Welcome to our second annual Unwritten Histories year-end review and the last post of 2017! As I did last year, I have divided this look back into two parts. The first is a month-by-month recap of some of the most important events in Canadian history over the past year. Obviously I haven’t included everything here. I’ve tried to pick the most significant events and those that were relevant to individuals all over the country. And of course, there are a few more whimsical additions. In the second part of this blog post, Stephanie and I list some of our favourite reads from the past year.
A quick note: several of the events below refer to archives posted on Storify. The company recently announced that it would be closing as of May 2018. In January, I will begin the process of converting these archives to HTML format, which will preserve them on this blog. So there is nothing to worry about!
Without any further ado, enjoy!
Canadian History in 2017
- LAC started a brand new series, Who Do We Think We Are, highlighting various archival items in honour of Canada 150.
- The Wilson Institute launched its new blog, Au-delà des frontières: La nouvelle histoire du Canada/Beyond Borders: The New Canadian History!
- The Journal of Canadian Studies made their entire back catalogue available online.
- The Graphic History Collective launched Remember|Resist|Redraw.
- Kent Monkman premiered his new art exhibit, Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience.
- All the Canada 150 stuff started.
- Jesse Donovan called on the RCMP to return Louis Riel’s crucifix, poetry, knife, and clothing.
- Active History relaunched with a brand new look!
- Hell froze over, and an Ontario Superior Court Judge ruled the government was in fact liable for the harm done to survivors of the Sixties Scoop.
- Kennewick man was finally at peace.
- There was a new online service from the makers of Early Canadiana Online, called Canadiana Online. This database allows full text-searches of three collections of documents. Find out more here.
- The ROM Blog launched its series exploring Canada 150 through material objects.
- Lynn Beyak said stupid stuff that I refuse to repeat.
- Trent University decided to get rid of 50% of its library books.
- The University of Alberta launched the Indigenous Canada course. Go take it if you haven’t already.
- Historica Canada released a new Heritage Minute on the Edmonton Grads.
- LAC announced that it would be switching over from its AMICUS catalogue to a new one developed by OCLC, a non-profit library co-operative. You can see the official press release here, along with more information about the change.
- Maren Wood published a new article in University Affairs about recent trends in hiring in the fields of History and English in Canada.
- This month marked the 100th anniversary of the departure of the No. 2 Construction Battalion from Halifax for WW1,
- Hockey opened at the Canadian Museum of History!
- Unwritten Histories turned 1!
- My Active History blog post, “She’s Hot: Female Sessional Instructors, Gender Bias, and Student Evaluations,” went live, and broke records all over the place.
- A Heiltsuk village site on Triquet Island was dated to 14,000 years old, one of the oldest Indigenous settlements dated so far. You know who was not surprised? The Heiltsuk, who’ve been telling archaeologists this all along.
- A ruling overturned the 1956 declaration that the Sinixt First Nation were extinct.
- BC government announced the 56 Japanese-Canadian historic places chosen by the public over a four month period. Here is the official press release.
- The 17th Chicago Manual of Style was published.
- Canada: The Story of Us premiered.
- The Historical Topographic Map Digitization Project, out of the Ontario Council of University Libraries, released their work to digitize and georeference maps on Ontario from the first half of the 20th So far, there are more than 1000 available, and you can see them all here.
- This month marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
- The Bank of Canada announced the final design of the new $10 bill, available starting in June. This website explains the meaning behind the design.
- The Provincial Archives of Alberta turned 50 this year!
- New information came to light about a medical experiment performed by the McIntyre Powder company on hundreds of unwilling Ontario miners.
- The Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony premiered a new podcast, called the Lesbian Testimony Project.
- McGraw-Hill education has donated more than 3,000 historical books and 2,000 documents, dating back to 1860, to Ryerson University.
- This month marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of Expo 67.
- Instantanés launched a months-long series featuring letters by Olivar Asselin to his family, starting with this tear-jerker.
