In "Exceptions to Their Rule," Rick Sloan invites readers to embark on a journey back to a world dominated by the iron grip of autocrats. From 1420 to 1620, monarchs, popes, and cardinals, driven by greed and lust for power, left a trail of destruction, decimating indigenous cultures across five continents. But amidst the chaos and devastation, two cultures—the Basques and the Wabanaki—emerged as beacons of hope, embodying the ideals of democracy and self-governance.
The Basques, valiant warriors of their rights, shattered the stone fortresses of autocrats, nurturing a culture that prioritized universal nobility and self-rule. The Wabanaki—Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot—nurtured a cosmology that saw the divine in all things, fostering a society rooted in peace, sharing, and mutual respect.
Sloan presents the fascinating interaction between these two cultures, united in their pursuits of sustainable industry—fishing, whaling, fur trading—and mutual understanding. This extraordinary alliance stands as a testament to the power of cooperation, respect, and common sense, offering a tantalizing glimpse into a path not taken.
Yet, these democratic shoots were fragile, ultimately overshadowed by the might of autocratic forces. "Exceptions to Their Rule" is a compelling tribute to the resilience of the Basques and Wabanaki, reminding us of the enduring struggle between democracy and autocracy and the profound lessons we can learn from history.