The Traditional History and Characteristic Sketches of the Ojibway Nation (1850) was one of the first books of Indigenous history written by an Indigenous author. The book blends nature writing and narrative to describe the language, religious beliefs, stories, land, work, and play of the Ojibway people. Shelley Hulan's afterword considers Copway's rhetorical strategies in framing a narrative—she considers it a form of "history, interrupted"—for a non-Indigenous readership.
About the authors
Born in 1818 into an Anishinaabe family in the Rice Lake area of what is now Ontario, George Copway's autobiography, The Life, History and Travels of Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh (1847), was the first book-length work by an Indigenous author in Canada. Copway went on to author several other works, including The Traditional History and Characteristic Sketches of the Ojibway Nation (1850).
Shelley Hulan is an associate professor at the University of Waterloo, where she teaches early Canadian literature. She is a co-editor of Literature, Rhetoric, and Values: Selected Proceedings (2011) and a contributor to National Plots: Historical Fiction and Changing Ideas of Canada(WLU Press, 2010)