Harold R. Johnson's book examines alcohol — its history, the myths surrounding it and its devastating impact on Indigenous people.

Harold R. Johnson

(University of Regina Press)

A passionate call to action, Firewater examines alcohol — its history, the myths surrounding it and its devastating impact on Indigenous people.

Drawing on his years of experience as a Crown prosecutor in Treaty 6 territory, Harold Johnson challenges readers to change the story we tell ourselves about the drink that goes by many names — booze, hooch, spirits, sauce and the evocative "firewater." Confronting the harmful stereotype of the "lazy, drunken Indian," and rejecting medical, social and psychological explanations of the roots of alcoholism, Johnson cries out for solutions, not diagnoses, and shows how alcohol continues to kill so many. Provocative, irreverent and keenly aware of the power of stories, Firewater calls for people to make decisions about their communities and their lives on their own terms. (From University of Regina Press)

Harold R. Johnson was an influential voice among Indigenous writers in Canada. He died in 2022 at the age of 68. Johnson, a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, was a lawyer and writer whose groundbreaking book Firewater was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction. 

Interviews with Harold R. Johnson

Harold R. Johnson is an Indigenous crown prosecutor and says alcohol is killing his people. He is urging for a new narrative on alcohol abuse, finding inspiration in those who overcome rather than thinking there are only those who succumb.

Other books by Harold R. Johnson



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