John Ralston Saul is one of my favorite authors. I’ll get that off my chest right away.
There is a clarity in his writing and in this book he asks us to reflect a bit.
Today it’s crazy the amount of words on the internet, stories written. Sometimes these stories are written as journalism, that is to say it is always spun with a certain purpose in mind.
What I began to ask myself was what was missing. Context. History.
I grew up not very interested in history but through school I did get a basic (very basic due to my little interest) of Canadian history as well as a touch of “worldly events“.
I had always heard of aboriginal peoples, trying to renegotiate their lands. I remember the “Wikipedia – Oka Crisis” from when I was in my teenaged years. I never really knew what to make of it. Through the knowledge I had learned, I did know that the aboriginal peoples of Canada had not been treated very well but I still did lack much context.
This book is a nice step back into history (and today, history is one of my favorite subjects to read). From broken treaties, constant denials and tax payer funding of the continual court battles by our governments (past and present), one would think that the book would be a bit bleak in highlighting this history.
But it is quite hopeful.
John Ralston Saul is a visionary. I’m quite grateful that we have voices like his.
The last section of the book “Other People’s words” highlights many letters, parts of speechs and/or debates from various leaders and at different points in history.
A couple of those short chapters that really stuck out for me were Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant) to Sir Frederick Haldimand, Governor of Quebec (1783)
And The Memorial to Sir Wilfred Laurier, Premier of the Dominion of Canada, from the Chiefs fo the Shuswap, Okanagan and Couteau Tribes of British Columbian (1910)
The issues contained in this book are at the very heart of this great country.
I highly recommend it’s reading. This book also hints at something (possibly indirectly) that I’ve believed for many years.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Perhaps someday we will be brave enough to treat all citizens as equals, to settle what needs to be settled and stop the tradition of avoidance, follow through with our long standing commitments and stop wasting tax payer dollars on never ending legal battles.
We are all humans together on this rock.
This is an important book.