Karine Duhamel Speaks about Life on the Land

Editor-in-chief Mark Reid and author-historian Karine Duhamel discuss The Beaver magazine and its progression over time.

Interview by Mark Collin Reid

Posted September 17, 2010

For decades, The Beaver depicted Indigenous societies as primitive peoples in need of “civilization.” In actuality, the magazine’s images reveal vibrant cultures, resilient communities, and crucial new perspectives on the North.

Karine Duhamel, Ph.D., who is Anishinaabe-Métis, wrote “Life on the Land” in our special centennial issue (see also 100 Years: The Historical Legacy of The Beaver).

“As an Indigenous person, I am looking at the pictures in The Beaver differently. I am looking at the things that make Indigenous peoples and communities strong, which are family and kinship and connection to the land. For me, that’s what stands out in the images.”

In this interview, Duhamel discusses how The Beaver and its corresponding photo archive have been underexploited by historians, as well as the opportunities that the photographers missed as a result of their Eurocentric perspectives.

100 Years of The Beaver - logo of red-filled circle with white beaver silhouette in the centre.
Thank you to the Editor's Circle


The Editor's Circle was founded in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Canada’s History-The Beaver magazine. Gifts from patrons and supporters of $500 or more will be recognized annually.

A historian and consultant, Karine Duhamel is a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Historical Association and of the International Council of Museums Canada, a speaker for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, and co-chair of the Expert Group on Indigenous Matters for the International Council on Archives.

Photo used to illustrate podcast: Inuit children leap across large supply sacks at Frobisher Bay, in what’s now Nunavut, circa 1960 in this photo by British photographer Rosemary Gilliat. The image appeared in the Winter 1962 issue in a story on children in the North. [Credit: HBCA-1987-363-E-210-018]

Related to First Nations, Inuit & Metis