Since the very first explorers landed upon North America’s shores, the histories of Indigenous peoples have been foundational to the larger story of the continent. As partners in commerce early on,Indigenous people were key to the exploration and development of the land which would become known as Canada.
Yet, the story of First Peoples in Canada has not always been told accurately, completely, or from the perspective of Indigenous people in our education systems or history books. Eclipsed by other histories early on, many stories remain to be told. In recent years, these stories have become important in understanding the evolution of the relationship between the continent’s original people and those who would seek to garner its wealth of resources and make it their new home.
The upcoming 150th anniversary of Confederation, combined with more recent awareness and acknowledgement of Canada’s residential school system, the Sixties Scoop, and the implementation of original numbered and modern treaty agreements make 2016 an ideal time in which to engage with these histories. The continuous and contemporary nature of Indigenous history as an ongoing public conversation makes the exploration of Indigenous histories, and the way that Indigenous and nonIndigenous people tell them, an important conversation about history, nation, and the archives.
Jonathan Lainey is a proud member of the Huron-Wendat Nation of Wendake and Curator, First Peoples, at the Canadian Museum of History. His research interests focus on the social, political and cultural history of Aboriginal peoples of Quebec and Canada, as well as on material culture and its interpretation.
Maureen Lux is Professor of History at Brock University. Her latest book, Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s to 1980s was published by University of Toronto Press in 2016. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Erika Dyck (University of Saskatchewan) on a study of reproductive politics in 1970s Canada.
Sarah Nickel is a Tk’emlupsemc (Kamloops Secwepemc) Assistant Professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Her areas of research include comparative Indigenous histories, Indigenous women’s politics, Indigenous feminisms, community-engaged research, ethnohistory, and direct action/resistance.
Lisa Howell lives on unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa. She is a passionate teacher, traveller, environmentalist, activist, sole parent, artist, and student. Her thesis is entitled “Reconciliation in Action” and examines the experiences of teachers and students involved in Aboriginal social justice projects in their classrooms and communities.
Baudouin Lalo was born in his Innu village of Unamen Shipu in the La Romaine region of Quebec. He attended the Pointe-Bleue residential school in Roberval in the Lac St-Jean region, and later enrolled in a three-year program at the Université de Chicoutimi, where he completed his Bachelor’s of Arts.
Gail Stromquist is of Nlaka’pamux ancestry. She has been an elementary school teacher in Langley, BC, for more than twenty years and has specialized in early learning and elementary level curriculum with a focus on Aboriginal perspectives. She is currently the coordinator for Aboriginal education with the BC Teachers’ Federation, and led the development of the Project of Heart book and e-book.
Cathleen Anne Tenning is a member of the Stz’uminus First Nation on Vancouver Island. In 1993, Anne became the first member of her family to graduate from high school. In 2008, Anne was a recipient of the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching.