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In the spirit of the pioneers : historical consciousness, cultural colonialism and Indian/white relations… Furniss, Elizabeth Mary 1997

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IN T H E SPIRIT OF T H E PIONEERS: HISTORICAL CONSCIOUSNESS, CULTURAL COLONIALISM A N D INDIAN/WHITE RELATIONS IN RURAL BRITISH COLUMBIA by E L I Z A B E T H MARY FURNISS B.Sc, University of Victoria, 1981 M.A., University of British Columbia, 1987 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF T H E REQUIREMENTS FOR T H E D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in T H E FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Anthropology and Sociology) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1997 © Elizabeth Mary Furniss, 1997 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of (Z^MxxOpoLoQ^ OLKd The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) Abstract This dissertation is an ethnography of the cultural politics of Indian/white relations in a small, interior British Columbia resource city at the height of land claims conflict and tensions. Drawing on the theoretical approaches of Nicholas Thomas (1994) and Raymond Williams (1977, 1980), I show how the power that reinforces the subordination of aboriginal peoples in Canada is exercised by 'ordinary' rural Euro-Canadians whose cultural attitudes and activities are forces in an ongoing, contemporary system of colonial domination. In approaching these issues through in-depth ethnographic research with both the Native and Euro-Canadian populations and in exploring the dynamics of cultural domination and resistance at the level of a local, rural community, this dissertation stands as a unique contribution to the ethnographic study of colonialism and Native/non-Native relations in Canada. The dominant Euro-Canadian culture of the region is defined by a complex of understandings about history, society and identity that is thematically integrated through the idea ofthe frontier. A t its heart, the frontier complex consists of an historical epistemology - a Canadian version of the American frontier myth (Slotkin 1992) - that celebrates the processes through which European explorers 'discovered' and 'conquered' North America and its aboriginal inhabitants, . Central to this complex is the Indian/white dichotomy, a founding archetype in Euro-Canadians' symbolic ordering of regional social relations and in their private and public constructions of collective identity. Also central is the Euro-Canadians' self-image of benevolent paternalism, an identity that appears repeatedly in discourses of national history and Native/non-Native relations. Facets of the frontier complex are expressed in diverse settings: casual conversations among Euro-Canadians, popular histories, museum displays, political Ill discourse, public debates about aboriginal land claims, and the town's annual summer festival. In each setting, these practices contribute to the perpetuation of relations of inequality between Euro-Canadians and area Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier peoples, and in each setting area Natives are engaging in diverse forms of resistance. The plurality of these strategies of resistance, rooted in different cultural identities, biographical experiences and political philosophies, reflects the creativity in which new forms of resistance are forged and tested in public contexts of Native/Euro-Canadian interaction. i v Table of Contents Abstract ii Table of Contents iv Acknowledgments vii Chapter One: Introduction 1 The Setting 4 Comparative Literature 13 Theoretical Framework 17 The Frontier Cultural Complex 23 Methodology 30 Background Issues: The Study Context 31 Methodology and Oudine of Chapters 37 Chapter Two: The Historical Context 44 Aboriginal Cultures of the Cariboo-Chilcotin The European Fur Trade The 1860s: Epidemics and the Gold Rush The Land Issue Control Through Legislation Shuswap, Carrier and Tsilhqot'in Life, Early 1900s Religious Colonization Williams Lake Settlement, 1860-1940 Land Tenure and Forest Industry Expansion Native/Non-Native Relations, 1940-Present Chapter Three: Public History and the Myth of the Frontier 71 Public School Curriculum 74 High School History Textbooks 76 Discretionary influences 83 Popular Historical Literature 85 Regional Histories 87 Local Histories: Pioneer Stories 92 Local Histories: Alternate Perspectives 100 44 47 49 51 .53 54 56 56 59 65 V Chapter Three, continued The City Museum 102 Conclusion 108 Chapter Four: Regional Identities, Pioneer Traditions, and the Frontier Myth in Political Discourse . 112 Regional Identities and Small Town Values 115 Public Values as Symbolic Currency: Evoking the Symbol of the Pioneer 124 The Demolition of Rick Mooney's Home 125 The C O R E Protest . 136 Conclusion 148 Chapter Five: Frontier Identities: Indians and Whites 151 The Dimensions of Difference: Indians in Euro-Canadian Conversational Discourse 154 Interview Talk and Everyday Conversation 156 Cautious Discourse 166 Status Domination and Resistance in Native/non-Nalive Relations 174 Examples 178 Plural Forms of Native Resistance 185 Conclusion 189 Chapter Six: The Land Claims Forum 192 Background The Reform Town Hall Meeting The Moral Discourse of Equality Other Discourses: Naturalizing Conquest and Denying Aboriginality Moral Discourses of Native Inferiority Moral Inferiority Historicized The Audience's Response Conclusion 195 198 202 209 210 214 216 224 vi Chapter Seven: Ritual Celebrations: The Williams Lake Stampede 229 The Origin and Development of the Stampede 231 Theoretical Frame: Negotiating Identity Through Performance 240 The Stampede Today: Organization, Events and Native Involvement 243 Perfonriing Indianness: Euro-Canadian and Native Perspectives 249 Stampede Organizers' Perspectives 249 First Nations Perspectives 252 The Strategies of Performance: Native Rationales 257 Conclusion 262 Chapter Eight: Summary and Implications 265 The Frontier Complex as Historical Epistemology 266 Public Values, Regional Identities and the Indian/White Dichotomy 269 Beyond Racism: Power and the Control of Public Identities 271 Racism, Egalitarianism and the Problem of Ideological Contradiction 274 • Benevolent Paternalism and Euro-Canadian Identity 276 Modes of Resistance 278 Conclusion: The Frontier Complex in Comparative Perspective 285 Bibliography 293 Acknowledgments Although the writing of a dissertation is a solitary process, the end product expresses a vision of reality formed through dialogue with research supervisors, committee members, colleagues, friends, associates, 'research participants' and many others. I would like to acknowledge some of the people who - direcdy, indirecdy or unwittingly - were part of this dialogue and who contributed to this dissertation in important ways. First, my supervisory committee members - Dr. Julie Cruikshank, Dr. Martin Silverman, and Dr. Michael Kew (and, previously, Dr. Blanca Muratorio) - have given me tremendous support, critical guidance, and a great deal of freedom to arrive at my own understanding of the intellectual problems of epistemology, power, and agency as they play out in the particular communities portrayed here. Dr. Cruikshank's expertise in historical narrative, cultural representation and cross-cultural discourse; Dr. Silverman's theoretical and methodological precision and critical intellectual honesty; and Dr. Kew's concern with the practical implications of ethnographic research have been important influences throughout and I value their contributions gready. I have also benefited from the thoughtful and critical commentary provided by my three external examiners, Dr. Michael Blake and Dr. Paul Tennant of the University of British Columbia and Dr. Harvey Feit of McMaster University. Many individuals from the Cariboo and Chilcorin have played significant roles both in their support of this project and, through conversations that have stretched over some years, in shaping my understanding of Native/non-Native relations. I would like to mention and give thanks in particular to Bev Sellars, Reg Michel, Kristie Alphonse, Diana French, Liz Robertson, Chris Wycotte, Nancy Sandy, Jean William, Doreen Johnny, Lynne Gilbert, Joan Gendes, Ralph Phillips, Francis Johnson, Roy Christopher, Charlene Belleau, Agnes Jack, Alice Vogler, Rick Gilbert, and the people of the Soda Creek First Nation. A number of these individuals have read drafts of this dissertation and have provided me with careful and honest feedback. Special thanks go to Bev Sellars for providing me with a place to stay during my research in 1992,1994 and 1995, and to Gaeil Farrar and Blair Smith, with whom I stayed in 1996 and 1997 when I was writing the final version of the dissertation. My connections and conversations with fellow graduate students and other friends not already mentioned - Leslie Robertson, David Dinwoodie, Pauline Joly de Lotbiniere, Pat Kachuk, Linda Mattson, Andie Palmer, Nancy Hawkins, Theresa Duynstee, Laurie Page, Doreen Bakstad and Kate Alexander - have sustained me through the period I have been in the P h D program. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the critical influence of Mary Chapin Carpenter, whose voice and music transfused me and inspired my writing as I was finishing this project. 1 Chapter One: Introduction In the summer of 1995 the Gustafsen Lake blockade in the Cariboo region of British Columbia captured nationwide media attention and transfixed the viewing public with images of armed R C M P teams, helicopters, and camouflaged aboriginal men determined to protect the remote Sun Dance grounds from outside interference. The issues raised during the Gustafsen Lake standoff were complex, and the political alliances and rhetorical positions of those involved shifted almost on a daily basis. However, by the end of the summer various Native parties, including men and women behind the lines at Gustafsen Lake, the nearby Canoe Creek First Nation in whose traditional territory the grounds were situated, and Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Ovide Mercredi all were publicly defining the issue as the inevitable consequence of the province's historical failure to address aboriginal tide claims. The non-Native public of the Cariboo, encouraged by mounting opposition to the province's new treaty negotiation policy and by the federal Reform Parry's anti-land claims platform of "One law for all Canadians", saw the armed occupation of private ranch land as an issue not of unresolved historical injustices, but of Native criminals receiving special treatment from R C M P officers who refused to storm the site and arrest its occupants. The polarization of public opinion on the Gustafsen Lake issue was only one indication of the intense conflicts now playing out between Natives and non-Natives in resource-based communities throughout British Columbia. Although it captured much sensationalistic media attention, the Gustafsen Lake crisis was not an isolated incident. The Native blockades erected that spring and summer at Adams Lake and Douglas Lake to force government action on unresolved land claims incited equally heated tempers and rhetoric among local residents. In the 2 context of rising economic insecurity over the future of the forest industry, looming job layoffs, and the provincial government's decision to negotiate aboriginal treaties, the confrontations at Gustafsen Lake, Adams Lake and Douglas Lake brought to full public view the critical, longstanding problems that many rural communities now face in coming to terms with the legacy of European colonialism, in addressing issues of land claims, aboriginal rights and self-government, and in defining the terms of a new, more equitable coexistence between the local Native and non-Native populations. The Gustafsen Lake standoff was a microcosm of the broader process by which Native peoples across the country are attempting to confront the legacy of colonialism and to renegotiate their relationships with the Canadian state and Canadian society. A wealth of anthropological literature is documenting the challenges aboriginal peoples face as they attempt to secure greater political and cultural autonomy though changes in Indian Affairs administration and public policy (Speck 1987; Waldram 1988; Dyck 1991), through challenges to the Canadian justice system (T^dington 1982,1992; Cruikshank 1992a; Miller 1992; Pryce 1992; Mills 1994-95), and through land claims and self-government agreements (Brody 1981; Feit 1982, 1985, 1995; Asch 1984; Salisbury 1986). There is increasing attention to how public opinion, as reflected in media reporting, serves as a critical resource in mobilizing public support for, or opposition to, aboriginal political interests (Armitage and Kennedy 1989; Skea 1993-94; Grenier 1994). These studies attest to the myriad1 ways in which Native communities are articulated with the institutions and agencies of the state, and the manner in which Native leaders must confront not only the structures of the Canadian state but the popular beliefs that rationalize state control and regulation of Native lives. In contrast, relatively little anthropological attention has focused on how these political processes are occurring in the everyday dynamics of Native/non-3 Native relations in the small cities and towns spread across rural Canada. In these settings one finds the greatest discrepancies in material wealth, social conditions, health and education between the Native and non-Native populations. One finds the greatest degree of separation of the two populations, a separation reinforced by the open, 'common-sense' racism of the non-Native public. And in British Columbia resource-based towns, one now finds the greatest fear among non-Native industry, municipal government, business and labour leaders that aboriginal treaties will bring about the shut down of the forest industry and the destruction of non-Native lifestyles and communities. Native people in rural regions are not only confronting the legal, administrative, economic and political structures in which they are entangled. Power exists not only in the activities of the state, its agencies and institutions and their supporting bureaucratic ideologies. It is also deeply embedded in cultural forms and practices that frame 'common-sense' understandings of the world. In their ongoing political activity, Native people in rural communities are also confronting the very terms of Canadian culture itself: the heroic frontier histories celebrating the early white 'discoverers' of British Columbia, the widespread assumption of the historical inevitability - and desirability - of cultural assimilation, the liberal democratic myth of the self-made man, and the racist stereotypes of Natives that deny their individuality, humanity and integrity. The politics of decolonization in these rural settings are being fought out not just on legal or bureaucratic grounds, but on the cultural terrain of competing definitions of the nature of history, society, and identity. This dissertation is an ethnography of the cultural politics of Indian/white relations in a small, interior B.C. resource city at the height of land claims conflict and tensions. I am primarily concerned with tracing the relationship between colonial power - the power that reinforces and maintains the subordinate position 4 of aboriginal peoples in Canada - and Canadian culture as experienced in the lives of small town Euro-Canadians. In the following chapters I explore different facets of the dominant Euro-Canadian culture of this region, and show how this culture exists as a set of widespread, 'common-sense' orientations to history and identity, a set of orientations that revolve around the idea and symbol of the frontier. These beliefs, values and attitudes are encountered in diverse settings from casual conversations, popular historical literature, museum displays, and community festivals to political discourse on aboriginal land claims. I assess how these assumptions about identity and history enhance relations of inequality between Euro-Canadians and area Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier peoples. Finally, I show how area Native people are engaging in plural forms of resistance against this dominant culture, not only as strategies of collective empowerment but as part of their ongoing efforts to renegotiate their existing relationships with the regional Euro-Canadian society. The Setting Williams Lake is the largest city in the Cariboo region of British Columbia, and lies some 500 kilometers north of Vancouver on the main highway to the northern interior of the province. The Cariboo region is often referred to more generally as the Cariboo-Chilcotin, the Chilcotin being that area lying west of the Fraser River, and the Cariboo proper being the region lying to the east. The Cariboo-Chilcotin is part of the broad, dry interior plateau, an area of flat to rolling terrain covered by coniferous forests of fir, spruce and lodgepole pine and, in the wetter regions, deciduous forests of poplar and'birch. The forests are interrupted by the broad," open grasslands that lie along the terraced benches of the Fraser River and that extend westward through the east Chilcotin. Cariboo-Chilcotin summers are typically short, warm and dry, punctuated occasionally by . 5 sudden thunder and lightning storms that blow through the river and creek valleys in a matter of minutes. The first snow often falls in November, and by Christmas time there is a permanent blanket covering the ground. The snow usually disappears by late March in what bush workers call "spring break up", when the ground thaws, turns to mud, and makes logging and hauling from the bush impossible. Williams Lake is the main industrial, administrative and commercial center of the Cariboo. The economy is dominated by the forest industry, but ranching, mining, tourism and government employment are also important. As the principal government center for the Cariboo-Chilcotin, the public service has been a stabilizing factor in the city's economy in recent years when both the forest and mining industries have undergone downturns. The city's population is just under 11,000 residents. Although technically a city, in everyday conversation most residents refer to Williams Lake as a "town", reflecting a prevalent attachment to populist imagery of social and community relations. The majority of city residents are of European ancestry: British, German, French and Dutch. There is a relatively large Sikh Indo-Canadian population, comprising 12 percent of local residents, while Native people make up at least 8 percent of city residents.1 The actual number of people flowing through the city on any day, though, is higher. Many Cariboo residents place high value on the rural lifestyle that the region affords, and a significant number of those who work in the city live on small acreages or hobby farms in outlying areas. In addition, rural families from as far away as the west Chucotin regularly travel to the city to buy groceries, clothing, hardware and livestock supplies and to obtain medical and government services. On Fridays and Saturdays dust-covered pickup trucks fill the parking lots of the Based on 1991 Statistics Canada figures for those individuals (about half the population) reporting single ethnic origins. 6 Mall and the major grocery stores as people from rural areas do their weekly or monthly purchases. "Case lot" sales - bulk sales of huge quantities of canned food items - are a regular event at the city's grocery stores. The regional population of the Cariboo-Chilcotin is estimated at between 40,000 and 60,000, depending on how one draws the region's boundaries. This figure includes individuals living in the expansive region from Horsefly and Likely, some 60 kilometers to the east, to Anahim Lake, over three hundred kilometers to the west across the Chilcotin plateau. This broader region includes fifteen Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier First Nations reserve communities totaling about 6,000 registered band members.2 Native people therefore comprise at least ten to fifteen percent of the regional population. Non-Native settlement in the Chilcotin is very sparse, with families typically living on widely dispersed ranches. The Tsilhqot'in reserve community of Anaham,. for example, with a resident population of about 600, is three times more populous than the nearby 'white' settlement of Alexis Creek. As is characteristic of the curious, selective invisibility of Natives in the geographical landscape, Anaham and other reserve communities often go unmarked on provincial road maps while smaller non-Native settlements such as Alexis Creek are highlighted. Williams Lake shares the same characteristics of many other rural cities and towns, where the regional economies are based on natural resource extraction or agriculture, where the cities serve as a main service and commercial center for satellite reserve communities, and where the proportion of Natives in the population is relatively high as compared with urban settings. As in small rural cities and towns in Manitoba (Elias 1975; Lithman 1984), Saskatchewan (Braroe 1975), and northern Ontario (Stymeist 1975), Native people in the Cariboo-2 This figure does not include Natives who are not registered with one of the fifteen regional Indian Bands; nor does it include non-status Indians. 7 Chilcotin in the last four decades have been largely excluded from employment as the forest industry and infrastructure of businesses, services, and government agencies have grown and prospered. Native people are noticeably absent from employment positions in in the mills or in the city's restaurants, retail stores, banks, businesses or offices. Two First Nations educators are employed in the School District's administration, and while the district in the past has hired Native teachers, at present there are no Natives teaching mainstream classes in any of the city's schools. In short, as in other rural settings, Natives in the Cariboo-Chilcotin have been marginalized from the regional society and economy, a position maintained through dependency on welfare provisioning (Elias 1975; Paine 1977a) and the historic legacy of the Indian reserve system and the restrictive Indian Affairs bureaucratic regulations (Dyck 1991:98-104), and a position that is only now beginning to shift with the political and economic changes being introduced through pending land claims settlements. The non-Native community of Williams Lake has prospered greatiy from the expanding resource economy. The dominance of the forest industry in Williams Lake is evident in the visual landscape of the city. Four major sawmills, one plywood mill, and several secondary manufacturing industries are situated along the Williams Lake valley running through the city. Massive log storage yards and beehive burners are clearly visible from the downtown. On any day one can see a steady flow of loaded logging trucks arriving from the Chilcotin. The logging industry is literally imprinted on the city's landscape in the deep ruts that heavily laden trucks have worn into the paved roads and thoroughfares. Many people are employed directly by the local mills as mill workers, truckers or contract loggers, or are employed indirecdy through businesses such as machine repair shops and heavy equipment suppliers that provide the mills with goods and services. 8 The logging industry has imprinted itself on the local Euro-Canadian culture as well. The city has the distinct ethos of a "working town", where physical labour in the mills or in the bush, and the entrepreneurialism of associated small businesses are the most symbolically valued forms of work. The emphasis on independence, hard work, and competitiveness captures an essential 'frontier spirit' of the city: it is a town where owning a gun and a chainsaw is a part of everyday life, and where the vehicle of preference is not a B M W or Mercedes, but a functional, heavy-duty four by four pickup truck. The impact of the forest industry is evident in everyday language, where phrases such as "beede kill", "chip trucks" and "annual allowable cut" have meaning to virtually all residents. So symbolically important is the logging industry that it is celebrated in the city's annual Loggers Sports Day. One school, Glendale elementary, recendy became the first public school in Canada to abandon the traditional summer vacation period. Now students receive the month of April off to coincide with the spring break-up period and the annual lay-off time for loggers and truck drivers, allowing fathers and children to spend their vacation time together. In short, Williams Lake has accommodated the forest industry in many ways. It is not merely the economic base of the city, but is seen by local people to comprise a distinct lifestyle that is deeply valued and publicly, collectively celebrated. The frontier spirit of Williams Lake is also heavily influenced by the city's roots in the ranching industry. The Cariboo-Chilcotin region is widely known as "Cowboy Country", and the city itself is widely known for its annual summer Stampede. During the four day rodeo and festival the city transforms itself into a mythological Wild West town, with storefronts and interiors decorated in motifs of cowboys, Indians and cattle. The Stampede is the most important ritual celebration of the city's official public identity and "frontier" history, drawing thousands of visitors and putting the city on the map of international tourism. 9 There are fifteen First Nations communities in the Cariboo-Chilcotin: six Tsilhqot'in, four Carrier, and five Shuswap. Ten of the fifteen use Williams Lake as a major commercial center. The Shuswap reserve conomunities are situated east of the Fraser River, while the Tsilhqot'in are to the west, and the Carrier to the northwest. The Shuswap reserve of Sugar Cane, at the south end of the lake, is only 12 kilometers from the city, and is clearly visible from the main highway. In contrast, the closest Tsilhqot'in community is Toosey, some fifty kilometers distant. The Nemiah band is the most remote, tucked into the extreme southwest Chilcotin and hours away by rough road. With the exception of the Ulkatcho Carrier at Anahim Lake, Carrier people usually travel to the northern city of Quesnel for groceries, supplies and services. Native people are a visible presence in the city. On any given day one can see Natives having meals in the fast-food oudets, socializing in the food court of the indoor mall, playing bingo at the downtown bingo hall, waiting in bank lineups, or shopping in the grocery stores of the city. At the same time, Native/non-Native relations in the city are marked by the same tensions found in other rural towns (Braroe 1975; Stymeist 1975; Brody 1981; Lithman 1984). The same tacit, invisible line separates the two populations into distinct and separate social groups. This separation, however, is not absolute. Natives and non-Natives come into informal social contact in a number of settings. One of the most important area is the public school system. While many reserve communities now operate their own elementary schools, Native students make up between 15 and 20 percent of the secondary school population in the city. Recreational sports teams are another venue for informal contact. Ice hockey, ball hockey, soccer, and slow and fast pitch softball are popular activities among both Euro-Canadians and Natives. While Native-only sports teams and leagues run through the year, Native people are also participating on 'integrated' teams in the city. 10 Native and Euro-Canadian men and women do intermarry, and have been doing so since the first settlers arrived in the Cariboo-Chilcotin some 130 years ago. Over time, these intermarriages have created a significant group of people with mixed Native/Euro-Canadian heritage and with potential links to both communities. The ever-present reality of racism has long encouraged those of mixed ancestry to publicly deny their Native roots and to claim Euro-Canadian identity. Others may identify publicly as part Native under some circumstances. Still others,now claim full Native identity and are seeking to reestablish ties to reserve families. Natives married to Euro-Canadians, and individuals of mixed ancestry, may be embedded in social networks that mediate the town's Euro-Canadian population and the Native reserve communities. The ethnographic model of the absolute separation of rural Native and non-Native communities does not completely capture the reality of social relations in Williams Lake. This model, however, does capture the ideal vision that Euro-Canadians hold ' of local Native/non-Native relations. The terms "Indian" and "white" are the most relevant categories for symbolically organizing social relations in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Both Natives and Euro-Canadians use these categories freely to designate the Other; they use a variety of context-dependent terms to identify themselves.3 Through processes of socialization, non-Native newcomers to the 3 Native people in the Cariboo-Chilcotin today use a variety of terms to identify themselves. In informal discussion many people prefer the designation of Native. In more formal political discourse with non-Natives the term First Nations is now becoming preferred, although Native and aboriginal are also frequently used. In addition, Native leaders occasionally use the term Indian in their formal political discussions with non-Native society. In such contexts, the term Indian is used in a positive sense as a symbol of pride and defiance of the negative connotations long conveyed through non-Native usage. The terms Indian, aboriginal, First Nations and Native convey meanings that are highly context-dependent. I have attempted to stay within local convention by using the term Native as a general category. I occasionally use the term First Nations or aboriginal when referring to political leaders and political contexts of interaction. I use the term Indian to refer specifically to non-Native perspectives. This term refers not so much to a reality of Native people, but to the idea of the Other as created and perpetuated in non-Native (continued, p. 11) 11 city come to accept as common-sense the absolute 'difference', constructed in terms of morality and culture, between the Native and non-Native populations. While Natives and non-Natives may occupy the same public space - in the Mall, on the streets, in the civic arena, in the bars and pubs - in practice the two groups do not mix easily. Natives and Euro-Canadians are not often seen talking freely, but instead move and socialize in groups amongst themselves. The spontaneous, passing interchanges among strangers become more guarded as social distance declines in more confined settings of interaction. The reticence of individuals to talk 'across the line' is an implicit social convention that is actively maintained by many Euro-Canadians and Natives. This idealized separation between Indian and white is reflected in the spatial segregation of the "Indian" bar and cafes in town, and in the isolation of the reserve communities from the non-Native settlements and towns in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. While Native people move freely between their reserves and the city, a culture^  and discourse. Although white remains the most common colloquial term used to designate non-Natives in Canada, alternate terms are emerging here also. Non-Native is occasionally used in both private and public discussions in the Cariboo-Chilcotin by individuals so designated. A more precise but cumbersome variant, Euro-Canadian, is rarely heard in popular discourse but is, frequently used in formal academic settings to refer to the dominant segment of Canadian society. Here I have chosen to use the term Euro-Canadian when I wish to specify the dominant population of Williams Lake, and non-Native when I refer to the broader range of city residents (which includes a significant number of In do-Canadians). I use the term white when I wish to evoke the colonial nature of the relationships between Natives and non-Native Canadians (which, in the local context, I gloss as Indian/white relations) and the colonial legacy of the dominant culture in which Euro-Canadians remain embedded. The terms Native, non-Native, and even Euro-Canadian do not escape some of the problems associated with the labels of Indian and white. These terms bring together.people of diverse nationalities and ethnic backgrounds into generic, homogeneous categories. There are many striking cultural differences, between Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier peoples; tlirthermore, Natives of other cultural backgrounds also reside in the city. The Euro-Canadian population could be described as being equally heterogeneous in terms of ethnic background, political orientation, occupation, socio-economic status and gender. While I recognize and occasionally discuss these internal differences, my main analytical focus is nevertheless to explore the relationship between two primary groups - Natives and Euro-Canadians - and to identify the broad features of the dominant culture and history in this social setting. 