Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Sights and Sounds
Moose Meat Point Indian Reserve is the home of about seven hundred Ojibway in Canada. Intended as "an amusing account of Indian-white man relationships," Basil Johnston's Ojibway Tales presents twenty-two true stories of mishaps and confusion resulting from Ojibway and white people's inexperience with or misunderstanding of each other's culture. Indeed many of the tales are quite amusing, poking gentle fun at Ojibway and white man alike, but often the humor is that of slapstick comedy -- the foolishness of the characters is the reason we laugh at rather than with them. On the back cover, it is suggested that both Ojibway and the withes [whites] are "gently satirized," but often that which is here termed "gentle" actually becomes off-putting to the reader. The stories range in quality, some of the tales are only minimally humorous or entertaining,and one wonders whether Johnston may have benefited from a more selective approach to compiling the book. This and other somewhat disturbing elements within the tales detract from the book's purpose -- to illustrate, albeit partially, "that sense of wit and humour that forms an integral part of the Ojibway peoples and their character.” Ultimately, Ojibway Tales is a text that may be better enjoyed in part than as a whole.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1995