University of Regina Press / 4 September 2015

#IdleNoMore: And the Remaking of Canada by Ken Coates Published by University of Regina Press Review by: Justin Dittrick $27.95 ISBN: 9780889773424 In #IdleNoMore: And the Remaking of Canada, Ken Coates examines the Idle No More movement from its understated beginnings in November 2012 to its climax in the late winter of 2013. While Idle No More can be compared to other social movements, such as Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, it differs from them in several important ways. It is these differences that make the movement truly remarkable, including its lack of an official spokesperson, its lack of affiliation with political leaders, mainstream ideologies, and party elites, and its lack of an organizational structure beyond organizers’ commitment to its grassroots origins and inspiration. Indeed a convincing argument can be made that Idle No More contributes a set of best practices for peaceful, exuberant, and community-driven protest. With its energy, direction, and focus coming almost entirely from the public, it is greater than the sum of its actions and events, having galvanized discussion and instilled pride in a new generation of Indigenous Canadians on a wide assortment of issues and challenges to be faced in the coming years….

The Two Trees
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 4 September 2015

The Two Trees Written by Sally Meadows, Illustrated by Trudi Olfert Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $14.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-43-0 I love receiving new books to review, but sometimes I can’t get to them immediately. Before I had a chance to dive into The Two Trees, a children’s book by Saskatoon writer\illustrator team Sally Meadows and Trudi Olfert, my visiting friend, Flo, picked the book off my kitchen counter and read it. “What did you think?” I asked. “Loved it,” Flo said. “It brought tears to my eyes.” Any children’s story that can move an adult to tears is one I don’t want to wait another moment to read. I took the softcover book to my deck and in the few minutes it took to engage with the sensitively-written and pastel-illustrated story – about the relationship between two brothers, and the younger’s difficulty with the elder’s inability to socially interact “normally” both at home and school – I too, experienced the proverbial lump-in-throat that signifies an emotional connection’s been made. “Wow,” I said, “what a strong metaphor for ‘otherness’”. “I know,” Flo said. “And that word at the end, ‘almost’ … that’s what got me.”…

Metis and the Medicine Line
University of Regina Press / 2 September 2015

Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People by Michel Hogue Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $34.95 ISBN 9780889773806 On the open prairies in the 1870s, one could look to the horizon without seeing any distinguishing features. Yet here was the border – an invisible boundary along the forty-ninth parallel – dividing the United States and Canada. The job of the North American Boundary Commission was to make the invisible border visible. They did this by building mounds of sod placed three miles apart – surely a ludicrous situation since anyone standing beside a mound would barely be able to see the next mound even on a clear day. Although “First Nations” doesn’t actually appear in the title of Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People the book devotes substantial space to their issues as well. Author Michel Hogue sheds light on both Metis and First Nations people and their culture. As the subtitle suggests, the Medicine Line divided not only the two countries, but also the people living there. Hogue points out that Metis and First Nations people were well aware of the power and…