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Canada's First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times [Paperback]

Olive Dickason , David T. McNab
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 28 2008 0195428927 978-0195428926 Fourth Edition
Canada's First Nations is a comprehensive history of Canada's original inhabitants. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines techniques from history, anthropology, archaeology, biology, sociology, and political science, the story of the more than 50 First Nations of Canada is carefully woven together. A central argument in the text is that Amerindians and Inuit have responded to persistent colonial pressures through attempts at co-operation, episodes of resistance, and politically sophisticated efforts to preserve their territory and culture. The fourth edition has been fully updated to include current topics such as the effects of global warming on the Innu, the Ipperwash Inquiry, and the Caledonia land claims dispute. This is a text that transcends the familiar and narrow focus on Native-White relations to identify the history of the First Nations as a separate and proud tradition.

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From the Publisher

100 photos, 25 maps --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Olive Patricia Dickason is Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta. She is the author of several books, including The Myth of the Savage (1984, 1997) and, with L.C. Green, The Laws of Nations and the New World (1989). Dr Dickason was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1996 and received the Aboriginal Life Achievement Award, Canadian Native Arts Foundation, in 1997. Throughout her distinguished career she has remained proud of her Metis heritage. David T. McNab is an Associate Professor of Native Studies at York University. He has written widely on the topics of Aboriginal history and literature, Aboriginal land and treaty rights, British imperial history, Canadian history, and Ontario history. Professor McNab also serves as an advisor on land and treaty rights and governance issues for a number of First Nations and other Aboriginal organizations in Ontario and Newfoundland.

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That people were living in the Americas during the later Ice Ages is no longer debated; what is not agreed on is when the movement from the Old World to the New began. Read the first page
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I appreciated learning more about Canada's history and challenges facing First Nations people. I use the information from this book in augmenting my teaching in a course I teach with social work students.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Encyclopedia of Canadian Natives Feb. 2 2006
By Chris Kostov - Published on Amazon.com
This is an excellent book, which can be used as an encyclopedia for the history, traditional names, and geographical location of the Canadian Native peoples. The author has used numerous primary sources and maps and her style is very readable. Dickason gave also the aboriginal perspective of many events but in a very balanced account. The book can grasp the attention not only to professional historians dealing with Native history but also to all readers who have some general interest in the past of Canada's Amerindians.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid overview Nov. 6 2007
By haibler - Published on Amazon.com
Canada's First Nations is a solid piece of scholarship detailed enough to satisfy advanced historians and well written in order to please a greater audience.

Make no mistake, this is a vast topic covering 15.000 years in history and pre-history that had to be shrunk to 560 pages only. Of course there are a few omissions, of course there needed to be some sort of selection of incidents and sources. Most of the author's choice regarding her focus can be understood easily and makes the book a good read.

The only grave criticism of which the author cannot be spared is that at some places Dickason does not sufficiently question her ancient written sources, but rather takes for granted what has been said about amerindian behavioural patterns in the 16th and 17th century.

While this can be attributed to the vast undertaking itsself, it nonetheless may be one wrong approach to sources leading to a perhaps distorted picture of amerindian ancient culture.

One example: "All Iroquoians practised torture and cannibalism"...[56].
While the first can be regarded as proven, sources related to the alledged latter behaviour are definetely not to be taken at face value, as Heidi Peter-Röcher (Kannibalismus in der Prähistorischen Forschung, Studien zu einer paradigmatischen Deutung und ihren Grundlagen.) in her doctoral thesis of 1994 (University FU Berlin) quite convincingly points out.

In fact, as Peter-Röcher succeeded to show, remarks related to cannibalism have to be taken with utmost care. Peter-Röcher goes as far as questioning the existence of such a practise in history at all and relates that there is not one single case in history when such a practise has been positively witnessed, that is neurotic missionaries - themselves living under a constant threat of getting slain - made up these stories of "Gog and Magog" in order to illustrate their braveness among the barbarians, to put it short.

Despite these flaws Canada's First Nations is a solid piece of work well worth the time it takes to read it.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Contribution to Canadian Popular History June 14 2000
By Paul V Caetano - Published on Amazon.com
This book is a wonderful synthesis of Canadian aboriginal history. I was impressed by the author's detailed and well-balanced approach. It is neither a moral fable nor a panegyric of conquerors' exploits, but rather history as it should be told. The only downside is the book's episodic style but that is necessitated by its ambitious goal. Olive Dickason did an especially good job highlighting the different histories of Canada's natives both pre- and post-contact.
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