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Narrating Canadian Political Science: History Revisited: Presidential Address to the Canadian Political Science Association Toronto, Ontario May 30, 2017

Extract

The 150 mark for Confederation and the founding of the modern Canadian state comes at a moment when at universities across Canada it is now routine to acknowledge traditional territory, and in so doing to recognize a longer history, dating before 1867 and the establishment of European colonies (Canadian Association of University Teachers, 2016). Territorial acknowledgements also give recognition to the Indigenous peoples who lived and continue to live on the land, as well as the ways in which land figures into Indigenous identities and ontologies in ways that are typically very different than settlers (Battell Lowman and Barker,2015: 48–68). Such acknowledgements are also happening at cultural events and even hockey games, with a Fall 2016 Heritage Classic Game on the home turf of the Winnipeg Jets believed to be the first (Lambert, 2016). As a consequence, we are living in a moment in which we are being reminded about buried and unacknowledged history, as well as about the colonial past and the colonial present. Moreover, the Canadian government devoted $500 million to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, (“Why Exactly Are We Spending?” 2017), but clashing historical narratives have also given rise to the question of whether Confederation is actually something to rejoice (Slowey, 2016). Consider here the striking name of the new book by Kiera Ladner and Myra Tait (2017) entitled Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal.

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Corresponding author
Department of Political Science, The University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, T6G 2H4, email: yasmeen@ualberta.ca
Footnotes
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For helpful comments I thank political science colleagues Linda Cardinal, Matt James, Kiera Ladner, Nisha Nath, Tim Nieguth, Michael Orsini and Daniel Salée, and for their assistance in publication, my thanks to past and current English-language editors Graham White and Brenda O'Neill. For research assistance, I thank University of Alberta Ph.D. candidates Emrah Keskin and Justin Leifso. A special thank you to artist Kent Monkman for so generously sharing his work with the political science community.

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