Category Archives: Indigenous History

Historia Nostra: Jamestown Miniseries

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By Erin Isaac Jamestown looms large in North American collective historical imagination, in pop culture as well as in the classroom. As North America’s first permanent English settlement, the site is celebrated as the “birthplace” of modern Anglo-American society but (as is true of all historical sites) the history of Jamestown is complicated; there are aspects to its story to… Read more »

Deconstructing Dominant Historical Narratives through Progressive Metal

Jessi Gilchrist Progressive metal is not the genre that we think of when we consider decolonization, anti-racism, or intersectionality. In fact, in 2017, The Atlantic published an article entitled “the Whitest Music Ever,” a critique of one of progressive metal’s predecessors, progressive rock.[i] Spawned in the 1970s with bands like Rush and King Crimson, progressive rock has been known as… Read more »

A Structural Pandemic: On Statues, Colonial Violence, and the Importance of History (Part III)

Kristine Alexander and Mary Jane Logan McCallum While – as shown in our previous post – Guiding and Scouting were inextricably linked to British imperialism and settler colonialism, some Indigenous students in Canadian Indian residential schools also found that these organizations provided a refuge in an alien environment and a short break from labour and strict routine. It was an… Read more »

A Structural Pandemic: On Statues, Colonial Violence, and the Importance of History (Part II)

Kristine Alexander and Mary Jane Logan McCallum As we documented in our previous post, looking more closely at the history of Scouting and Guiding reveals that the divide between colonialist violence, fascist discipline, and peaceful pedagogy was not quite as stark as Baden-Powell and his supporters would have us believe. Instead of insisting on the ideological opposition between Scouting and… Read more »

A Structural Pandemic: On Statues, Colonial Violence, and the Importance of History (Part I)

Kristine Alexander and Mary Jane Logan McCallum 2020 has been intense. Living in lockdown, uncertain about the future, watching the body count from Covid-19 and police violence continue to rise. Time, shaped by anger, grief, and fear, moves differently, as the pandemic – like other disease outbreaks before it – exposes and deepens socio-economic divisions and inequalities. Despite the best… Read more »

Indigenizing the Teaching of North American History: A Panel Discussion

In late-October, Active History editor Thomas Peace met with Marie Battiste, Alan Corbiere, and Sarah Nickel to discuss decolonization and Indigenization in the teaching of North American history. Over the course of an hour, the conversation explored the meaning of decolonization, Indigenizing the academy, Indigenous resurgence in the Indigenizing of history, assessed specific anticolonial strategies for affecting change in the discipline, and provided… Read more »

Rev. William Scott and the Oka Question

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Donald B. Smith Introduction Without any doubt, Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent General of the Department of Indian Affairs from 1913 to 1932, was Canada’s best-known Indian Affairs civil servant. His views of Indigenous peoples were often intolerant and harsh, and he believed “the happiest future for the Indian is absorption into the general population.”[1] Though much has been written… Read more »

The Resonance of Almighty Voice (Kitchi-Manito-Waya)

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By James Cullingham One Arrow First Nation Chief Tricia Sutherland says this “the right time for the story to be told.” The story concerns Almighty Voice (Kitchi-Manito-Waya) the young Cree man from One Arrow, a community near Batoche who became subject of one of the longest manhunts in Canadian history. Almost exactly 125 years ago, Almighty Voice slaughtered a settler’s… Read more »

Miss Canadian History: An Archive Story

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Donald Wright Archive stories are stories about, well, archives, the things that we find in them, and the things that we know we will never find. They are also invitations to reflect on how and why archival evidence – from a routinely-generated source to a single photograph – was created and what it can and can’t tell us about the… Read more »

The Canadian Mosaic, Archival Silences, and an Indigenous Presence in Banff

Daniel R. Meister Given that Canada is a settler colonial society, it is unsurprising that the lasting metaphor used to describe sociological diversity in the country – that of a mosaic – was popularized by a settler and child of empire: John Murray Gibbon (1875-1952). Gibbon was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to parents of Scottish descent. Prior to… Read more »