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Native Americans in Canada Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Oct 6th, 2021

The issues of race and national identity are of great importance for the existence of the modern world. However, in the past these issues were also very significant due to the fact that racial discrimination was much more severe in that time. Because of this, I think that we should study history, and the history of Native Americans as viewed in the Canadian historical literature is one of the aspects to study. Thus, the current paper will compare and analyze the arguments from the book by Bumstead and from the article by Trigger so that to see the actual facts from the history.

The thesis of the article by Bruce G. Trigger called “The historians’ Indian: Native Americans in Canadian historical writing from Charlevoix to the present” is that the attitude towards native inhabitants of America changed with the course of time from a good to a worse one. This is explained, according to Trigger (1988) by the fact that at first Great Britain was interested in the Aboriginal people and portrayed them in a positive light, while France was in conflict with them and portrayed them negatively. Furthermore, Britain lost need of the Aboriginals’ help and their image in historiography acquired completely negative character¹.

The evidence used by the author is the historical context and specific examples. For instance, he argues that in 1759 Aboriginals took the side of Britain in its war with France. After this, French historians depicted aboriginals only negatively. Moreover, about 1820, English historiography changes its attitude towards Aboriginals as soon as the War of 1812 was finished and Britain needed no support overseas. Thus, Trigger calls the works of historians of those times the “justification of the present” 2.

Consequently, the evidence provided by the author of the article supports greatly the argument that the author provides in his paper. From these pieces of evidence, it can be clearly seen that the author has a good command of the topic and knows much than the traditional historiography can present3. Thus, compared to the book by Bumstead, the article by Trigger presents a greater range of ideas.

As to why it is so, I can suppose that the fact that ideas about the changes in the historians’ attitudes towards Native Americans are not expressed in the book because its author supports the traditional point of view. In other words, Bumstead probably keeps to the point expressed in the historical literature last and portrays Aboriginals in this way. One can not say that Bumstead’s attitude towards them is negative but it lacks the scope and does nit discuss the development of historical thought on Native Americans in Canada, as well as in the historiographies of other countries 4.

Taking into consideration all the above said, I can state that the argument of Bruce G. Trigger is quite logical in its essence. First of all, this argument is provided with specific examples of historic events that serve better as evidence than any hypothesis. Secondly, the purely logical point in this argument can not be doubted as no contradictions can be seen between the loss of interest in the help of aboriginals and the shift of their depiction in Canadian, and European, historiography to the negative. Besides, the logic of the argument can be explained by the author’s archeological background due to which Trigger possesses actual facts discovered during his work and is able to operate with them making logical conclusions.

References

Bumstead, J. M. A History of the Canadian Peoples. Oxford University Press, USA. 2007.

Trigger, B.G. The historians’ Indian: Native Americans in Canadian historical writing from Charlevoix to the present. In R. Fisher and K. Coates (Eds.) Out of the background: Readings on Canadian Native history. Mississauga, Ontario: Copp Clark Pitman, pp.19-44. 1988.

  1. See Trigger, B.G. The historians’ Indian: Native Americans in Canadian historical writing from Charlevoix to the present, pp.19-44. 1988.
  2. Ibid., p. 19.
  3. See Trigger, B.G. The historians’ Indian: Native Americans in Canadian historical writing from Charlevoix to the present, pp.19-44. 1988.
  4. See Bumstead, J. M. A History of the Canadian Peoples. Oxford University Press, USA. 2007.
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IvyPanda. 2021. "Native Americans in Canada." October 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/native-americans-in-canada/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Native Americans in Canada'. 6 October.

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