Wednesday, September 19, 2018

This month at Canada's History


War is over at Canada's History The October-November issue weighs the context and consequences of the First World War 1914-18 to mark the centenary of its ending on 11 November 1918.

Tim Cook considers the war's legacies.  Ian Coutts looks at the life and death of the ill-fated George Price, the last Canadian soldier killed. Marianne Helm reports on a project that takes all those black-and-white images of the war and colourizes them  (see separate post). Kristine Alexander and Ashley Henrickson consider the children of that war. And John Lorinc reintroduces us to war's deadly aftermath, the great flu epidemic of 1918-19.  Plus an array of sidebars by magazine staff:  tactics, shell-shock, propaganda, heroism, entertainment.

Genealogist Paul Jones suggests accessible sources for personal histories of the war.  My own column reflects on the commemoration of the war in Canada the last four years and wonders if we are now beginning to let that war slide into history -- still there, but finally not so visceral.  And the review section draws attention to a shelf of books I'd mostly missed -- including Inuit in court, a Greg Curnoe biography,  BC highway culture, the history of apples, war artist Mary Riter Hamilton, and the Welland Canal.  Subscribe -- you need this.

They Fought in Colour: colorizing archival images


To mark the end of the First World War, Dundurn Press is bringing out They Fought in Colour, produced by the Vimy Foundation with image colourizing specialist Mark Truelove.  It's a book of 150 colourized images of First World War scenes in Canada and on the Western Front, along with interpretive essays by Margaret Atwood, Tim Cook, Serge Joyal, R.H. Thomson and others.

Back to life? A colourized image of the First World War
The colourizing of classic movies did not go over well a decade or two ago. Directors and film critics mostly hated to see Casablanca or Citizen Kane turned into Technicolour. For movies, the trend seems to have faded away.  But in this month's Canada's History, which reproduces a selection of images, Truelove and Vimy Foundation executive director Jeremy Diamond (a friend of mine for years, I should say, and I write for Canada's History too, full disclosure) argue for the relevance and utility of colorizing historical images for new audiences.
Colour makes the images, and the people in them, feel familiar. The people in these colourized images don't seem like an ancient generation but as the young people they were....  It was always the photos with the faces that jumped out the most. We also started to notice that the faces in the photos looked like the faces of today.


Monday, September 17, 2018

History of Indigenous film and television


I'm not an aficionado of the Toronto International Film Festival much, but the other day we did get to a showing of Edge of the Knife, or Sgaaway K'uuna, the first feature film made entirely in the Haida language. It is co-directed by Gwaii Edenshaw, who is Haida, and Helen Haig-Brown, who is Tsilhquo'tin, and they had the assistance of the film team that made the terrific Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. There must be a good chance it will be seen this winter in major cities and specialty cinema venues.

Edge of the Knife and Atanarjuat are powerful demonstrations why cultural appropriation is a problem.  Oh, says defenders of the practice, a good novelist (or film-maker) will grasp the truth of the culture, because that is what artists do, that is how an artist works. Watch Edge of the Knife or (even more so) Atanarjuat and you quickly become sure no Euro-Canadian would have made it.  Worth the price for that alone.

Edge of the Knife presents a traditional story of a man who becomes a gaagiid, a wildman, how he flees society for a violent and degraded life in the deep woods, and how his relatives attempt to redeem him,  It's less dramatic than Atanarjuat, perhaps, and in some ways more comfortable with mainstream film tropes and naturalistic acting styles. But it is beautifully filmed, simply designed  (with rather less of 19th century Haida splendour than I might have expected), and gracefully acted by a mostly amateur Haida cast speaking their ancestral tongue as a second language.

Meanwhile APTN, the indigenous TV network, has First Contact. This is not a drama about indigenous people confronting Cabot or Champlain. It's a reality show. Over a string of episodes, it takes a group of ordinary Canadians and takes them where ordinary Canadians never go:  Indian country.

The participants are quick to describe themselves as average Canadians. Which is to say they are atrociously ignorant and horribly prejudiced about all things indigenous.When they are taken to Kimmirut in Nunavut, or Muskrat Falls, Ontario, or the Samson Cree reserve south of Edmonton, the confrontations are, well, they are visceral. Sure there are lots of reality-show conventions being observed here, and maybe the encounters are set up, reality show style, to favour the hosts over the guests. But this one is worth watching (even if you want to put your fingers over your eyes a lot of the time).  Ouch. 