- The BC Studies 2017 Conference was held! You can watch a recording of the special session, “Implementing Arthur Manuel’s Vision.”
- There were ongoing problems with Quebec’s new history curriculum.
- Michael Bliss passed away.
- Montreal celebrated 375 years since its founding.
- Dennis Molinaro launched a petition, sponsored by Murray Rankin, calling for reform of the ATI and LAC Act in order to ensure that historical documents are properly preserved and made available to the public within a reasonable time frame.
- Unwritten Histories hosted the first annual CHA Reads competition! And don’t worry folks, it will return in 2018!
- Sean Graham celebrated the 100thepisode of the History Slam podcast!
- Dennis Molinaro broke the news about all of the historical records that the Canadian government has still not sent to the archives.
- Pope Francis officially apologized for crimes committed by the Catholic Church against Indigenous peoples on the American continents during colonization.
- The new Truth and Reconciliation archives opened up at the University of Alberta, under director Ry Moran.
- The Laurier Centre launched their new podcast, On War and Society.
- Congress happened! Check out the archive here.
- BAnQ announced that it would be letting go of 40 employees and will be restructuring.
- The Law Society of BC removed their statue of Sir Matthew Begbie.
- LAC, in collaboration with BAnQ and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, announced the creation of the Canada Memory of the World Register, which will bring together and highlight “documentary heritage of profound Canadian significance.”
- The latest heritage minute was released, depicting the experiences of the Vietnamese “boat people” refugees.
- The Minister of Indigenous Affairs decided that the compensation of 60s Scoop survivors would be dealt with on a case by case basis.
- Canada’s History has announced the return of their online archive of previous issues.
- A (now) former Governor General said a stupid thing too.
- Justin Trudeau announced that the Langevin Building would be renamed, unofficially kicking off the Monument Wars. See more here.
- Some massive jerks destroyed an ancient petroform and sacred site in Manitoba’s Whiteshell Provincial Park.
- The Canadian History Hall opened! Check out CTV’s preview here.
- The Archives of Ontario acquired more than 2 million photographs from The Globe and Mail.
- Canada 150.
- Four idiots disrupted a Indigenous protest at the Edward Cornwallis statue in Halifax.
- And later in the month, it was shrouded.
- This month, you could now access BC Studies issues from 1968 to 2014 online for free.
- There was highly suspicious evidence of a butter conspiracy going on between the Dictionary of Canadian Biography’s Twitter feed and LAC’s blog.
- In the end, Canada didn’t get a national bird.
- HBC unveiled a new collection of historical documents that are now available for research. This collection contains trial manuscripts from the Pemmican War.
- Just before the opening of the new exhibit at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich on the Franklin Expedition, a letter surfaced from Nunavat Premier Peter Taptune, saying that Parks Canada had taken artefacts without permission from the Nunavut government and the Inuit Heritage Trust.
- This month marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Tom Thomson.
- This month also marked the 200th anniversary of the Peguis-Selkirk Treaty, which led to the establishment of the Red River settlement.
- The summer survey of the HMS Erebus was downsized, and major work on the site will not begin until 2018.
- The 50thanniversary of Charles De Gaulle’s “Vive Le Québec Libre” speech.
- The CBC published a story about a mysterious white box that was found in the Moncton area back in 1962. The strange white box was actually a CIA spy camera that had been attached to a high-altitude balloon.
- The Champlain Society launched its own podcast, “Witness to Yesterday!”
- Les Couchi, from Nipissing First Nation, looked back at over 100 years of news coverage by the Star on the subject of Indigenous people. And the results were worse than you would expect.
- Wikipedia joined up with BAnQ to participate in a “scan-a-thon” of historical images showing Indigenous peoples from Quebec.
- The 400-year-old relationship between the Mi’kmaq and the Acadians was honoured at Grand-Pré 2017.
- UofA’s Garneau Tree reached the end of its life cycle.
