“We know where we are” the role of place in indigenous historiography by Haudenosaunee and Northwest Métis Historians




Osborne, Carla A.

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Indigenous peoples in the Americas applied many means of encoding and passing down their histories prior to the arrival of Europeans, combining oral and material-based methods. They have maintained their own histories, including these original methods despite the violent disruptions imposed by settler colonialism. Furthermore, Indigenous peoples have adopted European-style methods alongside their own, both to share their histories with newcomers, and to help overcome the impacts of colonialism. The earliest written and published Indigenous histories for these purposes may be misunderstood as works of mythology, memoir, or outright fiction if presented separately from their context in Indigenous intellectual and historiographic tradition. To counter such misunderstandings and read these works in a respectful and accurate way, it is necessary to replace them in context and apply concepts from Indigenous critical and decolonial theory. This dissertation examines the changes in Indigenous historiography since the arrival of Europeans in two steps. First, it presents an overview of pre-invasion Indigenous historiographic methods and of recent Indigenous intellectual tradition. Then it presents two case studies of historical monographs by Northwest Métis and Haudenosaunee writers and knowledge keepers published between 1825 and 2018. Each case study applies concepts from Indigenous critical theory and decolonial theory to support reading the monographs according to the epistemologies and narrative genres of the Indigenous nation. The case studies illustrate how the Haudenosaunee and Northwest Métis written histories connect to pre-invasion, place-based records, and the ways that these historians have adopted and adapted Euro-style methods to new languages and media.



Indigenous, Indigenous Historiography, Métis, Northwest Métis, Haudenosaunee, Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Métis Nation, historiography, League of the Haudenosaunee, Haudenosaunee League, Haudenosaunee historiography, Northwest Métis historiography, Métis historiography, Haudenosaunee historians, Métis historians, Northwest Métis historians, Indigenous critical theory, decolonial theory, postcolonial theory, place-relating, space-making, ethnohistory, Great Law of Peace, wahkôtowin, wahkootowin, wampum, oral tradition, recent Indigenous intellectual tradition