12 similar movement among Euro-Canadians does not occur. Few non-Natives have visited reserve communities, and many seem to be unaware of the names or locations of the different reserves. Many reserves are 'invisible' to Euro-Canadians except in the abstract: they are imagined as dangerous, foreign, and violent places where whites are not welcome. The cultural life of reserve communities also remains largely invisible to Euro-Canadians. While the Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier communities have existed on the peripheries of the regional economy, their degree of dependency and powerlessness due to absorption into the capitalist socio-economic system varies. Like other northern Native peoples, Cariboo-Chilcotin First Nations, to differing degrees, may also engage in "dual economy" (Asch 1995:274) in which hunting and fishing subsistence practices continue independentiy of the wage labour and welfare economies. Conventions of reciprocity and sharing of subsistence foods persist within extended family groups and among the elderly of the reserve village. These and other practices serve to strengthen traditional patterns of sociopolitical organization and the bonds of solidarity among extended families and band communities (Kew 1974; Dinwoodie 1996; Furniss 1996). Tsilhqot'in continues to be spoken in reserve homes and band offices throughout the Chilcotin region. Carrier is regularly spoken in the more remote reserves of Nazko, Kluskus and Ulkatcho. Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier peoples continueto make use of culturally distinct oral narrative traditions to express their world views and cultural identities, and to make sense of the current social changes their communities are undergoing (Palmer 1994; Dinwoodie 1996). Many Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier leaders have a deep commitment to the collective future of their reserve communities. They see themselves as having unique histories and special rights that distinguish them from regional non-Native society, and they assert distinct identities rooted in their history and their 13 relationship with the landscape. These convictions fuel their current struggles to. secure treaties acknowledging aboriginal rights to land and self-government. The social problems, violence, suicide, alcohol abuse, poverty, and substandard living conditions that plague reserve communities across Canada (Frideres 1993) also exist in many Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier reserves. These problems lend particular urgency to First Nations leaders' efforts to resolve outstanding issues of aboriginal tide. Treaties, many Native leaders believe, will provide reserve communities with the resources to address and overcome these social problems. In the last decade there has been an exponential growth in the political activity of area First Nations and the umbrella political organizations that represent the three nations. The Tsilhqot'in National Government (representing five Tsilhqot'in First Nations), the Carrier Chilcotin Tribal Council (representing four Carrier and one Tsilhqot'in First Nation) and the Cariboo Tribal Council (representing four of the five Shuswap First Nations) all have large offices in Williams Lake. These organizations are active on a number of political fronts, from lobbying for improved rental housing in the city to developing programs for assuming control of provincial child welfare services to coordinating treaty negotiation strategies. Comparative Literature Various mechanisms maintain the separation and marginalization of Cariboo-Chilcotin Native communities from the surrounding regional society. The expansion of agricultural and industrial capitalism to rural regions o f Canada over the last two centuries has undermined the hunting and trapping subsistence base on which many Native societies have depended. Many Native people initially became involved in me expanding colonial economies, for example by working for Wages and taking up small scale famiing and ranching. After the turn of the 14 century, the increased mechanization and capital-intensive nature of these operations coupled with the difficulty Native people had in acquiring loans due to Indian Act restrictions led to a decline in the availability of wage labour and undercut the competitiveness of small Native-owned operations (Knight 1978; Dyck 1991:100). As the oil, gas, forestry and mining industries expanded in the post World War II period, the subsistence base upon which many rural Native communities continued to rely was undermined; at the same time, the expanding welfare state offered provisional means of subsistence in the form of welfare, old age security and family allowance payments. In many rural regions Native people began to settle into reserve villages adjacent to non-Native towns. There, largely excluded from the local labour force, many became reliant on government transfer payments, store bought foods and materials, and government services. Economic colonialism has not destroyed aboriginal communities; indeed, ethnographers are documenting the various ways in which Native peoples are accommodating the realities of wage labour and welfare while both maintaining and transforniing key aboriginal cultural values, identities, world views, oral traditions, patterns of social and political organization, and hunting economies (Tanner 1979; Brody 1981; Asch 1982,1995; Feit 1982, 1985,1995; Cruikshank et al. 1990; Ridington 1990). The expansion of the colonial economy, however, has created a set of circumstances that have defined the contexts for the encounter between Natives and non-Natives in many rural towns across Canada. Administrative colonialism as exercised through the Canadian Indian Affairs bureaucracy has profoundly shaped rural Native/non-Native relations.4 The 4 Robert Paine (1977a) has coined the term "welfare colonialism" to describe the Canadian government's assertion of national sovereignty in the Arctic through the sudden extension of welfare, medical and educational services to the Inuit after World War II. Framed by the ideology of benevolent paternalism, this seems to be a quintesseritially Canadian form of colonialism. The centrality of benevolent paternalism in constructions of Canadian national identity, and its role in rationalizing colonization, are themes developed in later chapters. 15 physical separation of Native peoples into reserve communities has been accompanied by the introduction of coercive, repressive forms of legal and bureaucratic controls that have sought to regulate virtually all aspects of Native life. Indian Affairs policies have imposed restrictive controls on the economic development of reserve lands, the forms and composition of Band governments, the membership and residency of reserve communities, and the content, process, and location of Native schooling. The web of Indian Act legislation, bureaucratic policies and ideological rationales continues to constrain and oppress rural Native communities. Several scholars have documented how the struggles of Native communities to take over the control of local health care services (Speck 1987) and education (Dyck 1991:119-138), or to become economically self-sufficient through agricultural programs (Carter 1990) or economic development projects (Driben and Trudeau 1983; Lithman 1983) have been thwarted by federal policies and bureaucratic attitudes that have perpetuated the dependency of reserve communities on governmental funding and paternalistic, coercive control. These studies share a consistent focus on assessing how forms of economic and administrative colonialism have fostered the continued political and economic marginalization and dependency of rural Native communities. There is also a small ethnographic literature highlighting some of the more everyday cultural dimensions of power shaping rural Native/non-Native relations. Much of this literature, influenced by the 1970s popularity of transactional and instrumentalist theories of ethnicity, explores the social contexts in which Natives and non-Natives construct and manage their public identities (Braroe 1975; Stymeist 1975; Paine 1977b; Lithman 1984; Plaice 1990). Many of these works emphasize how rural settlers and Natives creatively reformulate - or maintain - ethnic identity in various contexts of interaction. At times, settlers and Natives may overlook the polarization of the Indian/white 16 dichotomy and may collaborate in the construction of new, collective 'community' identities. Such was the case in Labrador in the 1970s, when Inuit and settler residents joined together (although not without political struggle) to incorporate their villages under a provincial registration system, making them eligible for governmental development grants and programs (Paine 1977c:255-257). While a collective identity was projected outward for the pursuit of political and financial rewards, within at least one of these Labrador settlements - and despite the increased residential integration of Inuit and settler families within the village - the two groups maintained strongly oppositional ethnic identities (Kennedy 1977), a division Kennedy argues is primarily due to contrasting interests and values. In rural Native/non-Native communities elsewhere in Canada where social relations are much more stratified, these processes of identity management are more severely limited by relations of power. In these settings most Native/non-Native interactions occur in non-Native controlled contexts such as in grocery stores, government offices, or public schools. In controlling the provisioning of goods or services to Native clients, non-Natives may wield inordinate power to control the statuses ascribed to Natives in these interactive contexts (Lithman 1984). The harsh reality of small town racism, where Natives are ascribed identities as a morally and culturally inferior people and are subjected to intense forms of racial prejudice and discrimination, is well documented in Stymeist's ethnography (1975) of ethnic relations in a northern Ontario town. In some circumstances, rural non-Native townspeople may assign Natives a public identity of non-existence, of invisibility: they may simply ignore the presence of Native people on city streets and in public places (Hawthorn, Jamieson and Belshaw 1960:65). Niels Braroe has shown how Native people in rural Saskatchewan, faced with their ongoing, continual condemnation by white townspeople, engage in a variety of 17 private and covert strategies of resistance in order to maintain morally defensible self-images (Braroe 1975). . Racism - the public, collective ascription of negative 'difference' to colonized peoples - has long served as a powerful cultural mechanism reinforcing relations of inequality between Natives and non-Natives. But racism, and struggle over the assignation of public identities more generally, represents only one aspect of how the processes of cultural colonialism operate. The complexity of these processes remains virtually unexplored in the ethnographic literature on rural Native/non-Native relations in Canada.5 In this dissertation I look beyond the processes of identity management to explore the many other ways in which small town Euro-Canadian cultural assumptions about identity, about the nature of history, and about the relationship between the individual and society all contribute to the subordination of Native peoples. I draw on a theoretical framework that envisions power as existing not just in the policies, practices, and ideologies of the state, and not just in the capitalist structure of socio-economic relations, but as reaching into the 'ordinary' lives of rural Canadians whose cultural attitudes and practices are constituting forces in an ongoing system of colonial domination. Theoretical Framework Canada has not transcended its colonial history through processes of decolonization similar to that of Third Wodd regions, where colonial governments have withdrawn and political authority has been assumed by indigenous peoples. Instead, as a settler colony eventually granted Dominion status, Canada has evolved to an independent state that continues to exert authority over a subordinate minority indigenous population. As decolonization in the form of the 5 The way in which colonialism influences and conditions everyday social relations and attitudes between indigenous people and non-Native colonizers has been explored among the Inuit and whites in the Canadian Arctic by Paine (1977b) and Brody (1991). 18 physical removal of non-aboriginal settlers will not occur in Canada, the political activity now underway reflects efforts of Native and non-Native peoples to arrive at alternate forms of post-colonial relationships that presume the continued coexistence of indigenous and immigrant Canadians. Through the four centuries of European settlement in Canada, colonial power has not only been expressed in political, military, or economic exercises, but has infused the cultural beliefs, practices, texts, and ideologies of the settler populations. As Nicholas Thomas suggests, these cultural forms are not secondary, superstructural derivatives of political/economic practices, but are central to the colonial process, both expressing and creating colonial relationships (Thomas 1994:2). The cultures of modern Western societies, and settler cultures in particular, continue to be profoundly influenced by the legacy and the continuing practices of colonialism. Despite the prevalence of the term 'post-colonial' in the scholarly literature, in Canada their has been no radical break with the past: Canadian culture remains resolutely colonial in shape, content, meaning and practice. The dominant Euro-Canadian culture of Williams Lake is an example of what Thomas calls a modern colonial culture (ibid.). Such a culture is marked in the ways in which indigenous/settler differences are constructed and contemplated. This is not simply a matter of the reification ofthe Native as Other discussed by Edward Said (1978,1994): the Orientalist process by which indigenous peoples are defined as 'different from' colonizing peoples and are made objects of knowledge, power and control. Instead, contemporary cultural practices may also involve the situational diminishment, or denial, of indigenous/settler differences. Policies of assimilation or Christianization, which seek to incorporate indigenous peoples into the dominant social order, are only two examples. These alternating tendencies towards incorporation and exclusion, toward the assertion and denial of indigenous 19 difference, are a central dynamic within colonial discourses and practices (Sider 1987; Thomas 1994:142). Modern colonial cultures may reify indigenous 'difference' through racial ideologies predicated on the assumption of inherent biological, cultural or moral inferiority that is taken as inherent, natural and permanent. Increasingly, racist discourses have been reformulated to conform to the ideals of multiculturalism and cultural pluralism. These new discourses, referred to by some as the "new racism" (Barker 1981; Miles 1989:62; Balibar 1991) or as "cultural fundamentalism" (Stolcke 1995), rest on assumptions of the inherent differences distinguishing cultural and ethnic groups, where "it is natural for people to prefer to live amongst 'their own kind' and therefore natural for people to cUscriminate against those not considered to be part of that common community" (Miles 1989:63). In yet other discourses, such as the romantic primitivism prevalent in North America, Native peoples and cultures are imagined to be inherendy different from and superior to Western peoples and cultures. This orientation is prevalent among liberal segments of North American society - mcluding many anthropologists - whose sympathy for aboriginal peoples is nevertheless conveyed through equally narrow and restrictive definitions of the essential 'noble savage' (Thomas 1994:170-195). In short, a colonial culture is characterized not by any one particular set of practices or images of Native peoples, but by envisioning indigenous/settler differences alternately through "distancing, hierarchizing and incorporating" discourses (ibid.: 142). Further, colonial cultures are heterogeneous, being shaped by local traditions, historical contingencies, and political and economic contexts. My object here is to explore how the colonial reality has shaped Canadian culture as it exists in the 1990s in the setting of a small resource city in British Columbia, a region with its own distinct traditions of imagining indigenous/settler 'differences', and a region now engaged in intense public debates over the legitimacy of past 20 colonial practices and the future relationships between the indigenous and settler populations. To explore the relationship between culture and power I draw on the idea of a "dominant culture" as articulated by Raymond Williams (1977,1980) and William Roseberry (1991). Williams states: "In any society, in any particular period, there is a central system of practices, meanings and values, which we can propedy call dominant and effective" (1980:38). This dominant culture infuses many domains of everyday life, ranging from family life, schooling, the media, organized religion, to literature and the arts. Its dominance lies, in part, in its ability to saturate everyday life: it is continually affirmed in multiple dimensions of ordinary experience. Williams emphasizes this point: It is a whole body of practices and expectations; our assignments of energy, our ordinary understanding of the nature of man and of his world. It is a set of meanings and values which as they are experienced as practices appear as reciprocally confirming. It thus constitutes a sense of reality for most people in the society, a sense of absolute because experienced reality beyond which it is very difficult for most members of the society to move, in most arenas of their lives (ibid.). A dominant culture, in essence, is experienced as a set of common-sense, taken-for-granted truths about the nature of reality and the social world. While a dominant culture infuses everyday life, its dominance is not complete. Not all non-Native, or Euro-Canadian, residents ofthe Cariboo-Chilcotin participate in the same way in the dominant culture. Individuals and groups - Euro-Canadians, Natives, Indo-Canadians, men, women, upper and lower-class families - are variously positioned within these fields of social and political power. As Roseberry notes (1991:48), the different life experiences of individuals, not only conditioned by individual biographies but by their varied positions within structures of inequality and domination, may give rise to different 21 perceptions of reality and may lead to challenges to the legitimacy of a dominant culture. A dominant culture, then, cannot capture the totality of lived experience (Williams 1977:126). Instead, it is a partial, selective world view that is continually being challenged by alternate, competing systems of meaning and belief Its dominance lies not only in its ubiquity, but in its dynamic, flexible aspect: its ability to be continually revised and modified in order to deflect or incorporate challenges to its legitimacy. It is here where differential access to power becomes critical. Power, in this sense, can be equated with epistemological power: the power to control the representation of cultural forms, symbols and meanings. But this power is also material, in that the production of culture is linked to the political and economic forces controlling public school education, the publishing industries, the media, the tourism industries, and so on. If, following Roseberry and Williams, a dominant culture is defined as a material social process of the production and representation of meaning, the question to be asked is: Who is controlling the production of culture, in what contexts, and for what purposes? Native people, too, are positioned within the reaches of the dominant Euro-Canadian culture of the region. Their own autonomous cultural history, world views and traditions, and their subjection to various forms of colonial power ranging from Indian Act legislation, the Indian Affairs bureaucracy, Roman Catholic residential schools, and conventional racial cUscrimination and prejudice, have created a set of collective historical experiences that sharply distinguish them from the regional non-Native population. At the same time, the 'separate universes' model of Indian/white relations, emphasizing the cultural gulf and autonomy of the two populations, may overemphasize cultural difference at the expense of a full, complex understanding of the nature of contemporary cultural and political processes. 22 In many ways, Native people living in rural reserve communities are articulated with the regional dominant culture: they speak the English language, they watch T.V., they shop in local stores and malls, they attend public schools, and they read popular literature. I am not denying the cultural differences that divide Native and non-Native populations in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, but I am suggesting that there are important analytical insights to be gained by envisioning Native peoples as participants, however hesitant, reluctant and peripheral, in the dominant culture of the Cariboo-Chdcotin region. As Williams suggests, the effective incorporation of individuals into a dominant culture is often achieved not through blind socialization, but by "a (resigned) recognition of the inevitable and the necessary" (1977:118); in the case of area Native people, a realization, but not necessarily acceptance, of divergence between Euro-Canadian and Native perceptions of reality. The ability of rural Native communities to maintain autonomous cultural world views and practices as they move between reserve communities and the non-Native cities and towns of the region is well known. But more and more frequendy, these disjunctions between Native experiences and the dominant Euro-Canadian culture are the subject of overt, public challenge. The multiple forms in which the dominant culture is expressed in the everyday dimensions of life in Williams Lake is matched by the plural forms of resistance in which Native peoples are now engaging. To appreciate the complexity of modes of resistance requires a consideration not only ofthe cultural autonomy of Native communities in the region, and what may be the distinctively Native modes of resistance, but also of how Native people are manipulating some key values, identities, and discursive genres of the regional Euro-Canadian culture to further their interests. Some modes of resistance may be rooted in distinctive Native traditions, such as in the way Native storytellers use traditional narrative genres to communicate with non-Native audiences (Dyck 23 1986; Cruikshank 1997). But other modes of Native resistance reflect their strategic use of Euro-Canadian genres of discourse and the symbols of power that are embedded in the dominant culture. Native people are working within the terms of the dominant culture by highlighting its apparent contradictions, for example, by s contrasting the ideals of egalitarianism and multiculturalism with their historical experience of racial discrimination and federal assimilation policies, in order to bring about changes in their relationships with government, industry and area non-Natives. The Frontier Cultural Complex The 'frontier complex' is the thematic framework I have developed for understanding the dominant culture of Williams Lake. The frontier complex consists of a set of values, beliefs, attitudes, identities, and understandings about society, history and Indian/white relations that appear repeatedly in multiple domains of Euro-Canadians' everyday life, ranging from casual conversations to public history to political discourse on contentious issues. At its heart, the frontier complex consists of an historical epistemology - a set of assumptions that guides how individuals approach an understanding of the past - that is defined by the myth of the frontier.6 In developing this argument, I rely on Richard Slotkin's 6 This could also be called a form of historical consciousness. But in keeping with my use of Williams's concept of a dominant culture, the term historical epistemology is preferable in that it approaches culture not as a static body of knowledge, but as a dynamic process of creating and assigning meaning to the world., Individuals are not trapped within a historical consciousness; rather, they actively draw on the key elements of a dominant historical epistemology to generate meaning in particular social, political and economic contexts of interaction and conflict. Nor do I mean to suggest that individuals are trapped in a particular frontier historical epistemology. I presume that there are other epistemological frameworks available through which individuals may approach an understanding of the past; indeed, although I have been enculturated into 'small town' Euro-Canadian culture myself I am here drawing on an anthropological 'way of knowing' about history that deviates somewhat from a frontier epistemology. I presume that multiple epistemologies may exist within Euro-Canadian culture (continued, p. 24). 