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May 09 , 2010

Askiwina: A Cree World


Through his newspaper columns and features, as well as his internationally-known film and video work, Doug Cuthand has become a respected voice in the aboriginal community. In Askiwina: A Cree World, he offers fresh insights and straight talk over platitudes and dogma, providing readers with a bridge to understanding Aboriginal philosophy, history, culture, and society. He explores the basics of Aboriginal spirituality – the four directions, the trickster Wesakechak, creation stories, coming-of-age rituals, the Sundance, and sacred places on the prairies. He describes Saskatchewan history from an Aboriginal point of view, a perspective from which familiar events like the Battle of Cutknife Hill, the siege of Battleford, and the establishment of Prince Albert look profoundly different. He delves into the worlds of past leaders and thinkers like Canon Edward Ahenakew, Anahareo, Poundmaker, and Sweetgrass, and cultural and religious traditions like the powwow and the Ghost Dance. He portrays the impact Aboriginal peoples have had on this province – including their critical role in the fur trade, place names of the province, settlement patterns, and even Canadian-American relations – and projects the impact they will have on its future. He also presents a seasoned observer s view of economic and political issues facing Aboriginal peoples in Saskatchewan, including such topics as gaming, self-government, and land claims.
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