- Ian Mosby and Tracey Galloway’s article on residential schools from the Canadian Medical Association Journal was published, and is now open-access! There was considerable news coverage.
- The Mayor of Montreal and the Police Chief issued an official apology for the treatment of LGTBQ+ individuals in the city from the 1970s to the 1990s.
- The 100th Annviersary of the Battle of Hill 70.
- The 75th Anniversary of the Raid on Dieppe.
- Krista McCracken and I held the first ever Canadian history Twitter conference, Beyond 150! Check out the archive here.
- A new plaque was unveiled honouring the site formerly known as the Mantle site, which is a 500-year-old Wendat settlement.
- Monument wars heated up with the news that the Ontario elementary teacher’s union was for the renaming of schools named forJohn A. Macdonald. Chaos ensued.
- Stephanie Pettigrew officially joined the Unwritten Histories team!
- It seems that at least one of the models of the Avro Arrow was found at the bottom of Lake Ontario.
- NiCHE premiered a brand new look!
- Montreal revised its official flag to include the symbol of a white pine, to acknowledge Indigenous history in Montreal.
- Shawna Davis brought attention to the fact that the workbook used in Vancouver schools for a graphic novel on Susanne Moodie is in fact horrifyingly racist.
- The RCMP signed an agreement to return a number of artifacts belonging to Louis Riel to the Métis people.
- UBC hosted a political history conference, “Power, Politics, and the State in Canadian History.”
- A report from a UN working group called out Canada for its mistreatment of Black Canadians, and called on the government to apologize for slavery, pay reparations to those impacted by racist policies, build more monuments commemorating Black history in Canada, and create a national department of “African Canadian Affairs.”
- The recently reassembled inukshuks displayed outside of Pearson Airport were put together improperly.
- #AskAnArchivist day! There were lots of discussions, but I particularly liked this knitting pattern from Elgin County Archives; this ancient slice of processed cheese from LAC; and this 99 year old poppy from the Canadian Museum of Flight.
- There was more fun with racist educational materials this month, this time in Ontario.
- An elementary school in Ontario removed a totem pole after learning that the pole was carved in 1974 by grade 6 students as part of a history activity, without any involvement from Indigenous peoples or communities.
- The federal government announced that it would provide an $800 million settlement for survivors of the Sixties Scoop. However, this does not provide anything for Métis survivors.
- The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that testimony provided by residential school survivors should be destroyed after 15 years unless those survivors decide otherwise.
- The Vancouver Park Board voted to rename Siwash Rock, and the new name will be decided with the full participation of the the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations if they so desire.
- The ROM launched their new digital collection, making a significant part of their collection (10,000 objects) publicly available online for the first time.
- Do you remember how, last year, Ian Mosby went through the TRC’s Calls to Action to see Canada’s progress? Well, he published another update, storified by Kim Patrick Weaver.
- Krista McCracken and Jessica Knapp hosted the first ever Canadian History Wikipedia edit-a-thon.
- The Historical Atlas of Canada re-launched a web-mapping pilot project exploring census divisions from 1851 to 1961, using GIS.
- Gord Downie died.
- Historica Canada released a new Heritage Minute, on Toronto’s Kensington Market. Check it out here!
- Western University launched a new online exhibit recounting the history of Labatt Brewing Company.
- 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchenaele.
- Britain “gifted” the wrecks of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to Canada and the Inuit, who will share ownership.
- A British woman was confused by the negative response she received after posting an auction for a Métis medicine bag, feather, and stick on Ebay.
- Controversy erupted after new census data showing a rise in the amount of people who self-identify as Métis or non-status First Nation. Leroux and Gaudry wrote a piece explaining the numbers.
- APTN Investigates took a look at Indian and Inuit Tuberculosis Sanatoriums, interviewing survivors across the country.
- BAnQ released a new interactive timeline on the history of Quebec.