24 comprehensive, three volume study of the frontier myth in American culture and politics (Slotkin 1973,1986,1992), which I describe shortly. The frontier complex, though, is not just a way of understanding history. The idea of the frontier is also evident in the way Euro-Canadians construct a regional identity as a "small town" on the periphery of mainstream society, a town surrounded by a natural wilderness offering an unlimited abundance of natural resources that are unowned and "free" for the taking. The idea of the frontier is carried into Euro-Canadians' conceptualization of their relationship with area Native people, where the categories of Indian and white are mutually exclusive and oppositional, and where Euro-Canadian cultural superiority, material privileges and political authority are 'natural', unquestioned truths. Frontier imagery is most apparent in the city's annual summer festival, a ritual celebration of the town's imagined Wild West heritage. At its deepest level, the frontier complex provides a set of metaphysical assumptions about the nature of history, individual agency, and one's relationship with the social and natural world. The many ways in which the frontier complex is expressed in public and private contexts in the city will be explored in later chapters. Richard Slotkin argues that the frontier myth is one of the most important cultural myths for understanding the history of European colonization and settlement in the United States.7 The frontier myth developed in the United States But in the domains of public culture and discourse traced here, the frontier historical epistemology is overwhelmingly dominant. 7 Slotkin uses the term "myth" to refer to those aspects of cultural belief transmitted not through explicit, direct forms of political debate or argument, but through implicit, narrative genres that are rich in metaphorical imagery and symbolism, and that transmit complex sets of meaning through indirect, intuitive means rather than through explicit statements. Neither Slotkin nor I use the term 'myth' in the structuralist sense, as being comprised of objective, binary 'archetypes' that have an objective existence in language independent of human will or consciousness, and whose meaning can be 'read' by the privileged external observer independent of its ethnographic context. Instead, Slotkin writes: "Myth and ideology are created and recreated in the midst of historical contingency, through deliberate acts of human memory, intention, and labour ... myth has a human/historical rather (continued, p. 35) 25 over a period of three centuries, and can be identified in a variety of genres ranging from early settlers' narratives to nineteenth century dime novels and Wild West shows to contemporary Hollywood movies. The frontier myth, in essence, is the ultimate American origin myth. It celebrates the 'conquest' of North American aboriginal peoples and the wilderness; it provides a means of creating a national identity; and it serves to legitimate not only the subordination of aboriginal populations and the taking of aboriginal lands, but also current social and political institutions and the nation's domestic and foreign policies. The frontier myth contains several standard themes. The story begins with the separation of the early colonists from their home countries, their journey to the wilderness, and their cultural, moral, and material regression to the more 'primitive' conditions encountered there. The frontier experience involves series of encounters with morally opposed forces, the most important being civilization and wilderness, man and nature, and whites and Indians, although there are many metaphorical variations. The themes of conflict and violence are central to these encounters as the protagonists struggle against the 'harsh', difficult environment and climate and the unknown and potentially hostile Native peoples. These struggles, taking place on the moral terrain of "good and evil", also involve a degree of ambiguity in that the protagonists move between these opposing worlds and temporarily mediate these dichotomies. These tensions are ultimately resolved through the settlers' 're-evolution', their separation and re-emergence from the conditions of the frontier -either through the establishment of homesteads or village settlements in the region or through their physical escape from the wilderness. Yet in their separation and than a natural or transcendent source and is continually modified by human experience and . agency" (1992:25). The frontier myth, while it exerts a conservative cultural force, is nevertheless subject to continual reworking through history and - in theory, at least - is capable of being transcended through critical self-reflection. 26 re-emergence settlers do not revert to their original form, but become transformed into new cultural and national identities: they become the new Americans. History is distilled and condensed into a simple narrative structure of a protagonist's encounter with opposing forces, and his eventual triumph through conflict, violence, and 'conquest'. Slotkin argues that the theme of "regeneration through violence" - the moral imperative of violence and aggression as a means of achieving progress and civilization - have been fundamental in shaping past and present constructions of American national identity. The complexity of historical processes are further reduced to a series of what Fogelson (1984,1989) has called "epitomizing events" , dramatic incidents that serve as convenient, easily grasped condensed symbols that represent more gradual and insidious forces of historical change.8 These epitomizing events typically deal with the heroic actions of individuals whose values, moral standards, character, motives for action and internal struggles define the public ideals of American culture: independence, self-sufficiency, freedom, courage, materialism, and advancement through hard work. The reduction of history into a condensed narrative structure centered on epitomizing events renders invisible the broader and more complex conditions that enabled, and shaped, individual actions: European economic and administrative expansion in the colony, the relationships between the colony and the metropolitan governments, and the internal dynamics of class conflict and struggle. In its binary structure, the frontier myth diminishes the complexity of the historical interactions between different agents on the frontier, a complexity evident in the multiple identities, the multiple interests, and the ambiguities and incompleteness of colonial domination and aboriginal resistance highlighted now by Fogelson discusses the role of epitomizing events in Native historical narratives; these are also features of Western narratives of history also (see Cruikshank 1992b). , 2 7 anthropological histories (for example Brown 1980; Hanks 1986; Comaroff and Comaroff 1991; Muratorio 1991). The frontier myth, however, is not history in the form of 'false consciousness'. Instead, it provides a highly flexible set of images, symbols, metaphors and narratives that can be used both to affirm and to contest existing structures of power as well as past practices of colonial expansion. Counter-hegemonic formulations, for example, typically romanticize the noble savage and lament his 'total destruction' by the forces of European expansion and settlement. The standard narrative structure, the binary encounter of opposites on the frontier, and the outcome of absolute conquest remain the same; the moral weighting of these agents and outcomes, however, is reversed. It is precisely this flexibility - the ability of the frontier myth to serve a variety of purposes and interests,' both hegemonic and counter-hegemonic - that has enabled the frontier myth to survive as a dominant historical mode into the present. To my knowledge, no ethnographic studies exist tracing the expression of the frontier myth in the Canadian context.9 A primary goal in this dissertation is to explore the frontier complex as it exists in the Cariboo region, and the conditions under which residents draw upon this cultural complex to generate discourses and narratives of the past, of local and national identities, and of Native/non-Native relations. At this point I would also like to emphasize some of the limitations of this dissertation. While it is a study of small town Euro-Canadian culture and social 9 There is, of course, a large literature in Canadian history contemplating the degree to which Frederick Jackson Turner's influential frontier thesis of American history is relevant to understanding the Canadian context (see Cross 1970 for a recent review). These discussions, however, are not ethnographic applications: they are not looking critically and self-reflexively at the idea of the frontier, but are using the idea of the frontier to 'explain' history much the same way as Chilcotin pioneers use the idea of the frontier to explain their personal biographies and life experiences. 28 relations between the Euro-Canadian and Native populations, I am primarily interested in tracing out the main features of the dominant culture: its core themes, its variations, and its prevalence within public and private settings. There are two ways in which a dominant culture might be identified: through the ubiquity of particular ideas, meanings, discourses, and practices in everyday life, and through case studies of particular instances in which aspects of a dominant culture are challenged and how these challenges are deflected or absorbed by the hegemonic culture. There are risks with the former approach, in that what is presented as ubiquitous may simply be dismissed as a selective construction on the part of the ethnographer. Further, the widespread appearance of certain ideas, beliefs and practices could represent either the overwhelming success of a dominant culture -to the extent that opposition is completely suppressed - or it could simply reflect the fact that everyone agrees; thus, there is no domination. O n the other hand, presenting only case studies of multiple domains in which Natives and non-Natives struggle over public definitions of culture and history, while it would more effectively demonstrate processes of cultural domination, would also move us away from tracing the processes through which residents of Williams Lake are socialized into a particular dominant culture and world view. I trace some of these processes - informal conversational rituals, public school education, public history - in early chapters. These aspects of Euro-Canadian experience often take place the absence of Native people and Native protests, but are critical to the creation and maintenance of the dominant culture. Thus I have chosen instead to balance my analysis both through demonstrating the ubiquity of key aspects of the dominant culture in multiple domains of Euro-Canadian life and, in later chapters, by tracing instances in which these practices are subject to Native resistance. As a result, however, I have not explored in any detail the diversity and complexity of social relations witiiin the regional non-Native or Euro-Canadian 29 populations: the way these groups are divided according to socio-economic position, ethnicity, gender, age, or political orientation, and the manner in which these sectors are differendy situated within, and privileged by, the dominant culture and structures of power and inequality. Given my theoretical approach - that culture exists as a social process of constructing and representing meaning - it is impossible to analytically separate culture from the individuals who create it. In later chapters I explore how politicians and Euro-Canadian community leaders draw on aspects of the dominant culture to oppose land claims and to control public definitions of identity and history that have their consequence of further entrenching the exclusion of Native peoples from power and resources. But in order to demonstrate the dominance-as-ubiquity of the frontier complex, at times I have had to ovedook the important questions of how more diverse sectors of the Euro-Canadian society - and particularly the cnon-ehte' of loggers, shop clerks, stay-at-home mothers, welfare recipients, and others - also actively contribute to (or at times, resist) these aspects of the dominant culture. I am not denying the agency, the responsibility, or the heterogeneity of these diverse sectors. But in order to keep this dissertation within reasonable limits, I have had to balance my interests in demonstrating the ubiquity of the frontier complex with iUusttatihg how this cultural complex is activated in particular settings and its hegemonic consequences. Another acknowledged limitation of this dissertation is the lack of attention to the complexity and diversity of the regional aboriginal cultures and forms of aboriginal historical consciousness. In the following chapters I trace Native resistance where it relates to my primary interests of following colonial cultural processes. I have not attempted to provide a full, detailed ethnographic study of 30 the regional Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier cultures. Instead, I have attempted to analyze one aspect of Native experience: their cultural relationships with Euro-Canadian townspeople. While a juxtaposition of aboriginal and Euro-Canadian perspectives on history would enhance my argument of the partiality and subjectivity of Euro-Canadian historical epistemologies,11 it would also fill the space of this dissertation and draw attention away from my main argument, which traces the systematic way in which a dominant culture appears in many different domains of everyday life. To those who might suggest that the absence of a significant 'Native voice' in this dissertation is a critical flaw, I would argue conversely that a token inclusion of Native voices - in itself - is equally problematic i f it leaves unanalyzed the way in which relations of power influence processes of cultural or historical representation. What is needed is not simply a postmodern recognition of the multiplicity of historical voices, as James Clifford suggests in his advocacy of "polyphonic" ethnographies (Clifford 1988:21-54), but, more importandy, a detailed analysis of the political, economic, social and cultural mechanisms of power that create and perpetuate these silences. These are the issues that I explore in this dissertation. Methodology A dominant culture, by definition, pervades the corners of everyday life, providing a set of ideas, images, values and assumptions that are taken as 'common- sense' truths. In the chapters that follow I examine five different contexts in which aspects of the frontier complex appear: in formal representations of history in public settings, in the political discourses of various individuals and 1 0 These issues have been taken up elsewhere by Palmer (1994), Dinwoodie (1995) and myself (Furniss 1987, 1995a, 1996). Dinwoodie's work focusses on historical consciousness among the Tsilhqot'in of Nemiah Valley. 1 1 See Cruikshank (1992b) for an effective use of such a strategy of juxtaposition. 31 groups opposing the actions of regional and provincial governments; in private, casual conversations of Euro-Canadians as they denigrate and 'joke' about Indians; in political debates surrounding aboriginal land claims and treaties; and in the ritual celebration of the town's heritage during the annual Stampede festival. In each setting I investigate the representation of ideas about history and identity, and explore the varied ways in which Euro-Canadians imagine their relationships with area Native peoples through discourses of 'difference'. I also track some of the many ways in which area Native peoples are coping with and responding to these forms of cultural domination. I use a variety of methodological tools, ranging from participant observation in informal contexts with both Euro-Canadian and Native peoples and interviews with Euro-Canadian and Native political leaders to analysis of documentary sources of information (newspapers, pamphlets, and published literature) and tape recordings of public meetings in which contentious issues were debated. This work also required that I move back and forth between the Native and Euro-Canadian 'worlds' which, as I have described, are to a certain degree segregated by implicit convention. Before discussing my methodology and outline of chapters in more detail I should describe my own personal and professional background and my experience working in area Native communities, conditions that have influenced my ability to gain entree into both Native and Euro-Canadian communities and that have motivated me to ask the kinds of questions I do in this dissertation. Background Issues: The Study Context I have some personal competence in the small town, Euro-Canadian culture under study here. My parents were middle-class immigrant Canadians of English and Irish ancestry, and I was raised in a small, ethnically homogeneous town on 32 Vancouver Island with the same Canadian cultural fare of frontier history and Indian lore as can be found in Williams Lake and any other small town in rural Canada. My childhood home was on the oceanfront, and several aboriginal stone artifacts found in the course of construction graced our mantelpiece for years and sparked my own historical imagination. The cultural conditioning and the romantic, frontier vision of history that is the subject of this dissertation is a central part of my own experience; through the course of this research I have not transcended, but have become much more critically aware of the depths of my own cultural inheritance. I first visited the Cariboo region in 1985, when I was part way through the Master's degree program in anthropology at the University of British Columbia. The Nazko Carrier in the north Cariboo region were in the midst of heated debates with government and non-profit groups over the development of the "Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail", a development that band leaders felt both ignored the Carrier history of the trail - the trail was an ancient trade route thousands of years old - and also celebrated the colonization of Canada and the Carriers' own loss of political and territorial sovereignty. I was hired by the Nazko band that summer to undertake cultural and historical research on the Native heritage of the trail, and to create a video for local high schools describing the archaeology, ethnohistory and contemporary cultural significance of the trail to the Carrier people. Through the events of that summer, and through the negative reaction that the government sponsors had to the video I produced, I became aware of the intense commitment many Euro-Canadians have to frontier histories and culture heroes such as Mackenzie, and of the intense conflicts that arise when Native and official histories collide. My experience working with Nazko people introduced me also to the multifaceted aspects of Native life: the cultural traditions in which 33 Carrier people remain embedded, the politics of contemporary relations with government, and the racial discrimination that many experienced in their dealings with non-Natives in the nearby city of Quesnel. I have since continued to work with Shuswap and Carrier peoples on a variety of ethnographic and applied research projects. In September 1985 I moved from Nazko to the Shuswap reserve community of Alkali Lake to begin three months of ethnographic research. The Alkali Lake "sobriety movement" - their recent revitalization into an alcohol-free community - became the subject of my Master's thesis. In 1986 I again moved to Williams Lake to take up work with the Cariboo Tribal Council as a land claims researcher and aboriginal rights coordinator, where I remained for four years. Over time I came to know many of the Shuswap chiefs, leaders and reserve community members of the region, and became involved in a number of political and advocacy projects. A t that time the abuse of Native children at St. Joseph's mission, the Oblate-run residential school near Williams Lake, was the subject of much discussion within Shuswap communities. Through the stories people told me about their residential school experiences and their interactions with non-Native townspeople, I began to understand, in a fuller sense, what it meant to them to be an "Indian" in the context of a rural, right-wing Euro-Canadian town. At the same time, as a resident of Williams Lake and through my own involvement in Euro-Canadian clubs and community groups, I began to be absorbed within social networks as a 'young professional' and began to be socialized into the Euro-Canadian culture ofthe town. One of my earliest memories of this socialization process is when two friends, both Euro-Canadian professional women, offered to introduce me, as a newcomer to town, to one of the local highlights: they invited me down to the Lakeview - the local Indian bar -to "watch the drunk Indians". Through my time in the city I became aware of the 34 profound separation between the Native and non-Native worlds, evident in my own experience with the discomfort that arose when I spoke of my work in Native communities with Euro-Canadian friends, and in the awkwardness that was created when, on a couple of occasions, I invited both Native and Euro-Canadian friends to dinner gatherings. In all, these experiences have brought me to appreciate how deeply colonial assumptions and relations of power are inscribed in the 'common-sense' culture of Williams Lake, and how deeply this culture, and its attendant social relations, have shaped the lives of Native people in the Cariboo region. These experiences have also enabled me to work with both the Native and Euro-Canadian communities with some ease.12 My length of association and friendships with Native people in the region has enabled me to explore some of the more sensitive issues, particularly Native peoples' experiences with interpersonal racism. In contrast, my Euro-Canadian identity has given me immediate access to the cultural world of other Euro-Canadian townspeople, where on many occasions I have found myself immediately drawn into a presumed shared universe of understanding in which both friends and strangers have freely voiced frank, hostile and derogatory opinions regarding Native people, land claims, and other contentious issues. Perhaps because of my own liminal position in this constellation of social relations, I am interested in asking what analytical insights can be gained from approaching Native/non-Native relations both as constituting some sort of a community, In his study of Churchhill Manitoba, Elias commented that positioning himself within the white, middle class sector of the community had the consequence of "alienating me for all time from the local Native peoples", arid that "as other social scientists working in the North have discovered, you are either a student of the whites or a student of the Natives, rarely both" (1975:i). This situation may have been true in the 1970s when Elias did his work. It may also continue to be relevant to those anthropologists limited to short research periods. But to suggest the inevitability of these limitations is only to reproduce the system of conventional segregation that small town Euro-Canadians continue to claim as natural. 35 however ill functioning, and as being encompassed within a dominating cultural system.13 This dissertation takes a more negative and critical perspective of Native/non-Native relations than I anticipate some Euro-Canadians of Williams Lake would probably prefer. At the same time, it presents a gentler and less critical analysis than might be preferred by some Native people. This work reflects my own attempt to deal with sensitive and controversial issues while walking the thin line between a critically responsible and a morally vacant cultural relativism. Anthropological knowledge, too, is embedded in a colonial culture, and is the product of historically specific social practices; my account offers an interpretive analysis as seen from the particular academic and personal vantage I have described. The field research on which this dissertation is based has been undertaken over a period of some years. Between April and September of 1992, as an independent researcher, I carried out ethnographic research with both Shuswap people and Euro-Canadians on the topic of Native/non-Native relations. My period of formal research for this study occurred between April and November 1994, and in the month of March 1995. In an inversion of traditional ethnographic practice, during 1992, 1994 and 1995 I studied the culture of Euro-Canadians in Williams Lake while living some twenty kilometers from town at a home at Deep 1 3 Throughout this dissertation I use the term 'community' frequendy. The term is often heard in everyday conversation: Natives make reference to the various Native communities in the region as well as to the Cariboo-Chilcotin Native community in singular form; Euro-Canadians often refer to the 'community' of Williams Lake. There are many different definitions of the term in the social scientific literature (for a review see Bell and Newby 1971). My use of 'community' does not equate with some of the conventional sociological definitions of community as a group of individuals who live in close geographic proximity and who are connected through direct, face-to-face, interlocking social ties. Instead, I use the term in a largely colloquial sense to refer to a group of individuals among whom there exists a sense of shared interests and belonging. 36 Creek, one of the reserves of the Soda Creek First Nation. In the summer of 1996 I again moved to Williams Lake where, living in town, the final draft of this dissertation has been written. I described my research project to local residents as a study of the relations between Natives and non-Natives in the Cariboo region, with an emphasis on exploring problems, such as racism and socio-economic disparities, that exist between the two populations. A key focus, I explained, is examining the different ways in which the Native and non-Native communities look at history, differences that are brought to the forefront in land claims debates. I have emphasized that my goal is to develop a better understanding of these issues so that more positive relationships might be created. I did not seek any official approval from any political group, such as the Williams Lake City Council or the area Tribal Councils, but I discussed my project and solicited feedback through the informal social networks in the Shuswap community and with local Native leaders. Informed consent was obtained before all interviews, and written informed consent was obtained before formal interviews with Euro-Canadian leaders. Copies of this dissertation have been circulated to eleven Williams Lake area residents - friends, colleagues and 'key informants' - for comments and feedback.14 1 4 The vast majority of readers, both Native and Euro-Canadian, responded positively, found this to be a worthwhile project, and felt that my depiction of Native/non-Native relations matched their experiences and perceptions closely. Some felt I had not been "hard" enough oh the city of Williams Lake; others felt that the dissertation was "really brave" and one jokingly worried that I might be in danger of being shot should I return to the city (where I continue to stay part-time). One person commented "It's about time someone told the truth about our litde town of Williams Lake". One reader, though, was unsure of my intentions. He was speaking from a context in which he has seen a flood of consultants, local businesses and corporations now soliciting relations with First Nations communities, essentially following the trail of money and political power that is flowing into First Nations communities in the wake of changing provincial policies and in advance of aboriginal land claims settlements; He has seen a flurry of educational workshops being held by corporate and business interests to teach non-Native organizations "how to do business with First Nations organizations". He initially read this dissertation as yet another document written by a non-Native for non-Native audiences, and was worried that the information could be used as yet another tool (continued, p. 37) 37 Nine of the individuals are Native, two are non-Native, and all can be considered 'community leaders' in their own spheres. Although many ethnographers who have undertaken studies of rural communities and local Native/non-Native relations have used pseudonyms for their research site, I have chosen to use the real name of the city, and of the surrounding reserves. I have done this, in part, due to the likelihood that the city would be readily identified anyway in my portrayal both of the three aboriginal nations of the region and of the city's annual festival, for which the city is internationally known. In addition, all the local readers of the draft felt that it was an overly protective act to use a pseudonym for the city. Several Native readers pointed out the double standard of identifying area Native nations but not the city of Williams Lake. I have used pseudonyms (indicated by names in single quotation marks) when referring to specific individuals. In some cases, primarily when the identities of the individuals were a matter of public record, I have used their real names. Methodology and Outline, of Chapters Chapter two presents a brief historical overview of the aboriginal cultures and the development of Native/non-Native relations in the Cariboo. I highlight the manner in which Native/non-Native relations have been shaped and constrained by powers exercised through economic forces and through the agencies of the Canadian state. This chapter is intended to provide an overview of the historical conditions that today have brought Natives and non-Natives of the Cariboo into contact, and to sketch out the economic, political and social contexts of current Native/non-Native cultural struggles. In the following chapters I shift to examine how colonial power is expressed of manipulation and domination against First Nations interests. I hope for the opposite: that local non-Natives may realize their own perhaps unwitting complicity in relations of colonialism. 