcher assistance, Coates does indeed chronicle the origins and development of Idle No More and illuminates its character and achievements. The difficulties in writing and hence reading such a book stems from how much the casual reader may be presumed to know. Many of the tensions between the Idle No More leaders and the Harper regime, the legacies of the Indian Act and the existing structures within which Aboriginal peoples operate are reasonably familiar. Other details, admittedly mostly minor ones, are presented without explanation. Then, of course there is the chosen contextualising content. It is entirely reasonable and valuable for Coates to spell out the teen suicides, the murders, the residential schools, and the disappearances, and it is to be hoped that greater recognition of these troubles might lead to even further action. …

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