Cover Image: My Conversations With Canadians

My Conversations With Canadians

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I was both drawn to and mislead by the title of this book. A "conversation" was exactly what I was looking for but the contents of this book is anything but conversational.  The author is angry and has every right to be. I'm not questioning the validity of her feelings but  her scolding tone made me feel combative. I was hoping this book would highlight the misconceptions that the author came across during her interactions with Canadians. I wanted to hear what these misconceptions were and wanted to hear how she was able to educate and correct people. Based on what I thought and hoped to read, this book was a total failure. I can't understand what Maracle hopes to accomplish with this book. I don't understand the point of the book. I give it 2 stars instead of one because I recognize the frustration and anger she feels is very real I went into this book with a very open mind and heart but Maracle shut that down  within 10 minutes of starting the book.  A big missed opportunity for both of us.
Was this review helpful?
The long story short is that this book is going on my list of "art" books because it moves me. Maracle's words bring me to the brilliant highs of culture and power and hope as well as the lows of confusion, helplessness and loss. Although the message calling for awareness and understanding is not new, the avenue of semi-poetic prose stands out as one of the more remarkable pieces on human rights that I've experienced so far. Maracle isn't pushy, but she is determined and passionate. Her assertations are clear and powerful. Her way of smoothly including her own perspective isn't so much an argument as an unshakable truth. I would love to see this book in the hands of Canadians and Americans and anyone else who wants or needs to know what respect
Was this review helpful?
It's important to listen. Especially when it's uncomfortable, and this was a really uncomfortable book to listen to because Lee Maracle has some tough, searing, and hard to refute things to say about colonization and the annoying tendency of White people like me to talk over an down to indigenous people like her. Her stories and arguments around the arts world didn't hold me as much, but she made good points about intellectual property and colonization, and made a really good argument about refusing the label of "marginalized" culture and refusing to recognize the colonizing culture as central. Thought-provoking, combative stuff.
Was this review helpful?
This book reads like a (much needed) slap to the face. Throwing the willful ignorance, dismissiveness and complacency of white Canadians into the context of the history of North American, Maracle reflects of the conversations that have stayed with her over her decades as an author and her life as an FN woman. Narrated with a calm, directness that amplifies the impact of colonial/imperial systems and assumptions, Maracle breaks the reader down and takes away any opportunity for the phase 'I had no idea' to be valid again - if it ever was before.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. I find nonfiction in first person very easy to follow along as it feels like someone is talking to you, especially when the nonfiction is a more personal piece of work. My Conversations With Canadians by Lee Maracle is a very thought provoking book. I don't think I'm well versed enough in different Indigenous issues to attest to how accurate each of the statements are, but I think it brings up interesting perspectives that challenge conventional thought. As a reader, this seems to be Lee Maracle's intention, as our idea of conventional thought regarding Indigenous culture stems from white perspectives, which are so inaccurate. We need to subvert these ingrained thoughts if we are going to do any proper reconciliation in Canada that goes beyond nice words. Overall, I enjoyed this short audiobook. It has questioned a lot of perspectives that I've never questioned before.
Was this review helpful?
Lee Maracle is a Sto:lo author and poet that, in my opinion, all Canadians -and all people really - should read.  This book derives from a question Maracle was asked when she was on her first book tour.  Not having an answer at the time, she has now had time to reflect on the questions she often hears while touring Canada.

In these essays, Maracle doesn't answer the questions, but rather, gives us her reflections in her frank honest way, using her experiences and story telling.  She does not shy away from the hot topics around identity, marginalization, appropriation, the misnomer of reconciliation, colonialism and genocide to name a few.

Lee Maracle is direct when she discusses Canada and the treaties, how first nations people are controlled and not protected, the national stereotypical images of indigenous people, and the misconception that Canada is better than the USA in regard to racism and prejudice.

I love how Maracle talks about the importance of oratory and the spoken word.  It's obvious expressing art is a part of her very essence.  In these essays she talks about the importance of culture, ceremony, dance, song, and words.  Her concept of her word art is fantastic and something we can all learn from.  She reaffirmed for me the importance of mythology and not dismissing it as not having truth and the essential change that needs to take place of Canadians not thinking we are the centre of all things, especially when it comes to our earth.

I learned a lot from these essays, the importance of including indigenous knowledge working with science and not dismissing it as having no merit.  These essays also highlighted for me the struggles many First Nations people have being and/or feeling Canadian and feeling that they belong.  No wonder, when our use of language talks about First Nations as possessions.  Our First Nations, Our Indigenous Peoples.  I will be more aware of this myself now.  There is something in these essays that I think all people can learn from.  

The audio book narrator, Marysia Bucholc did a great job - very clear and good timing.  I'm not sure what Marysia's background is.  I would hope in this case, that a Turtle Islander would be chosen to narrate something like this.  Perhaps that is the case.

I will definitely be checking out anything Lee Maracle puts out.  We need her wisdom.

Thank you to NetGalley and ECW Press Audio for the free audio book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?