38 in the contemporary cultural practices of the Euro-Canadian population. In Chapter three I introduce the frontier myth as a historical epistemology and trace its appearance in public settings in the city. I examine formal representations of history in three settings: high school history textbooks, popular historical literature found on the shelves of city bookstores, and the displays of the city museum. The frontier myth provides a historical framework for constructing a variety of national, regional and local identities and histories. In contrast to the American master narrative of "regeneration through violence", in the Cariboo region the dominant narrative of the frontier myth is one of 'conquest through benevolence', a typically Canadian version in which benevolent paternalism defines assertions of Canadian national identity. Native people appear only in highly circumscribed roles - noble savages, 'hostile' Natives - that serve as supporting characters in these histories celebrating the 'conquest' of the frontier. Histories that deviate from, or that challenge, the terms of the frontier myth are exceedingly scarce. The frontier myth thus exists as the dominant mode of history by virtue of its ubiquity in the public domains of the city. In Chapter four I trace the appearance of the frontier myth in Euro-Canadian political discourse. The frontier myth provides more than a framework for explicit representations of the past. It provides a set of images, symbols and narratives that are part of the fabric of contemporary culture and identity in Williams Lake, and that are frequently drawn on by various parties to both rationalize and criticize government actions and public policies. In so doing, individuals construct idealized images of the past which are juxtaposed to the present to become forms of social and political critique. My methodology for tracing these processes begins with one assumption: that much of contemporary political discourse in Canada takes the form of a "politics of embarrassment" (Dyck 1985:15; Paine 1985:214), through which 39 individuals and groups make appeals to widespread public values and ideals, and attempt to mobilize public support and embarrass their political opponents - and to bring about changes to government policy - by demonstrating how their conduct has deviated from these standards of morality and comportment. By definition, then, the currency of political rhetoric will be the values, ideals, and traditions that speakers deem to be the dominant ideals ofthe public. In tracing political discourse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin setting, my first task is to determine the set of dominant values and identities upon which a local politics of embarrassment is derived. I do this through interviews I conducted with fifteen Euro-Canadian community leaders during March 1995. Through these interviews, community leaders discussed their understandings of the local culture, identity and prevalent values in the city, understandings which can be consolidated into a form of contemporary, small town frontier identity. I then trace two recent controversial events in which these values and identities formed the currency of political debates. Even more important, in these two cases, public values and identities were infused with even greater moral power by being historicized and equated with the pioneer traditions of the Cariboo. The first case, which I reconstruct from local and provincial newspaper coverage and letters to the editor, involves the government-ordered demolition of a house in Wells, a small hamlet northeast of Williams Lake. The second case, which I reconstruct from local and provincial newspaper coverage and letters as well as pamphlets, promotional materials, and newsletters put out by various parties involved, concerns the response of Cariboo groups to the provincial government's Commission on Resources and the Environment. In both instances, angry citizens challenged the actions of government by evoking the symbol of the pioneer and by construing government actions as a threat to the sacred pioneer spirit and legacy of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. The symbol of the pioneer is used in a creative and flexible 40 manner by various groups engaged in political struggles. At the same time, through its use as a symbol of power, each evocation implicitly reproduces a hegemonic historical tradition of imagining the past through the framework of the frontier myth. In Chapter five I turn to examine the dynamics of everyday Native/non-Native relations. I trace how one aspect of the frontier complex is manifested in the way Euro-Canadians construct a collective identity in opposition to area Native peoples. The Indian/white dichotomy naturalized through frontier histories is found also in the common-sense racism that characterizes everyday Euro-Canadian conversations about Natives. My methodology involves participant observation in informal contexts with Euro-Canadian friends, acquaintances and strangers as I moved through the Euro-Canadian social wodd in the city. The ubiquity of these casual, offhand, and disparaging remarks about Native people attests to the taken-for-granted status of common-sense racism in the dominant culture of Williams Lake. I then trace how these forms of common-sense racism becomes translated into forms of "status domination" (Scott 1990:198) during Native/non-Native interactions. The existence of racism, with rare exceptions, is largely excluded from formal public records and newspaper coverage. These experiences, however, comprise a common-sense reality for area Native peoples. I turn to interviews and conversations I have had with area Native people - and particularly Shuswap people - who described to me their own accumulated experiences with racial prejudice and discrimination in the city. Finally, both through these interviews and conversations, and through my own observations of everyday Native life, I discuss the multiple ways in which Native people are challenging these forms of status domination: through formal, organized public protest, through individual modes of 41 verbal and physical resistance, and through private modes of humorous joking and dramatic parody in which stereotypes of Indiariness are subverted. Chapter six investigates current public debates over aboriginal treaties and land claims. Here there is a conjunction of several themes that have been discussed in earlier chapters. Racist images of Native inferiority, the Euro-Canadian national self-image of benevolent paternalism, the 'self made man' myth of history, and the prevalent assumption about the desirability of Native cultural assimilation into mainstream society are aspects of the dominant culture drawn on by those Euro-Canadians who publicly oppose aboriginal treaties. I trace these discourses through a narrative account of a public forum on land claims held in Williams Lake in March 1995. The forum was organized by the federal Reform Party to rally public opposition to aboriginal treaty negotiations. While the panel of speakers represented one political party, their views also resonated with the prevalent attitudes and feelings of many other Euro-Canadians in the city. I compare the formal presentations of speakers with the views put forth in letters to newspaper and in interviews I conducted that month with the fifteen Euro-Canadian community leaders on the general subject of current issues facing Williams Lake and the Cariboo. At the same time, the Reform public forum offered the opportunity for a dialogue with the many First Nations people who also attended the meeting. A t the end of the chapter I describe the manner in which three Native speakers responded to the Reform panelists, challenging their views of history, asserting claims to aboriginal tide and insisting on the importance of treaties. These examples show how Natives, too, engage in a politics of embarrassment; they too strategically manipulate the terms of the dominant culture, using varied genres of discourse and drawing on dominant symbols of power and authority in order to pursue their own political goals. These examples are testimony to the diversity of 42 interests, identities and political strategies that exist within the regional Native population. In Chapter seven I explore the fifth context in which the frontier complex can be traced: in the city's annual festival, the Williams Lake Stampede. Within this ritual complex Native people, as culturally exotic 'Indians', are incorporated into public definitions of community, existing as a mirror image to the collective identity of the non-Native townspeople. In this chapter I ask two questions. First, why are Natives, as Indians, symbolically important to the Stampede festival? This requires tracing the history of the Stampede's ritual genre back to its roots in the Wild West performances in the United States in the late 1800s, and tracking the Stampede's evolution through the early, mid and late 1900s. There is a core ritual complex here that has persisted despite the many changes that the festival has undergone over these seven decades. Second, I ask: how do Stampede organizers and area Native leaders understand the benefits, the pitfalls, and the meanings that are communicated through "Indian" participation in the festival? Drawing on formal interviews with five past and present organizers of the Stampede and on informal conversations with Stampede volunteers, and on formal interviews with five area First Nations leaders who have had some past involvement with the festival, I contrast their perspectives on the importance of Native involvement and their understandings of the reasons for Natives' reluctance to participate fully. In so doing, and drawing on recent approaches to cultural performance by Dirks (1994), Myers (1994), Holland and Skinner (1995) and Cruikshank (1997), I approach the Stampede as a cultural festival in which various groups are engaging in public struggles over the constitution of public identities and over the meanings of performances. Through these interviews, it becomes apparent that Stampede organizers and Native leaders interpret the significance of performance, and the meaning of symbols of identity, 43 through radically different epistemological frameworks. In conversation, Native leaders discuss their struggles to negotiate their way through issues of authenticity and the hegemony of noble savage stereotypes, and their pragmatic political strategy for using performance as a vehicle not only of resistance against Euro-Canadian stereotypes, but for the cultivation of new, positive identities among aboriginal peoples themselves. Chapter eight, the concluding chapter, summarizes the major features of the frontier complex and of forms of aboriginal resistance, and discusses the implications for an understanding of the dynamics of Native/non-Native relations and current political debates regarding aboriginal land claims and self-government in British Columbia. 44 Chapter Two: The Historical Context In this chapter I present a brief historical sketch of the aboriginal cultures of the Cariboo-Chilcotin, and describe how, over the last 200 years, the influx of non-Native settlers, the introduction of colonial economies, and the establishment of Canadian government authority have conditioned Native/non-Native relations through to the present. These historical circumstances have created the material conditions enabling the continuing reproduction of a dominant culture, have defined the contexts for the current encounter between Natives and non-Natives in the Cariboo region, have led to the varied modes of political, economic and cultural resistance Native people are now engaging against the dominant society. Aboriginal Cultures ofthe Cariboo-Chilcotin Aboriginal people have lived in the B.C. interior for a very long time. According to Ulkatcho Carrier oral traditions, Native people have lived in the west Chilcotin ever since three man-like beings - Kwakwosat, Yus and Nowakila - came up the Dean River, transforming the river, introducing salmon to it, and readying the territory for human life (Furniss 1993a: 12). According to the oral traditions of the Nazko Carrier, people have lived in the Nazko area ever since the man-like giant Kebets'ih broke the huge dam on the Nazko River, emptying the water from the Nazko valley and opening it up to humans (ibid.: 12-13). Shuswap oral . traditions tell of how Old One and Coyote travelled the country, introducing salmon to the rivers, making the world fit for human occupation, and teaching people the skills and values they needed to survive (Teit 1975 [1909]). These origin o stories, like those of other Interior Salish and northern Athapaskan peoples (for example, Ridington 1978; Robirtson and Wickwire 1989,1992; Cruikshank et al. 45 1990) emphasize the themes of the ongoing interdependence among humans and animals and the centrality of the landscape to aboriginal identity and historical consciousness. Like Euro-Canadian histories, aboriginal oral traditions are living, dynamic epistemologies that are continually retold and reformulated to impose meaning on both the past and the present (Cruikshank et al. 1990; Cruikshank 1994). Archaeologists, concerned with linear, temporal sequences of human activity, generally believe that the first peoples arrived in the B.C. Interior some 12,000 to 11,000 years ago, after the end of the last glaciation period (Fladmark 1986; Rousseau 1993). The earliest humans were highly nomadic hunters of the big game animals that thrived on the open grasslands. By 8,000 years ago, pine and fir forests were spreading across the grasslands, supporting the modern game animals - moose, mountain sheep, elk and deer - that became the new basis for Native subsistence. Although minor runs of salmon probably had become established in the Fraser River by this time (Rousseau 1993:168), it was not until about 4,000 years ago that salmon became prominent as a subsistence resource. From 4,000 years to the present, the interior cultures of the Fraser River area shared many of the features noted by the early ethnographers to the region. People lived in semi-subterranean pithouses in winter villages, and practiced a semi-sedentary lifestyle in which salmon was the primary source of subsistence, supplemented by deer, elk, small mammals and plants and roots (Richards and Rousseau 1987). Thus by the early 1800s the Shuswap, Carrier and Tsilhqot'in peoples had long been established in the region. According to James Teit (1975), by this time the Tsilhqot'in controlled the western portion of the Chilcotin plateau, from Puntzi Lake to Anahim Lake in the west, and southward through the high, forested plateau region to the Coast Range. They were divided into three or four 46 bands with a total population of about 1600 (ibid.:760, 761). The Carrier, to the. north of the Tsilhqot'in, occupied a broad territory from the Skeena and Bulkley Rivers in the west to the Rocky Mountains in the east. Five of the southernmost Carrier bands were present in the region now known as the Cariboo Chilcotin. O f these, three were situated along the Blackwater River drainage system, which runs eastward for over two hundred kilometers to empty into the Fraser River in the north Cariboo. A fourth band was centered at the Fraser River; a fifth was located in the Cariboo Mountains area (Furniss 1993a: 5). A t European contact there were approximately 18 Carrier bands with an estimated total population of 8500 (Tobey 1981:416). Shuswap territory ran from the grasslands about fifty kilometers west of the Fraser River across the thick forests of the interior plateau to the Rocky Mountains (Teit 1975:450).1 The Shuswap nation, in 1840, consisted of about 30 bands with a total population of about 7200 (ibid.). There were fourteen northern Shuswap bands in the Cariboo region; they controlled the Fraser River area from above Lillooet to Soda Creek. Both the Tsilhqot'in and Carrier languages belong to the northern Athapaskan language family. The Shuswap speak an Interior Salish language. Despite these differences, the three nations occupied a region that was generally similar in ecology, climate, terrain, and plant and animal resources, providing for a certain degree of cultural leveling. A l l three nations followed a hunting, fishing, and gathering lifestyle based upon regular movements between hunting grounds, fish camps, berry and root gathering places, and seasonal settlements. The Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and southern Carrier bands were organized into bilaterally-defined extended family groups. Closely related families that occupied the same general region comprised a band, which was named after its geographical location. 1 The Tsilhqot'in National Government now claims traditional ownership to all lands west of the Fraser River. 47 The northern Shuswap, controlling the salmon-rich Fraser River, by the 1800s had developed a more sedentary lifestyle as well as more hierarchical forms of socio-political and ceremonial organization (ibid.:575-583). Relations between the three nations were forged and maintained through the linked activities of intermarriage and trade. In the early contact period the Tsilhqot'in and Carrier had particularly close trading relationships with the Nuxalk on the Pacific coast. A number of aboriginal trade routes stretched through Tsilhqot'in and Carrier territory across the interior plateau and down over the Coast Mountain range to the Bella Coola valley. The Fraser River Shuswap were linked in trade to the more southerly Lillooet, the Nlaka'pamux, and the southern Shuswap to the east. Occupying such a wide territory, those Shuswap bands occupying the extreme opposites of the region rarely met one another (ibid.:467). The northern Shuswap along the Fraser River had closer relations with the neighboring Tsilhqot'in and Carrier than they did with the Shuswap to the southeast or to the other Interior Salish groups (ibid.:468-9); this remains true in the 1990s. The European Fur Trade By the eady 1800s the three nations were all well integrated into the European fur trade. The North West Company fur trader Alexander Mackenzie, during his journey through Carrier country in 1793, found the southern Carrier already well-engaged in the fur trade business, bringing beaver, bear, lynx, fox and marten pelts down to the coast to trade with the Nuxalk, who for the last decade had been acting as middlemen in the trade with European ships (Mackenzie 1970:319-320, 354-355). As a result of Mackenzie's successful explorations, the North West Company quickly expanded into northern British Columbia. Four fur trade posts were built in the first decade of the 1800s: Fort McLeod in Sekani 48 country, and Fort St. James, Fort Fraser and Fort George in central Carrier territory (Morice 1978:54, 63, 68-69, 71). The Hudson's Bay Company opened Fort Alexandria on the Fraser River in southern Carrier territory in 1821. To the south, Fort Kamloops had earlier been built in southern Shuswap territory in 1812. Over the following decades Carrier, Shuswap and Tsilhqot'in peoples all became active in the European fur trade economy. The fact that the fur trade posts depended on a local food supply, particularly salmon, acquired through trade with aboriginal people or through direct harvest from the Fraser River using Native technology and labour; and the availability of other trade networks should trappers not receive the prices they wished for their furs, gave Native groups a certain amount of control over their relations with Europeans (McGillivray 1947:217; Fumiss 1993b:28-29). At the same time, the introduction of the European fur trade into the interior of British Columbia brought with it some obvious changes to aboriginal culture and activities. The increased emphasis on trapping fur bearing animals, in some instances, led to the intensification of pressures on intertribal boundaries between the Carrier and Tsilhqot'in (McGillivray 1947: 213-214). It led also to changes in material culture. Guns, ammunition, kettles, blankets, cloth and clothing became standard equipment, and from that point on the three nations became inextricably linked with the capitalist economy. Finally, with the new sources of wealth introduced through the fur trade, shifts began to take place in concepts of land tenure. Among both the southern Carrier and Shuswap different extended family groups began to exert ownership rights to specific trapping grounds (Goldman 1953; Teit 1975:583; Furniss 1995a). The tendency of extended family groups in other northern hunting societies to develop exclusive rights to specific trapping grounds in response to the European fur trade has been debated elsewhere (Speck 1915,1927; Cooper 1939; Leacock 1954; Rogers 1963; Bishop 1970). In the case of the Shuswap, these shifts are 49 probably not a reflection of a unilineal development and absorption of capitalist notions of private property, but of ongoing, oscillating tensions that have long existed in Shuswap societies between the autonomy of extended family groups and the solidarity of the band collective (Fumiss 1996). The 1860s: Epidemics and the Gold Rush The relatively balanced relations that existed between aboriginal groups and European fur traders were shattered in the 1860s. Two events precipitated this change: the near extinction of the Native populations through a smallpox epidemic, and the arrival of thousands of gold miners into the Cariboo region during the Cariboo Gold Rush. A variety of epidemics had swept through the upper Fraser River area in the early to mid 1800s, including whooping cough, measles, and smallpox (Fumiss 1995a:238). The most devastating epidemic in the 19* century, though, was the smallpox epidemic of the winter of 1862-63. In a few short months, the Tsilhqot'in, Shuswap and southern Carrier bands were devastated by the disease. Up to two-thirds of the Shuswap population may have died during that winter (Teit 1975:463). By 1890, the overall population of the Carrier nation was reduced to less than a fifth of their former numbers (Tobey 1981:416). Until 1850 European activities in British Columbia were focused on the fur trade. By the early 1850s reports began to filter out about the presence of gold on the lower Fraser and Thompson Rivers. In 1858 the Hudson's Bay Company quiedy began to build a post at the junction of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers for the sole purpose of collecting gold from Native miners (Fisher 1992:71). News of the discovery eventually leaked out, however, and a massive influx of prospectors to lower British Columbia began. By 1859 tens of thousands of 50 miners were working their way up the Fraser River. With the so-called 'discovery' that year of rich gold deposits on the Horsefly River, the Cariboo gold rush began. The influx of miners brought with it a fundamental shift in attitude towards the Native populations. Native people had been an essential component of the fur trade economy. With the onset of the gold rush, they were perceived by American miners as both obstacles and competitors. Numerous instances of Native/non-Native violence erupted as prospectors made their way up through the Okanagan and Fraser River regions (ibid.:99). The best known instance of Native resistance preserved in the folklore of British Columbian history is the so-called Chilcotin War. The incident was sparked by Alfred Waddington's dream of constructing a highway from Bute Inlet on the Pacific Coast to the Cariboo gold fields. Yet Waddington had underestimated the degree of opposition he would encounter by Tsilhqot'in people, through whose territory the planned road was to pass. In 1864, a crew of road surveyors arrived at Bute Inlet to explore this route. Tensions between the survey crew and the Tsilhqot'in intensified. Triggered by the crew's mistreatment of some of the Tsilhqot'in women, the Tsilhqot'in finally turned on the crew, killing thirteen men (Fisher 1992:107; Glavin 1992:88-112; Williams 1995). The Tsilhqot'in had been defending their territory from trespass in a conventional manner. The colonial government, under intense pressure from the colony's settlers, interpreted these actions as unjustified murders. Two search parties were launched to arrest the men responsible for the killings. Eventually six -men were arrested and tried in Quesnel. Five were sentenced to death and hanged (Morice 1978:320). Despite these instances of Native resistance, the weight and power of colonial authority was increasingly being felt. The gold rushes in British Columbia brought with them not only a dramatic increase in the settler population but also 51 an expansion of government activity. In 1858 mainland British Columbia was officially made a British Colony, with James Douglas assuming the governorship of the new colony as well as that of Vancouver Island (Fisher 1992:96). The Land Issue Following British colonial policy, the colonial government on Vancouver Island had set about to free up Indian lands for non-Native settlement through signing treaties with the aboriginal nations. Fourteen treaties were signed on Vancouver Island prior to 1864 (Tennant 1990:19). After 1864, as non-Native settlement continued, the colonial government ignored aboriginal tide and rescinded its treaty-making policy with various aboriginal groups. For the next century the issue of aboriginal tide to the land remained unresolved, despite persistent efforts of B.C. aboriginal groups to press for government recognition of aboriginal rights (ibid.). Colonial legislation specified the procedures by which settlers could acquire what was now considered Crown land. The 1870 Land Ordinance allowed any male British subject to pre-empt 320 acres of "unoccupied Crown land' east of the Coast Mountain'range for a price of $1.00/acre (Cail 1974:252-257). Although Native village sites, graveyards, and cultivated fields and pastures theoretically were protected by law from pre-emption, there were several instances in the Cariboo in which people saw their fenced pastures, hay meadows, cultivated fields and burial places alienated.2 Not only was aboriginal tide ignored, but Natives were expressly excluded from having rights of pre-emption except with the Governor's special 2 For the Canoe Creek Band: Elliott to Colonial Secretary, 15 July 1864. British Columbia Archives and Records Service (BCARS), C/AB 30.1J 6, letter no. 297. For the Soda Creek Band: McGuckin to Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, 12 May 1868; Saunders to Trutch, 17 September 1868; and Trutch to Colonial Secretary, 28 September 1868, all in BCARS Colonial Correspondence File 1564. 52 permission (ibid.). This discriminatory legislation remained in place until the 1950s, although Native people were legally allowed to purchase land through private sale. By the 1870s tensions between settlers and Natives were mounting in Shuswap territory, where non-Native settlement had been heavy. The principal villages of the northern Shuswap were situated on the Fraser River, or a few kilometers up small creeks that fed into the river. Being relatively low in altitude and on good water sources, these lands were among the best agricultural sites in the Cariboo. The winter villages of the Canoe Creek, Dog Creek, Alkali Lake, Williams Lake and Soda Creek Shuswap were all situated on some of the main routes by which miners were traveling to the gold fields. The northern Shuswap soon found their villages surrounded by road houses, hotels, and non-Native farms and ranches. Under increasing pressure to address the land question, in 1876 a joint federal/provincial Joint Allotment Commission was struck to establish Indian reserves (ibid.:207). Its mandate, determined arbitrarily and with no input from the different aboriginal nations of the province, was not to recognize aboriginal tide and establish treaties, but to allot parcels of reserved land for each band in the province. Many Native groups accepted the reserves that were so allotted. As these reserves provided a measure of protection from the encroachment of settlers, they served to temporarily relieve Indian-settler hostilities. Native leaders throughout the province, however, continued to lobby provincial, federal, and British governments to address the broader and still unresolved issue of aboriginal tide. It was not until the early 1880s that the first reserves in the Cariboo, those for the Shuswap and Carrier bands along the Fraser River, were allotted by the Indian Reserve Commission. By this time most of the good arable land in the region had been pre-empted by settlers. Indian reserves typically consisted of land 53 that was rocky and unproductive. The Indian Reserve Commissioner, upon aUotting several reserves covering hay meadows at Alkali Lake in 1895, reported apologetically that the reserves were "not likely to interfere with the progress of the country, as there are no white settlers in the immediate neighborhood".3 By 1902 reserves had been established for all Shuswap, Carrier and Tsilhqot'in bands in the district. Control through Legislation By the early 1900s an infrastructure of government legislation and bureaucracy was in place to regulate the lives and activities of Native people. Federal Indian policy, and the federal Indian Act of 1876, were enforced by the Department of Indian Affairs. A n Indian Agency had been established in the Williams Lake district by 1881. The Indian Agent assigned to the post began his paternalistic mandate to oversee the functioning of reserve communities and to enforce the terms of the Indian Act. Other bodies of legislation interfered direcdy with traditional subsistence practices. In 1894 federal fisheries officers began attempts to regulate Native fishing practices by prohibiting the use of barricades, basket traps and nets for salmon fishing on rivers (Ware 1983). In the 1930s fisheries officers were attempting, with mixed success, to enforce the permit system. In this system Native fishermen were expected to take out a permit to fish for food, and to restrict their fishing to the declared open times using harvesting equipment approved by the Federal fisheries department (ibid.). Similarly, by the 1920s provincial game legislation was in place to regulate Native hunting practices. Hunting for moose, caribou, elk or deer was prohibited 3 O'Reilly to Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, 20 September 1895. RG10, vol. 1279, p.70: British Columbia Archives and Records Service, Victoria, B.C. 54 except in open seasons determined by the Province. As in their response to fisheries regulations, Native people, especially those in the regions far from non-Native settlement, simply ignored these restrictions. Those in more heavily settled areas not only found their hunting practices curtailed by game wardens, but at times found themselves subject to the creative implementation of imaginary legislation. Such was the case with the Quesnel Carrier, who in 1914 reported to the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs that the local game warden had told them that all hunting was illegal, regardless of species or time of year.4 Shuswap. Carrier and Tsilhqot'in Life in the Early 1900s By the early 1900s the three nations of the Cariboo-Chilcotin region had managed to arrive at a tenuous equilibrium in their relations with non-Native society. Native people constituted a marginalized and virtually powerless sector of the mainstream society. They were able to retain some degree of control over their lives by virtue of two facts: non-Natives rarely entered reserve communities, and there still remained some portions of the traditional territory in which settlers were absent. Most Shuswap, Carrier and Tsilhqot'in families supported themselves primarily by hunting and fishing. Subsistence activities were supplemented with food grown from small vegetable gardens. Many families had begun to raise small herds of horses and cattle, and to cut wild hay meadows to provide the herds with winter feed. The annual round of activity involved regular movements between the reserve village and the hunting grounds, traplines, fishing stations, and summer gardens and hay meadows. Trapping, seasonal employment in packing, freighting, 4 Evidence Heard Before the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of B.C. Williams Lake Agency. Meeting with the Quesnel Indian Band, 27 July 1914. P. 166. Special Collections, University of British Columbia Library. 