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Prize Watch: Chambers Prize for Georgian Bay anthology



The Champlain Society has announced the 2018 winner of the Chalmers Award -- for the best book in Ontario history of 2017 -- has been awarded to Georgian Bay: Discovering A Unique North American Ecosystem, edited by Nick Eyles and published for the Georgian Bay Land Trust by Fitzhenry and Whiteside. Eyles is a professor of geology at the University of Toronto and an experienced writer on geological topics. Contributors to the book include ecologists, earth scientists, archaeologists, ornithologists, local community leaders, and others.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

La Vuelta a Espana: Michael Woods plants the flag



Woods emerging from the fog

The still emerging new star of Canadian grand tour cycling, Michael Woods, won the 17th (of 21) stages at the Veulta a Espana, powering up a monstrous hill in the Basque Country with three other climbers and pulling ahead of them at the finish. His win came on a bleak fog-shrouded peak, looking like Ryder Hesjedal's memorable day at the Tormalet in the Pyrenees many years ago.

Vuelta coverage is subscription-only, and I've been following it only remotely, but it seems to have been a pretty satisfying race. Simon Yates who collapsed spectacularly in the last stages of the Giro d'Italia and let Chris Froome seize another win, is leading the Vuelta now, with two big climbs remaining ahead of him.

Update, September 19:  Yates endured to victory -- another British champion but a break in the grand-tour domination by the British Sky team.

Image: Cycling News

Borealia on Ann Little's Esther Wheelwright


Historiann does not post much anymore at her blog, more's the pity, but Professor Ann M. Little, her alter ego, is interviewed in a recent Borealia post, talking about her recent book The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright and, among other things, the challenges of writing book length biographies about people who never left any first person testimonies.

Interviewer Keith Grant asks her about the title.  She says:
I think it’s a useful way of thinking about people in the eighteenth century in general, because most people were born into a situation and station in life and they didn’t have all that many choices to make about how they made a living or how they prayed. But I also think it’s an especially useful metaphor for understanding girls’ and women’s lives in all of these cultures–among Protestant British subjects, among the Wabanaki people, and among Catholic French Canadians, women at every level of these communities had fewer choices and options than their male peers.
Esther Wheelwright (1696-1780), daughter of a New England Protestant minister, was captured by the Wabanaki at the age of 7, lived in the Ursuline convent at Quebec City from the age of twelve, and became a nun and eventual mother superior there.

Monday, September 10, 2018

More on the History of Treaties and Pipelines


Alan B. McCullough wrote to me in response to my posting here of Thursday, September 6, "History of Treaties and Pipelines."  It's an important matter he raises, so let me quote him in full and then respond (at some length, I warn you):
I don’t want to let your statement that “…the treaties that were negotiated face-to-face with Indigenous leaders were always framed as sharing agreements not surrenders (no matter what the written text filed in Ottawa says)” pass without comment. You obviously know what the written text of the treaties say but let me quote an example. Treaty Six, signed at Forts Pitt and Carlton reads
 “The Plain and Wood Cree Tribes of Indians, and all other the Indians inhabiting the district hereinafter described and defined, do hereby cede, release, surrender and yield up to the Government of the Dominion of Canada, for Her Majesty the Queen and Her successors forever, all their rights, titles and privileges, whatsoever, to the lands included within the following limits, that is to say:…” That seems clear to me. There were some sharing aspects to the numbered treaties (limited hunting and fishing rights, the provision of reserve land) but these were minor in comparison to the amount of land which was transferred to Canada."
 The Plains and Wood Cree may not have fully understood the language used although I am inclined to give them credit as astute bargainers who reluctantly agreed to difficult terms. However, I cannot believe that the Canadian officials did not understand these terms as anything but a surrender. The concept of the treaties as a sharing agreement is a relatively recent innovation among some scholars and is far from general acceptance. As recently as 1984 Gerald Friesen wrote in The Canadian Prairies, p.138, that the federal government wanted “…to extinguish Indian claims to the territory once and forever.”
 If you are going to ignore the “written text filed in Ottawa” I think it is incumbent on you to do more than assert “that treaties were always framed as sharing agreements.”
Alan, you raise an important issue, and I thank you for putting this problem so clearly and succinctly, and with supporting evidence. I don't want to change a word of what I wrote, but you are entitled to ask for some expansion of what already felt to me like a long post. Let me begin by saying I am not an expert on treaty history, and my reading is partial and incomplete. Still less do the Cree or the Haida or the signatories of any particular treaty need me to speak for them. But the matters you raise are fundamental, and one cannot practise Canadian history without addressing them

