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.
webc@m girl (Le Bon Mot Books $18.95)
In Natasha Davies’s ground-breaking first novel webc@m girl, Brandon Chase, a privileged 30-something playboy, is infatuated with Vancouver’s hottest webcam girl, Shelby Munro—but the path of virtual love doesn’t run smooth.
Shelby wants out of the on-line adult sex industry. After she turns off the webcams in her apartment, Brandon sees the newly virtuous Shelby—the real Shelby—in a trendy bar and introduces himself, hinting she might get some work with his company.
When Shelby’s former on-line manager Craig discovers Shelby has not only left him for a job at Brandon’s security software company, but is also having an affair with her boss, Craig descends deeper into a world of drugs and extortion, plotting to humiliate and ruin Shelby.
If Doug Coupland had worked in the Vancouver on-line sex industry, he might have written this all-too-believable novel of manners. Natasha Davies has a background in business journalism, and has covered the Web for magazines, TV, new media and newspapers including Internet News and The Globe & Mail.