Bonita Lawrence’s Fractured Homeland

Title Page to Fractured Homeland

Bonita Lawrence. Fractured Homeland: Federal Recognition and Algonquin Identity in Ontario.
Publisher: UBC Press, 2012.
344 pages

Lawrence is a Mi’kmaq academic who did a bunch of interviews and fieldwork with Algonquins in Ontario. There are excellent sections on Algonquin history in general, which narrow to focus on contemporary Ontario communities as time and the book goes on.

This includes compelling and heart-rending accounts of how most Algonquins in Ontario were over-run by settler culture as the government turned down their requests for reserve lands dozens and dozens of time. This means that today there is only one federally-recognized Algonquin reserve in Ontario, and that the majority of Algonquins in Ontario don’t have ‘Indian status.’

Lawrence traces the way the Ontario Algonquin land claim has belatedly recognized non-status Algonquins, essentially arguing that the process has created rather than healed divisions. Generally speaking, the book is highly critical of the current Land Claim.

Since it dates from 2013, it naturally doesn’t cover significant recent developments. This includes last year’s vote on the Agreement-in-Principle with mixed results, the signing of the Agreement, Kitigan Zibi’s competing claim to the Ottawa region and court challenge to the Ontario claim, and the three Western Quebec Algonquin communities that have asserted their rights over territory that includes parts of Ontario.

The book is still a treasure trove of information on the history of Algonquins in Ontario and the context for the current land claim. Highly recommended.

Availability:
Publisher’s page for Fractured Homeland
Ottawa Public Library – Catalogue Entry
Perth Union Library – Catalogue Entry
Kingston-Frontenac Public Library – Catalogue Entry

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