By: Bob Joseph
Reviewed by Glain Roberts-McCabe
The Premise: Bob Joseph is an Indigenous author, blogger and founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. In 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act he examines how Indigenous peoples can return to self-government, self-determination, and self-reliance and why these moves would benefit all Canadians. With a matter-of-fact approach, Joseph dissects key elements of Canada’s Indian Act and, along the way, shines a spotlight on a cruel legacy of oppression and cultural genocide of Canada’s first people. Joseph challenges stereotypes and encourages every Canadian to find ways to help Indigenous people bring to reality the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The book explores 21 components of the Indian Act as well as provides the 94 calls-to-action by the Commission and provides the reader with instantly actionable steps that they can take to make a difference.
The Bottom Line: This is a powerful, educational and necessary book that I truly believe should be required reading for all Canadians. The roots of systemic racism run deep and it’s incredibly important that all of those who take on leadership roles step up the plate to systematically dismantle it. What I appreciated about this book is the way that Joseph explored the elements of the Indian Act and shone the light on the cruelty and injustice in a way that does not shame the reader, but rather educates. The facts are horrific, and the legacy left behind can feel overwhelming. Where do we start? What can I, as one individual do? And that is where Joseph comes in with some simple steps that anyone of us can take.
From my perspective, this book should absolutely be in every high school history program and provides an essential guide for anyone seeking to broaden their perspective and root out the harmful stereotypes that are perpetuated in our country. If you would like to learn more about Bob Joseph’s work, watch my interview with him on our Ask the Expert series this past month. It’s an hour well spent.
Recommendation: Highly recommended for anyone committed to diversity, equality and inclusion.