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Dundurn News

Putting the Present in the Context of History


Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence officially ended her 5-week
hunger strike today, an act that spawned the grassroots Idle No More movement
and led to signed commitments from first nations leaders and politicians to
advance Chief Spence’s mission of improving the lives and stature of First Nations
nationwide. Both the hunger strike and the Attawapiskat crisis that, in part,
eventuated it, presage growing unrest among Native peoples coming to an
unprecedented head unless meaningful initiatives are put in place.

Given the current climate, there is perhaps no better time
to consider how we arrived at this place. Dundurn’s Aboriginal Ontario: Historical
Perspectives on the First Nations
’ by Edward S. Rogers and Donald B. Smith is
a tremendous resource for those wishing to do just that. Published in 1994 and
comprising 17 essays, the book details the lives, customs, histories, and
tribulations of Aboriginal Ontarians from both the southern and northern
regions of the province from 1550 to 1945. Overall, Aboriginal Ontario is an effective tool with which to better understand and contextualize the present unrest and controversy among Canada’s Aboriginal people — no easy task, but an important one nonetheless for, as Flaubert once put it, “Our ignorance of history makes us slander our own times.”

About the author

James Hatch is the Publicity Assistant at Dundurn Press. For more information, please visit: jameshatch.ca


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