55 guiding, and farm and ranch labour, and the sale of buckskin handiwork provided Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier families with a bit of cash income. Non-native settlement in the Cariboo had brought with it some significant displacements of Native people from their territories. With the arrival of thousands of miners during the 1860s Cariboo Gold Rush, the southern Carrier and Shuswap had been displaced from the Cariboo Mountains that lay east of the Fraser River. The Quesnel Carrier, and the Fraser River Shuswap to the south were forced to accept the immediate presence of settlers in their territories. As more and more land was pre-empted by settlers, Native people found their access to hunting territories and fishing stations blocked by fences and "no trespassing" signs. Hunting and fishing became more difficult, and under these circumstances the importance of a mixed economy became even more critical. In contrast, the forested plateau area lying west of the Fraser River had been untouched by gold prospectors. The southern Carrier along the Blackwater River were able to continue their hunting, fishing and trapping lifestyle with relatively littie interference (Kew 1974). The south-eastern region of the Chilcotin plateau, and particularly the Fraser and Chilcotin river valleys, contained natural grasslands ideal for cattle ranching. By 1885 there were a handful of widely dispersed ranches in the east Chilcotin. The Tsilhqot'in by now were occupying all of the plateau area east to the Fraser River. For the most part, the Tsilhqot'in, like the southern Carrier, were able to accommodate the few settlers while maintaining control over much of their territory. Although non-Native settlement ofthe Chilcotin gradually increased through the early decades of the 1900s, it was considered remote territory, with few roads being built into the region. 56 Religious Colonization In 1867, a Roman Catholic mission, operated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, was established in the heart of northern Shuswap country (Fumiss 1995a). Missionaries immediately began to make regular visits to the nearby Shuswap and Carrier villages, seeking to convert people to the Roman Catholic faith, and launching intense campaigns to banish the aboriginal traditions of feasting, dancing, gambling, and shamanism. The missionaries arrived shortly after the gold rush, the smallpox epidemic, and the gradual loss of aboriginal control over their lands and lives. Shuswap communities in particular were in a state of social and cultural crisis, making them vulnerable to the moral and symbolic authority that the Oblates wielded. By 1900, the nominal conversion of both the Shuswap and Carrier was complete (ibid.). In 1891 a residential school was established at the Mission site. During the next ninety years many Shuswap, Carrier and Tsilhqot'in children were taken to the school. There they were taught the English language, basic academic skills, domestic and industrial trades, Catholic morality and beliefs, and, implicidy, the meaning of what it was to be an Indian in Canadian society. Williams Lake Settlement: 1860-1940 Williams Lake itself has a somewhat discontinuous history. The first non-Native settlers arrived in the valley during the early years of the gold rush. In 1859 an American settler took up land at the foot of the lake and built a roadhouse and a prosperous farm. Two years later, Gold Commissioner Philip Nind set up a government office here, and soon the new settlement of Williams Lake boasted a number of homes, a courthouse, and a jail. A n English immigrant, who was employed by Nind as a constable, soon built his own stopping house, saloon and store and eventually came to own much of the Williams Lake valley (Stangoe 57 1994:10-12). This brief period of fluorescence ended with the transfer of government offices to the booming gold town of Richfield (Skelton 1980:68). By virtue of this settlement, the Williams Lake band found themselves displaced from their territory in the valley. As early as 1861 Gold Commissioner Nind had asked permission from the colonial government in Victoria to lay out a reserve for the band; however, a reserve was not established until the 1880s. For some years the people camped on their traditional lands that had nevertheless been preempted and occupied by their Mission. The delay in establishing a reserve, according to one Oblate, was the provincial government's form of punishing the band collectively for the alleged murder of some miners by some Shuswap.5 In 1881 the Indian Reserve Commission finally allotted reserves for the band. Through the latter half of the 1800s, non-Native settlement in the Williams Lake district consisted of scattered homesteads and ranches. During the gold rush era many immigrants had arrived in the Cariboo from such places as Ontario, the United States, England, Ireland, Scodand, Germany, France and China. Generally speaking, English immigrants often came from wealthy and educated backgrounds, while the American immigrants arrived with litde to their name, and hoping to make their fortune through the gold rush (Bonner, Bliss and Litterick 1995). A number of non-Natives, in the course of establishing their farms and ranches, settied down with Native women and started families with them. The result was the emergence of a significant population with ancestors in both Native and non-Native communities. Indeed, many of the currendy-identified pioneer families in the Cariboo have Native ancestry, although this is not always openly acknowledged. 5 Father Francois Marie Thomas. Memoirs. Add MSS 567. British Columbia Archives and Records Service, Victoria, B.C. 58 By 1901 the Williams Lake District census, one of five census divisions in the Cariboo region, recorded approximately 350 non-Natives in the region.6 Most had been born in Canada, although a significant number recendy had immigrated from China and the United States. The census, displaying a race consciousness typical of the era, despite the existence of many individuals with mixed race backgrounds, nevertheless listed not only the "colour" of each individual (white, yellow, red) but the "racial or tribal origin" of the population. The dominant ethnic groups were Chinese, English, Irish, Scottish, French and German. The Chinese constituted about 20 percent of the settler population. Many were making a living by trapping, gold mining, and working as laborers on ranches and as cooks and waiters in hotels along the wagon road. The Shuswap people in the Williams Lake region, despite devastation by diseases and loss of land, remained the majority of the area population at about 500 (Teit 1975:464). The railway boom of the first and second decade of the 1900s drew many new residents to the Cariboo. Men found work in the construction of roads and bridges and the laying of the rail lines. New merchants established stores where they catered to the needs of the laborers. A new wave of settlers arrived to take up land and establish small farms or ranches. With the arrival of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway at the foot of the lake in 1919, Williams Lake was reborn. By the following year a village - complete with homes, hotels, restaurants, bars, a post office, a livery stable and feed store, a dance hall, a pool hall, and two banks - had grown up around the train station (Skelton 1980:205; Stangoe 1994:20, 34). By the end of the 1920s churches, government offices, a police station and a courthouse had been established, and the village of Williams Lake became incorporated officially as a municipality (Skelton 1980:205-206). The town 6 Canada Census, 1901, Province of British Columbia, District of Yale and Cariboo, Williams Lake Subdivision. Reel B-11275. British Columbia Archives and Records Service, Victoria, B.C. 59 was destined to become a principal nexus for transportation in the region. Cattle from ranches across the Cariboo and Chilcotin now were driven to Williams Lake, instead of the previous railhead at Ashcroft on the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway line, to be sold and shipped via rail to markets in the south. From the 1860s to the 1940s, the main economic activities in the Cariboo region consisted of ranching, fanning, mining, transportation, and small-scale logging and sawmilling. It was not until after the Second World War, with the dramatic expansion of the forest industry in British Columbia, that the economic and demographic patterns of the Cariboo would undergo significant change. Land Tenure and Forest Industry Expansion By the 1940s, the provincial government was exercising greater authority over activities on Crown land. At the time of B.C.'s entry into Confederation in 1871, the province had assumed ownership of all lands that had not already been pre-empted or purchased by settlers through colonial land legislation. Lands designated as Indian reserves later were transferred through legislation from the provincial to the federal government. A most contentious set of regulations in the interior of B.C. concerned grazing and water rights. Agriculture was the backbone of the economy until the 1940s. Water was a critical resource, and many farms and ranches relied on water from the same creek for irrigating fields and garden crops. As early as the 1860s conflicts were arising between Natives and settlers as upstream water users diverted water flow into irrigation channels and ditches, essentially reducing or cutting off water access to downstream users.7 7 Elliott to Colonial Secretary, 15 July 1864. Colonial Correspondence, File 515-26. British Columbia Archives and Records Service, Victoria, B.C. 60 The development of the Cariboo-Chilcotin ranching industry was shaped, in part, by the terms imposed by the provincial government's Land Act. In the early years of settlement, prospective ranchers could apply to pre-empt 320 acres of land. If the rancher made improvements to the land, and stayed in residence for four years, he could then obtain fee simple tide for a sum of $1.00 per acre. N o individual, however, could hold more than one pre-emption certificate (Cail 1974:255), although he could purchase additional lands from other owners. Since ranching depends on access to a large amount of range land (in contrast to farming, which uses a more intensive form of livestock feeding on smaller plots of land), this restriction tended to limit the ability of ranchers to establish large, profitable operations (Weir 1964). A system of leasing pasture land had been implemented in the Cariboo region as early as 1865, but in the following years the enforcement of leases and the collection of rent had been sporadic (Thomas 1976:118). In less settled regions, ranchers wishing to build up their herd and who required more grazing land than their pre-emption provided practiced a system of open range stockraising. By mutual agreement, ranchers allowed their cattle to run freely over "unoccupied Crown land", rounding them up periodically for branding and for fall sales (Thomson 1990). In the Cariboo-Chilcotin region, the decline of the Cariboo gold rush led a number of settlers to abandon their pre-emptions and move out of the district. These pre-emptions'were picked up for a low price by other prospective ranchers. As a result, by 1885 many of the prominent cattle ranches we now see in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region had been established (Weir 1964). In the late 1940s, most cattle ranches in the Cariboo-Chilcotin were family-based operations, running no more than 500 head of cattle (ibid:70,102). 61 By the end of the First World War there was litde agricultural land available in the Cariboo-Chilcotin to new settlers to pre-empt, and with the majority of ranchers depending on access to Crown grazing land, competition and conflict over the use of grazing lands was mtensifying. By the 1940s, the provincial government had instituted a lease/permit system to regulate access to these lands. In the 1960s about 60% of ranches in the Cariboo-Chilcotin relied on grazing leases (ibid.: 100), which were competitively sought. Leases and permits were critical to the survival of Chilcotin ranches, where the ratio of leased to privately owned land was 3 to 1 (ibid.). The diversification of government bureaucracies involved in Crown land management paralleled the emergence of the competing interests of the agriculture and forest industries by the 1950s. In a number of ways the ranching and forest industry were incompatible. Ranchers complained that the bush mills and logging practices were destroying fences, irrigation ditches, and roads. Roads were being built and portable mills were being set up in the middle of long-established grazing areas. The noise of the mills and the logging activities not only were destroying forage but were disturbing cattle, leading them to scatter into the bush and resulting in a loss in weight and consequendy value (Sloan 1956). In other ways, however, the advance of logging into previously isolated regions meant that new Crown grazing lands were opened up for lease/permit holders (Weir 1964:65). The growing conflicts among different Crown land users, and the concern that the interior forests were being overharvested, led to a change in provincial Crown land management policies by the late 1950s and an intensification of government regulation. In 1909 virtually no land in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region had been administratively designated as timber land by the provincial government (defined as land holding 5,000 feet of timber pet acre) (Fulton 1910). Instead, logging activity in the province was concentrated in the lower Mainland and 62 Vancouver Island regions, where the timber quality was high and forests were easily accessible. By 1956, however, about 75% of Crown land in the Cariboo-Chilcotin now was designated for timber harvesting. Much of these lands overlapped not only grazing lands but traditional Shuswap, Carrier and Tsilhqot'in hunting, fishing, and trapping grounds (Sloan 1956). As the forest industry expanded into the interior, small logging and sawmilling operations sprung up throughout the Cariboo region. Whereas the earlier logging and sawmilling operations had provided materials for local use only, now lumber was being exported for sale on regional and international markets. By the mid 1950s the majority of the small sawmills in the region were portable mills set up at the actual logging site, and which would remain on the site until the local limber supply had been depleted. The sawed lumber was shipped out from the bush mills by truck to the nearest point on the P G E rail line. Men flocked to the interior to take up work in the logging camps and in the associated construction jobs that arose during this period of economic prosperity. In the late 1940s and 1950s the province introduced its new sustained yield forest management program (Marchak 1983:49). The Forest Branch determined what a sustainable annual allowable cut level was within the administrative unit, and then assigned each mill operating in the Cariboo-Chilcotin a relative percentage, or quota, of that cut, dependent on the mill's previous output. The quota system, ostensibly, was created as a means whereby the provincial government could increase its regulation of the forest industry as well as mitigate conflict between competing land users. In practice, this system favoured established forest companies with the greatest productivity and made it difficult for new companies to secure timber licenses (ibid:50). Technological improvements in logging and milling operations between the 1950s and 1970s exponentially increased the productivity of those large companies 63 that could afford the highly capital-intensive equipment. The smaller companies, having poorer productivity and smaller annual allowable cut limits, began to be squeezed out of the industry. Larger forest companies bought out the small independent bush mills, acquiring their harvesting rights at the same time. Finally, as sawmilling became more automated and technologically sophisticated, it became more feasible for the larger companies to build large, highly automated sawmills in a central location, and to truck raw logs in to the mill for processing. The end result, by the early 1970s, was the concentration of timber rights in the hands of a few interior forest companies, the rapid disappearance of small bush mills, and the establishment of major sawmills in the three major Cariboo settlements of Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House (ibid.:40, 51-52). Overall, the number of sawmills operating in the interior of B.C. was reduced from 2,000 in the 1950s to only 330 in 1978 (ibid.:40). The few family-based bush mills that appeared in the Cariboo during 1950s and survived to become the dominant forest companies in the 1970s have for the most part have been taken over by multinational interests. The majority of lumber milled in the Cariboo region is sold to markets in the United States, making the Cariboo forest economy largely dependent on market factors beyond local control. This period has also seen an increased utilization of Cariboo-Chilcotin forests for harvesting. As the larger trees were depleted, trees of different species and of a smaller diameter began to be cut. Forest companies operating large sawmills now are utilizing what previously would be considered waste wood. In the late 1960s, only 51% of a log processed by an interior sawmill became finished lumber, while the rest became sawdust, shavings or wood waste (Bernsohn 1981:108). In the 1990s, wood chips now are trucked out of the Cariboo-Chilcotin to interior pulp mills to be turned into paper. Wood waste, rather than being 64 burned in beehive burners, is now fuelling an electrical generating plant in Williams Lake. New licenses are being granted to companies to harvest what two decades ago would be considered unmerchantable timber. In the late 1980s two pulpwood harvesting licenses were granted that assigned potential harvesting rights to timber in the Cariboo-Chilcotin too small to be utilized by sawmills. The inevitable disappearance of Cariboo forests is poignandy evident in the shift of vocabulary amongst forest industry spokespeople, who today speak not of ensuring their company's continued access to "trees" or "wood", but rather to "fibre flow". The expansion of the forest industry brought with it an intensification of conflict between competing Crown land users: forest companies, independent ranchers, and Native hunters and trappers. It also changed the demographic structure of the non-Native communities of the Cariboo themselves, and introduced a new population of wage-workers who have gready benefited from industrial expansion. The population of Williams Lake underwent rapid growth. In 1941 the town's population was 540; two decades later it had quadrupled to 2,120.8 With this new prosperity came a new wave of immigrants. In the eady decades of the 1900s, the main social groups in the Cariboo town of Quesnel were the businessmen-merchants, the settlers/homesteaders engaged in farming and ranching, and a small component of wage-workers and trappers (Malzahn 1979). The businessmen constituted the dominant social group. They occupied the positions of political and civic leadership, became recognized as community leaders, and were strong supporters of the Conservative party. A similar social structure can be presumed for Williams Lake. The rapid expansion of the forest industry upset this demographic balance Commission on Resources and the Environment, Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Plan, Appendix 1, p. 15. 65 by bringing with it a huge influx of wage-workers to the Cariboo. The influx of workers and cash in the local economy brought greater prosperity to the local merchants. A steady stream of businessmen and women arrived in the Cariboo. Accompanying them were a new population young professionals, mcluding doctors, accountants, and teachers, who provided an infrastructure of services to the growing population. By the 1970s Williams Lake had become a government administrative center for the Cariboo-Chilcotin region, and civil servants added to the social mix. A large influx of Indo-Canadians in the 1970s, mainly from the Punjab region of India, added a new ethnic component to the local population. In all, between 1961 and 1981 the population once again quadrupled to 8,362, and rose again by 1991 to 10,385, now outnumbering Quesnel's population of 8,179.9 Native/Non-Native Relations: 1940s to the Present In contrast to the economic prosperity being enjoyed by non-Native residents in the Cariboo, the period between 1940 and the present has been a time of diminishing opportunities for the Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier people. The most important destabilizing factor in this period has been the expansion of clear-cut logging practices into hunting and trapping territories. To the extent that independent ranchers depended on access to Crown grazing lands for their survival, the expanding forest industry threatened the viability of the non-Native ranching and the Native subsistence economies alike. However, the ultimate impact had a much more devastating consequence for the Native communities, due to the diminishing opportunities for alternate forms of economic survival. 9 Commission on Resources and the Environment, Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Plan, Appendix 1, p. 15. 66 By the 1920s Native people were finding it more difficult to find occasional work in the packing and freighting industry, as automobiles were replacing horse-drawn modes of transportation. By the 1950s, farm and ranch labor was the primary source of cash income for Cariboo-Chilcotin Natives (Hawthorn, Belshaw and Jamieson 1960:144). Many other families operated their own small scale farms or ranches, typically running no more than twenty head of cattle (ibid.) The expansion of non-Native farms and ranches in this period, and the introduction of highly mechanized and capital intensive operations, reduced Natives' opportunities for seasonal work (most notably haying contracts) on ranches (Weir 1964:103).10 Conflicts between Natives and non-Natives over grazing lands intensified (Hawthorn, Belshaw and Jamieson 1960:144). The fluorescence of bush mills in remote regions Of the Cariboo provided some employment for Cariboo-Chilcotin Native people (ibid.:78). Natives tended to prefer temporary work, staying on the job for perhaps a few days or weeks before moving on. As bush mills were replaced by larger mills in the regional centers, and as work in the mills became more competitively sought, Natives were increasingly excluded from the work force. A final factor that destabilized the aboriginal economy was the introduction of a system of government transfer payments. In the 1950s and 1960s, government assistance programs, including old age pensions, family allowances, disability pensions and social assistance, were made more fully available to Natives (Hawthorn 1966:312-338). While these sources of income augmented rather than replaced hunting and trapping activities, they also began to undermine the bonds ^of mutual assistance and cooperation that had knit the communities together. 1 0 Weir reported that in 1950 Indians comprised 70% of temporary ranch help in the Chilcotin, and 50% in the Cariboo. Most of this labour was for haying contracts. He states: "Many ranchers consider Indian help unreliable and are turning wherever possible to machines" (ibid.:103) 67 Increasingly alienated from their mixed subsistence pursuits of hunting, trapping, and agriculture, many families gradually became dependent on welfare and the cash economy. Trips to the nearby towns of Williams Lake and Quesnel became more frequent Many Native people had been demoralized through their experience in the Indian residential school, having emerged from the school with an internalized sense of their own inferiority and marginality in the dominant society. Alcohol use became more prevalent after legislation prohibiting Indians from drinking in public establishments, and from possessing alcohol, was lifted in the 1950s and 1960s. By the early 1970s, the social fabric of many of the reserve communities was unraveling, with frequent incidents of alcohol abuse, violence, suicide, family breakdown, child neglect, and sexual abuse. The 1970s also witnessed an new era of political activity among aboriginal people across Canada. Aboriginal leaders at the national and provincial levels were enjoying growing political strength and public support, and were successfully pressuring the federal government to address questions of aboriginal tide and rights (Weaver 1981). At the reserve level this growing politicization was reflected in the emergence of a number of young, articulate, and educated leaders who were taking over the leadership of their bands, through the Indian Act's system of elected, fixed-term Band Councils, from the older lifetime chiefs. As part of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs policy to devolve centralized administration and bureaucratic responsibilities to Band Offices, these leaders began to assume responsibility for the administration and management of a number of band programs previously handled by department employees. As well as assuming control of economic and governmental powers, a number of reserve communities began to address some of the social ills of their communities. While the success of the Alkali Lake Shuswap in addressing the 68 problem of alcohol abuse has received much publicity, many people in other reserve communities, on an individual basis, also began the process of "sobering up" and rebuilding their families and communities. By the 1980s the issue of land claims was again being publicly raised by First Nations leaders. They were not only openly challenging the status-quo of local Native/non-Native relations, but were also occasionally erecting road blockades that were effectively interfering with the logging industry and drawing much (unsympathetic) public attention. The increasing political strength of aboriginal communities as they lobby for recognition of aboriginal rights is occurring in a time of intensifying non-Native fears over the future of the forest industry and forestry-based resource. communities. Forest industry workers, both in the mills and in the bush, are struggling to hold on to their jobs as more and more positions are lost to advanced mechanization. The impact of technological advance is so great that a 33% increase in the volume of timber harvested in the Cariboo Forest Region between 1979 and 1993 resulted in no net job growth (Savage and Associates 1993). In the Williams Lake area, several hundred jobs would have been lost by 1994 i f it had not been for the issuing of temporary licenses to harvest beetle-killed timber (ibid.). With the eventual expiration of these temporary licenses, and with continuing modernization in the industry, job loss in the forest industry is inevitable. Coupled with a Cariboo-wide unemployment rate of 18.5% in 1992, and a near doubling between 1981 and 1992 of the percentage of employable people in Williams Lake collecting unemployment insurance, observers predict a' looming crisis in the regional economy (ibid.). These economic conditions are by no means unique to the Cariboo. They are a plight experienced by virtually all 1 1 For example, the Reader's Digest story entided "Saviours of the Shuswaps" (Header's Digest 129(775) (November 1986):84-88). 