Copying People: Photographing British Columbia First Nations, 1860–1940 by Daniel Francis, and: Proclaiming the Gospel to the Indians and the Métis: The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Western Canada, 1845–1945 by Raymond J.A. Huel, and: The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7 by Treaty 7 and Tribal Council and Dorothy First Rider, with Walter Hildebrand and Sarah Carter (review)
- The Canadian Historical Review
- University of Toronto Press
- Volume 79, Number 2, June 1998
- pp. 342-345
- Additional Information
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342 The Canadian Historical Review a rise in infanticide in Red River during the 1850s and l86os. Also, recalling William McNeill's classic book Plagues and Peoples, he makes a start on writing the disease history of Red River in relation to population movements and economic development, although more needs to be done on this subject. Overall, this is an extraordinarily worthwhile book. It shows how much can be done by combining systematic data analysis with a coherent , theoretical perspective. Requiesce in pace, John Foster, and take pride in your student's work. TOM FLANAGAN University of Calgary Copying People: Photographing British Columbia First Nations, 1860-1940. DANIEL FRANCIS. Saskatoon: Fifth House Publishers 1996. Pp. viii, 152, illus. $19.95 Proclaiming the Gospel to the Indians and the Metis: The Missionary Oblates ofMary Immaculate in Western Canada, 1845-1945. RAYMOND J.A. HUEL. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press 1996. Pp. xxviii, 388, illus. $29.95 The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7· TREATY 7 AND TRIBAL COUNCIL and DOROTHY FIRST RIDER, with WALTER HILDEBRAND and SARAH CARTER. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press 1996. Pp. xx, 408, illus. $44·95 cloth, $18.95 paper Historians of Aboriginal Canada will welcome all three of these titles, as each introduces a 'new' source of information on the First Nations of western Canada. To date, few anglophone historians have ventured far beyond the existing primary source materials available in English. These three books open up new vistas. Dan Francis has unearthed many original, 'fresh' photographs of First Nations people in British Columbia between 1860 and 1940. In his critical study of the Oblate order's first century of Indian missionary work in what are now the Prairie provinces, Raymond Huel introduces valuable French-language materials. The volume produced by the Treaty 7 Tribal Council in·southern Alberta is based primarily on Blackfoot (Siksika), Blood, Peigan, Sarcee (Tsuu Tina), and Stoney (Nakoda) elders' oral narratives of the important treaty signed in 1877. In his beautifully illustrated Copying People (from the Haida words for camera), Francis includes nearly 150 photos from all parts of British Columbia, as well as from each of the different First Nations groups. The Vancouver historical researcher and writer presents at least one Book Reviews 343 example of the work of all the important photographers in British Columbia from 1860 to 1940. Wonderful group shots appear, as well as portraits of individuals such as George Hunt, the anthropologist Franz Boas's Native field assistant; Captain John, the first of the Chilliwack people to convert to Christianity; and Chief Joe Capilano, the Squamish leader who in 1906 led a delegation of First Nations people to Britain to present their grievances to the king. Throughout his short_text, Francis strives for the greatest accuracy possible. For instance, he introduces the new names in English for several First Nations groups, such as St6:lo for Chilliwack, Seewepemc for Shuswap, and Nuu~chah-nulth for Nootka. He also cautions readers about the value of the photographic evidence he presents. Photographs must be used with great care, because the context is not known: 'The viewer never knows what is just outside the frame, or how the photographer has selected and posed the contents of the image to convey a particular feeling or point of view' (2). Huel includes a number of photographs in his valuable history, Proclaiming the Gospel to the Indians and the Metis. The photos, while very poorly reproduced, complement the author's account well. Although a number of the shots of Indian students are perfect examples of 'staged' photographs, they convey the Roman Catholic missionaries' sense of order and control. A photo such as that of the Dunbow Industrial School men's hockey team reveals another reality. It shows seven big Indian men who could easily have challenged any attempts to control them. Although respectful of the Oblate Fathers, Huel, a professor of Canadian history at the University of Lethbridge and director of the Western Oblate History Project, maintains a critical, secular approach. He speaks frankly in his preface and in the text. Under the direction of a Roman Catholic Church as yet unaffected by the ecumenical attitudes of Vatican...