Category Archives: Indigenous History

Historia Nostra: Was the Pays d’en Haut really a Middle Ground?

By Erin Isaac I remember being intrigued and a bit confused after my first reading of Richard White’s classic work The Middle Ground, which had been assigned for a fourth-year history seminar on French colonial history. My peers, likewise, found the ideas proposed interesting but a bit idealistic. Coming back to this text as a PhD student, the questions that… Read more »

The Sesquicentennial of Treaty 1

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Paul Burrows On August 3, 1871 the negotiations that became known as the “Stone Fort” treaty, or Treaty 1, were wrapped up at Lower Fort Garry, north of present-day Winnipeg.  The treaty negotiations were a massive affair, even by today’s standards.  More than a thousand Cree and Anishinaabe from southern Manitoba had begun to gather at the Hudson’s Bay Company… Read more »

Indigenous and Colonial Trackways: A New Historia Nostra Series

By Erin Isaac Roads, hiking trails, rivers, train tracks, or any manner of routes we use to travel often feel like historically benign spaces (at least to me). For myself, driving along the 401 between Kingston and Toronto has inspired more frustration about traffic and “Ontario Drivers” than curiosity about the road’s history. It feels like a space that exists… Read more »

Want to Understand Egerton Ryerson? Two School Histories Provide the Context

By Thomas Peace In 1842, at the Dawn settlement near Dresden, Ontario, Josiah Henson built the British American Institute (BAI), a school for peoples who had escaped their enslavement. Five years later, about 75 kilometers from the BAI, on the banks of the Deshkan Ziibiing near London, Methodist missionary Kahkewaquonaby (Peter Jones) – a Mississauga leader from Credit River (western… Read more »

Canada Day Statement: The History of Violence Against Indigenous Peoples Fully Warrants The Use of the Word “Genocide”

Canadian Historical Association The Canadian Historical Association, which represents 650 professional historians from across the country, including the main experts on the long history of violence and dispossession Indigenous peoples experienced in what is today Canada, recognizes that this history fully warrants our use of the word genocide.

Calls to Action 71 to 76: Missing Children and Burial Information

Today, the editors of Active History have decided to paint the site orange to honour the thousands upon thousands of Indigenous children brutalized and killed in the Indian Residential School system—including those whose small bodies were recently located in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, the former Marieval Indian Residential School, the former St. Eugene’s Mission School,… Read more »

Now ain’t the time for your tears

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By James Cullingham In 1964 Bob Dylan released The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol, one of his masterworks. The song chronicles the circumstances of the atrocious murder of an African American woman and the hypocrisy of the society that produced her killer. As the horrifying revelations from Kamloops and Cowessess of graves at the sites of former residential schools have… Read more »

Lessons From a Not-so Distant Pandemic: The H1N1 Pandemic and Indigenous Disparities

Curtis Fraser Over 80% of Indigenous adults have now received their first vaccination against COVID-19, compared to 57% of the Canadian population as a whole. Active COVID-19 cases among Indigenous peoples peaked in January of 2021, but have since dropped by 85%, thanks to the successes of the vaccination campaign. While the number of cases among Indigenous people is likely… Read more »

Death was the Point: Interrupting our shock at colonial practices. Thoughts on the Kamloops discovery.

By Samantha Cutrara Trigger Warning: This article discusses the residential school system. The National Residential School Crisis Line is 1-866-925-4419. When the news came out about the mass grave at Kamloops Indian Residential School located on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation – or the news from this past weekend which identified 104 ‘potential graves’ as part of the Brandon… Read more »

Accountability for the Roman Catholic Church’s Role in the Residential School System: Urgent Actions Needed Immediately

Here, I outline 3 urgent actions that need to be addressed by the Roman Catholic Church immediately as part of taking responsibility for its significant role in the residential school system. The 3 urgent actions are: 1) an apology from the Pope, 2) a statement by the CCCB outlining how they have engaged and will continued to engage with TRC’s Calls to Action 59, 60, and 61, and 3) payment of $21.3 million by the Roman Catholic entities to Indigenous healing programs that was not paid to the IRSSA.