Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours) by Harold JohnsonFirewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours) by Harold Johnson

Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours)

byHarold Johnson

Paperback | September 23, 2016

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A passionate call to action, Firewater examines alcohol-its history, the myths surrounding it, and its devastating impact on Indigenous people. 

Drawing on his years of experience as a Crown Prosecutor in Treaty 6 territory, Harold Johnson challenges readers to change the story we tell ourselves about the drink that goes by many names-booze, hooch, spirits, sauce, and the evocative "firewater." Confronting the harmful stereotype of the "lazy, drunken Indian," and rejecting medical, social, and psychological explanations of the roots of alcoholism, Johnson cries out for solutions, not diagnoses, and shows how alcohol continues to kill so many. Provocative, irreverent, and keenly aware of the power of stories, Firewater calls for people to make decisions about their communities and their lives on their own terms. 
A graduate of Harvard Law School and the author of six books, Harold R. Johnson is a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation and lives in La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Title:Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours)Format:PaperbackDimensions:180 pages, 7.48 × 5.03 × 0.5 inPublished:September 23, 2016Publisher:University of Regina PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889774374

ISBN - 13:9780889774377


Rated 4 out of 5 by from HONEST AND CLEAR VOICE Johnson's words are incredibly honest and blunt without being offensive. He is speaking to his fellow Indigenous people but he also opens his words up for non-indigenous Canadians to hear too. His opinions on alcohol are spot on and very eye opening. I recommend this read to anyone who wishes to hear a man speaking straight from the heart.
Date published: 2017-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read This book is well reasoned and well written. Johnson is explicitly writing to his fellow indigenous Canadians, but his wisdom is applicable to anyone and everyone. We live the stories we hear and tell about ourselves, so we need to start telling positive stories. He also touches on aspects of Indigenous culture that I neither understood nor appreciated. Everyone would do well to read this book, and think about what it means for how we should live our own lives and how we impact those around us.
Date published: 2017-08-29

Table of Contents


Map: Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan

PART 1- Kayâs: A Long Time Ago

Wìsahkicâhk's Lost Stories

PART 2- How Alcohol Is Killing My People

1.   So The Story Goes
2.   Who Am I to Speak
3.   The Drunken Indian Story
4.   A Little Bit More History to Help Put It In Perspective
5.   A Time before Alcohol Killed Our People
6.   Going to the Graveyard
7.   The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Supreme Court
8.   Four Models
9.   The Trickster in the Story
10.  Being Frank: Exposing the Problem
11.  Cost of the Alcohol Story
12.  Employment
13.  The Story We Tell Ourselves
14.  The Story Kiciwamanawak Tell Themselves
15.  Addictions
16.  The Land
17.  It's all Only a Story
18.  Banning Alcohol
19.  Treatment
20.  Leadership
21.  The Storyteller
22.  Healing
23.  Community
24.  The Sober House and the Sober Community

PART 3- Letters From Our Scouts, The Artists

A Letter from Tracey Lindberg
A Letter from Richard Van Camp

PART 4- Niyâk: For The Future

Wìsahkicâhk Returns to Find Out He Is The Story

Appendix: Treaty No. 6
NotesGlossary of Cree Words
Sources and Further Reading
About the Author

Editorial Reviews

"Johnson lays out an alternative narrative from that of the 'lazy, drunken Indian' in order to clear the way to a different conclusion and find and fashion a home-grown fix to a problem that threatens to destroy Indigenous communities. Johnson's suggestions for necessary ways of healing are welcome and tragically overdue. And his suggestion for an alternative narrative is not one of hopelessness. The book should be a bible in the fight for survival and recovery, for a better life for coming generations, and it should somehow be made available to band councils and urban community and friendship centres." - Morgan O'Neil, First Nations Drum