69 hinterland resource communities that are dependent on an economy controlled by foreign capital and foreign markets (Marchak 1983). In this climate of overall economic insecurity, the affluent lifestyle that non-Natives' have enjoyed over die last three to four decades is now beginning to wane. Forest sector workers and town merchants alike recognize their dependence on the forest industry and fear the potential impact of any further restriction of forest companies' access to timber resources. With the assertion of aboriginal land claims, the threat of forest companies' loss of access to timber resources in Native territories, and the actual interference in industry through the erection of logging road blockades, tensions between Natives and non-Natives in the Cariboo-Chilcotin today are running at high levels. In conclusion, there are various historical themes that continue to define contemporary Native/non-Native relations in the Cariboo. The batde grounds being drawn between Natives and non-Natives are both economic and political. Issues of land ownership and the political autonomy of First Nations communities from the Canadian state are debated hody. In the last decade there has been a fracturing of the relationship between the Shuswap cornmunities and representatives of the Roman Catholic church, the latter who have been ministering to the Native population for over a century and who have until recendy enjoyed positions of respect and prestige in Native communities. Yet these tensions are not limited to political, economic, or religious matters. Native people are also challenging some of the fundamental tenets of the culture and world view of Canadian society as embodied and expressed in the lives of Euro-Canadians of the Cariboo. Natives are criticizing non-Native accounts of history, accounts embedded in popular histories and community festivals, which celebrate the discovery of the Cariboo region while either erasing Native peoples and questions of Native land ownership from history. Native people are 70 chaUenging their marginalization from the. mainstream of Williams Lake economy and their continued exposure to the prejudicial attitudes expressed by Euro-Canadians. While Native/non-Native relations today are profoundly influenced by political and economic contexts, it is the cultural dimension of these struggles that •I am concerned with here. The colonization of Canada and the suborclination of Native peoples have been enabled by a colonial culture that has remained dynamic and adaptive to different historical contexts and changing social, economic and political forces. The legacy of colonialism continues to define Canadian culture in profound ways. The insidious nature of this legacy, as reflected in the culture, the identities, and the histories celebrated by small-town Euro-Canadian residents, is explored in the following chapters. 71 Chapter Three: Public Histories and the Myth of the Frontier Historical images infuse the public landscape of Williams Lake. Downtown streets are named after early settlers and politicians who were prominent in village life in the 1920s. Images of cattie, cowboys and the Cariboo gold rush adorn the walls of the City Hall's Council chambers, the public library, and downtown businesses. Tourism brochures promote the Cariboo-Chilcotin as the last vestige of the Canadian Wild West, a frontier still rich in historical traditions where the wilderness remains "untamed" and "untouched". History - Euro-Canadian history - is highlighted in the summer newspaper supplements featuring the region's pioneer families, and even in restaurant placemats that pay tribute to the "setders who came to Canada's West [and] made this magnificent land their own". While the average resident of Williams Lake may profess a lack of interest in history, their everyday world is permeated by the values and identities of a selective historical tradition that celebrates European expansion, settlement, and industry. A selective tradition, Raymond Williams argues, is one of the most vital aspects of a dominant culture. A selective tradition consists of the 'official' history of a society, a history produced and communicated in the most significant of public domains ranging from public schools, national museums, and ceremonies of the state. A selective tradition is not just a static representation of the past; rather, it is an ongoing, dynamic process of representation, one that connects and integrates many disparate aspects of social experience into a rationale both for the past and for current political and social relationships (Williams 1977:116). In this chapter, I explore the contours of the most pervasive and influential selective historical traditions evident in the Cariboo region. This selective tradition is the myth of the frontier, a historical epistemology consisting of a set of 72 narratives, themes, metaphors and symbols that has emerged within the context of North American colonization, that continues to define the dominant modes of historical consciousness among the general public, and that various individuals draw upon to construct understandings of the past and present, of contemporary identities, and of relationships with aboriginal peoples. In the following pages I explore how the frontier myth appears in those domains of public history that are among the most authoritative and influential sites of historical knowledge, and that play an important role in socializing townspeople into particular understandings of the past. I examine three settings: public school curriculum, popular historical literature available in local bookstores^ and the city museum. From the vast array of events that occurred in the Cariboo's past, and from the vast range of historical experiences of different sectors of the population - men, women, European, Chinese, and South Asian immigrants, aboriginal peoples, wealthy and working class people - whose histories are selected as relevant? How do these histories compare with the academic history presented in the previous chapter? What aspects of history are absent, are collectively forgotten? Who controls the representation of history? On the one hand, the political, economic and ideological forces bearing down to shape the histories produced in each of these settings are quite different. Each of these sites focuses on different levels of history: national, regional, local and personal. As I show in the following pages, however, there is a remarkable similarity in the histories that are produced. Euro-Canadians regularly draw upon the frontier myth when they write about history, when they construct museum displays, when they reflect back on their lives, and when they discuss contentious historical events and issues. Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983) have shown how historical traditions have been creatively 'invented' by colonial governments as a means of creating an 73 imagined, shared history among diverse populations lacking a shared past. These 'invented' traditions weave connections between the present and the past, rationalizing the legitimacy of colonial authority and creating an idealized image of a homogeneous national identity that masks ongoing struggles by indigenous peoples against European colonizers. The histories I trace here, though, are not just traditions consciously, deliberately invented by colonial officials to justify European authority. Rather, they reflect how certain colonial traditions of imagining history, and certain ways of constructing knowledge, have come to dominate 'common-sense', taken-for-granted understandings among small town Euro-Canadians. By virtue of their ubiquity, these frontier histories constitute the dominant historical discourse in the city, a discourse that bears down to influence and constrain how local residents understand the past, the present, and their relationships with one another. The exercise of power relies on knowledge, and these habitual modes of knowing about the past, in both what they say and what they do not say, have significant implications for the continued riiaterial and ideological domination of aboriginal peoples of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. The frontier myth exists as a highly flexible set of metaphors, images, symbols, and narratives through which a variety of historical perspectives and experiences can be voiced. As I show here, it is more appropriate to speak of frontier histories in the plural. In the city there exist an array of frontier histories: national histories, local histories, histories written by men and by women, by professional writers and first-time, self-published authors, by urban residents and by Chilcotin pioneers. Many of these are variations on the frontier myth theme, each, in different ways, celebrating the 'discovery' of the 'empty' land, thexarrival of setders, and the establishment of colonial society. 74 Buried within the bulk of public history are a few alternate histories. Some of the counter-hegemonic histories produced by First Nations and Euro-Canadian writers are also put forth within the symbolic language and themes of the frontier myth. They seek to challenge the legitimacy of colonization by retaining the narrative structure of history as contact, conflict and conquest, but providing a critique of colonialism by Averting the moral weighting of the historical agents and the ultimate outcomes. Others attempt to step outside of the framework of the frontier myth, challenging the notions of discovery and conquest and the binary narrative structure of the frontier experience, and attempting to highlight the coexistence of multiple histories and experiences . Finally, there are the life histories and oral traditions of First Nations people - exceedingly scarce in the public domain - in which the past is conveyed through historical narratives emerging from aboriginal epistemologies and traditions. My intent here is not to trace instances of conflict over public history, but rather to survey major sites of formal public history to sketch the dominant themes and variations of frontier histories as they appear in the context of a small city in rural Canada in the 1990s . I present a quick inventory of the histories encountered in the most important and authoritative domains. In later chapters I take a closer look at the specific historical, social and economic contexts that shape these productions, and the manner in which individuals and groups today are drawing on the frontier myth to render new circumstances comprehensible, to legitimate varied political interests, and to counter aboriginal efforts to reformulate their relationships with Canadian society. Public School Curriculum Public schools in Canada are controlled by the state; the operation and management of schools, including the control over curriculum, is assigned to the 75 provincial governments. Public schools have a powerful role in the socialization of young people into the dominant beliefs, values, and identities of Canadian society. This socialization process is also a process of domination, through which selective understandings of history, society and identity that serve to further the material interests of dominant sectors of society are presented as authoritative, objective, and taken-for-granted truths. Public schooling, as a cultural practice, encourages the passive acceptance of a dominant culture, directs students from varied cultural and class backgrounds into different positions in the social hierarchy, and facilitates the reproduction of social relations of inequality (Wotherspoon 1987). At the same time, public schools are also the sites of resistance and struggle over the structure of the educational system, the methods of teaching, and the content of curriculum. In the last two decades one important site of debate has been the teaching of Canadian history. Standard history textbooks have long portrayed Canadian history through the actions of the two 'founding' nations, the British and the French. The story of Canada's past has been a monological one that has highlighted the heroic actions of white, male elites while ignoring the different historical experiences of other groups - women, working-classes, other immigrant minorities - and the roles played by capitalist expansion, class conflicts, and aboriginal/state struggles. Instead, history textbooks have celebrated the processes of territorial expansion and dispossession while rendering aboriginal peoples either invisible or grossly caricatured in negative, demeaning stereotypes or noble savage imagery (Walker 1971). Since the 1970s, the adoption of the federal government's official policy of multiculturalism, the rise in public interest in aboriginal issues, and the intensifying critiques of First Nations politicians and educators have brought critical attention to the need to revise public school curricula to reflect the diversity of perspectives and values of different cultural groups in Canada (Barman, Hebert and McCaskill 76 1987; Mazurek 1987; Barman and Battiste 1995). It is in this context that the two Canadian history textbooks that are now assigned as standard curriculum to all British Columbia schools were written. Although instruction on Canadian and British Columbia history may be woven into the elementary school curriculum at various points between grades one and seven, it is not until grade nine that British Columbia students are given comprehensive instruction on Canadian history. In grade nine the curriculum focuses on Canadian history to 1812; in grade ten it discusses developments in nineteenth century Canada. In grade 11, students are taught Canadian history from 1905 to the present. Units on Native culture and history may be introduced in the course of teaching these three phases of history, or at various points within the elementary curriculum. In the following pages I examine the grade nine and ten textbooks, the first written in 1979, the second in 1987. I trace how the past is remembered in these textbooks, how aboriginal peoples are portrayed, and how Canadian national identity is constructed. Following this I turn to a brief discussion of the discretionary influences - the creation of locally-produced curricula funded and controlled by School Districts, and the implementation of curricula by classroom teachers - that may potentially modify the impact of these standard textbooks. Highschool History Textbooks One of the most common criticisms of Canadian historiography concerns the lack of attention to Natives' roles in shaping Canadian history. Bruce Trigger suggests that "Canadian historical studies as a whole have suffered from the chronic failure of historians and anthropologists to regard native peoples as an integral part of Canadian society" (1985:4). This marginalization of Native peoples from Canadian history has been practiced and reinforced not only by eady writers 77 of British and French Canadian historical literature but also by the developing academic disciplines of archaeology and anthropology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (ibid., 1986). Images of Native people have shifted according to changes in climate of aboriginal/settler relations and the dominant intellectual approaches to understanding the diversity of human populations and societies. But several themes continue to appear. Native cultures are often presented as static, and thus lacking history, prior to European contact. Colonial and Native societies continue to be treated as separate spheres, and the role of Native peoples in facilitating, shaping and hindering the course of colonial expansion has been ignored. When incorporated into Canadian histories, Native peoples continue to be presented as only passively responding to the forces of change, of being secondary and largely irrelevant to the 7 course of history, and having lost their culture following European expansion. The manner in which Natives have been portrayed have, in various ways, affirmed the colonial assumption of Natives' inherent inferiority and have legitimated European expansion and domination. Yet the hegemonic potential of these histories is a product not just in the way Natives are portrayed, but in the more general genre of colonial history in which these images are embedded. In national histories, this genre is framed by a series of "epitomizing events" (Fogelson 1984) captured through the heroic deeds of courageous male figures. History is told through the individual experiences of the explorers like Champlain and Cartier who 'discovered' Canada; of the missionaries like Brebeuf and Lalemant who were martyred in their struggle to bring Christianity to aboriginal peoples; and in the accomplishments of colonial officials, such as James Douglas and Matthew Bailie Begbie in British Columbia, who brought 'civilized' society, law and order to the wilderness. These individuals are celebrated as heroes, as symbols 78 of national pride and identity, as the founding ancestors of the contemporary nation. These themes are central in the two secondary textbooks now assigned to British Columbia classrooms. The two textbooks represent the official, state-sanctioned history of Canada: they are explicidy nationalistic and celebrate European colonization. This fact is evident in the tides alone: Exploration Canada (Collins and Sheffe 1979) and Our Land: Bui/ding the West (Bowers and Garrod 1987). The first covers a time period from first human arrival in the New World to 1812. The second text begins with the British conquest of New France and ends with comprehensive chapters on the contemporary industrial economies of Canada and British Columbia. Both textbooks use morally-laden adjectives to describe European colonization. The theme is one of heroic triumph over adversity. In the first, the Arctic environment is described as "hostile". Missionaries eagerly accepted the "dangerous, difficult, and uncomfortable life of the wilderness" (Collins and Sheffe 1979:95). Settlers are recognized for their "courage" in leaving their homelands (ibid.:245). The Ohio valley is an area that has "scarcely been touched", where Indians "had lived quietiy in its forests and its streams" (ibid.: 134). The second textbook describes the 'triumph" of the Hudson's Bay Company. In British Columbia, colonial governor James Douglas is described as "a stout, powerful, active man of good conduct and respectable abilities" (Bowers and Garrod 1987:161). The building of the Cariboo Wagon Road through the Fraser Canyon was the Royal Engineers' "greatest accomplishment" (ibid.:171). A l l of these images directiy evoke the frontier myth, where nature is something to be feared and endured, where (white) man encounters and eventually conquers the wilderness, where the territory is unoccupied, "untouched" and thus free for the 79 taking, where Indians live a "quiet" life as noble savages (Collins and Sheffe 1979:134). In general, aboriginal people remain a marginal presence in both textbooks. In the grade nine textbook there is some attempt to recognize the Native presence through the insertion of chapters at the beginning of the text. The first five of its thirty two chapters describe the cultures of Native Canadians (the Inuit, Haida, Blackfoot, Iroquois, Beothuk and Micmac). One chapter presents a contemporary Inuit woman's reminiscences on Inuit culture. These chapters, however, ate not described in a historical context; rather, in using the past tense in a timeless manner, a Native history is denied. After these brief discussions, the Native presence soon fades as the 'real' process of history is presented to the readers in chapters describing the first Europeans to arrive in the New World, the development of the fur trade, and the struggles between the British and the French to control the area later known as Canada. The portrayal of Natives in the grade ten text includes some starkly negative images. The first substantial discussion of Native people comes with the reasons behind the extinction ofthe great plains buffalo herds. It reinforces the widespread notion of the 'primitiveness' of Native cultures through reference to the "stone-age" Native cultures of Plains. Once Europeans introduced horses and guns to the Native tribes, however, bison hunting intensified, and over-hunting by Native people then led to the "near extinction of the bison" (Bowers and Garrod 1987:111). There is no discussion of the widespread slaughter of buffalo by white sports hunters and hide collectors, nor is there mention of the deliberate slaughter of buffalo herds as a strategy for destroying the subsistence base of the Plains nations in order to bring about their subjugation to American authorities (Prucha 1986:179-180). 80 A n inordinate amount of attention is given to the relationship between Natives and alcohol. In the first major heading mentioning Native people: "The Fur Trade and Native People", the book suggests that the fur trade brought about the destruction of Native cultures (Bowers and Garrod 1987:126-128). Natives became "dependent on the brandy or rum forced upon them by traders" (ibid.:127). Weakened by alcohol, dependent on trade goods, they then succumbed to European diseases and often died, "even though the sickness was not fatal to Europeans". The most vitriolic expression of the Indian-alcohol relationship is found in the section headed "The Whiskey Trade". There the reader is told "For bottles of cheap rotgut", Natives were trading "valuable buffalo robes, furs, horses, food, and some even their wives and daughters" (ibid.: 187). "Many deaths and murders had followed drmking sessions in the Native camps" it concludes (ibid.). Again, disease and malnutrition are explained, not by dislocation from traditional territories, but due to the fact that "alcoholism interfered with traditional Native hunting and food-gathering activities" (ibid.). In ah effort to address the whiskey trade problem, the North West Mounted Police was formed, heroically marching the 2,000 kilometers in the hot summer sun to the western Prairies and beginning a legacy of imposing law and order on the Canadian frontier (ibid.:188). These writers engage in a prevalent myth of colonization: that Native peoples were inherendy weak and incapable of controlling their impulsive thirst for alcohol. Alcohol is viewed as the cause of the decline of Native societies rather than a symptom of wider and more complex set of forces, among them territorial dispossession and the disappearance of the subsistence base, brought about by European expansion! The actions of colonial society are conveniendy excluded from the explanation. 81 In both textbooks there is little mention of aboriginal claims to the land, of treaties, or o f the need for the colonizers to acquire aboriginal lands through formal processes. The second textbook states that Native people had no concept of individual land ownership, nor fixed boundaries to their territories (ibid.: 190). "The idea of buying or selling land was totally foreign to these Native hunters. The land was theirs - but they did not own it" (ibid.: 190). Canadian Natives, the book states, willingly signed the treaties offered the Canadian government. In so doing, Canadian Natives acknowledged and benefited from the benevolent paternalism of government officials, enjoying a relationship not available to their Native "brothers" in the American West who were the targets of "warfare" launched against Natives by settlers and the U.S. Army. Apart from this brief mention, there is a resounding silence elsewhere in the text about Native/non-Native land conflicts. There are some differences between the two books. The grade nine text is both a political and a social history of Canada. Through its vignettes of life on a pioneer farm and on a seigneury in New France, and through highlighting several female historical figures and discussing their role in European settlement, the book attempts to integrate varying experiences of both class and gender. In contrast, the grade ten text presents a political history of the foundation of Canada and a contemporary study of the Canadian and British Columbian industrial economy. Despite these differences, both textbooks provide official views ofthe history of Canada in which images of heroic courage and benevolent paternalism define Canadian colonial practices. Nationalist histories present what could be called the cbig man' theory of history, in which history is made by the heroic actions of elite, European male figures. These figures then become condensed symbols of national identity; in their actions are embedded the ideal values of contemporary Canadian society. Native peoples are slotted into these dramas as 82 supporting characters to a larger historical script through which (Euro-Canadian) national identities are being constructed. Pluralism, alternate identities, contrasting value orientations, and competing perspectives on history - issues hinted at in the grade nine text - are suppressed in the more overtly nationalistic histories. This celebratory view of colonial history both omits some of the more brutal aspects of the past, and at the same time, evokes this brutality in the racist stereotypes of Native peoples. These stereotypes of the drunken Indian, the Indian squaw, the lazy, irresponsible and immoral Indian, all resonate with prevailing attitudes towards Native people in Williams Lake and many other small cities and towns in rural Canada. These images are all the more surprising given the grade ten textbook's recent publication date: 1987. That these images persist in state-sanctioned official histories is testimony to the widespread and purportedly uncontroversial nature of anti-Native racism in Canada. The limitations imposed by the frontier history genre are evident in the strategies that have arisen, since the 1970s, to accommodate the multicultural and anti-racist critiques. In his review of popular and academic histories produced during the 1970s, Walker (1983) found that historians responded to a growing awareness of the inadequacies of earlier works by simply removing any mention of Native peoples. "Measured in column inches of print, histories written in the 1970s pay less attention to Indians than ever before" (ibid.:346). This is only one manifestation of the hegemonic role of the 'invisible Indian': the tendency to render aboriginal people invisible as a means of absorbing challenges to aspects of the dominant culture. Similarly, the strategy of adding preliminary chapters on Native cultures presented in ahistorical contexts gives a surface appearance of pluralism while retaining the central narrative themes of heroic individualism, discovery and conquest. 83 These are the official histories of Canada that are funded, produced and sanctioned by the state. These histories constitute central components of the dominant culture. They provide comfortable, non-controversial accounts of the past and encourage students to accept the legitimacy of state authority, the myths of conquest, and the theories of aboriginal inferiority that rationalize colonialism. Yet these official, textbook histories contrast sharply with current practices of other agencies of the state; not the least of which being the initiatives, underway for the last two decades, to negotiate outstanding aboriginal title claims with Canadian aboriginal peoples. Official state discourses of history themselves are plural and divergent. Highschool textbooks reflect the most conservative and archaic of the official nationalist histories in the public landscape. Discretionary Influences School Districts, operating under provincial legislation, have some discretionary powers over the supplementary curriculum used in public school education. In the last decade the Williams Lake School District has hired two First Nations educators whose task, in part, has been the development of locally-produced curriculum materials on Native cultures and histories. The School District has funded these projects in recognition of the overwhelming absense of information on local First Nations cultures available to students. In conjunction with other regional school districts, a series of curriculum kits and written booklets on Shuswap and Carrier culture and history have been produced by local First Nations writers and researchers (Boyd 1989,1990a, 1990b) and by consultants working with First Nations organizations (Coffey et al. 1990; Birchwater 1991, 1993; Furniss 1993a, 1993b). These writers and researchers have had considerable freedom in producing these materials, and some of the works explicitly challenge dominant histories and images of Natives that prevail in mainstream textbooks. 