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KEITH THOR CARLSON, MELINDA MARIE JETTE, AND KENICHI MATSUI An Annotated Bibliography of Major Writings in Aboriginal History, r990-99 ~ In the fall of 1999 long simmering tensions between Native and nonNative Maritime fishers reached a breaking point following the Supreme Court's Marshall decision affirming the region's Aboriginal fishery. Mi'kmaq leaders insisted that the federal government's regulatory policies quickly adjust to accommodate the recognition of their treaty fishing and hunting rights, whereas non-Native fishers accused the court and the federal government of betrayal in their apparent unwillingness to look after the public interest. Violence followed, resulting in the destruction of Mi'kmaq lobster traps and the vandalizing of processing plants. These events, derived from conflicting interpretations of historical treaties and their contemporary expression, are but one recent development in the long-standing debate over the role and meaning of Aboriginal history in Canada. As the Marshall decision reveals, many Canadians do not support the idea of Aboriginal rights, while many others do not understand the meaning of the term.' Outside the realm of Native rights, courtroom dramas over allegations of residential school abuse make clear to all the financial and moral costs of ignoring past state-sanctioned injustices against both Aboriginal groups and individuals. As Native leaders have long argued (and as many historians must be pleased to hear), diffusing the cross-cultural tensions requires dialogue and mediation, built on a solid base ofcarefully contextualized historical knowledge. Over the past decade, as more and more court decisions have reaffirmed long-denied Aboriginal rights and exposed long-hidden abuses, historians have come to play an increasingly important, ifnot always appreciated, public role. The responsibility this role places on historians is ominous yet stirring, for what scholars of Native history have to say is genuinely significant I See also Kerry Abel, "'Tangled, Lost and Bitter?" Current Directions in the Writing of Native History in Canada,' Acadiensis 26, I (1996): 96. The Canadian Historical Review 82. r, March 2001© University ofToronto Press Incorporated Major Writings in Aboriginal History 123 today, not just to other academics and indigenous readers but to all Canadians.2 The current vigour of Canadian Aboriginal history is remarkable, given the field's relative obscurity a generation ago.3 A quick perusal of articles and book reviews in Canada's major national and regional history journals suggests that more, perhaps, has been written about Canadian Native history in the past decade than in the fifty years preceding. Moreover, and perhaps more to the point, what is being written about the Aboriginal past is not being ghettoized from the broader Canadian historiography. One need but look at the space dedicated to Aboriginal history in recent issues of standard introductory Canadian history textbooks to realize that an appreciation ofthe nation's Native past is now considered essential to understanding Canadian history more broadly. Before the late 1960s, what little Native history existed was largely a subcomponent offur trade studies concerned with documenting Canadian economic and political development. The works of Harold Innis stand out in this regard: they did much to pave the road for subsequent studies of what became known as the history of Indian-white relations. Meanwhile, scholars such as Alfred G. Bailey and Homer G. Barnett who made genuine efforts to place Aboriginal people at the centre of their analysis remained largely ignored by the academic establishment.4 The emergence and growth of ethnohistorical studies in the late 1960s through the early 1980s signalled a movement towards seeking Native perspectives in Indian-white relations.5 Simultaneously, increasingly strong calls from Native and non-Native scholars (notably Bruce Trigger, Calvin Martin, Jack Forbes, Vine Deloria, Harold Cardinal, and Howard Adams) marked the coming of age of concerted attempts to regard Native history from Aboriginal perspectives. While professionally trained 2 The Report ofthe Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) makes a strong case for historical study and education as essential components in the process ofsocial change and reconciliation. The voluminous report is available through the Depart· ment of Indian and Northern Affairs' Web site at . 3 For a succinct and balanced overview, see Ken Coates, 'Writing First Nations into Canadian History: A Review of Recent Scholarly...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 122-171
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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