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Indigenous History Spotlight

Tue. Jun. 8, 2021

June is Indigenous History Month, and in putting together our digital book feature, we cannot ignore the discovery at the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School; a terrible reminder of the legacy of residential schools in Canada. We encourage you to expand your understanding of colonization and the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. All Canadians have inherited this legacy and must embrace their responsibility for reconciliation as the truth is uncovered.

Here are some places to get started:

Indigenous Studies Research Guide: A multidiciplinary guide on a variety of topics surrounding Indigenous Studies at UWinnipeg.

Residential Schools Research Guide: Specific to the topic of Residental Schools, this guide provides an intro to themes, terminology, and resources pertaining to this topic. Some sample searches are provided.

Truth and Reconcilliation ReportsThe National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) makes available digital copies of important and relevant reports for Survivors and their families, researchers, media and the public.


Featured eBooks

500 Years of Indigenous Resistance
By Gord Hill
From the publisher: “In this fresh examination, an activist and historian of native descent argues that the colonial powers met resistance from the indigenous inhabitants and that these confrontations shaped the forms and extent of colonialism. This account encompasses North and South America, the development of nation-states, and the resurgence of indigenous resistance in the post-World War II era.”

Gord Hill is a member of the Kwakwaka'wakw nation in British Columbia.


The Sleeping Giant Awakens : Genocide, Indian Residential Schools, and the Challenge of Conciliation
By David B. MacDonald
From the publisher: “Confronting the truths of Canada’s Indian residential school system has been likened to waking a sleeping giant. In The Sleeping Giant Awakens, David B. MacDonald uses genocide as an analytical tool to better understand Canada’s past and present relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples. Starting with a discussion of how genocide is defined in domestic and international law, the book applies the concept to the forced transfer of Indigenous children to residential schools and the "Sixties Scoop," in which Indigenous children were taken from their communities and placed in foster homes or adopted……Crucially, MacDonald engages critics who argue that the term genocide impedes understanding of the IRS system and imperils prospects for conciliation. By contrast, this book sees genocide recognition as an important basis for meaningful discussions of how to engage Indigenous-settler relations in respectful and proactive ways.”

David B. MacDonald is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph and Research Leadership Chair for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.


Metis and The Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People
By Michael Hogue
From the publisher: “Metis and the Medicine Line is a sprawling, ambitious look at how national borders and notions of race were created and manipulated to unlock access to indigenous lands. It is also an intimate story of individuals and families, brought vividly to life by history writing at its best.”

Author Michael Hogue is a member of Carleton University’s Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language and Education (CIRCLE) which sits on the traditional, unceded territories of the Algonquin nation.


Our Ice Is Vanishing/Sikuvut Nunguliqtuq: A History of Inuit, Newcomers, and Climate Change
By Shelley Wright
From the publisher: “Through an examination of Inuit history and culture, alongside the experiences of newcomers to the Arctic seeking land, wealth, adventure, and power, Our Ice Is Vanishing describes the legacies of exploration, intervention, and resilience. Combining scientific and legal information with political and individual perspectives, Shelley Wright follows the history of the Canadian presence in the Arctic and shares her own journey in recollections and photographs, presenting the far North as few people have seen it. Climate change is redrawing the boundaries of what Inuit and non-Inuit have learned to expect from our world.”

The former Northern Director of the Akitsiraq Law School in Iqaluit, Wright teaches in the Aboriginal Studies program at Langara College which sits on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. 


Recollecting : Lives of Aboriginal Women of the Canadian Northwest and Borderlands.
Edited by Sarah Carter and Patricia A McCormack
From the publisher: “Recollecting is a rich collection of essays that illuminates the lives of late-eighteenth-century to mid-twentieth century Aboriginal women, who have been overlooked in sweeping narratives of the history of the West. Authors look beyond the documentary record and standard representations of women, drawing on records generated by the women themselves, including their beadwork, other material culture, and oral histories.”

Sarah Carter and Patricia A. McCormack are faculty members in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta which sits on Treaty 6 territory, the traditional lands of the Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene and Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe.


Gifts from the Thunder Beings : Indigenous Archery and European Firearms in the Northern Plains and Central Subarctic, 1670-1870
By Roland Bohr
From the publisher: “Gifts from the Thunder Beings examines North American Aboriginal peoples' use of Indigenous and European distance weapons in big-game hunting and combat. Beyond the capabilities of European weapons, Aboriginal peoples' ways of adapting and using this technology in combination with Indigenous weaponry contributed greatly to the impact these weapons had on Aboriginal cultures. This gradual transition took place from the beginning of the fur trade in the Hudson's Bay Company.”

Roland Bohr is the Director of The Centre for Rupert's Land Studies at the University of Winnipeg which sits on Treaty One Territory and the Metis Nation Homeland.


Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories
Edited by Jill Doerfler, Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark and Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair
From the publisher: “This groundbreaking anthology features twenty-four contributors who utilize creative and critical approaches to propose that this people's stories carry dynamic answers to questions posed within Anishinaabeg communities, nations, and the world at large. Examining a range of stories and storytellers across time and space, each contributor explores how narratives form a cultural, political, and historical foundation for Anishinaabeg Studies.”

Jill Doerfler (White Earth Anishinaabe) is Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota–Duluth (traditional lands of the Ojibwe people, and before them the Dakota and Northern Cheyenne peoples); Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe) is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria (traditional territories of the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples); and Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair (Anishinaabe) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba (Treaty One Territory and the Metis Nation Homeland).


Indigenous Women, Work, and History, 1940-1980
By Mary Jane Logan McCallum
From the publisher: “Based on a range of sources including the records of the Departments of Indian Affairs and National Health and Welfare, interviews. print, and media, McCallum shows how state-run education and placement programs were part of Canada's larger vision of assimilation and extinguishment of treaty obligations. Conversely, she also shows how Indigenous women link these same programs to their social and cultural responsibilities of community building and state resistance.”

Mary Jane Logan McCallum, of the Munsee Delaware Nation, is an professor in the Department of History, University of Winnipeg, which sits on Treaty One Territory and the Metis Nation Homeland.


Why Indigenous Literatures Matter
By Daniel Heath Justice
From the publisher: “Blending personal narrative and broader historical and cultural analysis with close readings of key creative and critical texts, Justice argues that Indigenous writers engage with these questions in part to challenge settler-colonial policies and practices that have targeted Indigenous connections to land, history, family, and self. More importantly, Indigenous writers imaginatively engage the many ways that communities and individuals have sought to nurture these relationships and project them into the future.”

Daniel Heath Justice is a member of the Cherokee Nation and professor of First Nations and Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia; and currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture at UBC which sits on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.