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Insatiable Hunger
Joseph W. Graham

Black Rose Books

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Insatiable Hunger: Colonial Encounters in Context

Joseph W. Graham


"...This is an important work.  It struggles for truth and accuracy in unfolding the story of Canada.  I am not a fan of Canada.  Canada is the name of the empire that Britain gave our homelands to, but this is clear in the book. What is not clear is what do we do about it.  Reconciliation begins with truth and in this case, it is really our homeland, and nothing can be decided without us.  We must become the authors of a new story and I think the writer is taking us in that direction, bravely, doggedly and with grim determination."

Lee Maracle is an award-winning poet, novelist, and teacher. She is currently a teacher and Mentor for Indigenous Students at the University of Toronto and a cultural instructor at the Traditional Cultural Director for the Indigenous Theatre School.

"Twelve years in the making, Joseph Graham’s Insatiable Hunger makes no excuses for the blind ravages of the Euro-Christian invasion of North America. Grasping the distinction between the Indigenous American gift economy, with its emphasis on nature-connected sustainability, and the Euro-Christian market economy, with its emphasis on wealth accumulation at any cost (to others), Graham wends his way through the meta-history of European colonization, 15351814. He places it in the context of, on the one hand, the lack of any Indigenous need for Europeans in the Americas, and on the other hand, the invading Europeans’ desire to escape Christianity’s belligerent factions at home, even as they continued their internecine wars of all against all in America. Having escaped Christianity at home, European began imposing it on Indigenes. Locked in their cultural bubble, disdaining Indigenous societies, the French, Spanish, Dutch, Swedes, and British invaders then pushed relentlessly inland, spreading lethal diseases visiting mortality rates on Indigenous nations that fell below population sustainability. What disease and siege did not take, liquor did. Throughout, Graham’s lingering question is how the damage is repaired, as he urges moving from hierarchical markets to egalitarian gift relations. Eminently readable, Graham’s clear and unpretentious yet documented prose respects Indigenous stories as much as Euro-Christian stories in contrasting Indigenous female-male co-valence with European male dominance. "

Barbara Alice Mann, Ph.D., Professor of Humanities at Jesup Scott Honors College and author of numerous books, including Iroquoian Women: The Gantowisas (2006).

"Europeans doing good and getting rich. If you want to understand the toxic impact of Christianity and the market economy on the Indigenous peoples of North America, then read this book. If you want to reflect on the astonishing durability of Indigenous cultures and world views and the promise they hold for a planet in search of sustainability, read this book. A work of great erudition and passion."

David Cameron, CM, FRSC, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

An exploration of the worldviews that underpinned settler colonialism. 

The sixteenth-century European wars of religion set the stage for mass migration to the New World. Of course, there was nothing new about the New World to Indigenous peoples who had lived there for millennia. Insatiable Hunger compares European historical accounts and Indigenous stories of contact to illustrate the wide cultural chasm that separated the two civilizations. Joseph Graham tells a story of religiously obsessed Europeans pouring onto the continent and consuming everything in their path and the attempts Indigenous peoples made to reason with the hungry newcomers. Tracing events from Jacques Cartier’s first visits in the sixteenth century to the War of 1812, Insatiable Hunger attempts to understand the root causes of the mutual incomprehension baked into these two civilizations’ worldviews. As descendants of European settlers in Canada and the United States confront the legacy of colonialism and genocide of Indigenous peoples, Insatiable Hunger will be an important primer on the worldviews at the root of this violent political project.

Joseph Graham, a historian from the Laurentians, is the author of the best-selling Naming the Laurentians. He has worked for decades to encourage people to know and value their history. Together, he and his partner grow their own food, inspired by Indigenous farming methods.

  • Introduction
  • CONTACT 1534 - 1541
    • 1. First Encounter
    • 2. The Great Law of Peace
    • 3. Herding and Male Dominance
    • 4. Eurasian Versus American Agriculture
    • 5. Off to a Bad Start
  • WARS OF RELIGION 1530 - 1630
    • 6. England Leaves the Catholic Fold
    • 7. Coligny and the Dream of New France
    • 8. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
    • 9. Admiral Gaspard de Coligny Tries Again
    • 10. The Netherlands Finds a Base in Huguenot France
    • 11. The Dead Do Not Make War
    • 12. Meanwhile, in England
    • 13. Good King Henri
    • 14. Calm Between the Storms
    • 15. The Storm Returns, on Both Sides of the Atlantic
    • 16. The Wampanoag
    • 17. Brûlé, Savignon, and the Gift Economy
    • 18. Champlain’s Choice
    • 19. The Three Sisters
    • 20. The Route to the West
    • 21. European-Style Warfare Introduced
    • 22. The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag
  • THE BREAKDOWN BEGINS 1613 - 1701
    • 23. The Beaver Wars
    • 24. Cardinal Richelieu and the Kirke Brothers
    • 25. Disease Among the Nations
    • 26. Huronia and the Jesuits
    • 27. A Vision Called Montreal
    • 28. War and the Dispersal of Huronia
    • 29. Les Canadiens
    • 30. Metacomet (King Philip’s War) and The Covenant Chain
    • 31. La Grande Paix de Montréal
  • A MONSTER REPLICATES 1709 - 1760
    • 32. The British Hydra
    • 33. Sir William Johnson
    • 34. The Seven Years’ War
    • 35. British War Plans
  • BRITISH HEGEMONY 1763 - 1814
    • 36. Pontiac and the Proclamation of 1763
    • 37. American War of Independence
    • 38. War of 1812
  • Conclusion
  • Endnotes

250 pages; 2021; Bibliography; Index

Insatiable Hunger Retail Prices
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