First, let's consider what a treaty between (what is now) Canada and a First Nation is. The Royal Proclamation of 1763, in which Britain imposed the treaty obligation on its representatives in British North America, sets out a good definition:
"…If at any Time any of the Said Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said Lands, the same shall be Purchased only for Us, in our Name, at some public Meeting or Assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that Purpose by the Governor or Commander in Chief of our Colony respectively within which they shall lie….
We are used to thinking of treaties as written documents analogous to contracts where teams of lawyers have gone over every phrase and comma. The Royal Proclamation's definition may be useful here. It establishes treaties as agreements made in person on the land in question. The wording of the Proclamation suggests that if the chiefs, who neither read nor wrote English and may not have spoken it either, put their marks on a treaty document, they would be affirming, not the text itself but the agreement actually made on the ground between the negotiating parties.

If the texts, which do indeed contain such language as "cede, release, surrender and yield up … forever," are understood as transcripts or reports on an actual treaty, then historians are entitled -- indeed required -- to consider how accurately those written texts reflects the agreements themselves, the ones made in person between the Governor's representatives and an assembled First Nation. If there is a persistent disagreement between the written text of the treaties and independent evidence of what was actually agreed on the ground, why should we take the wording of the written text at face value and ignore the actual treaty?

I was very impressed several years ago by John Long's book Treaty No. 9: The Agreement to Share the Land in Far Northern Ontario in 1905. Indeed it impressed me so much that I made a radio documentary about it for CBC Radio, which you can listen to here

Treaty 9 is broadly similar to several other Canadian treaties with First Nations, though made late (in 1905). Its written text does include the "cede, release, surrender" language, for instance. But in the book Long assembled and published abundant evidence, even from the treaty commissioners themselves, that during the actual discussions the Cree and Ojibwa chiefs consistently refused any proposal that they should surrender their land or self-government. They did not agree to be confined to postage-stamp reserves. They intended to continue to hunt and fish and use their land. 

In order to get the chiefs' marks on the treaty document, the commissioners were compelled, at one meeting after another, to make broad promises: that reserves would only be places in which no white man could disturb the Indians and, particularly important, that the Indians would be free to hunt and fish forever, without restriction. It was upon the reiteration of those promises that the chiefs consented to affix their marks to the commissioners' document.

Long's Treaty 9 acknowledges, I think, that the Cree and Ojibwa were not getting something for nothing when they secured these promises from the commissioners. They were giving up something substantial. They understood in 1905 they could not prevent Euro-Canadians from coming into their territory. And they understood that Canada could be a source of benefits and necessities: medicine, education, access to new technologies and new livelihoods. What they offered in exchange, it seems pretty clear, was a sharing on agreed terms of what had been First Nations territory, land, and resources between the First Nations and Canada -- a big concession, but not a crazy one.

I haven't followed every treaty or every history of actual treaty negotiations, but when I look into them, or when I read phrases like "as long as the grass grows and the rivers run," and similar commitments, the Treaty 9 model -- treaties as sharing agreements -- sounds a lot more realistic than "cede, yield, surrender," -- no matter what the written text says. Note that when the Treaty 9 commissioners were negotiating and promising, they were carrying with them a Treaty 9 text that was already written and closed and which they could not change. How could it become a reliable transcript of negotiations yet to take place?

When one starts to accept what treaties actually were and are, it becomes easier to understand what the Assembly of First Nations wants, and what Idle No More wants (or wanted), and what indigenous intellectuals and scholars and writers frequently insist on. As I hear them, they want treaties respected. They want it understood that we are all treaty people. They want it accepted that such is the way forward.  It seemed to me, as I made the radio documentary, that was what Stan Louttit, then Grand Chief of the Mushkegowuk Cree of the James Bay Lowlands, was telling me his grandparents wanted when they made treaty.

