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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $142.99

528 pp.
28 photos; 4 figures; 6 maps; 2 tables, 7" x 9"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

Aboriginal History

A Reader, Second Edition

Kristin Burnett and Geoff Read

Combining contemporary articles with historical documents, this engaging reader examines the rich history of Aboriginal peoples within Canada through a thematic lens. The 31 articles - of which more than half are original to this volume - explore a diverse range of topics, including identity, treaties, spirituality, federal policy, residential schools, labour, and women's rights. Primary documents accompany each reading to provide students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the long and complex history of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in Canada.

Readership : First-, second-, and third-year students taking introduction to Aboriginal history or introduction to Aboriginal studies courses.


  • "A major strength of Aboriginal History: A Reader is that in each chapter most of the primary documents included are source materials used by the authors of the secondary-source readings. This format helps to reveal the process of historical interpretation to students and provides useful fodder for classroom discussion."
    --Ryan Eyford, University of Winnipeg

  • "The editors have chosen interesting articles and demonstrate a high degree of originality and imagination in their selection of subjects and readings."
    --Gavin Taylor, Concordia University

Indigenous Histories (Kristin Burnett with Geoff Read)
1. World Views
Aboriginal History and Native Philosophy (NEW) (Dennis H. McPherson and J. Douglas Rabb)
Indigenous Pedagogy: A Way Out of Dependence (Betty Bastien)
2. Encountering Europeans
Imagining a Distant New World (Daniel K. Richter)
Into the Arctic Archipelago: Edward Perry in Igloolik and the Shaman's Curse (Dorothy Harley Eber)
Excerpt from an Interview with Rosie Iqallijuq (Interviewed and translated by Louis Tapardjuk, edited by Leah Otak)
3. Treaties and Self-Governance
Canada's Treaty-Making Tradition (NEW) (J.R. Miller)
Excerpt from The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of Manitoba and the North-West Territories, including the Negotiations on which they were based, and other information relating thereto Alexander Morris
The Treaties of Atlantic Canada (NEW) (William Wicken)
Articles of Peace and Agreement: Annapolis Royal 1726 (NEW Primary Document)
4. War, Conflict, and Society
Slavery, the Fox Wars, and Limits of Alliance (Brett Rushforth)
Baptisms, 21 September 1713
Louis Vincent Sawatanen: A Life Forged by Warfare and Migration (NEW) (Jonathan Lainey and Thomas Peace)
The Present State and Situation of the Indian Tribes in the Province of Quebec, May [20] 1779 (NEW Primary Document)
5. The Fur Trade
Wretched Fishers and Manly Men: The Meanings of Food in The Plateau Fur Trade (NEW) (Elizabeth Vibert)
Report from Colville District, "Answers to Queries on Natural History," 1829, (NEW Primary Document) (John Work)
Innu Participation in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Fur Trade, 1888-1950 (NEW) (Brian Gettler)
Annual Report for the Department of Indian Affairs for the Year Ended March 31, 1920 (NEW Primary Document)
6. Locating Métis Identity
Respecting Métis Nationhood and Self-Determination in Matters of Métis Identity (NEW) (Adam Gaudry)
Métis Registration Guide: Fulfilling Canada's Promise (NEW Primary Document)
Only Pemmican Eaters? The International Press and Métis Identity, 1869-85 (Geoff Read and Todd Webb)
The Insurrection in Manitoba, Brisbane Courier
7. Federal and Provincial Indian Policy
Dreaming in Liberal White: Canadian Indian Policy, 1913-2013 (Revised for second edition) (Hugh Shewell)
Civilizing Influences (Thomas Deasy)
Indigenous Children and Provincial Child Welfare: The Sixties Scoop (NEW) (Lori Chambers)
A Legacy of Canadian Child Care: Surviving the Sixties Scoop (NEW Primary Document) (Christine Smith [McFarlane])
8. Survivance, Identity, and the Indian Act
Identity, Non-Status Indians, and Federally Unrecognized Peoples (Bonita Lawrence)
Indian Act, 1876, Sections 3(3)-3(6) (Revised for second edition)
Stuck at the Border of the Reserve: Bill C-31 and the Impact on First Nations Women (Revised for second edition) (Jaime Cidro)
Excerpt from an Interview with Life History Respondent 12 (Jaime Cidro)
9. Residential Schools
Always Remembering: Indian Residential Schools in Canada (Celia Haig-Brown)
Program of Studies for Indian School, 1897
Reflections on the Post-Residential School Settlement Agreement: Expressions of Reconciliation-Looking Back Forward Looking (Revised for second edition) (Lorena Sekwan Fontaine)
Excerpt from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, May 2006
10. Religion, Culture, and the Peoples of the North
The Birth of a Catholic Inuit Community: The Transition to Christianity in Pelly Bay, NU, 1935-50 (Cornelius H.W. Renie and Jarich Oosten)
Excerpt from Codex Historicus, 25 December 1940
Housing in the Northwest Territories: The Postwar Vision (NEW) (Robert Robson)
Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples: Presentation (NEW) (Pia Kooneelusie)
11. The Economy and Labour
Vanishing the Indians: Aboriginal Labourers in Twentieth-Century British Columbia (John Lutz)
Excerpts from the Diary of Arthur Wellington Clah (John Lutz)
Colonialism at Work: Labour Placement Programs for Aboriginal Women in Post-war Canada (Joan Sangster)
Indian Girls Achieve Successful Careers - Pave Way for Others
12. Indigenous Women, Strength, and Resilience
Categories and Terrains of Exclusion: Constructing the "Indian Woman" in the Early Settlement Era in Western Canada (Sarah Carter)
"Mostly Just a Social Gathering: Anishinaabe Kwewak" and the Indian Homemakers' Club, 1945-1960 (NEW) (Lianne C. Leddy)
Constitution and Regulations for Indian Homemakers' Clubs (NEW Primary Document)
Making History: Elise Marie Knott - Canada's First Female Indian Elected Chief (Revised for second edition) (Cora Voyageur)
Excerpt from the Indian Act, 1951
13. Health, the Environment, and Government Policy
Industrial Fisheries and the Health of Local Communities in the Twentieth-Century Canadian Northwest (Liza Piper)
Letter from Chief Pierre Freezie to S.J. Bailey, 9 October 1950
Our Medicines: First Nations' Medical Practices and the Nanaimo Indian Hospital 1945-75 (Laurie Meijer Drees)
Excerpt from an Interview with Violet Charlie (Laurie Meijer Drees [LMD])
Government Policy, Food Insecurity, and Indigenous Peoples in Northern Canada (NEW) (Kristin Burnett, Travis Hay, and Kelly Skinner)
LAC, RG29, file 2989, Part 1 - Directions for Feeding Indian Babies (NEW Primary Document) (Mrs. Ruth Curried)
14. Treaties, Self-Governance, and Grassroots Activism
A Tale of Two Visions for Canada: The Trilateral Agreement versus the Land Claims Policy (NEW) (Shiri Pasternak)
Memorandum of Mutual Intent between the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (New Primary Document)
Ally or Colonizer?: The Federal State, the Cree Nation, and the James Bay Agreement (Paul Rynard)
Excerpt from Cree Regional Authority et al. v. Attorney General of Quebec, 1991
Recognition by Assimilation: Mi'kmaq Treaty Rights, Fisheries Privatization, and Community Resistance in Nova Scotia (Revised for second edition) (Martha Stiegman and Sherry Pictou)

