Finding my primary source was one of the difficult task while writing my research paper. Since my research topic focuses on how European women changed the lives of Indigenous women when they arrived in the Red River Settlement. I found a lot of documents that outlined the information I wanted but they were in secondary sources, therefore, secondary documents. I tried to find the primary sources but a majority of them were in Ottawa or Manitoba. Luckily, I came upon a collection of letters by a Letitia Hargrave who was the wife of one of the officials that held a high position in Red River Settlement.
This experience of finding primary sources made me realize the ordeal historians have to go to in writing papers and deciphering events that happened in the past. In order for me to get the information I wanted, I had to read between the lines of what has been written or said and have my own interpretations on it. I reckon doing history depends on the historians own interpretation on certain events based on the resource found
In my opinion, language and words we use have a lot of power. When referring to Indigenous peoples there are different terminology has has come and gone, and many that are still being used. Some terminology used when referring to the First peoples of Canada includes “Native”, “Indian”, “Aboriginal”, “First Nations” and “Indigenous”. By taking a First Nations class and Decolonization class in my Social Work program I have been educated not the right terminology to address the First peoples of Canada. In my decolonization class, we have been thought and instructed to use to term Indigenous, as that is the correct term to address the First peoples of Canada. When reading historical documents and work done by historians, I notice the terminology used are “Native” and “Indian”. I have to understand that these terms are not acceptable and should not be used so it is quite surprising for me to hear and see these be used in this day and age, even in the university.
This semester, I took an Indigenous literature class and we analyze work done by Indigenous authors. When discussing the works or analyzing what we have read, I always find it shocking to hear fellow students use “Natives” when referring to Indigenous people. I believe we should not use this words because historically, they have been used to degrade and as a form of insult to Indigenous peoples. Since we’re moving forward and changing the way Indigenous people have been treated from the past, we should also refer to them appropriately and respectfully as a way to show our respect.
The first reading for History class answered some of the questions that I was asked previously. What is History and how do you do it? I read the article When Was Canada? and this seemed to answer the questions posed last week.
One of the main ideas I took away from this reading is the fact that history is retelling of history is not a fluid process. Different factors come into place such as the ideology of the historian (they are the ones telling us what went on) and the various approach historians take. While reading this article, one thing I questioned was how do historians decide what is important and what isn’t important to be retold. I believe this is where the idea of the historian’s ideology comes in. In line with this thinking is how do historians decide WHOSE story is important. Then again, this comes in line with the historians’s ideology.
The article mentioned the use of “whats” and hows”. This is in line with the question posed in my first post. What is history and how is it told.
Although this article answered a lot of questions for me, I came out with more questions. Questions that might not be answered because “that’s just how some things are”. At the end of it all, some individuals are ghosts voice will never be heard.