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Travel Essays & Travelogues


Postcards from the Four Directions

by (author) Drew Hayden Taylor

Initial publish date
Nov 2010
Essays & Travelogues
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2010
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 14
  • Grade: 9


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 communiqués 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.

About the author

Drew Hayden Taylor has done many things, most of which he is proud of. An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario, he has worn many hats in his literary career, from performing stand-up comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to being Artistic Director of Canada’s premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts. He has been an award-winning playwright (with over 70 productions of his work), a journalist/columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian NEWSpapers and magazines), short-story writer, novelist, television scriptwriter, and has worked on over 17 documentaries exploring the Native experience. Most notably, he wrote and directed REDSKINS, TRICKSTERS AND PUPPY STEW, a documentary on Native humour for the National Film Board of Canada.

Drew Hayden Taylor's profile page

Editorial Reviews

?Drew Hayden Taylor has a deft touch for mixing comedy and commentary in an entertaining — form of social satire.?
? Vancouver Sun

?? delivers the special combination of being gutbustingly funny while leaving you with deep realities to mull.?
? Telegraph-Journal

Librarian Reviews

News: Postcards From the Four Directions

This collection of short reflective essays is humorous and glib, insightful and thought provoking. Using the traditional First Nations teachings of the four directions as an organizing principle, these varied pieces consider encounters with academia, the Olympics, the Oka crisis, making money from First Nations practices, settlements for the survivors of residential schools, the younger generation and the postmodern narratives of traditional First Nation stories among many other topics. The author’s take is often original in his view from his beloved Curve Lake home.

This book won a Chalmers Play Awards: Theatre for Young Audiences and a Native Playwrights Award among others.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2011-2012.

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