One Dead Indian By Peter Edwards Published by Stoddard 2001 One Dead Indian is about the Ontario Premier, the OPP and the Ipperwash Crisis. The book takes you back to September 4,
1995, when Stoney Point Natives went into Ipperwash Park to reclaim an ancient and traditional burial ground.
Within 72 hours Anthony (Dudley) George would be dead, shot by an OPP officer with a submachine gun.
The world would then find out that the Native protestors were unarmed.
The book takes you back to when the Stoney Point reservation was taken away from them as part of the World War II war effort and an army base was built on their land. It tells of the suffering they endured and how the promises that they would see the land returned to them after the war were forgotten or ignored. It tells you of some of the events leading up to the shooting and what happened during and after. It is a book that should have changed the system for the better. But the warning was largely ignored and things remain unchanged. There still has not been a public inquiry into what has happened, but at least we now have enough facts to form an informed opinion about what really happened. One fact that I still carry with me is that after a band councilor hoping to negotiate a peaceful settlement was beaten up by riot police, the OPP Association – citing a right to privacy – refused to release photos of the police officers so they could be identified. Only one officer identified himself as hitting the man once or twice and no one could remember under oath who else was involved in the beating. One Dead Indian looks at justice and the lack of it for everyone involved. Only one officer was ever convicted. He received two years less a day to be served in the community. In effect it was 180 hours and no house arrest. This is a book that should taught be in most high school classrooms lest we forget.
Smokescreen By Paul William Roberts and Norman Snider Published by Stoddard 2001 A true story about a man named Carl Broeker. He had the good life and discovered it was only true on the surface. His wife was cheating on him with his brother and his business partners were connected to organized crime. His good reputation in the community quickly went downhill. He started working with the U.S. Secret Service and the RCMP.
He enters the shady underworld meeting with Mohawk smugglers, biker gangs, the drug cartel and the Russian Mafia.
Broeker runs from deal to deal. One day he’s involved in the cigarette trade, and then it’s off to counterfeiting money and arms trafficking.
It is an interesting book and one that makes me think Broeker had to be an adrenaline junkie. The action is almost non-stop and gives you a glimpse into the underbelly of a world we rarely enter.
China Dolls and Porcupines By Robert Arthur Alexie Published by Stoddard 2002 A nice piece of no-holds-barred fiction about residential schools. If you like the nitty gritty feel of the real world in your fiction then this is it. James Nathan and Jake Noland return from residential school with a secret that will tear apart their lives.
This book tells you how they coped with what happened. It is not a book for the faint of heart as it captures the despair and pain of the residential schools. In the prologue where you are being introduced to the main character it reads, “He took a deep breath, dropped the gun, then exhaled. He heard it: the peace and the silence. He waited for his ultimate journey to hell.” As I said it is a no holds barred look at life. It looks at the bars, the fears, the suicides and all the troubles of lost souls.
In the end, though, it holds out hope that healing is possible for some when the skeletons in the closet are exposed to the light of day. It is this that makes this book what it is; a uniquely Native piece of fiction that resembles reality so closely it’s unreal.
It was a book I couldn’t put down. It could be any of a hundred communities in any province.
The title comes from when the main character goes to residential school. One of the first things they do is to cut everyones hair. The boys end up looking like porcupines and the girls like china dolls. Hats offto Robert Arthur Alexie, a Teetl’itGwich’in Native and former chief, for this thought-provoking work Top Ten List 1 HARD EIGHT, by Janet Evanovich. (St. Martin’s, $25.95) Stephanie Plum takes time out from bounty hunting to search for a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who has been abducted.
2 THE BEACH HOUSE, by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge. (Little, Brown, $26.95) After his brother drowns in East Hampton, a law student seeks revenge on the powerful people who he thinks are responsible.
3 THE EMPEROR OF OCEAN PARK, by Stephen L. Carter. (Knopf, $26.95) The patriarch of a black family, forced to withdraw from consideration for the Supreme Court, dies under mysterious circumstances.
4 FIRE ICE, by Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos. (Putnam, $26.95) Claiming to be a descendant of the Romanovs, a mining tycoon tries to overthrow the Russian government.
5 IN THIS MOUNTAIN, by Jan Karon. (Viking, $25.95) In the seventh book of the “Mitford Years” series, Cynthia Kavanagh thrives in retirement while her husband, Father Tim, grows restless.
6 THE NANNY DIARIES, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. (St. Martin’s, $24.95) A satirical look at rich and powerful New Yorkers through the eyes of an Upper East Side nanny.
7 MOUNT VERNON LOVE STORY, by Mary Higgins Claik. (Simon & Schuster, $22) The married life of George and Martha Washington; originally published in 1969 under the title “Aspire to the Heavens.” 8 THE SHELTERS OF STONE, by Jean M. Auel. (Crown, $28.95) Love and danger in a prehistoric society; the latest volume in a series that began with “The Clan of the Cave Bear.” 9 THE SUMMONS, by John Grisham. (Doubleday, $27.95) A law professor who has been called home to Mississippi by his father, a dying judge, discovers more than $3 million in cash in the old man’s study.
10 DRAGONS OFA VANISHED MOON, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. (Wizards of the Coast, $27.95) The third volume of “The War of Souls,” a fantasy saga.