Books – Decolonization
Epidemics in the Petit Nord, 1670 to 1846
Although new diseases had first arrived in the New World in the 16th century, by the end of the 17th century shorter transoceanic travel time meant that a far greater number of diseases survived the journey from Europe and were still able to infect new communities. These acute, directly transmitted infectious diseases – including smallpox, influenza, and measles — would be responsible for a monumental loss of life and would forever transform North American Aboriginal communities. Historical geographer Paul Hackett meticulously traces the diffusion of these diseases from Europe through central Canada to the West.
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.
Inuit of the Central Artic, 1550 to 1940
Although archaeologists and anthropologists have studied ancient and contemporary Inuit societies, the Inuit world in the crucial period from the 16th to the 20th centuries remains largely undescribed and unexplained. In Order to Live Untroubled helps fill this 400-year gap by providing the first, broad, historical survey of the Inuit peoples of the central arctic.
Cree Tales of Curing and Cursing Told by Alice Ahenakew / âh-âyîtaw isi ê-kî-kiskêyihtahkik maskihkiy
Born in 1912, Alice Ahenakew was brought up in a traditional Cree community in north-central Saskatchewan. As a young woman, she married Andrew Ahenakew, a member of the prominent Saskatchewan family, who later became an Anglican clergyman and a prominent healer. Alice Ahenakew’s personal reminiscences include stories of her childhood, courtship and marriage, as well as an account of the 1928 influenza epidemic and encounters with a windigo. The centrepiece of this book is the fascinating account of Andrew Ahenakew’s bear vision, through which he received healing powers.
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.
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.
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.
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.