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Inuit-European Treaty Making in 18th Century Labrador: The Nature of the Colonizer - Greg Mitchell

5:15 PM, Saturday 5 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
Until recently, the telling of indigenous peoples’ histories in Newfoundland and Labrador, except in very rare instances, has always been told through the colonist’s voice. The most recent telling about small parts of that history, through, “Tracing Ochre: Changing Perspectives on the Beothuk”, is one such rare book which is beginning to update how our indigenous history is viewed and interpreted in Canada. Concepts of the ‘native savage’, previous invasions and outright ‘extinctions’, are being challenged; these concepts are giving way to a much more fluid, honest and nuanced look at indigenous culture and history. Whereby, in the past, colonial archival documents were taken at face value by Western experts and the courts, there is now an effort underway to critically view, first of all, the wider temporal context from an indigenous world view and, secondly, to examine and put in perspective, the background and biases of the writers of such archived documents. Not only simple errors and biases, but outright lies, told by invading Europeans about the Labrador Inuit, have speckled their past. It is a story of family life, living on and from their land and subsequent invasion by Europeans. It is then about guarded trade, conflict, slave raiding and treaty making. This paper is an attempt to tell one aspect of the story about this colonization which strives to give the Inuit ancestors a fair shake.
NunatuKavut Community Council
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