Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau threatening bloodshed in 1983 if Aboriginal leaders try to set up their own independent government.

Ojibways fighting alongside Montcalm at the battle on the Plains of Abraham in 1759 and slaughtering English soldiers and civilians at Fort Michilimackinac in 1763.

Aboriginals forbidden to own their own homes or get a loan from the bank in 1969 and needing permission from an Indian agent to sell their chickens or cows.

Their Home and Native Land

Pregnant 13-year-olds at an Ojibway community in northwestern Ontario in 1997 where the houses are in good condition, satellite dishes bring in news and entertainment, cars and pick-ups are new or less than five years old, lawns are littered with toys – and 90% of the residents are on welfare with no hope of getting a job.

An Ojibway chief in northwestern Ontario prepared to go to war and die if the Canadian Army opened fire during the 78-day Mohawk standoff at Oka in 1990.

The devastating impact on an Ojibway community in northwestern Ontario when their lakes and rivers were poisoned with mercury from a British-owned pulp and paper mill.

The iron-clad control bureaucrats at the Department of Indian Affairs exercised over the lives of Aboriginal people and how well-meaning ministers were hobbled by the bureaucrats in Ottawa.

Making treaties with the scattered bands of Ojibways, Crees, Blackfoot and other tribes on the former Hudson’s Bay Company lands between Thunder Bay and the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in 1871-77.

Aboriginals forced off fertile land reserved for them and their children under the treaties by greedy land speculators aided and abetted by corrupt government officials.

The first organized native protest march in Canadian history and the events and circumstances leading up to it.

How a culture clash between Aboriginals from western Canada and those from Quebec led to the demise of the National Indian Council which morphed into the National Indian Brotherhood in 1968 and today’s Assembly of First Nations in 1982.

Meet some truly remarkable and fascinating Ojibways, Mohawks and Crees whose positive approach to life – despite the conditions they live under – is truly inspirational.

They have stories worth telling, worth reading.
Download and read Chapter One …

Two Lives Crossing by Robert MacBain

The sons of a Scottish immigrant and a Blackfoot cook are separated after their mother dies giving birth to the second son at a ranch near Calgary in May, 1939.

Their widowed father is killed less than three years later during the hopeless defence of the British Crown colony of Hong Kong.

One of the orphaned brothers is raised as a Blackfoot at the Big Thunder Indian reserve southwest of Calgary. The other is raised white in a middle-class neighborhood in Toronto.

Bill Eagletail is taken to sweat lodges, sun dances, rodeos and pow wows. He is the first Indian to graduate from the University of Alberta and has a PhD in Sociology from Berkeley.

Gordon MacArthur is raised white in Toronto, regaled with stories about King Robert the Bruce and Bonnie Prince Charlie, and taken to the Highland games and other places where Scottish-Canadians celebrate their shared heritage.

Fast forward to 1974.

The brother who was raised as a Blackfoot is a professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and is the Director of the North American Indian Studies program.

The brother who was raised white in Toronto is a professor of Political Science at the U of T and will be the Conservative candidate in the upcoming 1974 federal election.

Neither brother has so much as a clue about the fact that he is adopted and most certainly does not have so much as a hint that they are brothers.

Days after Bill Eagletail and Gordon MacArthur get into a verbal spat on a live Toronto TV show, they are told about the true circumstances of their births.

The reunited brothers’ lives change in a very dramatic manner.

Download and read Chapter One of Robert MacBain’s Two Lives Crossing.

Reader reviews…

The author

Robert Macbain, Author

During more than fifty years in journalism, politics and public relations, Robert MacBain built up a vast deposit of knowledge, experience and perspective. He intends to mine that deposit over the next several years for the benefit and enjoyment of his readers.

MacBain spent almost 28 years as a well-regarded public relations consultant providing counsel and service to the Chief Executive Officers of major corporations, financial institutions, government departments, hospitals, social service agencies and trade and professional associations.

A systematic approach to crisis communication management – which he developed and applied to the baby deaths investigations at the Hospital for Sick Children, the controversial municipal water contamination issue at the Uniroyal Chemical Ltd. plant in Elmira and other high-profile cases – was required reading at the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University.

On the political front, MacBain was director of communications for the 1974 national Liberal campaign, communications adviser to Revenue Minister Ron Basford, central media adviser in the 1975 Ontario campaign, speech writer for Economic Development Minister Don Johnston in the 1984 Liberal leadership campaign and speech writer for David Peterson in the game-changing 1985 Ontario campaign.

MacBain dropped out of the Journalism program at the Ryerson Institute of Technology before finishing the first year and went to work for $40 a week as a reporter at the Barrie Examiner. He moved on to the St. Catharines Standard, Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald. He then became a senior reporter at the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and the Telegram. He topped off his successful career in journalism as news director of Toronto radio station 1050 CHUM.

Robert MacBain was born in Inverness, Scotland, on March 30, 1937. His father was the ballroom manager of the town’s largest hotel and abandoned him when he was nine to live with his pregnant girlfriend in London. MacBain and his single mother moved to Canada in 1947.

During his first three years in Toronto, MacBain lived in seven different houses and attended four different schools.

MacBain dropped out of Grade 8 two months after he turned 14, left home and went to work on a dairy farm near Toronto. He then worked as a butcher’s delivery boy, service station attendant, coach building apprentice, ranch hand, retail sales clerk, apprentice mechanic, door-to-door salesman, auto parts cleaner, and shipping clerk.

When MacBain was 18, he went forward at a Billy Graham crusade in Toronto and became a born-again Christian. He attended Toronto Bible College for one year and picked up four papers of Grade 12. After considerable study of the Bible and other books, MacBain became a confirmed agnostic.

MacBain then went to work as a dump truck driver, earthmoving equipment operator, and tractor-trailer driver. He also spent six weeks in the Royal Canadian Air Force where he was required to bark: “56360, MacBain, Sir!”

Despite his lack of formal education, MacBain was admitted to the Journalism program at the Ryerson Institute of Technology when he was 23. He was bored out of his mind at Ryerson and spent most of his time rehearsing as a lead singer in RIOT ’61 — a school musical.

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Robert MacBain lives in the Upper Beach area of Toronto with his wife of 40 years – former International Cooperation Minister Maria Minna.