Motorcycles & Sweetgrass
A story of magic, family, a mysterious stranger . . . and a band of marauding raccoons. Otter Lake is a sleepy Anishnawbe community where little happens. Until the day a handsome stranger pulls up astride a 1953 Indian Chief motorcycle -- and turns Otter Lake completely upside down. Maggie, the Reserve'sMore »
A story of magic, family, a mysterious stranger . . . and a band of marauding raccoons. Otter Lake is a sleepy Anishnawbe community where little happens. Until the day a handsome stranger pulls up astride a 1953 Indian Chief motorcycle -- and turns Otter Lake completely upside down. Maggie, the Reserve's chief, is swept off her feet, but Virgil, her teenage son, is less than enchanted. Suspicious of the stranger's intentions, he teams up with his uncle Wayne -- a master of aboriginal martial arts -- to drive the stranger from the Reserve. And it turns out that the raccoons are willing to lend a hand.« Less
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Recently widowed 35-year-old Maggie is struggling with the responsibilities of being chief of the Otter Lake native reservation while simultaneously raising her aloof teenage son, Virgil. Maggie and Virgil are both reeling from the recent death of Maggie’s mother, Lillian, their last connection to the “old-fashion Indian” way of life. When John, a mysterious white man, comes into town riding a vintage Indian Chief motorcycle, Maggie falls in love, but Virgil becomes suspicious. Virgil enlists his reclusive Uncle Wayne to discover the truth about John, resulting in a series of antics that would make Nanabush proud. Along the way, John prompts Maggie and Virgil to reconsider their understanding of family, history, and heritage. Taylor uses John’s presence on the reservation to explore the political, religious, and cultural challenges facing the residents as they struggle to reconcile their Ojibway beliefs and traditions with broader Canadian culture and its modern conveniences. Conflict – both physical and philosophical – and compromise are themes running throughout the book. Those familiar with Taylor’s non-fiction will find his approach here recognizable: beneath the playful and light-hearted humour are complex emotions and thoughtful analyses of difficult subjects. As Maggie, Virgil, and the rest of Otter Lake deal with the white interloper
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Drew Hayden Taylor on Using Humor against Racism
Two-time nominee for the Governor General's Literary Award, writer Drew Hayden Taylor explains why he chooses to tell Aboriginal stories - and why humor is the best weapon against racism. In the clip, Drew shares his jokes and his insights: Joking about Dual Identities 'I grew up on a reserve. My standard line is: I'm half Ojibway, half Caucasian, so that makes me an Occasion. Or, as I like to say, a Special Occasion. At the very least, a Memorable Occasion.' Encountering Racism 'I didn't have a problem until I moved to Toronto when I was 18. I discovered that I didn't look or act the way most people perceived Native people to look or act, and that's when I became aware that there was a completely different perception out there. But rather than being angry, I flipped it around talked about the funny and "interesting" things people say to me (because of the way I am)... and by doing that, I've saved myself an ulcer.'
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