The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy


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Bruce Miller, Arthur Ray, and Paula Madden tell cautionary tales demonstrating how the courts and human rights tribunals solidify oppositional epistemologies, rehearsing, as Madden describes, spectacles of racial reification We could, as Madden seems to do, dismiss these institutions of state power as contradictory yet effective tools of colonization.

The Colonization Of Mi'Kmaw Memory and History, by Wicken, William C

Yet Martha Walls makes clear how within these contradictions there are spaces wherein Indigenous leaders can and have advanced the interests of their people. But how best can we do that? Miller and Ray suggest potential advances involving the court system. It is tempting to conclude, as some scholars have done, that the ontological differences between settlers and Indigenous people are simply too great to traverse. But the authors here all argue, to some extent or another, against incommensurability. As they do, they offer modest blueprints for living up to the extravagant promises of the treaties — to share land and resources, to live peacefully, to recognize multiple sovereignties — all necessary, and possible, if we are determined to live as treaty people.

Through the language, the landscape conveys meaning — mythic and moral — and stories, songs, and dances articulate historic, geographic, and environmental truths.

The Colonization Of Mi'Kmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928

Wicken does so with only scant documentation of how these individuals explained their own actions to themselves or others. That he can build a convincing interpretation is a testament to his prodigious skills as a researcher, and his detailed discussion of sources and methods also makes this text a useful teaching tool.

While set at the turn of the last century, this book resonates with the on-going struggle for treaty rights in Canada today.


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Taking Narrative History to Court discusses his attempts to shift the historical consciousness of the judiciary by introducing it to archival research and sophisticated interpretation. In Telling it to the Judge , Ray recounts his work as an expert witness in these and other cases. He describes this work as a kind of teaching, where the courtroom is a classroom and the judge its only student. Some of this journal is reprinted in Telling it to the Judge , another helpful pedagogical intervention.

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And in Horseman and Wassaykessic , he uncovered the place of big game hunting and fishing in Indigenous economies and how commodity trading folded seamlessly into subsistence; in so doing, he challenged the power of federal and provincial fishing and game laws over Indigenous hunting and fishing. In this book Ray also explains how the production of evidence shapes historical consciousness.

Since the Crown tends to rely on established historical interpretations, Indigenous people must find evidence to counter these claims — often through producing oral narratives or through commissioning new archival research. And while academic historians resist closure, judges pursue it.

Gabriel Sylliboy

Or, as Ray writes: Recognizing Aboriginal Narratives in the Courts , wants to move the judiciary towards understanding Indigenous historical consciousness as it considers oral narratives. This book addresses the roots of the modern operation of settler-colonialism. If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click 'Authenticate'. View freely available titles: Book titles OR Journal titles. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.


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Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. In using the treaty to try and establish a legal identity separate from that of other Nova Scotians, Mi'kmaw leaders contested federal and provincial attempts to force their assimilation into Anglo-Canadian society. Integrating matters of governance and legality with an exploration of historical memory, The Colonization of Mi'kmaw Memory and History offers a nuanced understanding of how and why individuals and communities recall the past.

At appeal in July , Sylliboy and five other men recalled conversations with parents, grandparents, and community members to explain how they understood a treaty their people

William Wicken - History Department - Governor General Award Winner
The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy
The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy
The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy
The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy
The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy
The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy
The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy
The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy
The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy The Colonization of Mikmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy

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