Dances with Dependency
Out of Poverty Through Self-Reliance

By Calvin Helin

You really have to admire Calvin Helin. I’m not talking about his writing but rather his perseverance. He was turned down 32 times by publishers before going on to publish his book himself in 2006. That is the sign of a man who believes in himself and what he has to say.

Dances with Dependency: Indigenous Success through Self-Reliance hits the mark so many times it is unbelievable. I only found one fault with the book. It is a problem I find with a few writers and speakers. They talk of government “handouts” to Aboriginal people.

Receiving what was promised in a treaty is not a handout. Say you are a car salesman. A person buys a car from you and makes monthly payments. This is not a handout. It is a payment received for a tangible asset.

That said Helin’s comments about dependency do have meaning in today’s world. Government control of the purse strings makes Aboriginal Nations vulnerable. It’s not like the salesman who can repossess the car or take the buyer to court and expect something in a timely fashion.

This is where I agree with Helin that we have to create and build sustainable and successful Aboriginal economies.

Buy the book and check out the ideas for yourself. While some things should be taken with a grain of salt, there is enough meat to make it a worthwhile read.