84 Teachers may exercise significant discretion in the use of assigned textbooks, in the introduction of supplementary materials, and in the interpretation and translation of curriculum materials to their audiences. The teacher's own training in critical approaches to history, and his or her cultural or ethnic background, are highly relevant to these processes. The question is, then, who teaches history in public schools in Williams Lake? Each of the two junior high schools has one or two full-time social studies teachers. Nevertheless, social studies (history and geography) is considered a subject that "anyone can teach". Teachers with expertise in other areas, such as math or physical education, may be given a social studies course to teach. Common-sense beliefs about history, beliefs that resonate with the official Canadian histories of textbooks, are easily reproduced in these settings. This is furthered by the fact that there are at present no First Nations teachers employed to teach mainstream subjects in any school in the district. Under such conditions, it is questionable to what extent mainstream textbooks are being critically examined, or to what extent supplementary curriculum materials are actually entering the lesson plans of social studies teachers. Local curriculum materials are, however, being used in the Native language courses that run as electives, and that are primarily attended by Native students. In 1995 the provincial government announced the creation of a province-wide, grade twelve elective course: B.C. First Nations studies. One of the stated objectives is: To provide students with an alternative to the ethnocentric histories traditionally taught. Students require a more balanced perspective of the history of relations between colonizing powers or incoming settlers and B.C. First Nations. The resistance and resilience of First Nations people in response to imperialism and colonialism should be affirmed (Province of British Columbia 1995:16). 85 That such a curriculum was deemed necessary for British Columbia is undoubtedly a reflection of the growing prominence of First Nations issues in the media and in the courts, and the rising tensions between aboriginal and non-Native peoples over impending treaty settlements. What is significant, however, is the fact that such challenges to the dominant nationalist histories of textbooks are being introduced on the fringes of the educational system: in supplementary curriculum rather than official textbooks, and in optional electives rather than in standard academic subjects. Popular Historical Literature • The shelves ofthe two major bookstores in Williams Lake are filled with popular histories recounting the romantic past of British Columbia and the Cariboo. Within the last decade the general rise in public interest in heritage issues and heritage tourism has resulted in an exponential increase in the number of regional and local histories available to the public. These books are being bought not only by summer tourists, but by local residents interested in the region's past and searching for gifts for distant relatives and friends. These popular histories become not only standard historical reference books, but also become emblematic of all that is distinct and unique about the Cariboo region. A different set of political and economic forces influences what books are available to the general public, and, consequently, whose histories are aired in these settings. Publishing houses cater to a presumed market for historical information and entertainment; the histories that are published are less detemiined by the need to inculcate students with official state histories than publishing executives' assessment of what will sell to the public. While large national publishing houses have a competitive edge in producing and marketing books, a 86 variety of provincial and regional publishers have now taken the lead role in producing popular histories with a local focus. This opening up of the industry in part is linked to the technological advances in desk-top publishing systems, through which small publishing houses, First Nations organizations, School Districts and even self-publishing authors have been able to produce and sell their works to regional bookstores. Government subsidization and funding has been central to the production of many of the curriculum books produced by School District and First Nations organizations, and which have also been marketed to city bookstores. Finally, the owners and buyers of the city's bookstores may screen what books make their way onto the local shelves, alternately turning away books judged to be controversial or enthusiastically supporting those written by local authors or describing local histories and Native cultures. There are well over fifty regional and local histories now available in city stores. Despite the varied factors of production and distribution discussed above, the popular histories now available to the general public are overwhelmingly written within the romantic frontier history genre. Regional histories, written both by non-local and local authors, recount key events in the non-Native settlement, and focus heavily on the 'discovery' of gold and the Cariboo gold rush. Local histories, often written by Cariboo residents themselves, typically tell the story of the achievements of early white settlers and pioneer families. In different ways, both regional and local histories provide celebratory rather than critical perspectives on history. The vast majority of these works are written by non-Natives; history is presented as a positive series of events, as a progressive, linear process of development. While popular histories, in generating specific local identities and perspectives on history, do have a potential to highlight issues of inequality and 87 conflict, and to be used as forms of opposition to constructions of national identity and official state versions of the past, the works surveyed here suggest the opposite. Popular histories are fully compatible with the nationalist histories of highschool textbooks. These histories are equally enmeshed in the imagery, symbols, and narrative forms ofthe frontier myth. They are equally engaged in a commemoration of European colonization, now writ small in the lives of individual men and women on the Cariboo frontier. Regional Histories Among the most prolific publishers of popular history is Heritage House, a small British Columbia company that specializes in brief, inexpensive paperbacks. Their regional history collection is prominently displayed on "Western Canadiana" bookracks in stores across the province. A main focus of interest in this collection is police history: the bringing of law and order to the western Canadian frontier. Among the titles are a three volume set of Outlaws and Lawmen of Western Canada (n.a. 1983a, 1983b, 1987a), Off Patrol: Memories of BC Provincial Policemen (B.C. Provincial Police Veteran's Association 1991), B.C. Provincial Police Stories in three volumes (Clark 1986, 1989, 1993), and March of the Mounties, by Sir Cecil E . Denny (1994), which recounts the formation of the North West Mounted Police. Its front cover reads: Despite their impressive red coats and white gauntlets, virtually all of the new policemen were inexperienced... despite these handicaps, their Commanding Officer reported that they "performed one of the most extraordinary marches on record". The heroic individualism of regional histories is no longer centered on elite figures - missionaries, explorers, colonial officials - but on the figures of law and order: the Mountie, the British Columbia provincial police. 88 The Canadian version of the frontier myth has distinct themes. Just as the hero of many American frontier histories is the Indian fighter, and just as "regeneration through violence" is a central narrative theme of many American versions of the frontier myth (Slodtin 1986,1992), in Canada a dominant heroic figure is the Mountie, and a dominant narrative theme is what could be called 'conquest through benevolence'. The Canadian heroes do not inflict violence; instead they impose peace, order and good government on Indians and Euro-Canadians alike. Yet the Mounties, too, encounter forces of opposition. They too must engage in conflict in order to triumph. These forces of opposition are not hostile Indian tribes, but lawless, renegade criminals, both Native and non-Native. These criminals play key roles in these historical dramas: they are the dark forces of lawlessness and immorality against which the hero protagonists must struggle for the advance of 'civilization' and 'progress'. This narrative of conquest through benevolence - the definition of the Canadian spirit, and of Canadian national identity, through the continual assertion of history as a narrative of paternalistic domination of aboriginal peoples - is a theme that weaves in and out of Canadian literature, popular histories and academic historiographies. As discussed earlier, the conviction that in Canada 'we have treated our aboriginal people well' is central to highschool history textbooks. Pierre Berton, Canada's foremost popular historian, has characterized the Canadian frontier as a series of benevolent, paternalistic extentions of British authority (Berton 1978, 1982). The North West Mounted Police were really "civil servants and social workers" (1982:31). "The Indians called [the Mountie] 'father' to his face, but it was not only the Indians who appreciated his paternalistic qualities" (ibid.: 28-29). Berton celebrates what he sees as the absence of violence on the Canadian frontier: "The Indian fighter is as foreign to our experience as the fighting Indian" (ibid.:30). 89 British Columbia historiographers have also proudly contrasted the peaceful and law-abiding settlements in British Columbia with settlements on the American frontier (Smith 1980:75; Pritchard 1992). Bruce Trigger has traced this myth of benevolent paternalism to nineteenth century Canadian historians, who "relished comparing the brutal treatment of native people by the Americans with the 'generous' treatment they had received from Euro-Canadians" (1986:321). These varied writers are constjxicting an oppositional national identity in the shadow of American cultural and economic imperialism. These histories both detract attention from the realities of Canada's equally repressive treatment of Native peoples, and cloak forms of domination and power as paternalistic expressions of good will and benevolence. As I show in later chapters, the theme of benevolent paternalism continues as one of the defining assumptions through which Euro-Canadians in the Cariboo understand history, local identities, and their relationships with Native peoples. In a number of regional histories Natives do emerge as the central symbolic counterpart to settlers and the advancement of Euro-Canadian 'civilization'. At times, Natives are portrayed as bloodthirsty, violent and irrational savages. One example is in McKelvie's Tales of Conflict: Indian-White Murders and Massacres in Pioneer British Columbia (1985), which announces on its cover: The Indians were an extremely proud people, fierce warriors quick to avenge a real or imagined wrong. Indian justice did not require that retaliation be made upon the persons who committed the wrong, only that blood be spilled. This form of justice resulted in the murder of settlers and the massacre of crews on several sailing ships. Likewise, Rothenberger's The Chilcotin War (1978) describes the conflict that arose when a crew of Euro-Canadian surveyors were murdered in the course of their attempts to build a road through Tsilhqot'in territory in 1864. The book depicts 90 on its cover an attack by savage-looking Natives on a camp of sleeping whites. The cover claims the book is about "the true story of a defiant chiefs fight to save his land from white civilization". Their defeat, it is suggested, is inevitable. These accounts reduce the complexity of Native/non-Native conflicts to simple narrative structures that, through the imagined 'savagery' of Natives, then justify the use of violence as a natural and inevitable processes in the expansion of 'civilized' European societies. Rothenberger's story of the Chilcotin War, in fact, has become the subject of intense public criticisms by leaders of the Tsilhqot'in nation. While there is as of yet no written history providing a Tsilhqot'in perspective on these events available to the public,1 the subject is occasionally debated in letters to the editor of the city newspaper. In November 1994 Tsilhqot'in leaders participated in a public panel discussion on the Chdcotin War of 1864 held at the University of British Columbia, where they provided sharply contrasting accounts of these events. The public hanging of the Tsilhqot'in men, in the name of colonial justice, continues to be a source of great bitterness among many Tsilhqot'in people today.2 • Books on the discovery of gold in the Cariboo are popular and numerous. These books play upon the romance of riches to be found in the 'untouched wilderness', luring destitute men into the region with the hope of prosperity and redemption. Such books, emphasizing the abundance of valuable natural resources essentially free for the taking, represent yet another version of the frontier myth. In Cariboo Gold Rush (n.a. 1987b), for example: 1 The narratives contained in Glavin's Nemiah: The Unconquered Country (1993) are an exception. 2 In an effort to acknowledge these discrepant historical experiences and perspectives, the Cariboo Chilcotin Justice Inquiry (Sarich 1993) recommended that these men be given an official pardon and that a monument be erected to honor their efforts to protect Tsilhqot'in territories. 91 In 1858 some 30,000 Gold seekers stampeded to the Fraser River. Scores drowned in the tumultuous rapids or were killed by Indians. But survivors pressed upstream. In a land called Cariboo they found nuggets by the ton, their discovery resulted in today's province of British Columbia. The gold rush is a story of conflict between the principal oppositional elements of the frontier myth: man vs. nature, whites vs. Indians. Those with the courage to attempt the challenge and the luck to survive found their fortune in the abundant nuggets that were free for the taking. The province of British Columbia, it is suggested, was built on such heroic accomplishments. These narratives focus on a different set of epitomizing events than nationalist histories. In contrast, the focus is the 'discovery' of untapped riches by heroic individuals. These individual protagonists embody the cultural ideals of Canadian society: individualism, courage, the quest for material wealth, the ability of individuals to prosper through hard work, detemiination, and ingenuity. As Cruikshank notes in Klondike gold rush narratives (1992), this theme of discovery condenses what in reality was a slow historical process of the emerging knowledge of gold among Euro-Canadians. In fact, by the early 1850s colonial officials in Victoria were receiving reports of gold in the interior of British Columbia, and by 1857 Native people in the interior were trading gold to the Hudson's Bay Company (Fisher 1992:71). Even before the gold strike in the Cariboo, Natives in the Thomspon River and Okanagan regions were asserting ownership of the gold resources. In 1857 there were violent confrontations as Natives sought to fend off the flood of non-Native prospectors entering aboriginal territories (ibid.:70). Yet, in popular histories, the onset of the Cariboo Gold Rush is associated with a specific event: the 'discovery' by a group -of American prospectors, assisted by a Native guide, of gold on the Horsefly River. Natives are thus portrayed as helping in the process of non-Native 92 economic expansion and settlement; aboriginal perspectives on these events remain largely excluded from the official, written histories available to the general ^ public.3 Local Histories: Pioneer Stories Pioneer stories of the Cariboo-Chucotin region have always been popular with wider Canadianaudiences (Marriott 1966; Lavington 1982; Collier 1991 [1959]; Hobson 1993 [1951];). The last five years has seen a tremendous growth in the number of books discussing Cariboo and Chilcotin pioneer history. Many of these have been written by contemporary Cariboo-Chilcotin residents themselves, such as Todd and Eldon Lee, Chilco Choate, Irene Stangoe, Diana French, Branwen Patenaude, and others. Several of these authors are now writing their second and third books. Nevertheless, the best known and most frequendy requested books on Cariboo history are two autobiographical books written and published originally in the 1950s: Eric Collier's Three Against the Wilderness (1991 [1959]), and Rich Hobson's Grass Beyond the Mountains (1993 [1951]). These books have been published by major publishing companies, and are still promoted by local bookstores as the classic stories of the Cariboo. Collier's book, first published in 1959, has been an international best-seller, has been condensed in a Readers Digest version, and continues to be described on its cover as "the classic Canadian wilderness tale". These two books, one by a British immigrant and the other by an American, indicate how both men, despite their different cultural origins, have drawn on the frontier myth to narrate the story of their arrival and establishment in 3 Cruikshank's article contrasting written and oral accounts of the Klondike Gold Rush, however, has been included in her Reading Voices (1991), a textbook on Yukon history now used in the territory's public schools. 93 the Cariboo-Chilcotin. These two books also reflect the ways in which the frontier narrative is differently formulated by writers of British and American origins. Eric Collier, the son of a wealthy English businessman, immigrated to Canada in the 1920s. With his "quarter-breed" wife, the family established a homestead in the Meldrum Creek area in the north-eastern Chilcotin plateau. For the next thirty years they raised a family and made a living by trapping and hunting. The Collier family's achievement, indeed, is remarkable. He tells of felling trees and building a log cabin by hand, of fencing acres of meadowland, of surviving long, bitterly cold Chilcotin winters, and of re-seeding beaver into Meldrum Creek to eventually establish thriving beaver colonies all along the creek's length. What makes this the story of a Euro-Canadian settler, rather than of a Native family, many of whom were living successfully under similar conditions, is the way Collier frames his experience. Collier's book is the story of conflict and struggle against dark forces. These forces are conceptualized both in terms of the~elements ("summer's searing heat and winter's penetrating hostility" [Collier 1991:3]), and nature ("our only neighbours [were] the moose, bears, timber wolves and other wild life of the muskegs and forest; some of whom seemed ever ready to dispute our right to be there at all" [ibid.:3]). Nature is something to be feared and respected, to be constantly vigilant against. Collier, in fact, summarizes the heroic quality of his life in the book's tide, Three Against the Wilderness. Margaret Atwood has identified this constant, chronic fear of nature as a defining feature of Canadian literature generally (Atwood 1972). Whereas Natives have played a central oppositional role in literary depictions of American history, she suggests that in Canadian literature it is the wilderness that is the dark force against which settlers continually struggle. While in American literature these frontier struggles are eventually resolved through conquest, in Canadian literature 94 the battle with nature is ongoing, domination only partial and transitory, and the struggle for survival is never ending. These generalizations capture some of the central themes of Collier's story. Yet the narrative theme of conquest through benevolence is also highlighted. Native people do enter Collier's account, only to provide a colourful, exotic, and at times threatening presence that adds to the spectre of his own heroism. Native people are rarely presented as individuals with their own personalities; rather, their Indianness is emphasized, and often in negative terms. "Redstone Johnny had often dropped in at our cabin to share a meal or a cup of tea with us, and tell of his woes - as Indians ever will i f they can strike a sympathetic audience" (ibid.: 127). Paradoxically, a Native laborer he hires is described as a man "sparing of words as so many primitive Indians are" (ibid.: 139). His book includes a grossly demeaning depiction of a Native woman he encounters in a Chilcotin store (ibid.:80). Conflict over possession of the land is a central tension in the book. Collier arrived in the region on the wave of post-war immigrants seeking to pre-empt land and homestead in the Chilcotin region. Their search for "free land" was enabled by the apparatus of colonial authority and bureaucracy that, by this time, had been in place for sixty years. Nevertheless, non-Native settlement was still minimal in the Chilcotin, and Tsilhqot'in people continued to hunt, fish, and trap in their original territories with relatively little interference. The issue of aboriginal tide became a subject of conflict only in the intermittent encounters with settlers, encounters that were now intensifying as post-war settlement increased. These broader contexts enabling Collier's immigration to the region, however, are not part of his story. He presumes the land is 'empty' and that Native people have no legitimate claims to i t 95 Collier describes how he "expected trouble from our Indian neighbours" (ibid: 104), worrying constantly that they would "poach" on his trapline. When he finally does find a group of Native people trapping on the land he now claims is his, Collier finds that he cannot become angry with them, "any more than I would hold a grudge against a little child who climbs up on a stool and helps himself to the cookies" (ibid: 108). Instead, he reprimands them in a stern, paternalistic fashion, and teaches them a lesson in the importance of managing the beaver populations, during which the Indians stare at the ground. In gratitude to his benevolence, the Indians become his friends (ibid.: 111-112). In short, the inevitable land conflicts, and encounters with Native people, become part of the romance and the natural danger of his homesteaciing experience. These tensions are resolved through paternalistic domination; the morality of non Native settlement and the superiority of Euro-Canadian civilization is affirmed. A similar set of narrative themes and images, with some interesting variations, are found in Grass Beyond the Mountains. The book describes how New York city real estate salesman Rich Hobson decided to abandon city life after the stockmafket crash of 1929 and move west to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a cowboy. While working on a Wyoming ranch he met up with fellow cowpuncher Pan Phillips. Phillips planted seeds in Hobson's imagination of a vast, undiscovered grassland lying beyond the mountains in the northern Chilcotin plateau. "Yeah - that's my gold mine. Grass! Free grass reachin' north into unknown country. Land - lots of it - untouched - just waitin' for hungry cows, and some buckaroos that can ride and have guts enough to put her over" Pan reportedly said (ibid.: 16). The two immediately decided to tackle the unknown country and headed to the Chilcotin. There the two found "a new frontier - a frontier as tough, as wild and as remote as the West of the early days. This unconquered barrier stands out, unique 96 in this day and age, for it is the last great cattle frontier on the North American continent" (ibid.:9). There Hobson also 'discovered' Carrier Indians: "Back in its jackpine forests there are Indians who have never seen a white man" (ibid.). A few become his friends, whom he refers to by name and who become characters in his adventures; other Natives resent his intrusion into their territories. In scenes replete with sixshooters and ominous Indian "torn torn" drums, he describes how he had to physically fight his Indian protagonist, and win, in order to earn their respect (ibid.:165-173). In the end, Hobson and Phillips succeed in setting up a string of ranches and homesteads in the Blackwater River area, in doing so becoming renowned as the region's first, and perhaps most colourful, white Setders. This novel contains all of the central ingredients of the frontier myth: the promise of abundant resources free for the taking, the challenge of the heroic trek into an uncharted and untouched wilderness, the thrill and danger of discovering Indians who had never seen a white man. With its images of sixshooters, tom-tom drums, and hand-to-hand combat with a fierce Indian around a blazing campfire, and in its narrative of conquest through violence, the book reflects a typically American expression of the frontier myth genre. The settling by whites of the Chilcotin is reduced to a cliche of the Wild West. Once again, conflict over the land is not only naturalized, but is an essential ingredient in Hobson's heroic epic of adventure. As in Collier's novel, there are notable silences in Hobson's story. Hobson, too, assumes that the land is free for the taking and that the Carrier have no legitimate rights to it. What the reader does not learn is that the territory had been 'discovered' thousands of years earlier by aboriginal peoples. Further, for several decades Carrier families themselves had been running herds of cattle, had been fencing off meadows, had been putting up large amounts of hay for winter feed, and had been building roads through the country to bring their catde to market, all within the territory Hobson portrayed as unused and unoccupied.4 Technically, the range was 'free' not only because of the government's failure to address aboriginal title, but also because Native people were legally prohibited from pre-empting land.5 The image of the 'Indian who had never seen a white man' was also a figment of Hobson's literary imagination. When Hobson arrived in the Chilcotin region in 1934, not only had the Carrier along the Blackwater River area been in contact with white men since the opening of Fort Alexandria some 113 years ago, but one group, the Ulkatcho Carrier, were about to receive their first resident anthropologist. Irving Goldman's ethnography paints a dramatically different picture of Carrier life than presented by Hobson (Goldman 1953). These silences are characteristic features of frontier histories. Their hegemonic potential lies not only in the facts that are excluded from the story, and not only in the way Native/settler conflict is naturalized, but in the way settler and Native identities are constructed. The subtle images of the paternalistic benevolence of the colonizers and settlers, and the savage primitiveness or childishness of Natives, implicitly affirm the legitimacy of European expansion and settlement. While the 'facts' of history may be debated, these understandings of 4 For example, by 1915 a Carrier family at Trout Lake in Nazko country was running a herd of 16 cattle and had built thirty kilometer sleigh road through the bush to bring their cattle to market (Government of Canada, Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs 1912:261). In 1915 at Ulkatcho, two brothers, Old Cahoose and Capoose, owned almost 200 horses; one brother had recently sold his stock of 60 cattle. The two had set up trading stores in the region and had built a 60 kilometer road to haul freight in and out of their territory, which itself eventually facilitated the opening up the country for non-Native settlement (Evidence Heard Before the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of B.C. Bella Coola Agency. Meetingwith the Ulkatcho Band, Victoria, August 3, 1915. Pp.132-140. Special Collections, University of British Columbia Library). 5 One Ulkatcho man, Capoose, had dealt with this dilemma by asking a local'white settler to "lend" his name and preempt the land on which Capoose was living, and on which he had built a house, barns, and several miles of fencing. The settler did so, but then refused to sell the deed to Capoose. Capoose raised this issue with the Commissioners during the 1912-1916 Royal Commission on Indian Affairs; the Commission refused to intervene in the matter (ibid.). 