Books – Decolonization
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.
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.
As Long as the Rivers Run
Hydroelectric Development and Native Communities
Waldram examines the politics of hydroelectric dam construction in the Canadian northwest, focussing on the negotiations and agreements between the developers and the Native residents. He shows the parallels between the treatment of Natives by the government of Canada in these negotiations and the treaty process a century earlier.