Cowboys and Indians

In: Historical Events

Submitted By rbeaulieu16
Words 1508
Pages 7
Introduction Gordon Sinclair’s book “Cowboys and Indians: The Shooting of J.J. Harper” is the author’s account of a Native man’s fatal encounter with police and the aftermath for years to follow. The book opens with a description of the incident where J.J. Harper was killed, and flows into the subsequent police investigation of one of their own members. The resulting court proceedings, inquiries, and inquests are examined where Sinclair cites witness testimony, evidence and exhibits, media stories, and his personal interviews with police and civilians involved. This essay will examine a series of analytical questions in response to the book including the main point and underlying themes, suggestions given by the title, content regarding Aboriginal/police relationships, the author’s attempt at a moral lesson and finally evidence of heavy bias shown by the author.
The reason I have identified this book as “the author’s account” rather than “the true account” of the story is because Sinclair’s personal bias shines through nearly every page of this book. Many crucial details have been omitted because they would be oppressive to the Indian perspective and give credibility to the fact that the cowboys acted lawfully in eliminating the threat of Harper. This bias will be further examined later.
The book opens with a detailed description of the early hours of March 9, 1988 where Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) members were involved in the pursuit of a stolen vehicle. This pursuit leads to the arrest of two youths, during which time Cst. Robert Cross approaches Harper on the sidewalk as he matched the description of a suspect. After refusing to provide identification to Cst. Cross, Harper pushed him to the ground and made an attempt to disarm the police officer. A struggle ensued over Cross’s .38 special calibre Smith and Wesson revolver, resulting in it…...

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