Taking a Moment …

As a settler and uninvited guest wherever I walk in this country, I recognize that many people will be sporting Orange Shirts tomorrow. This action, like the (now ubiquitous) Land Acknowledgment, risks becoming a perforative gesture that assuages guilt temporarily, or (as bad or worse) is seen simply as ‘proper’ to do.

My choice is to step back, shut up, and make room – on September 30th, of all days. Yes I will wear an orange shirt; as a mother and grandmother, I can think of nothing more traumatic or horrendous than to lose a child. As a human being, I feel deeply my responsibility to learn and understand, so that I may better assist in appropriate ways to make things better where I can. As a settler, I cannot make a move to claim innocence, when I live within and benefit from the ongoing harms the Settler-Colonial systems in play in this country are still operating.

I am a deeply imperfect work in progress, trying to find the best way to live better in relation. One day at a time.

I leave the following here, as I feel Paulette Regan expressed my thoughts better than I ever could:

For me, Canada’s apology [11 June 2008, then-Prime Minister Harper] was a call for settlers to take seriously our collective moral responsibility for the systematic removal and institutionalization of Native children, some of whom were abused and most of whom were deprived oftheir family life, languages, and cultures. Although the debilitating impactsof sexual, physical, and psychological abuse upon children are self-evident, and Canadians condemn such practices, the problematic assimilation policy that gave rise to such abuses is less understood by the Canadian public. To those who argue that they are not responsible, because they were not directly involved with the residential schools, I say that, as Canadian citizens, we are ultimately responsible for the past and present actions of our government. To those who say that we cannot change the past, I say that we can learn from it. We can better understand how a problematic mentality of benevolent paternalism became a rationale and justification for acquiring Indigenous lands and resources, and drove the creation of prescriptive education policies that ran counter to the treaty relationship. Equally importantly, we can explore how this mentality continues to influence Indigenous-settler relations today. Failing to do so will ensure that, despite our vow of never again, Canada will create equally destructive policies and practices into the future. To those who argue that former IRS students should just get over it and move on, I say that asking victims to bury a traumatic past for the “greater good” of achieving reconciliation does not address the root of the problem –colonialism.

Paulette Regan, Unsettling the Settler Within, p.4

40 Chains a Side: Some Resources

I have compiled some resources here that I hope are useful in thinking about Settler responsibility and the ongoing harms of Settler-Colonial structures in so-called Canada. All of this material was useful to me in doing the research for my MFA. Wherever possible, I have provided online links to information; I think it is important to eliminate barriers to information wherever possible. While I recognize this page still requires being able to access to the internet, at least more people in more places can use these tools if I offer them here than could otherwise.

If you are interested, please feel free to investigate the project 40 Chains a Side as a whole.

I have listed resources with web links first in each subject area; all links were current and active March 1 2022. Articles and books that follow these first listings may be accessible through local libraries or through university/college library systems. 

Truth and Reconciliation 

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (links to info and history of the Commission)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission 94 Calls to Action (downloadable PDF)

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2 Spirit People

Final Report (downloadable PDFs)

UBC Research Guide (links and downloadable information and resources)

Treaty 6

Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations (information and history, PDF downloadable fact sheet)

Treaty 6 (Wikipedia – includes references and links to more info)

The Métis

Metis Nation of Alberta (information and history)

Métis Nation of Ontario (history/timeline)

Gabriel Dumont Institute (history, images, resources)

Devine, Heather. “J.Z. LaRocque: A Métis Historian’s Account of His Family’s Experiences during the North-West Rebellion of 1885.” Finding Directions West : Readings That Locate and Dislocate Western Canada’s Past, University of Calgary Press, 2017.

Land and Territory

Native Land (digital interactive map of traditional Indigenous Territories)

Assembly of First Nations (AFN). (land and land claims)

Daschuk, J. 2013. Clearing the Plains. Regina: University of Regina Press. 

Erasmus, P. 2015. Buffalo Days and Nights. Calgary: Fifth House Publishers. 

