Histories of Indigenous Peoples and Canada
Posted: November 6, 2020 | Updated: November 24, 2020
Author: John Douglas Belshaw, Thompson Rivers University, Sarah Nickel, University of Saskatchewan, Chelsea Horton, Vancouver Island University
Since the 18th century, the historical study of “Indians,” “Natives,” and “Aboriginals” in universities and colleges was contextualized within the story of colonization and growing European influence. Whatever justification might be mustered for that practice, it had real and dire effects: Canadians — including many Indigenous people — came to understand Indigenous histories as tangential, small, unimportant, and even a blind alley. This kind of thinking enabled Canadian authorities and citizens to regard Indigenous communities as being “without history,” as in, outside of history, which we can agree in modern times is simply untrue, as this book strives to show. The preface introduces you to some of the practices and challenges of Indigenous history, focusing on the nature and quality of sources, innovative historical methodologies, and the leading historiographical trends (that is, what historians are thinking very broadly and what they have studied in the last decade or four). It turns, then, to histories of Indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere before ca. 1500. The twelve chapters that follow are arranged under three headings: Commerce and Allies, Engaging Colonialism, and Culture Crisis Change Challenge. And there is a thirteenth chapter that brings us deep enough into the twenty-first century to allow a visit with two of the most important recent developments in Canadian civic life: Idle No More and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Both of these processes arose from the failures of colonialism and the resilience of Indigenous communities. They reveal, therefore, as much about the history of Canada as they do of the historical experiences of Indigenous peoples.
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Histories of Indigenous Peoples and Canada by John Douglas Belshaw, Thompson Rivers University, Sarah Nickel, University of Saskatchewan, Chelsea Horton, Vancouver Island University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
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