Welcome to the first annual Unwritten Histories year-end review and our last blog post of 2017! It seems appropriate, given my weekly roundups, that I end the year with a year-long version. I divided this blog post into two parts. First I’ve gathered together a cross-section of important historical events from the world of Canadian history. I tried to select events that were represented and had a nation-wide relevance. Second, I listed some of my favourite reads from the past year.
A couple of caveats. First, since Unwritten Histories only started in March, and the roundups only started in late April, my “year” begins in April. I tried to go back and reconstruct what happened in Canadian history for the months of January, February, March, and April, but this proved an impossible task. Second, I did not include any publications in this roundup. That is because they are already well detailed in other blog posts, particularly my series on Best New Articles and Upcoming Publications. Listing them again seemed redundant. Finally, when mentioning a blog post series, I only linked to the first post in the series, in the interest of brevity.
Ok, with that out of the way, enjoy! 🙂
Canadian History in 2016
- The Daniels Decision came down.
- Chelsea Vowel (âpihtawikosisân) provided a comprehensive guide to the multiple meanings of Métis identity.
- 2016 Census was held.
- I talked about the complicated history of the census, the difference between published and manuscript censuses, and why the census is so important for historians.
- Patricia Kmiec reminded us that while it’s a good thing that the long-form census is back, we have to continue to question how accurate and representative the data collected really is, particularly as it concerns Indigenous and racialized individuals.
- Borealia and NiCHE collaborated on a special series on early Canadian environmental History.
- The BC Campus Open Textbook for Post-Confederation Canadian History went live.
- The 2016 CHA Annual Meeting kicked off at the end of the month! While I wasn’t able to go, I did archive the conference’s tweets, which you can see here.
- May marked the one-year anniversary of the release of the TRC Report.
- The film The Pass System was released.
- Sean Carleton gave us a preview/review of a newish film on the pass system in Canada
- “Oh Canada” was re-written to make it gender-neutral, thanks to MP Mauril Bélanger.
- Adam Coombs discussed the history of “O Canada” and unpacked the complaints against the lyric change by the Conservative Party. Spoiler alert: the song has changed many times over the years!
- This month marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Seven Oaks.
- Check out Adam Gaudry’s excellent twitter feed for coverage of a symposium on the history of the battle.
- Coinciding with National Aboriginal Day (June 20) Historica Canada released two new History Minutes.
- 11 new projects were announced for the Virtual Museum of Canada!
- Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders issued an official apology for Operation Soap, a police raid on 4 gay bathhouses in 1981.
- Active History and Canada Watch partnered on a series of posts on the Confederation Debates
- HistoireEngagée posted a number of interviews that previewed talks from the (then) upcoming conference, Question sociale et citoyenneté.
- Ronald Rudin launched his latest project, loststories.ca, which transforms the stories of ordinary people into public art and documents the process on film.
- #BlacklivesCDNSyllabus: The syllabus emerged out of the protest by Black Lives Matter Canada at Toronto’s Pride parade this year and is a list of resources about anti-black racism. You can check out the Storify to get the list by going here.
- This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
- The Canadian Encyclopedia and Historica Canada launched an online exhibit commemorating the Battle of the Somme.
- July 1st was also the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, which occurred on the first day of The Somme and was a pivotal moment for the soldiers of Newfoundland.
- Many thanks to Heidi Coombs-Thorne for suggesting this addition to the roundup!
- BC completed The Chinese Canadian Artifacts Project (CCAP), a digital database of over 6,000 artifacts held in museums.
- Canada announced 13 new National Historic Designations, including a variety of people, places, and events.
- Ramsay Cook died.
- The Canadian Forest History Project announced a new archival donation over on NiCHE. The donation, by Western Forest Products, contains maps, aerial photographs, and records from the company’s work along BC’s coastline.
- The Maud was lifted from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut on July 30th!
- Evidence from lakes and bison DNA suggests the earliest humans to reach North American likely did not use the fabled land bridge, though later groups might have. Though the original article requires a subscription, you can read about the findings through CBC and the NY Times.
