On November 15, 2022 member Anne-Marie D. presented the works of an author I am fond of, Thomas King. Dr. King was born, raised and educated in the US, but has lived in Canada for many years, working as a professor at the University of Lethbridge and now the University of Guelph. His life in Southern Alberta near Indigenous reserves is a backdrop for some of his fiction. He is a member of the Order of Canada.
Anne-Marie started her presentation with a video of the author dramatizing his poem: “I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind”. The short film (see below) presents Dr. King’s viewpoint on Indigenous life in pop culture, in history and in today’s world.
King’s fiction and non-fiction showcase his commitment to Indigenous issues, the environment, his compassion and his wit. Anne-Marie discussed a few of her favourite works from his extensive bibliography. First, Back of the Turtle – a fable like morality tale about the aftermath of an environmental disaster. Next, she discussed Indians on Vacation, a comedic novel about modern indigenous life.
The Inconvenient Indian, on of Dr. King’s most well known works, is a non-fiction history/memoir/opinion piece on the history of Indigenous life after European contact and colonization. In some ways, it is an expansion of the ideas in “I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind”.
Finally, Anne-Marie talked about King’s recent series of mystery novels, featuring Thumps Dreadfulwater, an Indigenous detective (who has more than a bit in common with the author) in a fictional town that seems to be in Montana. While the novels follow well known mystery plot lines, the setting, the use of Indigenous characters, and Dr. King’s sense of humour set them apart.
As always, members enjoyed a discussion of the author and his ideas about Indigenous affairs following the presentation.
Next Tuesday, member Natashia H. will present on the works of Malcolm Gladwell. The meeting will be in person at the Memorial Park Library