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Brief Reviews-Non-Fiction2
by M. T. Kelly

THE EARLY HISTORY Peter S. Schmalz writes about in The Ojibway of Southern Ontario (University of Toronto Press, 334 pages, $60 cloth, $24.95 paper) is an epic history, part of a green world that seemslost forever. Yet this story, which was played out 400 years ago, is alive in our society today, not only in the spirits of the land and water, "our place here;" but in what Schmalz calls the "Ojibway Renaissance:` This is a timely, vital book. Most Canadians even vaguely familiar with the early history of Ontario think that after the Iroquois wars of the mid17th century, the wars that gave us the "Jesuit martyrs," Ontario became a kind of no-man`s-land, an emptiness or merely the Iroquois "hunting territory" as it was on some early maps. The Ojibway, or Mississauga (the confusion of names is examined in detail in the book), with whom the British negotiated treaties for such places as Toronto, were seen as primitive hunter-gatherers who had merely filled a vacuum, moving into unoccupied territory. This was not the case, as Schmalz shows. By drawing on conventional historical sources, oral tradition, the work of ethnologists such as the late E. S. Rogers, and books not only about the Ojibway but by the Ojibway Schmalz clearly demonstrates that the Ojibway drove the Iroquois from southern Ontario. It`s an exciting, compelling chronicle. Schmalz also shows the important, if undervalued, role the Ojibway played in the early history of the province. Schmalz is a scrupulous researcher, as the footnotes testify. (He first published on this subject in a 1984 essay in Ontario History, the magazine of the Ontario Historical Society, titled "The Role of the Ojibway in the Conquest of Southern Ontario, 1650-1751"). The current book expands that essay, but goes much further, dealing with the Beaver War or the "Conspiracy of Pontiac," the loyalist settlements, 19th-century Ojibway history, and leading up to what he sees as a current revival of Ojibway culture. My only complaint about the book is that Schmalz didn`t rely more on the archaeological record. But the complaint is a small one, given this exhaustive, almost encyclopaedic, book. The Ojibway of Southern Ontario is essential reading for anyone interested in our echoing past, a past that can still speak to us if we will only listen.

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