Quill and Quire

REVIEWS

« Back to
Book Reviews

Little White Squaw: A White Woman’s Story of Abuse, Addiction, and Reconciliation

by Eve Mills Nash and Kenneth J. Harvey

Eve Nash is 52. Her story is of an unrelenting existence “in a land of immeasurable blackness and defeat” in and around Haneytown, New Brunswick. Existing in the “limbo between the aboriginal and white cultures,” Nash was also cursed by her “childhood belief that she was bad and deserved nothing good.”

Certainly not much good came her way. Little White Squaw is a litany of booze, drugs, domestic chaos and abuse, and partying that quickly became a full-time job. Attracted to sick and abusive men, Nash lived in “a black hole in the world” until she rediscovered Christianity and achieved academic success at Saint Thomas and the University of New Brunswick. Years later, Nash came to a fundamental understanding about her own lack of self-worth: “Any time someone treated me well, I was uncomfortable…. I’d sabotage the relationship … then seek out men who would treat me like dirt.” It is to her credit that she eventually recognizes that she “was partially responsible for the abusive situations.”

Nash’s tale – co-written with Newfoundland writer Kenneth J. Harvey – is not helped by the many pages of insignificant dialogue and the dull narrative style throughout. The prose too often gets weighed down repeatedly demonstrating Nash’s own sustaining myth, that she has been through “more than any preacher could ever hope to understand.” The extended description of a sweat-lodge ceremony, a portrait of those whites who participate in the “claim-an-Indian-ancestor fad,” and a cameo of picking fiddleheads are a strong indication of the interesting book Little White Squaw might have been.