Hillaire, Pauline R. with Gregory P. Fields, ed. Rights Remembered: A Salish Grandmother Speaks on American Indian History and the Future. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016. xvi + 428 pages. Hardcover, $97.50.
In the book Rights Remembered, Pauline Hillaire's thesis is immediately clear; it is a call to all peoples--both Native American and non-Native alike--to not only educate themselves on Native American history, but to also be a positive force for Native people's rights. The scope of Rights Remembered is all-encompassing despite being largely told through the lens of Pauline R. Hillaire's life, also referred to as Scalla of the Killer Whale. Hillaire brings an amazing personal, as well as educational, perspective to Native rights, Native American history, reservation life, and the ever-changing politics that govern Native Americans today. Hillarie's unique life has become a powerful story that is reflected in Rights Remembered. She is, as a revered Lummi elder, uniquely situated to be able to use her autobiography to tell not simply the history of Indigenous peoples on the Northwest Coast, but of American colonial rule over all Indigenous people of what is now the U.S. Hillaire combines her life with a treasure trove of government documents and other historical documents that were collected with painstaking research over the course of several decades.
The book's content is as well rounded as could be expected considering the author's proximity to the subject. While the author provides a personal account of her life and the struggles she experienced as a Native American, she also provides important historical content. The author explains events that both shaped and affected Native peoples, but also explains other key historical events that are taking place simultaneously. By adding this historical context to the events taking place in Native American's lives, the reader can place these events in a more precise chronological order as well as understand the connection these events have with one another. This also places Native American events in more of a world view context instead of isolating them to regions and tribes.
Rights Remembered is a book that has been needed for many years. Its combination of history, ethnography, and autobiography effortlessly coalesce to give the reader an honest and...