The Inconvenient Indian Analysis

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Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian provides a harrowing and sarcastic but ultimately very real, look at the history of Indigenous peoples in North America from the time of first contact to the present. King details the relationship between non-Indigenous peoples and Indigneous peoples, establishing a subversion of history in which this relationship has continuously exploited and dominated over Indigneous people. At times a deeply personal account on his own conflicted activism, and at other times a revised edition of truths that show the identity of Indigenous peoples and how these identities have been affected by popular culture. In fact herein lies King's main theme of The Inconvenient Indian, how the stories and narratives by which legal …show more content…
An example of this is in the chapter titles, where chapter one is titled Forget Columbus. Forget Columbus asks the reader to throw out the notion that North Americas history started with Columbus accidentally landing there. Instead he starts the very first chapter by addressing that most of us believe history to be the past, and argues that history is a compilation of the "stories we tell about the past" (King, 2013). He follows this up with the argument about the falsified Almo massacre that was presented and believed to be a historical fact. He also refers to the legend of Custer's Last Stand and compares it to the accounts of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, as well as the myth behind John Smith and Pocahontas. King (2013) explains that through the amount of information The Inconvenient Indian highlights through truthful accounts and stories how certain narratives are accepted into constructing history, while others because they are inconvenient to the higher purpose that history is to serve are forgotten. In 2008 Stephen Harper issued an official apology citing that “assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm and has no plane in our country.” Then, less than three months later, he stood in front of the G20 summit and announced that as Canadians “We have no history of colonialism”. This is a real life example of the remembering and forgetting …show more content…
What is so enjoyable about the book is King’s storytelling. He combines tragedy and humour in a way that never desensitizes the heavy themes of his accounts, while at the same time using humour to compare insignificant and significant historical occurrences to better help his point come across clearly. With the famous slogan responsible for the rationalization behind the genocide and ethnocide of Indigenous people “kill the Indian, save the man”, King juxtaposes the residential school system and the Canadian governments appalling neglect and reasons that “As it turned out, if you killed the Indian, you killed the Indian.” He applies dark humour and fixates on certain major themes to get his point across. King’s ability to provide a look into his own life experiences while quoting his wife makes this book more personable and allows the reader to believe King’s words as he has lived they very injustices he talks about. He concludes the book on a slightly ambiguous note, implying it will be formidable to see what the next centuries happen to bring for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples relationships. Maybe what we can learn from history is not to only that history should not repeat itself, but to be aware that history is written and perpetuated by those in power. To constantly question how historical accounts can fit a certain narrative, and maybe to understand how that history continues to shape the attitudes and perceptions

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