I think that historians can help make the case -- indeed, are already making the case -- that if we want to make progress on reconciliation, if we want to make progress on pipelines, if we want to make progress on simple justice and what the law calls "the honour of the Crown," what we need to do in Canada is to start respecting and implementing treaties. Not unreliable cede-yield-surrender texts that do not stand up to historical scrutiny, but real treaties, amply documented as sharing agreements, made by people who, as you say, Alan, were indeed astute bargainers who agreed to difficult terms.

I think the evidence is: Canadian land treaties made with First Nations were about sharing, not surrendering. And they still are.

How all this applies to pipelines on the British Columbia lands where British Columbia and Canada refused to make treaty at all, and where the First Nations never even agreed to a sharing agreement… well, that's another question.

As I said at the start, I'm not a treaty historian or a specialist in these questions. I know something of what every Canadian ought to know, I think. But I would welcome further contributions from treaty historians, Euro-Canadian or indigenous, who may follow this blog.

Update, September 11:  Happy to see this morning that Kayak, the kids' history mag published by Canada's History, has got the idea down.  Cover story on the new issue: "We are All Treaty People"

Thursday, September 06, 2018

History books for the fall, part 2: UBC Press


UBC Press has a slew of studies on indigenous matters, not only on West Coast topics. Many of them look like law, politics, or cultural anthropology more than history, so while there are things I would read there, I'm not listing them all. In (what looks to me like) Canadian history for Fall 2018, there is a good range of noteworthy titles on indigenous as well as non-indigenous matters.

The woman's suffage project led by Veronica Strong-Boag has produced a couple of books for this catalogue. Strong-Boag herself has written The Last Suffragist Standing: The Life and Times of Laura Marshall Jamieson, a suffrage pioneer who was later a B.C MLA and Vancouver city councillor.  And in the Women’s Suffrage and the Struggle for Democracy series, Tarah Brookfield is bringing out Our Voices Must Be Heard: Women and the Vote in Ontario.

On a different rights issues, Jennifer Tunnicliffe's Resisting Rights Canada and the International Bill of Rights, 1947–76, looks at Canada's sometimes reluctant relationship with the international human rights principles it helped develop at the United Nations.  In Reassessing the Rogue Tory: Canadian Foreign Relations in the Diefenbaker Era, edited by Janice Cavell and Ryan M. Touhey, various scholars look into Diefenbaker foreign policy.

New in paperback, David Calverley's Who Controls the Hunt? First Nations, Treaty Rights, and Wildlife Conservation in Ontario, 1783–1939 explores how wildlife conservation has been beset by conflicts between public regulations, corporate interest, and First Nations rights.

Also new:  Edward Jones-Imhotep and Tina Adcock, eds., Made Modern Science and Technology in Canadian History and The Creator’s Game Lacrosse, Identity, and Indigenous Nationhood by Allan Downey.

History of treaties and pipelines



After the Federal Court's decision to stop construction of the TransMountain pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific Coast, there is one lesson that ought to be seized upon.  Settling indigenous land and self-government issues is simply the best way to pursue economic growth, infrastructure development, and industrial megaprojects in Canada.

Premier Rachel Notley expresses a view that seems to be a consensus from the Fraser Institute to 24 Sussex: consultation with First Nations about land and self-government is something to be endured when Canada has a pipeline or other project it wants to build on contested territory, not something to be undertaken in good faith as a moral or legal or historical obligation.
Meaningful consultation with parties affected by the pipeline should accommodate their concerns, not give them veto power over the project, she said. “I reject a scenario that has us talking until everybody says ‘yes.’ That’s not how it can work.”
Sorry, it's true that the courts only mandates "consultation,"  but given the meaninglessness Canada has made of consultation, there really is a de facto veto in place, and governments had better accommodate to that.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

History books for the fall, part 1: UT Press


The University of Toronto Press Fall-Winter Catalogue list some intriguing new works in Canadian history.

Carl Benn presents A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812, based on the 1815-16 memoir of Teyoninhokarawen, or John Norton, who participated in most of the major and many minor engagements of the Upper Canadian War of 1812.  (November)

Peter Price offers  Questions of Order: Confederation and the Making of Modern Canada, which from the description emphasizes how confederation changed ideas of the British Empire and Canada's place in it. (November)

Jim Phillips, Philip Girard and Blake Brown are bringing out the first volume of their ambitious History of Law in Canada. This one is Beginnings to 1866 (October)

Legal historian Robert Sharpe moonlights as a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal, and his new book Good Judgment: Making Judicial Decisions (October) is an inside look at how judges judge.

