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Reflections on Native-Newcomer Relations

Reflections on Native-Newcomer Relations: Selected Essays

J.R. Miller
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 314
  • Book Info
    Reflections on Native-Newcomer Relations
    Book Description:

    Reflections on Native-Newcomer Relationsopens up for discussion a series of issues in Native-newcomer history. It addresses all the trends in the discipline of the past two decades and never shies from showing their contradictions, as well as those in the author's own thinking as he matured as a scholar.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2334-7
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    An invitation to assemble a book of essays is cause for both reflection and selection. When Bill Harnum and Gerald Hallowell of University of Toronto Press asked me to prepare the present volume, the opening led to a consideration of where the Native-newcomer history field has been and where it is now going. It is obvious, as is pointed out in several of the essays here, that the field has evolved and matured dramatically over the past thirty years. One manifestation of that greater maturity is the attention to a wider range of subjects over which indigenous and immigrant peoples...


    • Bringing Native People In from the Margins: The Recent Evolution and Future Prospects of English-Canadian Historiography on Native-Newcomer Relations
      (pp. 13-36)

      William Kingsford, an engineer and amateur historical investigator who is often described as the ‘dean’ of late-nineteenth-century historians in English Canada, typifies the ills that long beset the writing of history about the relations of Native peoples and newcomers. First, Kingsford assumed that First Nations had a place in Canadian history only when and where they interacted with European newcomers, such as in the fur trade in New France or the colonial phases of European imperial wars in the eighteenth century. Furthermore, Kingsford took the view that any description of the character, customs, and contributions of First Nations themselves would...

    • From Riel to the Métis
      (pp. 37-58)

      Although miscegenation must have been one of the earliest and most common effects of the expansion of Europe, its consequences have been relatively little studied by historians of Canada. Indeed, one of the few general histories of the western mixed-blood population suggests — only half-jokingly, one suspects — that the Métis people of Canada were founded nine months after the landing of the first European.¹ Perhaps because of traditional historiographical emphases, a limited methodological sophistication, or simply as a consequence of racist inhibitions on the part of Euro-Canadian historians, who dominated the field until recently, the history of the Métis has not...


    • ‘I can only tell what I know’: Shifting Notions of Historical Understanding in the 1990s
      (pp. 61-81)

      During the litigation surrounding the first James Bay hydroelectric project in Quebec in the 1970s, a number of Native witnesses appeared in Euro-Canadian courts in support of an attempt by the Cree to stall development in lands that they considered theirs. Naturally, these witnesses were administered the usual oath that bound them to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — on at least one occasion with unexpected results. One Cree hunter hesitated when the clerk read out the usual form of words. Then he responded: ‘I’m not sure I can tell truth ... I can only...

    • Reading Photographs, Reading Voices: Documenting the History of Native Residential Schools
      (pp. 82-104)

      The tasks of uncovering and recounting the history of the residential schools for Inuit and status ‘Indian’ children that existed in Canada until the late 1960s present many challenges. Three groups were involved in the creation and operation of these institutions, but the available records on these groups are not uniform in either quantity or quality. Aboriginal peoples, government, and Christian churches were all participants in the residential school story, but only the latter two entities created written records that, along with personal recollections, were systematically collected and preserved for the benefit of later generations. The constructive use of what...


    • Owen Glendower, Hotspur, and Canadian Indian Policy
      (pp. 107-139)

      Scholarly writing on Canada’s Indian policy of the late Victorian period has lagged behind analysis of other aspects of Native-newcomer relations. Like American academics, Canadians have made an impressive start on revising the understanding of economic, military, and social relations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. However, discussions of nineteenth-century assimilative policies have persisted in an older tendency to treat the Indians as objects rather than agents, victims rather than creators, of their history. The existing literature usually examines missionaries’ requests for the suppression of cultural practices such as the potlatch and notes how their desires coincided with the government’s...

