Too often Indigenous peoples have been portrayed as being without a future, destined either to disappear or assimilate into settler society. This book asserts quite the opposite: Indigenous peoples are not in any sense “out of time” in our contemporary world. Shaping the Future on Haida Gwaii shows how Indigenous peoples in Canada not only continue to have a future, but are at work building many different futures – for themselves and for their non-Indigenous neighbours. Through the experiences of the Haida First Nation, this book explores these possible futures in detail, demonstrating how Haida ways of thinking about time, mobility, and political leadership are at the heart of contemporary strategies for addressing the dilemmas that come with life under settler colonialism.
Joseph Weiss is an assistant professor of anthropology at Wesleyan University. This book is the result of five years of fieldwork in Old Massett and Masset with the people of the Haida First Nation. Dr. Weiss also maintains abiding interests in Truth and Reconciliation in Canada and research ethics in the social sciences. He has collaborated with the University of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History on the “Open Fields Project,” examining museum-Indigenous relationships.
Weiss’s respect and relationships with the residents of Gaw and his commitment to ethical, reciprocal, and meaningful research comes through in this intriguing book.