O'CONNOR, Joseph




Author Tags: Aboriginal Authors, Journalism

Joseph O'Connor (b. 1948), Natasha Netschay Davies (b. 1971) and Lloyd Dolha (b. 1960) co-edited an anthology of First Nations Drum newspaper articles entitled Smoke Signals from the Heart (Vancouver: Totem Pole Books, 2004 $49.50).

For the 800,000 Aboriginal people in Canada, 500,000 of whom are living off-reserve, the First Nations Drum has been a vital link. During its 14 years as a national newspaper, First Nations Drum has run its share of puff pieces on Aboriginal role models such as Buffy Sainte-Marie, actor Adam Beach, hockey player Jordin Tootoo, artists Bill Reid and Robert Davidson, and guitarist-songwriter Robbie Robertson. But it’s not all fluff. A 2000 cover story featured the missing women of Downtown Eastside—many of whom are Aboriginal—as a follow-up to the Drum’s 1997 coverage. Another cover design featured Gordon Campbell with a Hitler moustache and Gestapo outfit, clutching Mein Referendum, in reference to the controversial public vote in response to Aboriginal land claims in B.C.

Smoke Signals from the Heart recalls the confrontations at Oka, Ipperwash and Gustafsen Lake, the 1997 Delgamuukw decision, elders, wild horses, Mohawk Ironworkers, the Lubicon Cree’s boycott of the Calgary Olympics, powwows, Aboriginal gangs and the KKK in the Prairies. Shania Twain is nowhere to be found. B.C. women profiled include Kootenay Chief Sophie Pierre, dancer and model Theresa Ducharme, filmmaker Barb Cranmer and psychotherapist Margaret Vickers—who hosted the first art exhibit by her brother Roy Henry Vickers.

[BCBW 2004]