    • Great White Father Knows Best: Oka and the Land Claims Process
      (pp. 140-170)

      In their 1961 presentation to the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on Indian Affairs, the Oka Indians made a simple request:

      The Oka Indians wish that the Oka lands be given the status of a reserve. It has all the characteristics of it, with a resident agent of the Department, but it has not the legal status that would enable the band to have a perpetual use vested in it for their enjoyment and that of their children and descendants. What future is there for the Oka Indian?¹

      Nothing was done about the Indians’ request through...

    • Canada and the Aboriginal Peoples, 1867–1927
      (pp. 171-192)

      Confederation established a federal government with jurisdiction over 100,000 to 120,000 ‘Indians and lands reserved for the Indians.’ The responsibility brought with it a challenge vast and complicated. At the time and across the continent, diverse Aboriginal communities found themselves in various states of interaction with Euro-Canadians. The Canadian government faced the monumental task of developing policies for this heterogeneous population. The dimensions of the job and the pressures of time were but two of the factors that help to explain why Canada made such a poor job of its relations with the Aboriginal peoples in the decades after Confederation....

    • The State, the Church, and Indian Residential Schools in Canada
      (pp. 193-214)

      It was a big day for Grace Lavallé. She was selected to meet and be photographed with Louis St Laurent, Canada's prime minister, when visited her residential school at Lebret, Saskatchewan.¹ Such ceremonial visits were common at the Oblate residential school in the Qu'Appelle Valley, which was easily accessible by rail and road from Regina. On numerous occasions when officials visited residential schools, an elaborate display of amity and cooperation between church and government occurred, for such visits were as much about public relations and promotion of the interests of the Department of Indian Affairs as they were about highlighting...


    • Petitioning the Great White Mother: First Nations’ Organizations and Lobbying in London
      (pp. 217-241)

      On the Prairies, First Nations’ public ceremonies, such as those associated with commemoration of treaty-making, always include an element that seems jarring, even anachronistic. Veterans and elders pray and raise flags to start the day’s observances, but among the flags that are ritually run up the improvised poles the Union Jack seems strangely out of place to observers from outside the First Nations’ community. However, the raising of Britain’s venerable pennant is neither anachronistic nor out of place for First Nations, given their long-standing and still vibrant sense of kinship with the Crown, including what scholars would refer to as...

    • ‘I will accept the Queen’s hand’: First Nations Leaders and the Image of the Crown in the Prairie Treaties
      (pp. 242-266)

      According to the official records, the monarch was central to both the process and results of Prairie treaty-making in the 1870s. Alexander Morris, the Ontario lawyer who served as chief negotiator for the Crown in Treaties 3,4,5, and 6, highlighted the role of the monarchy in his 1880 account,The Treaties of Canada with the Indians.In the section of his exhortatory concluding chapter that dealt with the ‘Future of the Indians,’ Morris asked, ‘What is to be the future of the Indian population of the North-West?’ and predicted that with effective Indian administration, ‘I look forward to seeing the...


    • Devil’s Island, Marijuana U., and the League of the Six Nations: Models for Governing the University
      (pp. 269-278)

      Styles of university governance are like Caesar’s Gaul: they are divided into three. One approach to running universities emphasizes the stick: it is authoritarian, punitive, and coercive. A second favours inducing the university’s personnel to look upward for rewards: it encourages staff to pander to their superiors in hope of advancement and other forms of favour. Finally, there is a style of governance that stresses consultation, consensual decision-making, and non-punitive sanctions designed to inhibit or prevent negative actions. For simplicity these three styles can be labelled: Devil’s Island, Marijuana U., and the League of the Six Nations.

      Everyone recognizes the...

    • Aboriginal Peoples and the Academy
      (pp. 279-296)

      It is the first week of September 1970. A young and very anxious Susette Bear has arrived on the University of Saskatchewan campus to register for her classes in the first year of an Arts and Science program. Susette is not from Saskatoon, and she does not recognize a single face in the crowds of young people around her. She does notice, however, that almost all those faces are pale, at least by the standards that prevail in her home community. Susette is a young Cree woman from a small village in northern Saskatchewan. She has had relatively little contact...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 297-304)