The American Empire and the Fourth World: The Bowl With One Spoon, PART One by Anthony J. Hall (McGill/Queen's University), 736 pages, $49.95 cloth. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Anthony Hall's magisterial volume The American Empire And The Fourth World offers a compelling new narrative of the origins of Canada.
Discarding the grimy land-speculating "founders" served up by the dull hacks of the Canadian historial establishment, Hall replaces familar icons like John A. Macdonald and his corporate cronies with the authentic heroism of a pantheon of native philosopher-statesmen.
He begins with the epic adventures of the Huron chief Kondiaronk, who was known to the philosophers of the European Enlightenment as Adario. Shortly before his death by poisoning in 1701, he forged a confederacy of peace across eastern North America .
Kondiaronk"s Confederacy was renewed by Pontiac, the former war chief who, through his cooperation with former foe William Johnson, became the key figure in the establishment of the Canadian pattern of peace, order and good government in the northern half of our continent. Pontiac"s nation-building example was emulated by the Shawnee leader Tecumseh, who saved Canada from American invasion in the War of 1812.
While Hall details how the once fashionable 19th-century fads of racism and social Darwinism denied land and voting rights to native Canadians, he discusses how contemporary Canadians have kept the sacred covenant chain with native people strong.
This change in direction emerged after the extension of voting rights to native Canadians in 1961. Then, under the guidance of such native elders as George Manuel, Pierre Trudeau moved to entrench native rights in the Constitution, an integral step in his efforts to protect native lands from assaults by resource industries and private land sharks illegally speculating on native lands.
It"s a vision of Canada as "Indian country," a nation that inspired fear in the hearts of coonskin-capped ethnic cleansers like Daniel Boone.