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The reader will discover some interesting bits of history and tradition that are not widely known. Many, for example, do not know that Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin (two of the American Founding Fathers) both attribute the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, one of the world’s oldest democracies, as the inspiration for the American Constitution. Or, that the origin of ‘Red Indian’ is not because of skin colour, but from the ochre (iron oxide) used by the now extinct Beothuk to colour their skin red – red skin.
At the bottom of each letter there is a list of Indiginous peoples that begin with that letter. The idea is that the names can be recited as a sort of poem of remembrance. This book celebrates Aboriginal heritage and culture and is beautifully illustrated by Brendan Heard, a Canadian artist who works in oil paint and digital medium.
The author, Joseph MacLean, is an historian by education, a story teller by avocation and a social entrepreneur by trade. The book was written over ten years ago when Joseph was working on a literacy project in Vancouver’s infamous DTES (Downtown Eastside) – the poorest postal code in Canada.