A Nation Within a Nation: Dependency and the Cree


161 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-551640-13-9
DDC 323.1'197071





Reviewed by Jean Manore

Jean Manore is a policy assistant at the Department of Native Affairs.


In this analysis of Native-EuroCanadian relations, the author seeks to
answer the following questions: Do First Nations in Quebec share similar
characteristics with developing nations? Do the James Bay Cree represent
an underdeveloped nation within Quebec’s borders? Can a dependency
theory as applied to the Third World be used in the analysis of First
Nations-Quebec relations? In short, is the James Bay region a dependency
of southern Quebec? She concludes that it is, but her argument is

The book is divided into four chapters. The first describes various
dependency theories; the second is a brief chronicle of the James Bay
Cree’s supposed fall into dependency; the third is an extrapolation of
the Cree situation onto all First Nations in Canada; and the fourth is a
proposal to reform the core/periphery relationship through a process of
“delinking,” which would allow the periphery to develop its own
political and social institutions and promote sustained economic
development rather than short-term economic growth.

Gagné’s evidence comes mainly from secondary sources, and her prose
is simplistic and even repetitive; at times the argument is nothing more
than a cut-and-paste of other sources. Her historical analysis of the
Cree relationship with the Hudson’s Bay Company and the federal
government is superficial.

The strongest part of the book provides statistical evidence
illustrating the disadvantaged position First Nations have in Canada
within the justice and educational systems. Her proposal for delinking
is an interesting suggestion; however, given the similarities between
delinking and sovereignty-association, one cannot help but wonder if
this book is more about Quebec in Canada than about First Nations in


Gagné, Marie-Anik., “A Nation Within a Nation: Dependency and the Cree,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/6783.