- Library and Archives Canada acquired the first medical book to be published in Canada, a 1785 treatise on the treatment of syphilis.
- According to the Supreme Court of Canada, Indigenous sacred sites do not qualify for protection under the religious freedom section of the Charter.
- A new cache of documents relating to Acadie, particularly Acadians in New Brunswick during the era of the Grand Dérangement, was “rediscovered” in Paris.
- The Vancouver city council agreed to issue an official apology for the historical mistreatment and discrimination faced by Chinese and Chinese-Canadian residents in Vancouver.
- A new commemorative sign was unveiled at the site of a former Japanese-Canadian internment camp, now the Sunshine Valley Tashme Museum, near Hope, BC.
- The winners of the Governor General’s History Awards were announced.
- In response to another silly comment from a privileged white person about Canadian history being “dark,” Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Bobby Cameron argued that treaty education is essential.
- CTV spoke with Jordan Stanger-Ross about the discovery of the letters written by Japanese-Canadian internees to the Office of the Custodian in Vancouver.
- The Ontario government knew about the mercury contamination from Grassy Narrows in the 1990s, but kept this information a secret.
- A statue of John A. Macdonald was vandalized in Montreal.
- The CHA Bulletin will now be known as Intersections.
- The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada unveiled a plaque commemorating the establishment of the National Hockey League in November 1917.
- The month saw Historica Canada’s Canada History Week 2017. This year’s theme was: “Human Rights in Canada: Challenges and Achievements on the Path to a More Inclusive and Compassionate Society.”
- In late November, Canada’s History held the the 10th Canada’s History Forum, featuring a range of presentations on the theme of “making history relevant.”
- Krista McCracken officially launched a new podcast called Historical Reminiscents, all about public history and archival practice.
- Information came to light regarding the remains of 145 Indigenous peoples that are still being kept at the University of Winnipeg.
- New information showed that the RCMP spied on the Waterloo gay community in the 1960s and 1970s.
- Justin Trudeau apologized to residential school survivors and their families in Newfoundland and Labrador.
- The Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan completed the digitization of the recordings of proceedings of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly from 1948 to 2007.This includes 12,000 hours of audio and video records. Check them out here.
- BAnQ added 3 million pages from 319 periodicals and newspapers from all over Quebec. to its online collection.
- The Wilson Institute unveiled a list of 32 scholars who have been named as Wilson Associates for 2017-2020.
- Mr. Dressup won in the final round of The Great Canadian TV thing!
- Justin Trudeau apologized for the treatment of LGBTQ2 employees of the federal government and the military. There was, as expected, a great deal of media coverage.
- The leaders of the Poundmaker Cree Nation, with support from the Assembly of First Nations and Saskatchewan’s Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, put forward a petition calling for a formal pardon for Poundmaker.
- Canadian Geographic announced the launch of its first Google Earth Voyager story, which tells the history of residential schools in Canada through the voices of survivors. Check it out for yourself here.
- In possibly the most Canadian headline ever, Gordon Lightfoot donated three canoes to the Canadian Canoe Museum.
- 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
- Bill C-66 was heavily criticized by historians for being too limited, too vague, too onerous, and permitting the destruction and removal of historical records.
Favourite Canadian History Reads from 2017
Favourite Canadian History Scholarly Journal Articles of 2017
- Melissa N. Shaw, “’Most Anxious to Serve their King and Country:’ Black Canadians’ Fight to Enlist in WW1 and Emerging Race Consciousness in Ontario, 1914-1919,” Histoire Sociale/Social History 49, no. 100 (November 2016): 543-580.
- Emma Battell Lowman, “Mamook Kom’tax Chinuk Pipa/Learning to Write Chinook Jargon: Indigenous Peoples and Literacy Strategies in the South Central Interior of British Columbia in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Historical Studies in Education 29, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 77-98.
- Dennis Molinaro, “How the Cold War Began… with British Help: The Gouzenko Affair Revisited,” Labour/Le Travail 79 (Spring 2017): 143-155.
