Seen but Not Seen Influential Canadians and the First Nations from the 1840s to Today

SKU: 9781442627703

Donald B. Smith
Grade Levels:
Twelve, Adult Education, College, University
Book Type:
University of Toronto Press
Copyright Date:

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Seen but Not Seen includes a prologue, nine chapters, and an epilogue on the last half-century. The first five chapters on the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries focus on six individuals: Canada’s first prime minister, a university president, a Christian missionary, a jurist, an Ottawa mandarin, and a female university professor. Although the five men each demonstrated some variety in their responses to the First Nations, all argued that European cultures must replace Indigenous ones. The ultimate objective was full citizenship and absorption as individuals into the dominant society. The one female differed from the five men in her greater openness to Indigenous viewpoints. The manuscript includes full documentation, a select bibliography, an in-depth index, images, and maps. Donald B. Smith, professor emeritus of history at the University of Calgary, is one of Canada’s most renowned historians, having written extensively on Aboriginal Canada, Quebec, and the history of Calgary and Southern Alberta.

The last four chapters review the mid-twentieth century to the late 1960s. The choice of biographical subjects extends across Canada. It discuss nine male and female non-Indigenous observers: a university professor, a French-Canadian Roman Catholic priest, a botanist, an ethnographer, an artist, an Indigenous Rights advocate, a journalist, a high school teacher, and an archivist/historian. A sketch of a young First Nations political leader completes the biographical portraits. An epilogue - a timeline - reviews the last fifty years, a time when non-Indigenous Canadians’ desire for reconciliation with the Indigenous peoples has become an urgent policy objective.

Throughout this manuscript, written for a scholarly press, Donald Smith heeded the advice the late Reverend Enos Montour (1899–1984), a retired United Church minister and a member of the Delaware community on the Six Nations Territory in Ontario, gave him forty-seven years ago. He kindly read and commented in 1974 on a draft of his Ph.D. thesis on the nineteenth-century Mississauga First Nations on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Generously, he said he liked what Smith had written but then calmly advised him that for readability he should “put more raisins in the dough.” Smith's hope is that Seen but Not Seen proves to be accessible to the general reader as well as probing and enlightening for the specialist.  Illustrations: 69 b&w illustrations

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