Offended by Offence

New Reviews of Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry

A number of reviews of Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry have recently appeared (posted on The Aboriginal Industry Disrobed page of this blog).  Although the reviews do not really engage intellectually with the arguments and evidence that we present, we have submitted our responses to two of them and there is hope that  real debate will emerge in the future. 

Particularly promising is Niigonwedom Sinclair’s review, “An Ink-Stained Response to ‘Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry'”.  Sinclair’s review appeared on Media Indigena – a collaborative blog headed by Rick Harp, a journalist and former anchorman on the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network.   I have always found Harp to be interested in promoting debate on aboriginal policy, and so I sent him an email expressing my interest in responding to Sinclair’s piece.  Harp agreed, and the response was posted today (see “Co-Author of ‘Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry’ Pens Her Rebuttal” – http://www.mediaindigena.com).

Less certain is the future of our response to the review by Leanne Simpson in the Spring 2010 issue of Wicazo Sa Review.  Although Simpson’s review is very problematic – in both its tone and content – we are glad these views are being expressed in an academic journal.  This is the first step in ending the self-censorship that exists with respect to the study of aboriginal-non-aboriginal relations.  Hopefully the Wicazo Sa Review will recognize that, as a scholarly venue, it has an obligation to allow us to speak to the inaccuracies and vitriol that it has legitimized.

4 thoughts on “New Reviews of Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry

  1. Interesting, why only highlight the indigenous reviews and not the recent Keefer article, which more or less correctly identifies your work as supra-historical, bourgeois nonsense? Rather keep the so-called “debate” squarely on the terrain of your true interlocutors – the Kay, Wente, and Flanagans of the world. Great conversation you’ve constructed here.

  2. Please stop imputing motives where none exist. Keefer’s review is much longer and will require a detailed and academic response. Obviously, the review would not have been posted if I had wanted to avoid engaging with its arguments. Perhaps you are confusing me with your mentor, Taiaiake Alfred (who refused to post Albert Howard’s critical remarks on his website)?

  3. Read Leanne Simpson’s review: how is it possible to dismiss everything she said? Notably, she highlights a laundry list of assumptions made, such as all the old connotations depicting indians as “superstitious” and “neolithic”. I suggest that any serious scholar would respond to these.

  4. Leanne Simpson’s review was read carefully, and responded to; this response will be posted shortly (we are still waiting for a response from Wicazo Sa Review about its future). Neolithic is a term that refers to cultures with polished stone technology. It is an accurate description of aboriginal cultures in North America before contact (cultural features that the Aboriginal Industry is trying to promote today). All spiritual beliefs are superstitious, according to the dictionary definition. Once again, promoting them will be destructive to the educational development of aboriginal people.

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