Statistics speak all too eloquently of the plight of Canada's native people: unemployment runs as high as 90 per cent on some reserves; the school completion rate is less than 1/4 the national average; suicide rates are six times the national average. Canada has its own Third World of some 1 million people.
Our Land explains how Canada's aboriginal peoples were brought to this state of deprevation, and what they propose to do about it. Author Donald Purich begins by painting a quick, compelling portrait of the vibrant pre-contact Indian and Inuit cultures. He relates the effects of European colonisation and of "Indian policy" from Confederation on, including the legacy of treaty-making. The heart of the book concerns current native rights issues: land claims, economic development, self-government and constitutional protection. A separate chapter is devoted to the special case of the Métis.