Tyler Wentzall's Not For King and Country is a biography of Edward Cecil-Smith, Cbina missions kid, journalist, and Communist party activist in 1930s Toronto who was among the first to volunteer for service in the Spanish Civil War and ended up a commander of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. (October).

UTP has more, including several paperback reissues, a cluster of First World War histories, and several works in indigenous studies and land-and-title issues,  For deets, browse the calendar.

We'll try and look at the other major publishers of Canadian history in upcoming posts.

Catching up with the Canadian Historical Review (Summer 2018), I was disappointed to see Peter Russell's Canada's Odyssey, a rich and imaginative rethinking of Canadian constitutional history, get a blinkered, niggling review that chases after trivial errors and dismisses as worthless Russell's path-breaking integration of indigenous constitutional ideas and aspiration.  Of the aboriginal plan during the War of 1812 to create an indigenous nation south of the Great lakes, the reviewer writes:
the British only considered giving their Aboriginal allies land that was not theirs to give; they had already ceded it to the Americans in 1783.
But if the British had given it to the Americans, who gave it to the British?  The French, I guess.  And who gave it to them?  God, maybe, and no doubt God was bequeathed it from his rich uncle. It really is turtles all the way down. With this kind of ancestor-worship still passing for scholarship, it will take more than a few statue removals to achieve anything like reconciliation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

History of economic analysis


Ontario raised the minimum hourly wage to $14 in January 2018, with a raise to $15 scheduled for January 2019.  David Olive in the Toronto Star notes that most economic forecasters predicted the sky would fall.
In one of the more embarrassing incidents in recent Canadian economic history, the 2017 consensus of economic forecasters was that Ontario would suffer major job loss from the $14 Ontario minimum wage that went into effect Jan. 1, 2018.
To cite only a handful of the alarmists, the Bank of Canada, TD Bank, National Bank Financial and the Financial Accountability Office (FAO), the Ontario government watchdog, all predicted that Ontario would lose between 50,000 and 140,000 jobs because of the new $14 minimum wage.
As it happens, though, Ontario has gained so many jobs since Jan. 1 that by August, the Ontario jobless rate had dropped to an 18-year low, of 5.4 per cent, second-lowest in the country after B.C.
But Ontario elected a Conservative government this summer and it cancelled the second increase. So much for improving living standards, boosting the Ontario economy, and reducing unemployment.

The Globe & Mail is the paper of record in Canada, I know, but I suspect this is not the kind of story that will be highlighted in the Report on Business.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Best British History Books

Britain's History Today magazine recently announced that Emily Jones has won its annual book prize for her Edmund Burke & the Invention of Modern Conservatism, 1830-1914: An Intellectual History.

Here is the whole shortlist. They are from a mix of academic and trade presses. A pretty impressive range of titles, not that I have read (or indeed previously hear of) any of them. What silos we live in.

James Delbourgo, Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane
Tera W. Hunter, Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth CenturyEmily Jones, Edmund Burke & the Invention of Modern Conservatism, 1830-1914: An Intellectual HistoryTom Lambert, Law & Order in Anglo-Saxon EnglandChris Renwick, Bread for All: The Origins of the Welfare StateZoƫ Waxman, Women in the Holocaust: A Feminist History

History of spill and why Canada could use some

I like politics this much (M. Turnbull)
They are having a spill in Australian politics again, and I kind of admire it. "Spill" is what Australians call a leadership challenge. The right wing government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has (with coalition support) a narrow majority, but the even-more right wing anti-immigrant demagogue Peter Dutton has resigned from cabinet and challenged Turnbull's leadership of the Liberal Party.
“This is a fight for the heart and the soul of the Liberal party,” says one moderate MP. “These people surrounding Dutton – these people are not Liberals, they are not conservatives, they are fucking reactionaries, and I have nothing but contempt for them.”
In Auz constituencies elect (or defeat) MPs and MPs elect (and when  necessary remove) their party leaders; it would only take 43 Liberal MPs to bring on a leadership vote within the caucus. This whole notion of accountability makes most Canadian commentators flutter and go pale and talk about coups d'etat.

