Unwritten Histories

The Unwritten Rules of History

Tag: Indigenization

Unpacking DNA Ancestry Tests

This photograph was taken from the perspective of someone standing on the ground, looking up in the the canopy of a forest. Tall tree trunks climb high in the sky, converging at one point in the centre of the image. You can see some blue sky between the leaves of the tree canopy.

Special thanks to Shannon Stettner for her help with this piece.

If you’ve spent any time either watching television or on social media in the past few months, there is a high likelihood that you’ve run into a commercial, blog post, or Youtube video featuring DNA ancestry tests. Companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe have been pushing these tests as important ways to find out about your family history. Which sounds pretty cool. However, much like Canada150, many historians find themselves incredibly frustrated by the increasing popularity of these tests. I can neither confirm nor deny that some yell incomprehensibly at the television screen whenever one of the Ancestry.com commercials comes on. Now, there are numerous articles out there explaining the scientific limitations of these tests. For instance, this recent piece on Gizmondo talks about how the results of these tests aren’t always reliable, due to the limited availability of comparative data, which alleles are being used to access ancestry, and just plain error. However, there haven’t really been any detailed discussions about the limitations of these tests from a historical perspective. So, in today’s blog post, I’m going to talk about exactly that, with a particular focus on the complicated nature of historical populations, the “science” of race, the role of white privilege, and notions of belonging and community.

 

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Canadian History Roundup – Week of February 12, 2017

Canadian History Roundup February 12, 2017

Valentine’s Greeting Card (1940s-1950s), Paper Novelty Manufacturing Company Ltd. Canadian Museum of History, 2008.58.50.10.

 

The latest in blog posts, news, and podcasts from the world of Canadian history.

 

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Canadian History Roundup – Week of February 5, 2017

"Valentine Greetings to a Good Little Boy I Know," Greeting card, Valentine, 1900-1960, 20th century (Source: McCord Museum)

“Valentine Greetings to a Good Little Boy I Know,” Greeting card, Valentine,
1900-1960, 20th century (Source: McCord Museum)

The latest in blog posts, news, and podcasts from the world of Canadian history.

 

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Canadian History Roundup – Week of December 11, 2016

"Compliments of the Season," Kenneth Rowe fonds 2006-00269-4, Library and Archives Canada

“Compliments of the Season,” (1870s-1900?) Kenneth Rowe fonds 2006-00269-4, Library and Archives Canada

 

The latest in blog posts, news, and podcasts from the world of Canadian history.

 

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Canadian History Roundup – Week of November 27, 2016

Roundup for November 27th

The latest in blog posts, news, and podcasts from the world of Canadian history.

 

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Canadian History Roundup – Week of September 25, 2016

Betty of Shediac, N.B. with her cocker spaniel at Pointe-du-Chêne (October 1948) George Hunter. Canada. National Film Board of Canada. Library and Archives Canada, e010948805

Betty of Shediac, N.B. with her cocker spaniel at Pointe-du-Chêne (October 1948) George Hunter. Canada. National Film Board of Canada. Library and Archives Canada, e010948805 CC BY 2.0

The latest in blog posts, news, and podcasts from the world of Canadian history.

 

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Recap from the 2016 Festival of Learning Conference

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You may have noticed some radio silence over on my Twitter account last week. That’s because I’ve been conferencing! This week, BCcampus put on a four-day conference, Festival of Learning: Celebrating Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. The conference was an opportunity for university professors, K-12 teachers, administrators, and facilitators to collaborate and learn from each other on the latest innovations in teaching and learning. Though I only attended two out of the four days, I wanted to recap and reflect on my experiences. I was also able to follow the conference on Twitter (#FoL16), and as I did with the CHA, I created an archive, which is available here.

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