Thursday, May 27, 2021

Robin Fisher on statues and memories

At The Ormsby Review, a nuanced reflection on statues and memorials and the taking-down thereof, by British Columbia historian Robin Fisher.

When I came to British Columbia, after learning and writing about Maori/pakeha history in New Zealand, I was stunned at the absence of Indigenous people from the historical writing on this province. There were exceptions like Wilson Duff’s Indian History of British Columbia, but the silence of historians was deafening. With the supervision of Wilson Duff and the help of others, I tried to make a contribution to changing the received view of British Columbia history and the role of First Nations people. My second supervisor, Margaret Ormsby, was not always happy with my conclusions, particularly about colonial figures like Joseph Trutch who led an assault on First Nations lands and cultures. Other colleagues thought better of my efforts when, to my amazement, my first book as an historian was awarded the John A. Macdonald prize in Canadian history.
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