Furious Observations of a Blue-Eyed Ojibway

Description

173 pages
$16.95
ISBN 0-894778-03-0
DDC C813'.54

Publisher

Year

2002

Contributor

Reviewed by John Steckley

John Steckley teaches in the Human Studies Program at Humber College in
Toronto. He is the author of Beyond Their Years: Five Native Women’s
Stories.

Review

Ojibway writer/humorist Drew Hayden Taylor has derived keen and humorous
insights from his position as someone who stands between two
cultures—a blue-eyed, white-skinned “Indian” who was raised on the
Curve Lake reserve in Southern Ontario. In this, his third Blue-Eyed
Ojibway book, he produces the kind of witty expressions (“persons of
palour” and “buck-skinhead,” for example) to which his readers
have grown accustomed. But there’s a sameness to these short, humorous
articles, a dependence on stock “Indian” references (to such
elements as bannock and bingo) that wears thin. Too often the humor is
forced, and sloppy writing (the overuse of “but I digress” is but
one example) doesn’t help matters.

Tellingly, the best articles are also the most serious. Taylor
addresses “potential internal racism within our community” in
“Half Empty or Half Full”; the high rate of Aboriginal smokers in
“What Would Happen If the Cigar Store Indian Didn’t Have Any
Cigars?”; and Aboriginal students who display a sense of entitlement
for marks they didn’t earn in “Being Native Doth Have Its
Privileges.”

At one point, Taylor quotes from Thomas King, the Cherokee/Greek
novelist who wrote the very funny Dead Dog Café for the CBC and then
voluntarily took himself off the air, stating “you sort of run out of
gas after doing the same thing for so long.” Taylor is maturing as an
observer of life, and his writing needs to mature as well. Like King, he
needs to move on.

Citation

Taylor, Drew Hayden., “Furious Observations of a Blue-Eyed Ojibway,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/10103.