NEWS: Postcards from the Four Directions
By Talon Books
In this collection of short humourous essays originally written for the popular media, playwright, novelist and screenwriter Drew Hayden Taylor sends his readers fascinating and exotic postcards from his globetrotting adventures, always on the lookout for the NEWS about aboriginal peoples around the world. Organized around the thematics suggested by the four cardinal directions central to the Ojibwa peoples-East for beginnings and youth; South for journeys both physical and spiritual; West for maturity and responsibility; and North for contemplation and wisdom; these communiques are sent not so much to instruct as they are to delight.
Never without a healthy dose of irony, humour and often unabashed laughter, these "postcards" offer their readers unexpected insights into the intense and often hilarious complexities of our new multicultural reality. Throughout his travels, Taylor has discovered that the four cardinal points are central to most First Nations' teachings concerning the landscape and how to live on it to survive, build families and communities, create cultures and develop notions of spirituality and identity. This is not, however, a seamless or even necessarily recognizable paradigm from place to place throughout North America, and there is plenty of room for doubt, misunderstandings and unintentional social faux pas even among and between aboriginal peoples themselves. One of the great discoveries of this collection is that each of our First Nations boasts its own traditions-go a hundred miles in any direction and you are no longer on certain ground with respect to the meanings, attributes, even the colours definitive of these cardinal points of the social compass.