A Short History of Indians in Canada


232 pages
ISBN 0-00-200702-3
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Joan A. Lovisek

Joan Lovisek, Ph.D., is a consulting anthropologist and ethnohistorian
in British Columbia.


Notwithstanding its title, this is a collection of 20 short stories by
Thomas King, an award-winning writer who is best known for his humorous
vignettes, many of which involve Indians.

To make his satirical observations in these stories, King portrays
Indians as exotic species, collectables, or discombobulated birds that
crash into office windows attracted by the light of the big city. In
“Tidings of Comfort and Joy,” the collecting of Native people is
depicted as a white man’s hobby, and the reader is left with a
not-too-subtle reference to Indian reserves. King reveals the
absurdities underlying stereotypes in other stories about tricksters,
band councils, and the foibles of bingo. He takes on the politically
charged subject of the adoption of Native children in a bizarre,
humorous story titled “The Baby in the Airmail Box.” In the clever
“Where the Borg Are,” he compares the creators of the Indian Act
with Star Trek characters.

A Short History of Indians in Canada amply illustrates the breadth and
development of King’s writing.


King, Thomas., “A Short History of Indians in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/16344.