Books – Critical Studies in Native History
Preserving the Sacred
Historical Perspectives on the Ojibwa Midewiwin
The Midewiwin is the traditional religious belief system central to the world view of Ojibwa in Canada and the US. The rituals of the Midewiwin were observed by many 19th century Euro-Americans, most of whom approached these ceremonies with hostility and suspicion. As a result, although there were many accounts of the Midewiwin published in the 19th century, they were often riddled with misinterpretations and inaccuracies. Historian Michael Angel compares the early texts written about the Midewiwin, and identifies major, common misconceptions in these accounts.
Original People of the Great Swampy Land
The original people of the Hudson Bay lowlands, often known as the Lowland Cree and known to themselves as Muskekowuck Athinuwick, were among the first Aboriginal peoples in northwestern North America to come into contact with Europeans. This book challenges long-held misconceptions about the Lowland Cree, and illustrates how historians have often misunderstood the role and resourcefulness of Aboriginal peoples during the fur-trade era.
The Story of the Relocation of the Sayisi Dene
For over 1500 years, the Sayisi Dene, ‘The Dene from the East’, led an independent life, following the caribou herds and having little contact with white society. In 1956, an arbitrary government decision to relocate them catapulted the Sayisi Dene into the 20th century. Inadequately housed, without jobs, unfamiliar with the language or the culture, their independence and self-determination deteriorated into a tragic cycle of discrimination, poverty, alcoholism and violent death. In Night Spirits, the survivors, including those who were children at the time of the move, as well as the few remaining elders, recount their stories. They offer a stark and brutally honest account of the near-destruction of the Sayisi Dene, and their struggle to reclaim their lives. It is a dark story, told in hope.
A National Crime
The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986
Using previously unreleased government documents, historian John S. Milloy provides a full picture of the history and reality of the residential school system. A National Crime shows that the residential system was chronically underfunded and often mismanaged, and documents in detail and how this affected the health, education, and well-being of entire generations of Aboriginal children.
Women of the First Nations
Power, Wisdom, and Strength
Women of the First Nations examines various aspects of Aboriginal women’s lives from a variety of theoretical and personal perspectives. The authors discuss standard media representations, as well as historical and current realities. They bring new perspectives to discussions on Aboriginal art, literature, historical, and cultural contributions, and they offer diverse viewpoints on present economic, environmental, and political issues. This collection counters the marginalization and silencing of First Nations women’s voices and reflects the power, strength, and wisdom inherent in their lives.
Severing the Ties that Bind
Government Repression of Indigenous Religious Ceremonies on the Prairies
Religious ceremonies were an inseparable part of Aboriginal traditional life, reinforcing social, economic, and political values. However, missionaries and government officials with ethnocentric attitudes of cultural superiority decreed that Native dances and ceremonies were immoral or un-Christian and an impediment to the integration of the Native population into Canadian society. Katherine Pettipas presents a critical analysis of the administrative policies and considers the effects of government suppression of traditional religious activities on the whole spectrum of Aboriginal life, focussing on the experiences of the Plains Cree from the mid-1880s to 1951, when the regulations pertaining to religious practices were removed from the Indian Act.
The Ojibwa of Western Canada, 1780-1870
Among the most dynamic Aboriginal peoples in western Canada today are the Ojibwa, who have played an especially vital role in the development of an Aboriginal political voice at both levels of government. Yet, they are relative newcomers to the region, occupying the parkland and prairies only since the end of the 18th century. This work traces the origins of the western Ojibwa, their adaptations to the West, and the ways in which they have coped with the many challenges they faced in the first century of their history in that region, between 1780 and 1870.
Aboriginal Resource Use in Canada
Historical and Legal Aspects
Addresses a wide range of topics related to Aboriginal resource use, ranging from the pre-contact period to the present.
The Plains Cree
Trade, Diplomacy, and War, 1790 to 1870
The first economic, military, and diplomatic history of the Plains Cree from contact with the Europeans in the 1670s to the disappearance of the buffalo from Cree lands by the 1870s, focussing on military and trade relations between 1790 and 1870.
The Orders of the Dreamed
George Nelson on Cree and Northern Ojibwa Religion and Myth, 1823
Among Anglo-Canadian fur traders of the early nineteenth century, George Nelson stands out for his interest in the life and ways of the native people he encountered. In 1823 Nelson was serving as a Hudson’s Bay Company clerk in charge of the post at Lac la Ronge, an outpost of Ile a la Crosse in northeastern Saskatchewan. During that time he kept a letter-journal, addressed to his father, in which he related his observations of Cree and Northern Ojibwa religion and myth. This document is reproduced here for the first time.