- August 15th was the national Acadian holiday! Active History and Acadiensis celebrated the day by co-publishing an article by Anne Marie Lane Jonah about public representations of women’s history in living museums.
- NiCHE and Edge Effects collaborated in a new series, “Seeds: New Research in Environmental History,” which highlights the work of members of the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) Graduate Student Caucus.
- On August 15th, the Federal Government formally apologized for the forced relocation of Manitoba’s Sayisi Dene.
- Indigenous leaders requested that Justin Trudeau recognize and apologize for the Sixties Scoop.
- A Toronto judge ordered that the hearing on the Sixties Scoop class-action lawsuit by adjourned.
- An exploration team uncovered the second oldest confirmed shipwreck in the Great Lakes.
- An examination of a Nunavut archaeological site likely belonging to the ancient Thule unveiled evidence of over 3,500 years of continuous occupation.
- The Special Collections division of the UVic library launched a new online exhibition on Victorians in WW1.
- The BC government invested two million dollars to repatriate Indigenous remains and artifacts, including those held by the Royal BC Museum.
- Historica Canada released an education portal, complete with education guides on a range of topics.
- NiCHE premiered a new series (with the best title ever), “Dam Nation: Hydroelectric Developments in Canada,”
- Active History announced that it will be contributing select posts to Canada’s Great War Album, a online tribute by Canada’s History to the centennial.
- Active History also launched a new series — a 4-part look at the historical context behind the film The Revenant.
- The HMS Terror was rediscovered.
- Histoire Engagée began a two part series on the Quiet Revolution.
- Martha Troian, writing for the CBC, released an amazing article about the impact of decades of mercury-poisoning on the bodies of Indigneous peoples in Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation.
- The Second Annual Building Reconciliation Forum was held at the University of Alberta,
- The Wilson Centre was relaunched! The Junto, the American counterpart of Borealia, interviewed Ian McKay and Maxime Dagenais on the role of the Wilson Institute at McMaster University.
- Pier 21 premiered a new online exhibit, Pathways to Toronto, created in collaboration with the Toronto Ward Museum and the University of Toronto, looking at the history of immigration to Toronto.
- Archaeologists found a 1,600 year-old artefact at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta: a roasting pit and perfectly preserved meal.
- Library and Archives Canada, together with Queen’s University, launched a new project highlighting speeches by Canada’s prime ministers.
- Merna Foster won the 2016 Pierre Berton Award for Popular Canadian History, for her work on the Great Canadian Mysteries Project and on women’s history in Canada.
- Bill Waiser won the Governor General’s award for his book, A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905!
- Historica Canada premiered a beautiful new Heritage Minute on Kenojuak Ashevak, an Inuk artist who made Inuit art famous all over the world.
- LAC launched a new database for the service files of WW1 soldiers.
- Ian Mosby undertook the enormous task of verifying how many of the TRC’s 94 Calls to Actions have been completed.
- Sarah Shepherd kindly storified them, so you can read them all together here.
- Good Downie released The Secret Path.
- Sean Carleton spoke about his experiences watching Gord Downie’s The Secret Path, and about some of its strengths and problems.
- Maclean’s, in a new series called The Runaways Project, drew attention to the other children who died while running away from residential schools.
- Most stories about the history of AIDS point to Québecois flight attendeant, Gaétan Dugas as “patient zero.” Well, a new study refuted this.
- A new digital archive premiered; Rise Up: A Digital Archive of Feminist Activism focuses on Canada from the 1970s and 1990s.
- UPEI created a new online collection of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s writing, called Kindred Spaces (of course).
- Anne Janhnuen, writing for Active History, talked about her experiences at the premiere of the film Colonization Road.
- The Bell of Batoche went missing. Again. And was found. Again.
- Active History had a special two part series all about the terms that we use to refer to Indigenous Peoples by Brittany Luby, Kathryn Labelle, and Alison Norman.
- The Royal Ontario Museum apologized for its racist “Into the Heart of Africa” museum exhibit, 27 years later, and is planning a new exhibit on African-Canadians soon.
- Canadian Geographic nominated the gray jay, also known as the whiskey jack, as Canada’s official bird.
