The First Canadians: A Profile of Canada's Native People Today. 2nd ed.


219 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55028-478-9
DDC 323.1'197071




Reviewed by S. Barry Cottam

S. Barry Cottam is the editor and publisher of SSHARE and a historical
consultant in Ottawa.


The original publication of this book marked the 20th anniversary of the
fateful attempt by the federal government to pass its infamous White
Paper on Indian Affairs. This updated edition brings the story of
Canada’s aboriginal relations forward to 1995. The first chapter sets
the stage, outlining the White Paper, the vigorous responses to it, and
post-1969 relations, including Meech Lake, the Charlottetown Accord, the
Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and Native rights in Quebec.
Analyses follow of reserves, urban Natives, self-government, economic
development, health care, education, justice and Native organizations,
and child welfare. The key sources in these analyses are government and
First Nations reports, academic studies, and interviews with government
and Native leaders.

Some of the generalizations the book makes about early historical
relations are wildly inaccurate, reflecting old stereotypes of powerless
Natives victimized by ruthless Europeans. Nevertheless, The First
Canadians has much to offer the concerned and interested general reader.


Comeau, Pauline, and Aldo Santin., “The First Canadians: A Profile of Canada's Native People Today. 2nd ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 29, 2024,