Shared spaces are spaces of resistance: Christopher James Wright, The Saugeen Ojibway Nation and Canada: Historical Relationships, Settler Colonialism, and Stories of a Shared Space, PhD Dissertation, King’s College, 2018


Abstract: This dissertation is a study of the relations of Saugeen Ojibway Nation in
Southwestern Ontario with British and other European settlers, the British
colonial state and Canadian nation. It is committed to an illumination of the
experience of Indigenous peoples as waves of migrants surrounded and enclosed
them in new ways of life.

The dissertation draws partially on unpublished sources, and some material
culture, in particular wampum, but is principally based on published primary
sources including government letters, documents, and reports; settler diaries;
newspaper articles; school texts books; and Indigenous created records,
testimonials, and collections of interviews.

The Anishinaabe ways of living made them appear to be an obstacle to the aims
of settlers, the British Crown, and later Canadian government. The sections of the
dissertation examine key episodes: initial engagements between the Saugeen
Ojibway Nation and early settlers (1830s-1880s), pre-confederation land
treaties and the discontent they engendered (1836-1861), and the tragedy of the
Residential Schools (1830s-1960s), seeking to map a the evolution of
relationships between Canada and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation as Canada
increasingly sought to remove Indigenous peoples by way of either assimilation
or extermination.

But there was also, from the outset, an alternative experience of peaceful and
respectful coexistence, and the dissertation attempts, in all these sections, to
make this visible. Today, the population within Canadian borders is comprised of
sovereign Indigenous peoples, the descendants of settlers, and newcomers. The
thesis is intended to be a contribution to a new history of Canada as a shared

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