- George Colpitts, Shannon Stunen Bower, and Bill Waiser premiered their new project, Climate and Change: Making Sense of the Dustbowl Years on the Canadian Prairies
- Library and Archives Canada celebrated 5 years of blogging at The Discover Blog!
- Dalhousie University announced that it would be offering a new minor, black and African Diaspora Studies, created by Afua Cooper.
- 12 Days of Findings/Trouvailles premiered on The Champlain Society’s blog.
- Megan Davies and Erika Dyck premiered After the Asylum, which is the first national project to document the history and impact of the deinstitutionalization of asylums in the 20th.
- New research showed how epidemic disease and colonialism has a devastating impact on the genome of Indigenous peoples in North America.
- Active History republished a letter from Joan Sangster, President of the CHA, to the Polish Prime Minister regarding his government’s new legislation about historical interpretation.
- The letter is also available in French.
- Finally, it’s official: It was announced that the first Canadian woman to appear on the $10 bill will be Viola Desmond!
Favourite Canadian History Reads from 2016
Favourite Canadian History Scholarly Journal Articles of 2016
*Coincidentally, all of these came from my August Best New Articles post.
- Elise Chenier, Lori Chambers, and Anne Frances Toews, “Still Working in the Shadow of Men? An Analysis of Sex Distribution in Publications and Prizes in Canadian History,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 26, no. 1 (2015): 291-318.
- Francesca D’Amico, “’The Mic Is My Piece:’ Canadian Rap, the Gendered ‘Cool Pose,’ and Music Industry Racialization and Regulation,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 26, no. 1 (2015): 255-290.
- Sabrina Trimble, “Storying Swílcha: Place-making and Power at a Stó:lõ Landmark,” BC Studies, no. 190 (Summer 2016): 39-66.
Favourite Canadian History Blog Posts of 2016
- Sharon Myers “Taking Silence Seriously: A Musing on Method and Oral Histories,” Acadiensis Blog, November 28, 2016
- Skylee-Storm Hogan and Krista McCracken, “Doing the World: The Historian’s Place in Indigenization and Decolonization,” Active History, December 12, 2016.
- Kathryn Magee Labelle, “Forgotten Indigenous Figures – Early Canadian Biographies and Course Content,” Borealia, June 6, 2016.
Favourite Canadian History Book Read in 2016
- Elsie Paul, in collaboration with Paige Raibmon and Harmony Johnson, Written As I Remember It: Teachings (??ms ta?aw) from the Life of a Sliammon Elder (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014).
Most Overrated Canadian Historical Discovery in 2016
- The HMS Terror (need I say more?)
Most Underrated Canadian Historical Discoveries in 2016
- How epidemic disease changed the genome of Indigenous Peoples in North America. You can read the original study here, you can read a normal-person explanation here, or you can listen to an interview with the lead researcher and one of his co-workers here.
- The archaeological discoveries at the Head-Smashed-in BuffaloJump in Alberta. This website has some awesome pictures, including video of the removal of the roasting pit.
Did I miss anything? Is there anthing else you’d like to see added to the list? Let me know in the comments below!
Before I go, a huge thank you goes out to everyone who reads this blog and/or follows me on social media. None of this would have been possible without you. I would also like to take moment to thank all of those working in the field of Canadian history for producing a fantastic year of scholarship. This is doubly the case for the Canadian history blogs that connect so many of us together, including, but not limited to, Active History, Borealia, and NiCHE, as well as the wonderful world of Canadian history on Twitter (#cdnhist, #cdnhistory). Special thanks go out to friend and colleagues who have given me support and encouragement over the past year, especially Lynne Marks, Catherine Ulmer, Danielle Robinson, Sarah Van Vugt, Adam Barker, and Emma Battell Lowman. Seriously, you guys are awesome. Finally, I need to say thank you to my loving husband, Lee Blanding, tireless copyeditor, sounding board, shoulder to cry on, and purveyor of hugs.
Programming note: The next new blog post will be on January 3, 2017. Tweeting will continue until Friday, and will resume on January 2, 2017.
Happy Holidays and I’ll see you in 2017!