Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2013


Great Plains Research 23.1 (Spring 2013).


Copyright © 2013 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


In some respects, this comprehensive anthology represents the cutting edge in a growing field of study related to urban Aboriginal communities in Canada. With a focus ranging from Toronto to Vancouver, the book contains fascinating new studies, including the experiences of Aboriginal employees at Ontario's Casino Rama, the rebuilding of Papaschase First Nation in Edmonton, and how Plains culture has been adopted as a form of healing in Vancouver. While the authors acknowledge the absence of voices addressing the Atlantic provinces and Quebec, this is offset by the strength of offerings from the Prairies, which include a textual analysis of media racism, a focus on Aboriginal youth gangs, and an exploration of hip-hop culture. Notably, in a context in which Inuit communities are often ignored, the book includes a study of Inuit communities in Ottawa.

While the introduction covers a range of issues relating to urban Aboriginality, this book is refreshing in its view of urban Aboriginal communities as normative, rather than exceptions to a reserve norm. Indeed, the opening essay by David Newhouse, "Urban Life: Reflections of a Middle-Class Indian," offers an unapologetic choice to be urban and highlights what cities have to offer urban Aboriginal people, particularly those who are culturally sure of their identities and economically in a position to enjoy the benefits of urban life.