Image Bank
All photos and figures from the text
Online Resources
Multimedia suggestions, including:
--Radio stations
--Cultural and resource centres
--Films and documentaries
--Magazines and newspapers
--Journals, books, and articles
--Additional printed documents
Web links to additional resources

Kristin Burnett is an associate professor in the Department of Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University.

Geoff Read is an associate professor in the Department of History at Huron University College.

A Concise History of Canada's First Nations - The late Olive Patricia Dickason and William Newbigging
Visions of the Heart - David Long and Olive Patricia Dickason
Philosophy and Aboriginal Rights - Edited by Sandra Tomsons and Lorraine Mayer
Canada's First Nations - The late Olive Patricia Dickason and David T. McNab
Native Peoples - Edited by C. Roderick Wilson and Christopher Fletcher
Racism, Colonialism, and Indigeneity in Canada - Edited by Martin J. Cannon and Lina Sunseri
First Nations in the Twenty-First Century - James S. Frideres

Special Features

  • Readings contributed by both well-known and up-and-coming scholars--many of whom are Aboriginal--combine academic authority with lived experiences of indigeneity.
  • Inclusive coverage of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples ensure a well-rounded and balanced representation of Aboriginal people within Canada.
  • A focus on primary sources, featuring a wide array of letters, interviews, newspaper articles, and other primary documents, brings history to life and gives voices to those that have too often been silenced a chance to be heard.
  • In-depth coverage of a wide range of topics from the 1700s through to the modern day offers students a new appreciation for the long and complex history of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples within Canada.
New to this Edition
  • New standalone chapter on treaties and self-governance includes new readings and primary source documents on this key topic. (Ch. 3)
  • 12 new readings by scholars from across the country--on topics such as identity, residential schools, grassroots activism, and housing policy--provide students with the most up-to-date scholarship in the discipline.
  • 10 new primary documents provide students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the issues discussed throughout the text.
  • New volume and chapter introductions provide historical and contextual insights on the themes explored in the text.
  • A companion website--listing an array of useful print, video, and multimedia resources; radio stations; cultural and resource centres; and more--offers students reliable starting points for further investigation.