History, Truth, and Indigenous Diaspora

Helen Knott’s keynote presentation on History, Truth, and Indigenous Diaspora from the Beyond 150: Telling Our Stories Twitter Conference held in August 2017. 

By Helen Knott. 

Follow Helen on Twitter @helen_knott

August 25, 2017

Two people facing away from the camera looking out on snow covered rolling hills, there are some trees in the distance.

1. My story is nestled within my mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, & ancestral stories. Stories are tied to land. 

2.“Place implies belonging,...and is imbued w/ memories that give life direction.. place establishes identity” Windsor&McVey #Beyond150ca

This image shows a orange glowing sky over water and reads: There is nothing like being present in a land that knows your name, knows your blood , and knows who your ancestors are. - Helen K

3. Land + Stories = History = Present = Future . The land is a bridge that connects us. #Beyond150CA

4. I am Dane Zaa, Nehiyaw, & mixed blood from Prophet River FN. Indian band 544. My maternal lineage is  #Beyond150CA

5. The Chief from 1911 to 1930 is listed under the name of Bigfoot, No. 6 Siccanni Bands. Bloodline signed  #Beyond150CA

6. I didn’t learn my history in a classroom. I learned the real one on the land from my elder’s mouths. #Beyond150CA

7. If anything the history I learned in classes created divisions amongst peers. #Beyond150CA

Read more: “Those Who Win The War Write The History

8. One sided history that dominates creates dichotomies. A continual “Us vs. Them” that plays out in policies #Beyond150CA

9. Dane Zaa territory is continually being reconfigured and reshaped via oil and gas extraction & reservoirs #Beyond150CA

10.The continued colonization of lands is a denial to Indigenous history, present, and futures. #Beyond150CA

11. Respect & reconciliation requires unflinching truth bearing historical accounts #Beyond150CA

12. Understanding and respecting ways of being and knowing is nothing short of necessary #Beyond150CA

13. Remember: Land + Stories = Past = Present = Future. Time is not linear #Beyond150CA

14. Land contains and maintains who we are. When landscapes change dramatically, what does that mean? #Beyond150CA

15. Erasure & obliteration of landscapes is a continued refusal of right to history/right to futures 

See the Atlas of cumulative landscape disturbance in the traditional territory of Blueberry River First Nations, 2016

16. “to live in a land of strangers in a place where their past & ours do not cross – we have no history” Windsor & McVey #Beyond150CA

17. Some of our stories are beneath roadways, under reservoirs & tailings ponds, under drill pads and lease sites #Beyond150CA

18. Resource extraction & development further stops us from creating new stories on land via access blocks & contamination #Beyond150CA

19. There are places my grandmother took me I can only tell my son about now. #Beyond150CA

20. Indigenous Diaspora = To be out of place/in place. You don’t leave ancestral land, it shapeshifts. 

Read more: “Indigenous Diaspora: Out Of Place In Place

21. I watch history repeat itself. I am only 29 but 1867 leaves a bitter taste in my mouth #Beyond150CA

22. Indigenous “activists” work for past, present, and future. They are our historians and ensure our futures. #Beyond150CA

23. We can work towards new futures with righting slighted history that favours understanding #Beyond150CA

24. We all have versions of the truth, mine just happens to come from my elders. #Beyond150CA

25. They say it takes 3 generations to heal trauma. Ethnocentric mindset healing would take the same or more #Beyond150CA

26. Revolution has always been a long term endeavour. Plant seeds. Water them. Trust. #Beyond150CA

27/27. Truth tell history like you smash patriarchy. #Beyond150CA 

If you would like to see the comments and questions shared in response to Helen Knott’s presentation, please explore the Storify. You can follow Helen Knott on Twitter @helen_knott

The “Beyond 150: Telling Our Stories” Twitter Conference was presented by Active HistoryUnwritten HistoriesCanada’s History Society, and the Wilson Institute.

The lead organizers were Andrea Eidinger of Unwritten Histories and Krista McCracken of Active History. 


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