Winner of the 1995 Ontario Historical Society Joseph Brant Award for the best book on native studies
Aboriginal Ontario: Historical Perspectives on the First Nations contains seventeen essays on aspects of the history of the First Nations living within the present-day boundaries of Ontario. This volume reviews the experience of both the Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples in Southern Ontario, as well as the Algonquians in Northern Ontario. The first section describes the climate and landforms of Ontario thousands of years ago. It includes a comprehensive account of the archaeologists’ contributions to our knowledge of the material culture of the First Nations before the arrival of the Europeans. The essays in the second and third sections look respectively at the Native peoples of Southern Ontario and Northern Ontario, from 1550 to 1945. The final section looks at more recent developments. The volume includes numerous illustrations and maps, as well as an extensive bibliography.
Dr. Edward Rogers, the head of the Department of Ethnology at the Royal Ontario Museum, a professor of anthropology at McMaster University, and a long-time researcher, friend, and associate of Canada's Native peoples, saw the need for this historical study. In the late 1970s he gean work on the project but died in 1988 before finishing the volume. Donald Smith, a phD student of Dr. Rogers's in the early 1970s and a member of the History Department of the University of Calgary since 1974, has completed the editing.
This book is noteworthy in that it has many aims and succeeds in filling them all. What sets this book apart from other more traditional history books is that it tries to represent the native viewpoint as much as possible by showing natives as active participants in politics, trading, and social affairs. This goes a long way towards counteracting the constant European perspective that has traditionally dominated Canadian history texts.