Book reviews are up to 1,000 words long and should be guided by a discussion of the engaged debate, position the book in its field of literature and give a few points of information on the author’s background. Book reviewers should neither be uncritically advocating for the book by offering an overly meticulous summary without analysis, nor should they take the book that is to be discussed as an occasion for presenting the reviewer’s own views on a theme or topic. Book reviews are assessed by the Editors.
AlterNative acknowledges the long history of harmful Western research practices that have appropriated Indigenous knowledges and cultures and been enormously damaging to Indigenous peoples and communities. As such, please consider the following questions in writing your review:
- What is the standpoint from which the author speaks in relation to Indigenous peoples? Does the author respect Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing on an equal basis with the knowledge-ways of the West?
- How does the author describe Indigenous peoples and knowledges? Does the author employ language that implicitly assumes that Indigenous systems are inferior to Western systems (for example by describing Indigenous knowledges, cultures and histories using terms such as: irrational, primitive, unscientific, naïve, simple, folklore, stone age, or pre-history)
To the extent that this can be determined, what was the research process for producing the work and was that process ethical? For example, if the work being reviewed includes Indigenous knowledge such as a cultural narrative, the issues to be considered include whether the rights of Indigenous knowledge-holders have been protected (for example, do they hold copyright in their narrative) and what (if any) benefits the knowledge-holders and/or their communities derive from the research. Some jurisdictions will have best practice guidelines for research relating to Indigenous peoples that give an indication of the issues in relation to research – for example, in Australia, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Guidelines for Ethical Research, the Te Ara Tika guidelines in New Zealand, or in Canada, the SSHRC Aboriginal Research Statement of Principles For further information on AlterNative's Submission Guidelines, click here
To inquire as to the availability of a specific book, please cite the assigned ALT CODE in the subject line when contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Melonville. Smokey Hollow. Bannock Town. Fort Tuyau. Little Chicago. Mud Flats. Pumpville. Tintown. La Coulee. These were some of the names given to Métis communities at the edges of urban areas in Manitoba. Rooster Town, which was on the outskirts of southwest Winnipeg, endured from 1901 to 1961.
Those years in Winnipeg were characterized by the twin pressures of depression and inflation, chronic housing shortages, and a spotty social support network. At the city’s edge, Rooster Town grew without city services as rural Métis arrived to participate in the urban economy and build their own houses while keeping Métis culture and community as a central part of their lives.
In other growing settler cities, the Indigenous experience was largely characterized by removal and confinement. But the continuing presence of Métis living and working in the city, and the establishment of Rooster Town itself, made the Winnipeg experience unique.
Rooster Town documents the story of a community rooted in kinship, culture, and historical circumstance, whose residents existed unofficially in the cracks of municipal bureaucracy, while navigating the legacy of settler colonialism and the demands of modernity and urbanization.
A Report of an Inquiry into an Injustice chronicles Peter Kulchyski’s experiences with the Begade Shutagot’ine, a small community of a few hundred people living in and around Tulita (formerly Fort Norman), on the Mackenzie River in the heart of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Despite their formal objections and boycott of the agreement, the band and their lands were included in the Sahtu treaty, a modern comprehensive land claims agreement negotiated between the Government of Canada and the Sahtu Tribal Council, representing Dene and Metis peoples of the region. While both Treaty Eleven (1921) and the Sahtu Treaty (1994) purport to extinguish Begade Shutagot’ine Aboriginal title, oral history and documented attempts to exclude themselves from treaty strongly challenge the validity of that extinguishment.
Structured as a series of briefs to an inquiry into the Begade Shutagot’ine’s claim, this manuscript documents the negotiation and implementation of the Sahtu treaty and amasses evidence of historical and continued presence and land use to make eminently clear that the Begade Shutagot’ine are the continued owners of the land by law: they have not extinguished title to their traditional territories; they continue to exercise their customs, practices, and traditions on those territories; and they have a fundamental right to be consulted on, and refuse or be compensated for, development projects on those territories. Kulchyski bears eloquent witness to the Begade Shutagot’ine people’s two-decade struggle for land rights, which have been blatantly ignored by federal and territorial authorities for too long.
Naming the World examines language shift among the Northern Arapaho of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming, and the community’s diverse responses as it seeks social continuity. Andrew Cowell argues that, rather than a single “Arapaho culture,” we find five distinctive communities of practice on the reservation, each with differing perspectives on social and more-than-human power and the human relationships that enact power.
As the Arapaho people resist Euro-American assimilation or domination, the Arapaho language and the idea that the language is sacred are key rallying points—but also key points of contestation. Cowell finds that while many at Wind River see the language as crucial for maintaining access to more-than-human power, others primarily view the language in terms of peer-oriented identities as Arapaho, Indian, or non-White. These different views lead to quite different language usage and attitudes in relation to place naming, personal naming, cultural metaphors, new word formation, and the understudied practice of folk etymology.
Cowell presents data from conversations and other natural discourse to show the diversity of everyday speech and attitudes, and he links these data to broader debates at Wind River and globally about the future organization of indigenous societies and the nature of Arapaho and indigenous identity.