Friday, January 13, 2012

February 2012: Helpless by Christie Blatchford

 Meeting Details:
     We are planning to meet at Kate's house on SATURDAY, February 11th at 7:30PM.  This is a couple's meeting so sweet-talk your husband into reading the book and bring him along for a great discussion and a delicious meal.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Did you enjoy the book?  Why or why not?
  2. In her introduction, Blatchford says that this book is not about land claims, native residential schools or the reserve system.  Do you think that it is possible to separate these issues from the events in Caledonia?  Do you think Blatchford succeeds in separating the issues?
  3. Does the fact that this story took place so close to home affect your reading of Blatchford's account?  What do you remember thinking/feeling/experiencing during this crisis?
  4. What issues STARTED the standoff?  What became the issues for the natives? the Caledonia residents? others? as the standoff escalated?
  5. Talk about how each of these people/groups reacted to the standoff and the events that followed.  Do you think their reactions were justified?
  • Mr and Mrs Golke
  • Ken Mackay and Nick Garbutt from CH News
  • Dave Brown and Dana Chatwell
  • Dave Hartless, a resident of Braemar Ave.
  • Don and John Henning of Henco Industries
  • Ron George, the OPP Aboriginal Issues Superintendent
   6.  Do you think that Blatchford presents ALL sides of the story fairly?  What is her bias?
   7.  Who do you think was ultimately to blame for the situation in Caledonia getting so out
         of hand?  Or was the situation too complex to lay the blame at anyone's door?
   8.  His/Hers:  Did you have different reactions to this book?  Why or why not?
   9.  Did this book change your perception of the events?  the OPP?  the Natives?
        the Caledonia residents?  the Government?  In what way have your perceptions changed? 

Menu:  Traditional Native Feast

      Traditionally, native women would keep a pot of stew and a kettle of water for tea on the go all the time as hospitality is very important to Native communities.  So, we'll start with a bowl of soup and some bannock bread, which could be prepared quickly when guest arrived.
     Our main course focuses on wild and local - wild rice, baked squash and meats that would be hunted by the men and prepared by the women.
     Historically, Natives ate very few sweets beyond the sweetness that grows around us.  So, we'll have pies sweet with berries, pumpkin and local honey and nuts!

Three Sisters Soup - Danielle
with Bannock - Melissa

Wild Duck - Tessa
Venison Roast - Chandra
Wild Rice and Mushrooms - Tessa
Baked Squash - Amanda
Home-brewed red wine would be perfect here - anyone make their own red wine?!

3 Berry Pie - Kate
Pumpkin Pie - Tanya
Honey and Nut Pie - Melissa
Tea/Coffee - Kate

I will include recipes for these dishes in a separate post :-)  You can sign up for something right away by adding it to the comments.

Kate will send out a reminder email one week before the meeting.  Please let her know right away if you  OR you and your husband are able to make the meeting as knowing the numbers will help us to prepare for this meeting.   Happy reading everyone!


  1. We hope to come!! And I would LOVE to bring pumpkin pie. My favourite!! Depending on the numbers I can certainly bring something else...but I'll wait and see.

  2. I can't figure out how to add to the post also but I will bring the creamy squash.

  3. I'll do the 3 berry pie and I'll pick up some wine/beer.

  4. So did you all enjoy this book? I'm curious about what you all thought of it.


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