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HIST 124 (191)

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Queen's University
HIST 124
Steven J Maynard

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  1778: Islands renamed the Queen’s Chartlotte Islands – 2009 returned to Haida Gwaii  Settler population never rivaled aboriginal one  Discovery of gold attracted immigrats to BC and during gold rush Victoria burst at seems  White missionary found victoria a cosmopolitatian place  Gold: Paved way for settlement of british Columbia interior  1861: local official for douglas – BC is not very white o keep non white people apart – segregation B. ‘Managing’ the Movement of Native People on Vancouver Island  Natives travelled to BC and Euros called for evicions o Rounded up and forced to outskirts of victoria C. Assisted White Immigration  Import white women to start making white babies – schemes o Whiteness was goal o Discourse about race and gender i. Masculinity: ‘Hardy Backwoodsmen’ and Bachelor Households  Colonial promoters wanted the energetic and manly men – setteler farmers o “manly sons of empire”  men developed their own domestic natures  mixed race sexual relations: white men and native women ii. Femininity: ‘Fairer Ones of a Purer Caste’ -- White Women 
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