Tag Archives: history

Finding Dawn

Finding Dawn is a documentary highlights the struggles of Aboriginal women in Canada and the hardships many of these women face of a daily basis.

Reflecting on a recent Globe and Mail article “The National Shame of Aboriginal Incarceration,” and the disheartening statistic that one in three incarcerated women in Canada is of Aboriginal descent, the patterns of violence and abuse in this film are often, sadly, unsurprising. Finding Dawn is an attempt at putting a face on the (estimated) 500 Aboriginal women that have disappeared within the last 30 years (by many accounts, this estimate is far too low). This travesty has been highlighted many times over the years by many organizations, including Amnesty International,  the United Nations, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and numerous others.

Struggles continue in the efforts to bring justice to this situation. Just a few days ago, two Aboriginal groups in British Columbia declared their boycott of the Missing Women Inquiry as inadequate resources are being offered by the government.

(Please note is an extra post, beyond the 5 required for Module 4, but seeing as it’s written it may as well be contributed)

Module 2- Mi’kmaq Spirit Homepage


This website hosts a great deal of factual information on the Mi’kmaq of Atlantic Canada.  Main sections offer information on history and culture with historical timelines, language explanations, explanations of daily life, oral traditions, etc.  In addition, a section is included on issues, whereby people are welcomed to submit essays on topics relevant to the Mi’kmaq people and culture.

Module 2- The Imaginary Indian

Although not an online resource, this book serves as an excellent resource for all educators.  I first read this text in during my B.Ed program at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  The author discusses an array of topics that follow the “image” that was created by colonization.  Excerpts can be attained here from GoogleBooks although I encourage reading it in it’s entirety.

Francis, Daniel. The imaginary Indian: the image of the Indian in Canadian culture. Vancouver, B.C.: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1992. Print.

We Shall Remain

We Shall Remain is a five-part television series (7.5 hours total) which portrays Native American perspectives in the teaching of American history.

The series includes details not commonly found in traditional American socio/history teachings, including violent resistance towards geographical expulsion and opposition to cultural oppression. You can stream the full series online. The website also outlines the program’s new media engagement strategy, involving web-exclusive videos on topics such as language revitalization, tribal sovereignty, and native enterprise. A teacher’s guide is also included to help bridge new media through to classroom learning.

Nunavut Social History Database


This website, created by UBC students and faculty, contains abstracts of archival documents dealing with the social history of the Canadian Arctic.  The database covers one of the most interesting and heavily documented periods in the history of the Canadian Arctic: a period when Inuit moved from traditional hunting camps to settlements. It can be argued that this movement, commencing largely in the mid-1950s and lasting until the mid to late 1960s, is unique in terms of the international history of Aboriginal people.  The documents that are abstracted in this collection are from a limited number of archival collections that have very extensive records. The database contains over 10,000 entries.  The limitation of this database, however, is that it contains only abstracts of documents. It does not contain the full texts of any documents – these being the property of the archive in question. Readers wishing to see the complete record or obtain copies of these documents are referred to the archive from which the record is taken.

Aboriginal Policy: The White Paper and Citizens Plus

In 1969’s Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian policy (The White Paper, full text), Pierre Trudeau’s government (Specifically Jean Chrétien, who was Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development at the time), argued that the Canadian government should cease all treaty negotiations with First Nations peoples of Canada and argued for assimilation of First Nations peoples in to the fold of other Canadian “ethnic minorities.” First Nations issues would become provincial items rather than federal.  Ironicially, the White Paper stated that this was ultimately a non-discriminatory policy. In 1970, the National Indian Brotherhood issued a rejoinder titled Citizens Plus, more commonly referred to as the Red Paper, and was ultimately successful in shifting governmental policy. The Red Paper laid foundations for directed efforts for First Nations policy and self-governance in a variety of arenas including land claims, educational rights, cultural and language retention, and more. Reverberations of the Red Paper have echoed through the past three decades, as evidenced in the increasingly recognized and support Aboriginal initiatives throughout Canada today.

Module 3- Out of the depths

This book recounts the residential schooling experience held by those who attended the school in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia.  It discusses not only the experiences, but how such experiences have shaped the Mi’Kmaq culture in present day.  It is an important piece of information for any Nova Scotian for it outlines the trials and tribulations of an entire people.   In addition, it also has connections to the role of present day Aboriginal youth as noted in both the Fraser River Project and March Point Trailer as an explanation of the current state of youth.

Knockwood, Isabelle . Out of the depths: The Experiences of Mi’kmaw Childrn at the Indian Residential School at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2001. Print.

Module 2- The Mikmaw concordat

This book serves as a means of filling in the blanks often found in European centric history textbooks.  The book discusses an array of subjects such as religious studies, law, intellectual history, oral history, and the varying perspectives of the arrival in America by Columbus in the 15th century up to the Mi’Kmaw concordat in the 17th century.  A unique perspective present in this text is the analysis of the relationship between the Mi’kmaq people and the Holy Roman Empire.

Henderson, James Youngblood. The Míkmaw concordat . Halifax, N.S.: Fernwood, 1997. Print.

Module 2- We were not the Savages

In his book, “We were not the Savages,” Daniel Paul traces back the history of his Mi’Kmaq people in relation to pre, during and post European contact.  In doing so, he speaks of the great loss suffered by his ancestors (70-100 million dead) at the hand of European invaders and how such disrespect and dishonor continues in present day Canada.  In his book, Paul uses the term “pre-Columbian contact” as opposed to “pre-European contact” to describe time periods for it has been recorded that Scandinavian contact had been made in generations prior to the Columbus era.  There had been many counts of blonde haired blue-eyed Natives who in fact dressed up as English and French soldiers and were able to go unnoticed!

The book continues with a description of events that followed the contact that consisted mainly of a greed for goods from the land; gold, furs, and property.  A term also used for the Native people of North America were, “heathen savages” a term Paul says, was coined as a means of belittling the impact of slaughtering a nation of people.

Paul, Daniel. We were not the savages: First Nation’s History. 3rd ed. Canada: Fernwood Publishing, 2006. Print.

National Film Board – Aboriginal Perspectives

The National Film Board (NFB) of Canada has a web page devoted to high school and upper elementary students and teachers called Aboriginal Perspectives. It has NFB aboriginal documentaries from 1940 – 2004 with critical commentaries on the issues presented. The site has several themes including:

I viewed several of the excerpt clips under Cinema and Representation and found an interesting contrast in two clips about the Hudson Bay Company. In Caribou Hunters (1951) Manitoba Cree’s and Chipewan’s from the mainstream perspective, are shown happily trading with the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Other Side of the Ledger: An Indian View of the Hudson’s Bay Company (1972), presents an honest view of how the Indians felt about the “value” they were getting from trading with the Bay. This is much different from the 1951 Caribou Hunter’s perspective.