By Casey Burkholder
During a late fall afternoon of syllabus writing, and distracted Googling, I came across the activist archival work of Dusty Green, who has developed the New Brunswick Queer Heritage Initiative (NBQHI). The NBQHI emerged after Dusty came across pictures donated to the New Brunswick Provincial Archives of rural New Brunswick boyfriends, Leonard and Cub, photographed between 1905 and 1940. Dusty remembers,
“Len and Cub broke things open for me, and got me really excited about queer history. Most provinces have an organization that actively seeks out queer content, because it’s important. It’s been actively suppressed by institutions and society at large for a really long time, so special archives or community archives have had to really come in and pick up the slack…archives are meant to represent the whole of a place. Queer people have always been here, and trying to fill those gaps is tricky work” (Chong, 2018, p. 25).
The practice of erasing the experiences and contributions of queer people in Canadian Social Studies Curricula is not limited to New Brunswick (For example, see also: Burrows, 2013; Crocco, 2001; Graphic History Collective, 2017; Lee, 2007; Maroney, 2016; Temple, 2005). To address the gaps in New Brunswick Social Studies curricula relating to queer and female-identifying New Brunswickers, I have developed a youth-led research project, Where Are Our Histories? (2018-2020) in an effort to queer the New Brunswick Social Studies curriculum. The study builds from the absence of queer and female-identifying people in the narratives that are presented in Social Studies in New Brunswick, and is inspired by activist historians, including the Graphic History Collective (2017), the Calgary Gay History Project (2018), and Dusty Green’s work developing the New Brunswick Queer Heritage Initiative (2018).
In the project, I am looking to learn: Continue reading