Canadian politics wrings its hands over Maxime Bernier's independent line on Conservative party policy -- what will Scheer do about him? what does it mean? why can't he be controlled? Serious commentators still insist that those ugly vote-buying extravaganzas we call leadership conventions are a valid way to chose leaders -- and to bestow dictatorial power on them for years on end.

Australian politics, however, accepts that in parliamentary societies, we elect caucuses, not one Great Leader. Within a caucus there will always be a diversity of views and some healthy tension.  Quite a few Conservative MPs and conservative supporters in Canada surely share Bernier's anti-immigrant and anti-diversity beliefs.  Since those beliefs are probably a political liability, it's reasonable for the party leader to avoid or at least downplay them. But why pretend does Canada intra-party differences do not exist or that the leader should be entitled to silence them instantly?

Britain currently has an odd, disfunctional mix of the Canadian system (mass membership selection of leaders, most of the time) and the Australian system of constant leadership accountability. Look at the huge policy differences that Brexit has created within the Conservative government cabinet and caucus, and in the Labour caucus too.  Better surely, to have those differences genuinely represented in caucus that to have a dictatorial leader decree that they cannot exist. )   

It is true that Australian politicians, both Labour and Liberal, have been alarmingly eager to launch leadership spills in recent decades, and their excessive use of the leadership challenge has damaged both  parties.  But before long they will learn by doing that over-use of the spill makes them look fractious, disorganized, and disloyal.

I don't know the political leanings of the major Auz papers, but the Sydney Morning Herald says that PM Turnbull (basically a moderate) sold his soul to the reactionary fringe of his party in order to gain power, and now the reactionaries want the substance of power as well as mere influence. The Australian simply says that Turnbull is ruthlessly ambitious and will do anything for power -- or for revenge if he loses it: he will bring down the government if Dutton leads it.

All sides seems to agree the whole thing is great news for Labour and a guy called Bill Shorten who currently leads it.  Of course past Labour PMs Rudd and Gillard also faced spills in the recent past, so...

Engagingly weird detail: Dutton owns a business that sells services to the government, and that may make him ineligible to be prime minister. (He says it does not.)

Update, same day:  Helen Webberley checks in from Melbourne:
Westminster democracy depends on a party being able to elect and discard its own leader, of course. And any member of the governing party can put up his hand to be selected as the new leader, if the existing leader has proved to be inept.
But most Australian citizens are centrist i.e to the right wing of the Labor Party and to the left, progressive wing of the Conservative Party. For Dutton and the extreme right of the Conservative Party to block, harm and intimidate members of the governing party is a disgrace. Dutton was the only Federal Parliamentarian in Australia to boycott the national apology to the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Families.
Hmm, yes. But somebody must have elected the almost-half of the governing party that wants to make Dutton prime minister.

Update, August 24:  And now there is a new prime minister, Scott Morrison, who had been finance minister. The Guardian:
On Friday, incumbent Malcolm Turnbull failed in his attempt to stare down a challenge from hard right MP Peter Dutton, with insurgents in his party gathering enough signatures to call for a “spill” – or leadership contest.
That led to a three-way challenge that included Morrison, Turnbull’s treasurer, Dutton, the former home affairs minister, and Julie Bishop, the foreign minister. Turnbull himself stood aside from the contest.
Bishop was eliminated in the first round, and Morrison beat Dutton in a subsequent run-off, 45 votes to 40, suggesting the party is still deeply divided.
There appears no end in sight to the civil war consuming the ruling Liberal-led coalition government.
The new PM ain't Dutton but he is "the socially conservative architect of Australia’s hardline anti-asylum seeker policies."

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

History of heritage wars at Cupids


Cupids Heritage Centre
There must be some buzz in Newfoundland historic, archaeological, and heritage circles over The Globe and Mail's weekend story by Jessica Leeper about disputes in Cupids, Newfoundland.  Millions in heritage funding has unwritten an excavation and reconstruction of John Guy's 1610 settlement, the first enduring European one on the island -- only to produce charges not only of maladministration of the money, but also that the true site of Guy's community lies 18 km south of modern Cupids.  Given the thinness of historical records on most such early settlements, it's not completely implausible at first glance.

But none of it is simple. One of those making the charges has a home threatened with expropriation for the historical project.  On the other hand anyone who has visited the thriving tourist sites at Trinity to the west of Cupids and Ferryland to the east can see how tempting it would be for any Newfoundland community to seize on the possibility of heritage development.
 
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