Book Review: Take Us to Your Chief

Take Us to Your Chief and other stories
By Drew Hayden Taylor  

150 pages • ISBN 978-1-77162-131-1

Classic Sci-Fic stories with a contemporary First Nations outlook.

A once forgotten Haudenosauneee social song beams into the cosmos like a homing beacon for interstellar visitors. A computer learns to feel sadness and grief from the history of atrocities committed against First Nations. A young Native man discovers the secret to travel in ancient petroglyphs. Drawing inspiration from science fiction legends like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, Drew Hayden Tayler frames classic sci-fic tropes from an Aboriginal perspective.

The nine stories in this collection span familiar topics of science fiction –from peaceful aliens to hostile invaders; from space travel to travel time; from government conspiracies to connections across generations. Yet Taylor´s First Nations perspective draws fresh parallels, likening the cultural implications of alien contact to those of the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, or highlighting the difficulty of remaining a “good Native” in an unnatural situation like a space mission.

Variously mysterious, magical and humorous, Take Us to Your Chief is the perfect mesh of nostalgically 1950s-esque science fiction and modern First Nations discourse.

Drew Hayden Taylor is an award-winning playwright, novelist, scriptwriter and journalist. He was born and raised on the Curve Lake First Nation in Central Ontario. Taylor has authored nearly thirty books, including The Night Wander: A Native Gothic Novel (Annick, 2007) about an Anishinabe vampire. He also edited Me Funny, Me Sexy and Me Artsy  (Douglas & McIntyre, 2006, 2008 and 2015), and he has been nominated for two Governor General´s Awards. He lives in his community.