- Adam Gaudry and Darryl Leroux, “White Settler Revisioning and Making Métis Everywhere: The Evocation of Métissage in Quebec and Nova Scotia,” Critical Ethnic Studies 3, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 116-142.
- Tina Adcock, Keith Grant, Stacy Nation-Knapper, Beth Robertson, and Corey Slumkoski, “Canadian History Blogging: Reflections at the Intersections of Digital Storytelling, Academic Research, and Public Outreach,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 27, no. 2 (2016). https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/jcha/2016-v27-n2-jcha03136/1040560ar/
- Adam Gaudry and Darryl Leroux, “White Settler Revisioning and Making Métis Everywhere: The Evocation of Métissage in Quebec and Nova Scotia,” Critical Ethnic Studies 3, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 116-142.
Favourite Canadian History Blog Posts of 2017
- Crystal Fraser and Sara Komarnisky, “150 Acts of Reconciliation for the Last 150 Days of Canada’s 150,” Active History, August 4, 2017.
- Andrea Eidinger, “She’s Hot: Female Sessional Instructors, Gender Bias, and Student Evaluations,” Active History, March 30, 2017.
Favourite Canadian History Book Read in 2017
I’m a terrible person and haven’t read a whole academic book (for fun) this year. But the two books I most want to read are:
- Janis Thiessen, Snacks: A Canadian Food History, (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2017).
- Adele Perry, Colonial Relations: The Douglas-Connolly Family and the Nineteenth-Century Imperial World. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.)
- Jeffers Lennox, Homelands and Empires: Indigenous Spaces, Imperial Fictions and Competition for Territory in Northeastern North America, 1690-1763. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017).
Most Overrated Canadian Historical Event in 2017
- Canada 150
- The Lindsay Shepherd debacle.
Most Underrated Canadian Historical Event in 2017
- Beyond 150
- Indigenous Canada course launch
I think it’s pretty clear that anyone who thinks Canadian history is boring needs a reality check!
Once again, before I go, I want to thank everyone who reads this blog and follows me on social media, particularly those who have been generous enough to donate and support the blog on Patreon. I highly doubt I would be writing the second year-end-review if it wasn’t for all of you, so you have my deepest gratitude! I continue to be humbled by the fact that the Canadian historical community has embraced Unwritten Histories so readily.
I also want to take the time to thank the many people whom I now consider dear friends that I would never have met if not for Unwritten Histories: Stephanie Pettigrew, Jessica DeWitt, Krista McCracken, Jenny Ellison, Maddie Knickerbocker, Claire Campbell, Dennis Molinaro, Shannon Stettner, Melissa Shaw, Gill Frank, and Jessica Knapp.
I also want to especially thank Lynne Marks, Elise Chenier, Cameron Duder, Carmen Nielson, Karen Balcom, Adele Perry, Tarah Brookfield, Maxime Dagenais, Ian McKay, Elizabeth Mancke, Linda Kealey, Greg Kealey, Mary-Ellen Kelm, Pascale Scallon-Chouinard, Jo McCutcheon, Lindsay Gibson, Michel Duquet, and Patrizia Gentile for their unwavering support of Unwritten Histories and me. You folks are my heroes.
On a more personal note, this has been a really tough and busy year for me, particularly since September. I’ve been teaching two courses while operating Unwritten Histories, and it almost killed me. (I should totally be marking right now.) I would especially like to thank Catherine Ulmer for always being there to talk, Danielle Robinson for always making me laugh when I really needed to, Stephanie Pettigrew for pictures of otters and all of the amazing work she does behind the scenes, and, of course, my husband, Lee Blanding, for being the brains of this entire operation. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Have a very happy holiday season, and I will see you back here in 2018!
Quick programming note: we’ll be back with a brand new blog post on January 9th. Tweeting will continue until Friday, and will resume on January 7th.