Russell, D. 1991. Eighteenth Century Western Cree and Their Neighbours. Issue 143 of Mercury Series. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization. 

Dominion Land Survey

Dominion Land Survey (Wikipedia – includes references and links to more info)

Ballantyne, Brian, ed. Surveys, Parcels and Tenure on Canada Lands (downloadable PDF)

Dennis, John Stoughton (1892). A short history of the surveys performed under the Dominion lands system, 1869 to 1889. Ottawa: Sessional Notes. 

http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/1777/12.html

Library and Archives Canada. “Western Land Grants (1870-1930).” The Wayback Machine

McKercher, Robert B.; Wolf, Bertran (1986). Understanding Western Canada’s Dominion Land Survey System (PDF). Saskatoon: Division of Extension and Community Relations, University of Saskatchewan. ISBN 0-88880-164-5. (downloadable PDF)

Barnett, Douglas E. “The Deville Era: Survey of the Western Interior of Canada.” Alberta History, vol. 48, no. Spring, 2000, pp. 19–25.

Bantjes, Rod. “Groundwork: The Dominion Survey.” Improved Earth: Prairie Space as Modern Artefact, 1869 – 1944, University of Toronto Press, 2005, pp. 15–35.

Larmour, Judy (2005). Laying Down the Lines: A History of Land Surveying in Alberta. Brindle and Glass. 

MacGregor, J. G. Vision of an Ordered Land: The Story of the Dominion Land Survey. Western Producer Prairie Books, 1981.

Settler-Colonialism

Settler Colonialism” (basic introduction to theory with references)

Cox, Alicia. “Settler Colonialism.” Introduction to Oxford Bibliography. (provides list of good articles on the subject)

Whyte, Kyle Powys. “White Allies, Let’s be Honest about Decolonization.

Cuthand, Ruth. “I’m Not the Indian You’re Looking For.

Shaw, Devin Zane. “We Settlers Face a Choice:Decolonization or White Supremacy.”

Alfred, Taiaiake. “Foreword.” Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada, by Paulette Regan, UBC Press, 2010, pp. ix–xi.

Battell Lowman, Emma, and Adam J. Barker. Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada. Fernwood Publishing, 2015.

Decter, Leah, and Carla Taunton, eds. Beyond Unsettling: methodologies for decolonizing futures. Public Journal, Fall 2021. vol. 32, no. 64.

Greer, Allan. Property and Dispossession: Natives, Empires and Land in Early Modern North America. Cambridge UP, 2018.

Henderson, Phil. “Imagoed Communities: The Psychosocial Space of Settler Colonialism.” Settler Colonial Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, 2017, pp. 40–56.

Mann, Geoff. “Settler-Colonialism’s Anti-Social Contract.” The Canadain Geographer, vol. 64, no. 3, 2020, pp. 433–44.

Morgensen, Scott Lauria. “The Biopolitics of Settler Colonialism: Right Here, Right Now.” Settler Colonial Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, 2011, pp. 52–76.

Moreton-Robinson, Aileen. “Introduction: White Possession and Indigenous Sovereignty Matters.” White Possessive., University of Minnesota Press, 2015.

Murphyao, Amanda, and Kelly Black. “Unsettling Settler Belonging: (Re)Naming and Territory Making in the Pacific Northwest.” American Review of Canadian Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, 2015, pp. 315–31.

Strakosch, Elizabeth, and Alissa Macoun. “The Vanishing Endpoint of Settler Colonialism.” Arena Journal, vol. 37/38, 2012, pp. 40–62.

Steinman, Erich. “Unsettling as Agency: unsettling settler-colonialism where you are.” Settler Colonial Studies, vol.10, no. 4, 2020, pp.558 – 575.

Tuck, Eve, and K.Wayne Yang. “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeniety, Education & Society. vol. 1, no. 1, 2012, pp. 1-40.

Veracini, Lorenzo. “‘Settler Colonialism’: Career of a Concept.” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 41, no. 2, 2013, pp. 313–33.

Wolfe, Patrick. “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native.” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 8, no. 4, 2006, pp. 387–409.