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Upcoming talk on reclaiming Indigenous histories


​Dr. Rick Fehr, will provide an important lecture, titled Silent Spaces in Biography and Cartography: Reclaiming Erased Indigenous Histories, on Friday, November 25, at 7 p.m. at the Raven and Republic (246 1st Avenue W,
 North Bay).

The lecture is part of Nipissing’s Master of Environmental Studies/Environmental Sciences seminar series, and is being co-hosted by the department of History.

Fehr is an assistant professor in the department of geography, with a cross appointment with First Nations studies, at Western University and Nipissing University.

Here’s an abstract:

In September 1802, Moravian missionaries in Upper Canada visited a Chippewa village along the Sydenham River, or Big Bear Creek. In their search to establish a new mission in the Lower Great Lakes, the missionaries took great care in describing village life and the habitats they travelled across. In chief Nabbawe’s village, Missionary Fredrich Denke described the process of dry roasting corn and said, “So dried, they call it wishkubimin or sweet corn. It keeps a long time and boiled with meat makes a very good soup. The corn is what the Indians will mostly live off this winter and spring.” This presentation charts a community-based research project into Nishnaabeg biographies and places that have been erased by successive generations of anglo-Canadian historians in Southwestern Ontario. Through a study of Nishnaabemwin names, dodems, place names, surveyor maps, and other primary documents, researchers based out of Walpole Island First Nation and the nearby town of Wallaceburg offer an alternative historical narrative on a land dominated by its Anglo presence. This research ultimately opens a dialogue about using a mixed methodological approach that doesn’t discard the inaccurate record keeping of witnesses to historic events. Instead, this research uses each error as a clue to correcting the historic record. In this case, the result has opened fundamental questions about Indigenous self-determination, memorialization, and land-use in the 21st century.​

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