Book Targets Aboriginal Culture

Media Appearances, Aboriginal Futures, Frontier Centre

WINNIPEG – Calgary author Frances Widdowson will be in Winnipeg on Friday to promote a book that calls aboriginal healing “quackery,” the culture “mythology” and “Indians” “barbarians”.

All across Canada, Widdowson and co-author Albert Howard are taking heat for Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry, The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation.

The book challenges the use of government grants for aboriginal interests, on the grounds there really is no such thing as aboriginal culture.

Winnipeg has one of the biggest aboriginal populations of any Canadian city.

Fifty people shelled out $45 a head for lunch Friday at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, where the author is the guest speaker of the right-leaning Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Widdowson’s a real draw, a booking agent for the centre said.

Meanwhile, members of the aboriginal community are outraged.

Anishinabe writer Niigonwedom Sinclair dismisses the book and its authors as beyond ignorant.

“Others should be ashamed that she is getting paid to circulate her dated, ungrounded, myopic theories,” Sinclair said.

Anishinabe communications specialist Renata Marsden argued that Widdowson is a hypocrite.

“She speaks about non-aboriginal people financially gaining from aboriginal culture. By writing this book, she does just that. To make matters worse, she’s adding insult to injury by discrediting a culture that has been working very hard to revive itself,” Marsden said.

All the ink is fanning flames here.

“In my opinion, the authors need to be charged with hate crimes under the Criminal Code,” a Winnipeg doctor wrote to the Winnipeg Free Press this week.