Monday, December 17, 2012

Thomas King's Massey Lectures Fucking Rule

Sky Woman & The Great Turtle, Museum of Civilization
The Massey Lectures, in case you're somehow unaware, generally totally rule. Every year they pick some super-interesting person to deliver a series of talks that get broadcast on the CBC. They've had Martin Luther King Jr., Noam Chomsky, Jane Jacobs, Douglas Coupland, Margaret Atwood, Northrop Frye, John Kenneth Galbraith, Stephen Lewis, Claude Levi-Strauss, John Ralston Saul... And in 2003, they had Thomas King

Thomas King has been a writer and editor and professor and photographer and filmmaker and created The Dead Dog Cafe radio show. He even ran for the NDP a couple of elections ago. He got the Order of Canada in 2004. Two of his books have been up for the Governor General's Award. And right now he's got a brand new book out; it's called The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (you can buy it here or borrow it here; the Globe and Mail reviews it here). The dust jacket calls it "at once a history and a subversion of history" and I just bought it and I can't wait to read it.

I'm especially excited about the book since I just finished listening to those Massey Lectures. They're amazing. Over the course of one week, he gave five different lectures in five different venues in five different cities across Canada: Montreal, Victoria, St. John's, Calgary and Toronto. They're collectively called "The Truth About Stories" and each one of them is great. They're about storytelling and history and Canada and the First Nations.

You can listen to them online here.

Each one of them is about an hour long. The time is very much worth it, but if that strikes you as too much of a commitment, I recommend listening to at least the fifth in the series. It's called "What Is It About Us That You Don’t Like". It's the lecture he delivered here in Toronto — at U of T's Massey College. It's a powerful conclusion.

And a timely one, too — as I write this, the Idle No More protests are gathering strength and Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is about to enter the second week of her hunger strike.

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