Category Archives: Does History Matter?

Historians and Indigenous Genocide in Saskatchewan

By Robert Alexander Innes [This essay was first published last June on Shekon Neechie. It asks questions about the approach of Canadian historians to genocide that are again relevant after the response of much of the media to the MMIWG- Final Report.] As a result of the Calls to Action released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) the notion… Read more »

The Never-ending History Wars

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Allan Greer How can we understand the past and what lessons does it hold for the present? This is an issue that has always been contested with different approaches coming to the fore.  From Plutarch in ancient times to Machiavelli in the Renaissance, the predominant idea was that stories of great men from earlier times would guide and inspire elite… Read more »

A Narrow Vision: Politics in Canada in Historical Perspective

By James Cullingham As the imbroglio concerning Jody Wilson-Raybould, Jane Philpott and the Liberal government emerged, an immediate wave of sentiment broke across social media. The panicky message can be summed up:  “In light of this scandal, Canadians will inevitably end up with an Andrew Scheer government.” This type of thinking reflects a reductive historical and political fallacy that assumes… Read more »

Moral Foundations in History

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By Matthew Neufeld Waterton Lakes national park is named after a distinguished nineteenth-century British naturalist and pioneer in conservation. After returning from his family’s holdings in South America in 1824, Charles Waterton converted part of his estate in Yorkshire into the world’s first wildfowl and nature preserve.[1]. As recently digitized documents published by University College London show, Waterton was also… Read more »

Queen’s Park Looks to the North: Mining, Treaties & Transportation

Thomas Blampied In the run up to the 2018 Ontario provincial election, Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford spoke about his party’s plans for the Ring of Fire mining development in Northern Ontario. The project, which experts claimed could be worth billions of dollars, was stalled as the federal and provincial governments negotiated with mining companies over who would pay for… Read more »

Open Letter Re: The Closing of the Saskatoon Office of the Provincial Archives at the University of Saskatchewan

November 29, 2018 It has recently been brought to our attention that the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan (PAS) has made the decision to consolidate its holdings and close its office in Saskatoon at the University of Saskatchewan. The Saskatoon office has existed as an important part of the University’s research network since the archive board was created in 1945. The… Read more »

Difficult History, Monuments, and Pedagogy: A Response to Levesque

By Gabriel A. Reich In his two part series, posted on Active History earlier this month, Stéphane Lévesque puts forward a “new approach” to considering the role of historical monuments as an object of study in history education. That approach frames the pedagogy of historical monuments as a historiographical problem that can be best approached using the tools of historical… Read more »

Disjunctures of Public Memory: Remembrance Day in Sackville NB

By Andrew Nurse Last week I was taking an evening walk – the kind recommended by your doctor, as in “get some exercise” – and I strolled by the Sackville NB skate park my son used to frequent. That was a while ago. The park is different now. There is a graffiti wall and the ramps and jumps had been… Read more »

A new approach to debates over Macdonald and other monuments in Canada: Part 1

By Stéphane Lévesque “One of the things we heard very clearly from the Indigenous family members” says recently re-elected Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps (2018), “is that coming to city hall… and walking past John A. Macdonald every time, feels contradictory. And if the city is serious about reconciliation, which I would say we are, then one important thing we do… Read more »

Tlatelolco – Massacre in Mexico 50 years on

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By James Cullingham News from Mexico is often baffling and extremely sad. Bulletins regarding the country’s devastatingly high murder rate, the activities of organized crime and lethal attacks on journalists are common. Such tensions are endemic in the country that in July gave a landslide victory to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commonly known as AMLO, running on an anti-corruption and… Read more »