HIST 124 Lecture Notes - Haida Gwaii, British Columbia Interior, Femininity

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1 Feb 2013

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The Great White North?
The Historical Roots of Whiteness in Canada
I. Rethinking Race and the Historical Present
A. Last Friday: Sir John A Macdonald, “Idle No More,” and History as Contested Terrain
Competing views of Canadian history
Rupert’s Land = Manitoba Now
Number treaties, aboriginals placed on reserves
o They believed they were signing treaties to share the land and not to give it up
o Further consolidated in 1876 with the Indian Act saying that even reserves still belong
to the crown
o Land under control of “Indian Agents” – Policy of assimilation
1873: North West Mountain Police to extend Canada sovereignty and bring law and order to
the West
A. Race and People of Colour
In 1885: Parliament tried to pass Electoral Franchise Act to control who can vote
o Macdonald tried to deny vote to Chinese
Some MPs didn’t agree but the legislation passed making the notion that race could not only
be one of the distinguishing features about many things referred to his vision of the white
dominion as “My Greatest Achievement”
i. Affirmative Personal/Familial Identity and Community Belonging
Source of this ^
Most explorations of race has focused on people of colour
It ws necessary for historians to go into the past and rescue the histories of people of colour
rescure mission is exactly as it should be
ii. History, Racism and Resistance
B. Whiteness: The Unmarked Race and Race as Historical/Political
Neutral category escapes outside the back door
Macdonald thought more of whiteness as a race when modern society doesn’t
Constructing Canada as white
Whiteness is best understood not as biological given but as a constantly changing set of
concrete practices that are historial and political
II. Making the Westcoast White: Case Study of British Columbia
BC = british project of colonizations
o formal colonial acitivity established when vancouver island
A. Aboriginal Peoples and a Cosmopolitan Colony
Aboriginal people dominated
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