Fort Edmonton Park Talks Decolonization

I was invited to give two short sessions on the politics of voice and decolonization last week to the folks at Fort Edmonton Park. Considering they ran from 8:30-9:30am (which is really early to talk about such heavy topics), the participants were incredibly enthusiastic and engaged. I really enjoyed our discussions and I know we only scratched the surface. At their request, here is a starter reading list on the topic. Warning: some of them are pretty academic (life hack: you can get a lot just by reading the intros)! Please feel free to suggest more great books for Canada and beyond in the comments section!



  • Daniel Francis, The Imaginary Indian and National Dreams
  • Dwayne Donald, Edmonton Pentimento: Re-Reading History in the Case of the Papaschase Cree
  • Claudio Saunt, Black, white, and Indian: Race and the Unmaking of an American Family
  • Victoria Freeman, Distant Relations: How My Ancestors Colonized North America
  • Alexandra Harmon, Indians in the Making: Ethnic Relations and Indian Identities around Puget Sound
  • Paige Raibmon, Authentic Indians: Episodes of Encounter from the Late-nineteenth-century Northwest Coast
  • Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples
  • Philip Deloria, Indians in Unexpected Places
  • Kathleen Jamieson: Indian women and the law in Canada: Citizens Minus
  • Bonita Lawrence, “Real” Indians and Others: Mixed-Blood Urban Native Peoples and Indigenous Nationhood
  • Taiaiake Alfred, Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto
  • Eva Garroutte, Real Indians: Identity and the Survival of Native America
  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe


I also think fiction can be as useful and powerful as nonfiction; here are a few writers (and titles) on my to-read list in both genres:

  • Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian
  • Lee Maracle
  • Joseph Boyden


And don’t forget the awesome radio interviews out there!


*thanks to Paige Raibmon and Joy Dixon for introducing me to many of these works during my time in UBC’s History Department

Alberta Railway Museum: All Aboard for History and Fun!

It may be a little off the beaten track, but the Alberta Railway Museum is worth the drive if you’re a history buff – or the parent of small children. In fact, when my family and I ventured over on Sunday, June 15 (Father’s Day), the majority of people there were young families, often with grandparents in tow. What a great way to get kids hooked on history!



Me and Andre with Stephen Yakimets, a volunteer with the museum and our conductor for the day. Thanks, Stephen!


Just my kind of humour!


Me and my little guy, Andre, who loved exploring the site during our walking tour.


We almost missed the train (it ran once every hour) because Andre was so absorbed by all the knobs and buttons.


We were issued these tickets, which Stephen-the-conductor punched when we were on board. Neat souvenir!


City Hall School – Citizenship Fair 2014

I hadn’t heard of Edmonton’s City Hall School program until instructor and coordinator Linda Hut contacted me this spring. Now I’m a huge fan – especially after getting to take part in a session earlier this month. On Friday, June 13, I got to attend the wrap-up event and was inspired by the student reps and all the kids (and grownups) who came out to mark their achievements this year. Here are a few photos from the celebration!





Mayor Iveson gave a great speech in his “casual Friday” best, and acknowledged that City Hall School classes were his place to get centred during the early days of his mayoralty.


School Trustee for Ward H, Nathan Ip, got my attention when he mentioned there are 87,000 kids in Edmonton’s schools – and that the school system has a budget of $1 billion annually!


Instructor and coordinator Linda Hut, who was recognized for her hard work with this lovely (surprise) bouquet of flowers.


World War II veteran Maurice White and his wife, Elsie, came to the festivities. Maurice is an active volunteer with City Hall School when they come visit the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Museum at the Prince of Wales Armouries.



Shrink Rays and Airplanes: City Hall School

On Monday I got the chance to hang out with the Grade One’s from John A. McDougall school for an hour. It was so much fun!


First we listened to coordinator/instructor Linda Hut take us on a historic walk of downtown Edmonton, with great factoids about everything from City Hall to the Alberta Hotel to an inclined railway up the hill.

Then it was my turn to give a mini-talk about what the “history lady” (aka Historian Laureate does) and share a few stories about Edmonton’s aviation history. It was a blast chatting with them about “parapups”, some of our first aviatrixes, and Wop May’s involvement in stopping the Mad Trapper.

Plus we got to talk about shrink rays, space grass, and fighter planes flying through Edmonton. A pretty awesome way to start the week and I can’t wait for the Citizenship Fair next Friday!


I’m a sticker! How cool is that? The kids get to put this in their journal (and I got to as well!).


© 2011 Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail. All Rights Reserved.