University of Victoria Aboriginal Governance Professor Taiaiake Alfred reviews Widdowson and Howard’s Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry. Much of the review takes on Widdowson and Howard’s Marxist inclinations. He writes:
Evidently, Widdowson and Howard get up in the morning and eat a dog’s breakfast of outmoded communist ideology and rotten anthropological theories washed down with strong racial prejudices inherited from their own unexamined colonial upbringings, all of which would turn anyone else’s stomach. Their ideas are, amazingly and unapologetically, the sort of “socialism from above” characteristic of 1930s vintage Stalinism listing upon a ragtag collection of theoretical frames which taken together form a methodological approach remarkable mostly for its inability, like the authors who employ it, to comprehend indigeneity outside of being the object of colonization and empire. To wit: elements of Darwinian evolutionary stages theory, bits of Hegelian historical determinism, and a reliably unsophisticated view of capitalism is a necessary destructive-progressive force leading to the realization of a communist utopia wherein exists a scientifically planned and state organized global society made up of human beings who are worthwhile only to the extent they are “productive”
If Widdowson and Howard were serious Marxists concerned with the oppression of Indigenous peoples, even as a class of society, they would no doubt have focused on the economic and political relations that are at the root of the problems besetting Indigenous peoples and Canadian society as a whole.
The review continues with a detailed, example-laden critique of Widdowson and Howard.