Synopses & Reviews
In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact. Ranging freely across the centuries and the Canada–U.S. border, King debunks fabricated stories of Indian savagery and White heroism, takes an oblique look at Indians (and cowboys) in film and popular culture, wrestles with the history of Native American resistance and his own experiences as a Native rights activist, and articulates a profound, revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.
Suffused with wit, anger, perception, and wisdom, The Inconvenient Indian is at once an engaging chronicle and a devastating subversion of history, insightfully distilling what it means to be “Indian” in North America. It is a critical and personal meditation that sees Native American history not as a straight line but rather as a circle in which the same absurd, tragic dynamics are played out over and over again. At the heart of the dysfunctional relationship between Indians and Whites, King writes, is land: “The issue has always been land.” With that insight, the history inflicted on the indigenous peoples of North America—broken treaties, forced removals, genocidal violence, and racist stereotypes—sharpens into focus. Both timeless and timely, The Inconvenient Indian ultimately rejects the pessimism and cynicism with which Natives and Whites regard one another to chart a new and just way forward for Indians and non-Indians alike.
"A Native novelist and vocal advocate for First Nation rights, King (The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative) delivers an intelligent and eye-opening overview of Native peoples in post-Columbus North America in this new volume, a book that 'has been a work-in-progress for most of adult life.' The effort shows. Fastidiously working his way from convenient and comforting myths (like that of Pocahontas rescuing Capt. John Smith) to the real-life atrocities on the Trail of Tears, at Wounded Knee, and countless other incidents, and on to the 20th century's conscious, legislated marginalization of Natives King demonstrates with sharp and swift strokes how the U.S. and Canada have repeatedly treated Natives as an inconvenience, an obstacle to be rid of, moved, or carefully rounded up, then reimagined altogether. It's also a book that charts how such injustices are often replaced by kinder, more audience-friendly historical narratives; as King quips, 'fictions are less unruly than histories.' Reminiscent of the subversive revisionism of Howard Zinn, King's deeply personal and knowledgeable account of North American Natives scathes, chides, and often pokes fun, but suffers from a unilaterally sardonic tone that seethes with understandable indignation but leaves too little space for hope or progress. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists (Canada). (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact. Both timeless and timely, The Inconvenient Indian ultimately rejects the pessimism and cynicism with which Natives and Whites regard one another to chart a new and just way forward for Indians and non-Indians alike.
About the Author
Thomas King is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter, and photographer. His many books include the novels Medicine River; Green Grass, Running Water; Truth and Bright Water; two short story collections, One Good Story, That One (Minnesota, 2013) and A Short History of Indians in Canada (Minnesota, 2013); nonfiction, The Truth About Stories (Minnesota, 2005); and the children’s books A Coyote Columbus Story, Coyote Sings to the Moon, Coyote’s New Suit, and A Coyote Solstice Tale. King edited the literary anthology All My Relations and wrote and starred in the popular CBC radio series, The Dead Dog Café. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western American Literary Association (2004) and an Aboriginal Achievement Award (2003), and was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2004. He has taught Native literature and history and creative writing at the University of Lethbridge, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Guelph and is now retired and lives in Guelph, Ontario.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Warm Toast and Porcupines
1. Forget Columbus
2. The End of the Trail
3. Too Heavy to Lift
4. One Name to Rule Them All
5. We Are Sorry
6. Like Cowboys and Indians
7. Forget about It
8. What Indians Want
9. As Long as the Grass Is Green
10. Happy Ever After