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Sudbury author’s new book a kind of how-to guide to improving Canada’s relationship with First Nations

‘Living in Indigenous Sovereignty’ launches virtually on May 20 and offers an answer to Canadians wondering ‘What can I do to help make things better?’
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Living in Indigenous Sovereignty, published by Fernwood Publishing, will be launching virtually on May 20 (supplied)

A new book by Elizabeth Carlson-Manathara offers an answer to Canadians wondering what they can do to help move the country fully away from its colonial past.

“Living in Indigenous Sovereignty” (Fernwood Publishing, 2021) will be launching virtually on May 20.

Carlson-Manathara, an associate professor in the Laurentian School of Social Work, has long focused on the anti-colonial and decolonial work of settlers, anti-colonial social work practice and research methodologies, and anti-colonial public education through film. 

She also spearheaded a petition looking to “Tell Ontario to Honour and Uphold the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850,” that gathered almost 5,000 signatures.

Featuring the written experiences of 13 white Canadians who are deeply engaged in solidarity work with Indigenous people, the book offers guidance for those wishing to live honourably in relationship with First Nations communities, people, laws and lands.

The author hopes these stories “will help settler Canadians understand what transformations we must undertake if we are to fundamentally shift our current relations and find a new way forward, together.”

The launch is free to watch (when you register through Eventbrite you are sent a Zoom link) and will allow viewers to join author Carlson-Manathara in conversation with Aimée Craft, Chickadee Richard and Victoria Freeman. Hosted by Michelle Kennedy and featuring prize giveaways, this event is part of Radical May, an international festival of ‘radical thinking’ books and authors.

The impetus for writing the book, Carlson-Manathara said, is answered in the book itself on page 17. An excerpt:

"In many ways, this work is motivated by my wish to gain a deeper and more embodied understanding of what living in Indigenous sovereignty could mean in my life … Having come to pursue decolonization in varying, often problematic, and generally increasing ways for almost 20 years, I have often thought of how useful and comforting it might have been to receive more explicit and nuanced guidance from other anti-colonial white settler occupiers in addition to what I was receiving from generous Indigenous and/or racially marginalized friends, relatives, and mentors who have informed my journey. 

“Thus, this book is also motivated by my wish to gift it to other white settler occupiers who are seeking to initiate or deepen their own anti-colonial and/or decolonial work at a time when this work is needed."

The virtual book launch will be held on Thursday May 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. You can get your free tickets by clicking here.