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 Featured Title
The Burden of History
Colonialism and the Frontier Myth in a Rural Canadian Community
Elizabeth Furniss  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 5/5/1999
ISBN: 9780774807104    

$34.95 Paperback
Release Date: 2/1/2000
ISBN: 9780774807111    

237 Pages


About the Book

This book is an ethnography of the cultural politics of Native/non-Native relations in a small interior BC city -- Williams Lake -- at the height of land claims conflicts and tensions. Furniss analyses contemporary colonial relations in settler societies, arguing that 'ordinary' rural Euro- Canadians exercise power in maintaining the subordination of aboriginal people through 'common sense' assumptions and assertions about history, society, and identity, and that these cultural activities are forces in an ongoing, contemporary system of colonial domination. She traces the main features of the regional Euro-Canadian culture and shows how this cultural complex is thematically integrated through the idea of the frontier. Key facets of this frontier complex are expressed in diverse settings: casual conversations among Euro-Canadians; popular histories; museum displays; political discourse; public debates about aboriginal land claims; and ritual celebrations of the city's heritage.

In each setting, Furniss shows how these cultural practices contribute to the marginalization of area Shuswap [Sepwecemc], Tsilhqot'in [Chilcotin], and Carrier peoples, and how area Native people are continually engaging in diverse and innovative modes of resistance to the dominant regional culture.

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Furniss is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Calgary.

Table of Contents


1. Culture and Colonialism in Rural British Columbia
2. The Burden of History
3. The Landscape of Public History: Pioneers, Progress, and the Myth of the Frontier
4. Mobilizing History: Regional Identities, Pioneer Traditions, and the Frontier Myth in Political Discourse
5. Indians, Whites, and Common-Sense Racism
6. Encountering Histories: The Land Claims Public Forum
7. Re-creating the Wild West: Negotiating Indianness in the Williams Lake Stampede
8. The Frontier Complex: Conclusions and Comments



... provides a deep examination of Aboriginal and Euro-Canadian relations in the city of Williams Lake, British Columbia. I recommend this book to those concerned with British Columbia, the culture of the frontier in North America, or the relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.

- Matthew Engel, Environment and Planning A 2000, Volume 32

This book, a study of cultural politics in Williams Lake, British Columbia, is an admirable exponent of this reinvention of ethnography…the book is a refreshing portrait of diversity both within and between the aboriginal and nonaboriginal communities, and the variety of views represented shows the complexity of the issues within their proper historical and cultural contexts.

- David Mardiros, CBRA 4210

Sample Chapter

A sample chapter of this title is not available at this time. For further information, please email

Related Topics

History > Canada
BC Studies
BC Studies > History
BC Studies > Anthropology

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of The Burden of History from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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