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TheCanadian Review of American Studies, Volume 11,No. 3, Winter 1980 InSearch of the Historical Indian CorneliusJ. Jaenen. Friend and Foe: Aspects of French-Amerindian Cultural Contact in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976. 207PP· CalvinMartin. Keepers of the Game: Indian-Animal Relationsh1iJs and the Fur Trade. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London:University of California Press, 1978. 226 + xi pp. LF. S.Upton. Mic macs and Colonists: Indian-White Relations mthe Maritimes, 1713-1867. Vancouver: University of British ColumbiaPress, 1979. 243 + xvi pp. Robin Fisher A great deal of new work on the history of the North American Indian has appeared during the 1970's, both in Canada and the United States. American historians were able to build on the firm foundation of earlier writing,whereas Canadian historians were starting almost from scratch. At the beginning of the decade James Walker pointed out that the native peoples of Canada had either been ignored by historians or dealt with in terms of negative stereotypes,! bu( by the end of the decade much had changed. Once relegated to the background, the Canadian Indian has stepped forward to join the American Indian as a major player in history. Although the three books reviewed here deal with Indian groups who lived within the boundaries of what became Canada, they are indicative of the general progress that has been made, as well as the problems that remain in the writing of Indian history in both Canada and the United States. Friend and Foe, by Cornelius Jaenen, looks at aspects of French-Indian contact in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The approach is topical rather than chronological so the reader needs to be fairly familiar with the development of New France if he is to place this work in its context. While Jaenen has not ignored Indian attitudes toward the European, he has emphasized French perceptions of the native inhabitants of the new world. To this extent, he has exploited the strengths of his sources. One of the 348 Robin Fisher abiding problems of writing the history of Indian-European relations isthe fact that the sources, being mostly European, tell us more about one culture than about the other. Partly in reaction against the bias of historical sources the current enthusiasm is to explore the so-called "Indian side of the story,': but this tendency carries with it the danger of either ignoring or oversimplifying the attitudes and actions of the invading Europeans. Culture contact involves at least two cultures, and it isimportant to understand the subtleties of both. Jaenen's important contribution has been to examine the shifting patterns of French thought on the Indians of North America. Calvin Martin, on the other hand, has attempted to probe the Indian mind. He focuses on the Algonkian speaking tribes who lived from Lake Winnipeg eastwards to the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Indigenously, these Indians were subject to "the spiritual wardens regulating wildlife" (p. 150),that isto say, the keepers of the game. Martin seeks to explain how the traditional mutual relationship between man and animal was broken as a result of European contact during the fur trade. He has thus attempted a much more difficult task. The result is a very stimulating, and yet inconclusive, lineof argument. Whereas Jaenen has, at least implicitly, acknowledged the limitations of his sources, Martin, perhaps inevitably, reaches beyond his. Martin, who interestingly does not refer to Friend and Foe, has also canvassed a somewhat different range of sources. He has, apparently, used no manuscript material, preferring to rely on the published accounts of contemporary observers. This is a dangerous course because original diaries and narratives were often re-written or ghost written for publication, a process that tended to produce distortion. Rather than using original manu· script sources, Martin places great reliance on comparing the accounts of contemporary observers with those of more recent ethnographers. Martinis quite explicit about adopting the approach of that hybrid scholar, the ethno· historian, which he describes in Keepers of the Game (pp. 6-7) and else· where.2 He does not, however, dwell on any of the drawbacks of this technique. Both historic and ethnographic sources will describe an Indian culture at...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 347-354
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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