98 colonial and Native identities persist at a level of implicit, 'taken-for-granted' beliefs that reflect deeply-held convictions of the morality of the colonial process. These identities persist in the popular pioneer histories now on the shelves of Cariboo bookstores. Despite the passage of four decades since these classic autobiographies were published, pioneer stories continue to be written through the historical framework of the frontier myth. These authors engage in a form of salvage history: they seek to record the experiences and contributions of the early pioneers before their voices are lost to the public record. The most recent and comprehensive book is the 432 page Chilcotin: Preserving Pioneer Memories(Bonner, Bliss and Litterick 1995). The book, written by the granddaughters of one of the founding Chilcotin pioneer families, recount the array of settlers who have arrived in Chilcotin country over the last twO centuries. Its introduction encapsulates the motive of this recent crop of books: There is a vast storehouse of romantic history connected with the opening and settiement of the Chilcotin country of British Columbia. Yet much will be lost i f it is not preserved in writing... This new book is dedicated to preserving the memory of the early pioneers whose courage and spirit of adventure brought them into this country. With these writings, we hope to bring some of these hardy characters to life to share with the reader the unique magic of the Chilcotin we love (1995:8). In contrast to the elitism of nationalist histories, local pioneer stories have an egalitarian orientation. They celebrate the lives of the 'ordinary people', both men and women, and highlight their contributions to the 'building' of the 99 Canadian nation.6 These stories are aimed at recovering silences in the historical record that nevertheless complement rather than challenge nationalist constructions of the past. In so doing, the pioneer becomes a localized, populist symbol of nationalist pride and identity. The idea that it is the pioneers who have 'built' the country is commonplace in the Cariboo today, where the pioneer exists as something of a sacred symbol. The success of the colonial endeavour, it is suggested, is due to their personal qualities of courage, detennination, and drive, while the broader political and economic contexts that enabled the pioneers' success, and that functioned to suppress aboriginal resistance to settlers and their taking of Native lands, go unmentioned. Instead, we have the simple narrative structure of contact, conflict, and conquest as relayed through the personal experiences of the settler's encounter on the frontier. Native people remain secondary to the narrative of settlement. Although the virulendy negative images as found in 1950s accounts are encountered less often, the 'savage' Indian still appears. In Chilcotin: Preserving Pioneer Memories, Natives continue to be portrayed alternately as "wild", "hostile" and "war-like" (ibid!: 10, 12, 15, 275) and as colourful characters who accept white encroachment on their lands meekly and who are "loyal" and "faithful" to their new neighbours (ibid.: 12, 112, 113, 136). That settlement is a worthy moral project is ultimately affirmed by the "loyalty" of the aboriginal peoples whose territory the settlers take over. Native people's presumed admiration for the new settlers is but a reflection of the settlers' own self-image, a reflection of the deeply ingrained assumption of superiority that characterizes the colonial mentality (Memmi 1965), and that has been continually Women are a present, visible, and central force in many pioneer histories. They are portrayed in a number of activities: sawing and splitting wood, driving teams of horses, building cabins, herding catde, cooking meals and raising children. The prominence of pioneer women in local histories contrasts sharply with the silences regarding women's roles that in the past have characterized scholarly histories of the west (Armitage 1985; Van Kirk 1992; Creese and Strong-Boag 1995). 100 reinforced by nationalist identities heralding paternalistic benevolence as a Canadian tradition. Some writers of popular history in the Cariboo are concerned with the problems of negative stereotyping and are critical of the derogatory portraits of Natives in earlier pioneer stories. One local writer recendy discussed these issues with me. In his own recent book he addressed this dilemma by choosing not to include significant mention of the Native presence in the region, stating "I didn't feel I had the right to tell that story". The dilemma of sympathetic writers is not resolved by simply erasing the existence of Natives from the landscape, however. The "invisible Indian" is an effective means of deflecting challenges to official, hegemonic historical traditions while histories continue to be written in a framework defined by the themes of discovery, contact, conflict, and triumph of settlement. Local Histories: Alternate Perspectives Local histories that deviate from the celebratory themes of the frontier myth are scarce, although their numbers have now begun to grow (Speate 1977; Tada Lake School Project 1986-93; Birchwater 1991,1993; Glavin 1992; Fumiss 1993a, 1993b; Mack 1993,1994). Vancouver journalist Terry Glavin's Nemiah: The Unconquered Country (1992) presents stories of history told by Tsilhqot'in elders of the Nemiah First Nation. While the tide is explicidy counter-hegemonic, morally inverting the terms of the frontier myth, the content is a weaving of the historical reminiscences of Tsilhqot'in elders with the author's narrative of major events in the European settlement of British Columbia. Speare's The Days of Augusta (1992), compiled by a local Euro-Canadian resident and wife of an ex-Cariboo Social Credit M.L .A. , presents an elderly Shuswap woman' reflections on her life. The book is a remarkable precursor of experimental ethnographies that take a poetic 101 textual approach to Native American discourse as verbal art. These stories reflect the Shuswap tradition of recounting history through the genre of personal narrative (Palmer 1994). Within this category are a few recent publications by area First Nations, produced through grants provided from government agencies or from the curriculum development division of the local school district (Birchwater 1993; Furniss 1993a, 1993b). In directiy challenging the images of Natives and the celebration of European conquest contained in frontier histories, these books constitute the only available histories that directiy confront the terms of the frontier myth as historical epistemology. A good example is Ulkatcho: Stories of the Grease Trail (Birchwater 1993). Drawing on stories told by Ulkatcho elders, the author aims to provide "a native point of view" of that trail's significance in the culture and history of the Carrier people. He attempts to recover the silences created through the trail's official history, which celebrates Alexander Mackenzie's heroic voyage down the trail and his 'discovery' of the Pacific Ocean. It explicitiy challenges the invisibility and irrelevance of Native people in dominant histories, and the assumption that "somehow [Native people] weren't really there until [whites] came along and found you. Or if you were there, what you were doing beforehand, simply didn't matter very much" (ibid.: vii). The book challenges pioneer histories by arguing that "a story can be told from many points of view" (ibid.). The few recent publications on local Native cultures and history that explicitiy challenge the objectivity of histories presented through the frontier myth remain exceptions to the historical accounts available to the general public on the bookstore shelves or in the public school system. The dominant historical discourse remains relentlessly that of the European settlers and nationalists. There is a smooth fit between the nationally produced books on Canadian history used in 102 the public school system, the books on Western Canadiana produced by the small provincially-based publishing house, and the histories written by Cariboo pioneers. These books are united by their common framework of the frontier myth. They focus almost exclusively on non-Native history and the challenges and triumphs of pioneers and colonial systems. Natives are either invisible in these histories, or they are scripted as supporting characters in images that are alternately negative, quaint, childlike or passive. These books, by their sheer volume, constitute a dominant historical discourse that cannot but pervade the consciousness of the general population. The City Museum A third institution representing public history is the city museum. Small town museums are controlled not by the state,.nor by more general corporate or business interests. Instead, small town museums are run through relatively democratic processes. They are typically operated by a local historical society, a non-profit volunteer association which exerts a primary force in controlling what history is to be represented. In Williams Lake, the city museum presents a regional history that is purportedly produced by 'the community' and that is reflected back for community consumption. The city museum occupies a privileged space in public history: it is the only institution devoted to the collection, representation, and celebration of the region's past. Despite its democratic appearance, the museum presents an image of regional history that is partial, selective, and influenced by several forces. A n organized historical society has been in existence in the city since the 1950s, but the current Museum and Historical Society has been operating only since 1988. Although a makeshift museum was created in 1967 as a Canada centennial project, it deteriorated over the years due to lack of interest and attention. The current city 103 museum opened in 1991 under the leadership of the new society. Although theoretically open to any interested individuals, the society's active members do not reflect a diversity of regional residents. Rather, all are Euro-Canadian, and a significant number are middle-class retired women. The museum's construction of regional history reflects the specific interests and perspectives of this particular sector of the community. The museum is firmly entrenched in the social structure of the city. It relies heavily on local donations from industry and small businesses, and depends on the political support of the municipal government, which owns the current museum building. The museum directors work to maintain positive working relationships with these groups, at times expressing frustration that the importance of their facility is not recognized or appreciated by all community leaders. To what degree these delicate political and economic relationships shape the manner in which history is represented varies according to the particular individuals involved in the creation of displays. On the one hand, it is implicidy expected that the city museum should promote a positive image ofthe region in order to enhance the city's potential for business and industrial investment, to attract new residents, and to impress passing tourists. As is true of local histories generally (Hale and Barman 1991, Kohl 1990), the past is implicidy expected to be a celebratory rather than a critical one, where the themes of collective harmony and history-as-progress are highlighted. On the other hand, the individuals involved in the creation of the museum's displays and interpretive texts report no feeling of coercion or creative hampering bearing down from civic or corporate sponsors. The general historical themes to be displayed in the museum were decided upon in the society's eady stages of planning. However, the final shape of the displays and interpretive texts emerged largely under the influence of the museum's volunteer curator. The curator arrived 104 in the region in the 1950s to work as a schoolteacher. She has no formal training in museology, but is a talented storyteller and is keenly interested in the people and history of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. The museum now highlights two themes: the region's ranching heritage and the Williams Lake Stampede. These themes were chosen in part to tap into the city's existing international image as a "Stampede Capital" - a strategy that reflects the constraining power of selective traditions -and in part to distinguish the museum from other regional museums. Community museums across the province compete with one another to capture tourist interest, and many do so by specializing in one aspect of history, whether it be mining, forestry, ranching, the gold rush, and so forth. The specialized focus of the city museum is a product of these competitive interests. Displays on the Williams Lake Stampede are prominendy positioned. Walking up the steps to the main floor of the museum the visitor faces a series of large photographs of the Stampede in the 1920s. The scenes depict cowboys on horseback, a gathering of Natives watching and laughing while leaning on a fence, and a scene of the Stampede grounds with the many white canvas tents. A striking photograph is of the Roman Race, in which men, each standing astride two horses, race against each other. The caption reads: "Alkali Lake contestants: Joe Dick, Patrick Chelsea, and Pierre Squinahan". The displays include such items as old trophies, an old Stampede Queen's crown, and a replica of me infamous Squaw Hall. Squaw Hall was built in the 1950s as an Indian dance hall, but eventually became frequented by non-Natives also. To the latter, it was known as "a place to let down your hair, drink your refreshments and do almost anything that your morals will permit you to do". The Stampede collection includes a photograph showing several Native men and women in headdresses, with a man kneeling and playing a hand drum. The picture 105 is captioned: "Sugar Cane residents at Williams Lake Stampede in the 1920s" and includes the names of the individuals. The rest of the museum presents an eclectic display of artifacts and miscellaneous themes. There is a brief section of Native artifacts, with no interpretive commentary, followed by a section on communications: an old . switchboard, an old prmting press. The side wall of the room is devoted to the story of the B.C. provincial police. The display includes a mannequin in police uniform, a photograph of William Pinchbeck who was "appointed Justice of the Peace at first settlement of Williams Lake in 1860 and maintained Law and Order in the Valley", and a photographic display and brief biographies of the thirteen local policemen who served in the area between 1910 and 1950. Off the main room are several side rooms reconstructed as -a bedroom, parlour, kitchen, blacksmith's shop, a Chinese store, and trapping display. A set of cast iron frying pans hang on the wall: "Frying pans and grill used by the Tom Mikkelsen family while travelling from Ashcroft to Horsefly in 1.910. Donated by Jean Mikkelsen". One of the side rooms portrays the history of Williams Lake, with photographs of the town in the 1920s and important local personalities of the time, deluding one prominent woman: "Jessie Pidgeon... while legend has it that the Cariboo was the land where cmen are men' and the women were proud of it, women have been prominent on many fronts". Small displays on ranching equipment, the Williams Lake stockyards, and cattle brands follow, along with photographs and brief stories about many of the well-known settler families in the Chilcotin. Despite the eclectic nature of the museum, the displays are tied together by a central theme. The curator admits to being more interested in people than in material objects, and she has used the historical artifacts as vehicles for telling stories about the lives of the pioneers from whose homes the objects originated. 106 In short, despite its ranching and Stampede focus, the history presented in museum displays is the history of the 'ordinary people' of the Cariboo-Chdcotin. For example, a pair of scruffy riding boots are mounted as a display, and are used to tell the life story ofthe woman who owned them, Josephine Robson. Above the boots is a picture of Josephine, a smiling young woman with a child on her back. The boots themselves are captioned by a headline: "Josephine Robson's boots were burned in a campfire. She resoled them herself. In the interpretive text, Josephine's life story is summarized: "Josephine was bom 'under a jackpine in the Itcha Mountains' says her stepson, George Robson... her parents were Rosalie Sandyman and Antone Capoose; they only came out of the mountains twice a year". The story continues to tell of Josephine's life as a rancher, hunter and trapper, and how she continued this lifestyle well into her elderly years. The curator has intentionally structured the exhibits to make them relevant to the local public, and in representing the 'ordinary people' she has drawn extensively on her knowledge not only of many of the Cariboo-Chilcotin pioneers, but, as a Euro-Canadian, her uncharacteristic familiarity and friendships with members of the regional Shuswap, Tsilhqot'in and Carrier communities. Rather than presenting anonymous images of noble savages, the Native people featured in the museum are named: they are presented in their full individuality. However, at the same time, mere are notable silences which reverse the typical flaws in Euro-Canadian representations of Natives. Specifically, in many of these displays the Tndianness' of these individuals goes unmentioned. For example, the three Alkali Lake Roman racers are Shuswap Indians. Josephine Grambush, the woman who married one of the instigators of the Williams Lake Stampede in the 1920s, and whose children became proriiinent in the local rodeo circuit, is Tsilhqot'in. Josephine Robson is a Carrier Indian, a fact hinted only at the end of her biography: "Josephine never new [sic] what a welfare cheque was. 107 She made her living trapping and tanning hides. She also pitied people who drank liquor, saying it makes people poor and sick". With Natives not explicidy identified as such, the museum displays present histories that, in significant ways, are alternate to the dominant discourse. The displays do not directly challenge the conceptual opposition of Indian and white that is central to frontier conceptions of history, and that defines the social order of Williams Lake. While Natives are encountered in (almost) their full individuality, their ethnicity - and their potential stigma - remain invisible. The visitor may leave museum without ever realizing that the individuals honored - Alkali Lake roman riders, Josephine Grambush, and Josephine Robson - are Native. The conceptual oppositions between Indian and white, and the stereotypes that define public perceptions of Natives in the present and in history, persist in the absence of challenge. How history is represented is as significant as what is left out. For example, there is no discussion of the long aboriginal history prior to European arrival. There is no mention of the more general political context of colonial settlement that enabled pioneers and settlers to arrive, or of the forms of political and economic domination of Native populations that worked to suppress aboriginal . resistance. There are silences over changing roles, and the gradual exclusion, of women competitors in the Stampede that might be linked to shifts in political/economic structure of gender relations in Canadian society. In this sense, while the focus on 'ordinary people' stands as a recovery of voices that are often left out of regional histories, the 'ordinary people' are presented as existing outside of any political/economic context. As Bennett notes in his critique of populist museums, here the,first settlers, pioneers and Natives are 108 . presented as "a people without politics" (1995:112).7 Such populist histories, he suggests, are seductive as selective historical traditions. While these histories may honor the lives of individuals, and may celebrate their qualities of courage, determination and independence, at the same time they assimilate the varied values and experiences of diverse subordinate classes and groups - experiences that included conflict, inequality, and struggle against forms of domination - into comfortable middle-class notions of the past. This is not to say that early pioneers and settlers should not be publicly honored; only that such histories as are presented in the city museum reflect partial historical traditions that, in encoding certain silences about the past, have hegemonic implications that are only amplified by the lack of competing historical perspectives in the public domain. \ Conclusion Public histories in Williams Lake reflect the prevalence of the frontier myth as a historical epistemology. The histories generated are selective traditions. In contrast to academic histories such as presented in the previous chapter, and which are equally the product of a selective tradition and epistemology, the histories encountered in public places in Williams Lake render irrelevant aboriginal histories, aboriginal communities, and the complexities of the relationships that developed between aboriginal and settler.societies. Instead, frontier histories highlight the courageous actions of individual Europeans and assimilate history 7 There is one notable exception. A display on the "Cariboo's First Japanese Family" discusses the extensive racial discrimination this family suffered at the hands of local townspeople during World War II. Given the powerful forces that bear down on city museums to represent history as harmonious and progressive, this display constitutes a very significant movement into areas of history in which there usually are considerable silences. In contrast, there is virtually no reference of the racial discrimination that Native people historically experienced, and continue to experience on a daily basis in Williams Lake. 109 into a conventional narrative structure of the contact of opposites, the heroic struggle for domination, and the eventual triumph of European colonialists. In . these narratives Natives are assigned secondary, supporting roles that reflect and enhance the identities of the colonizers as paternalistic benefactors while commemorating colonization as the positive, progressive development of Western civilization. A t the same time, the frontier myth is capable of accommodating a variety of voices and a variety of histories, ranging from national histories produced by the state to the individual autobiographies of Cariboo pioneers. The degree to which this selective historical tradition has been adopted by local pioneers, settlers and 'ordinary people' to organize their experience, to frame their life stories, and to account for their collective past indicates the depth to which this tradition, as a component of the dominant culture, operates in the realm of lived experience. To this end, the distinction between the official histories of the state and the popular memory of the 'ordinary people', a distinction prevalent in current studies of the exercise of power in colonial and post-colonial settings (Bommes and Wright 1982; Alonso 1988; Bodnar 1992; Cohen 1994), is not immediately relevant here. Instead, pioneer stories and nationalist histories are fully compatible within the same mythic framework, and are fully compatible with celebrations of European colonization. This is not to say, however, that the symbol of the pioneer, and local historical traditions, may not be used for oppositional purposes. In the next chapter I trace exactiy these processes: how certain sectors use local histories as a vehicle for mobilizing public resistance against the actions of governments. The frontier myth encodes a systematic forgetting of contentious issues of the past, a forgetting that has significant implications for Native/non-Native relations in the Cariboo. Aboriginal title to the lands of Canada, the obligation of 1 1 0 colonial governments to acquire lands by due process, and the failure of governments to sign treaties or otherwise honor aboriginal tide in British Columbia go unmentioned. The creation of the Indian reserve system, the Indian Affairs bureaucracy, and the residential school system, events that have had a profound impact on a large proportion of the regional population, are not discussed. The very existence of Native communities with organized social structures, with complex modes of subsistence, and with independent historical traditions and religious systems is not mentioned. Apart from their highly stylized appearances in frontier accounts, the existence of Native people and communities is rendered invisible in history. In their struggles to untangle themselves from the various threads of colonial domination, Native people in the Cariboo-Chilcotin today are. struggling against a dominant historical tradition which has virtually erased them and their history from the public landscape. At the same time, the hegemonic potential of frontier histories - their use in affirming the current structure of relationships between Native peoples and non-Native society and its institutions - lies not only in what is omitted, but in how. history is presented. History, we are told, is the product of individual actions: the themes of heroic individualism, survival of the fittest, and the 'self made man' define a particular understanding of history, society and the individual. Frontier histories provide Euro-Canadians with a sense of collective identity constructed in opposition to aboriginal peoples, where the nature of aboriginal/settler relations is construed as one of paternalistic benevolence and natural superiority. These frontier histories tell their readers that colonization has been in Native peoples' best interests and that Native peoples have been treated well by Canadians. In the following chapters I show how these implicit themes define some of the dominant elements of historical consciousness among Euro-Canadians, and how these I l l themes are engaged to render invalid aboriginal challenges to the status quo o f Nat ive/non-Nat ive relations. 112 Chapter Four: Regional IdentitiesT Pioneer Traditions, and the Frontier Myth in Political Discourse "Cariboo-Chilcotin has long had the reputation of being one of the last frontiers", proclaimed newly-elected Reform M.P. Phillip Mayfield in his inaugural speech to the Ottawa House of Commons in 1993. Championing the pioneer spirit of independence, hard work, and stubborn resistance to government regulation for which Cariboo residents are renowned, Mayfield portrayed his riding as one of the last vestiges of the mythological Canadian Wild West. "The entire riding remembers our pioneers and celebrates the way of life these pioneers left for us to continue" he announced. "Today the lumber industry has taken the economic lead. However the independent attitude, self-reliance and earthy frankness which characterize relations among Cariboo-Chilcotin people still continue and may it always be so."1 The frontier myth exerts a powerful cultural force in shaping popular conceptions of both the past and present. As the above quote suggests, its influence is not limited to the popular histories, textbooks and museum displays that communicate 'official' histories to the public of Williams Lake. Instead, its force is much more pervasive: it provides a historical epistemology, and a set of cultural symbols, that individuals in the Cariboo continually draw upon to construct collective identities, to affirm public values, and to promote certain political interests. In this chapter I explore how Euro-Canadians use the language of the frontier myth in political discourse: how they make recourse to ideas such as pioneer values and frontier traditions when promoting political agendas and Government of Canada, House of Commons Debates, 9 March 1994, Pp.2073-2074. 113 criticizing the actions of politicians and governments. This, of course, was Mayfield's strategy: he used the idea of the Cariboo pioneer spirit as a convenient point for launching his own Reform Party critique of the federal government's excessive taxation, irresponsible spending policies, and intrusive legislation. In the previous chapter I emphasized the conservative role of the frontier myth in shaping formal representations ofthe past. Here I emphasize how individuals use the frontier myth in a creative, dynamic fashion to metaphorically render current events and practices congruent with an imagined frontier past. While this process does involve the conservative use of a set of well established cultural categories to render new circumstance comprehensible, with each metaphorical association new pasts at the same time are being created in juxtaposition with the present. In each case such conventional symbols as the 'pioneer' and the 'frontier' take on new dimensions of significance and meaning. The frontier myth's images and symbols are imbued with such a degree of sacredness and moral power that they become an ideal currency for claiming legitimacy for varied political interests. Much of the oppositional political discourse in Western liberal democratic societies aligns along the contradictions between public morality and actual social and political practices. Groups engaged in political opposition attempt to promote their agendas by making appeals to widespread public values such as democracy, individualism, equality, and multiculturalism, and by demonstrating how government officials, agencies, corporations, or other groups have failed to adhere to these ideal standards. In launching these attacks, subordinate groups attempt to blemish the public standing and morality of their opponents and to generate sufficient public sympathy to embarrass governments or corporations into changing their policies and practices. Aboriginal peoples in Canada and other Fourth World settings have become adept at using the "politics of embarrassment" (Dyck 1985:15; Paine 1985:214) to 114 rally public support for their political struggles against governments. This political strategy - the manipulation of widespread public morality and values in order to publicly embarrass one's political opponents - is used not just by aboriginal peoples, but by virtually all groups engaged in forms of political opposition and struggle, whether they be ethnic minorities, feminist organizations, gay rights activists or environmental groups. The politics of embarrassment are also a central feature of news media reporting (Vidich 1990). The news media assumes the role of society's "moral watchdog" (ibid.: 18), scmtinizing the activities of politicians and governments, and creating 'news' when their actions appear to deviate from public norms.2 In tracing how the frontier myth mfuses political discourse, the first task is to identify the terrain of public values and morality in the Cariboo region upon which the localized politics of embarrassment is derived. I begin by exploring how Williams Lake community leaders define the prevalent public values and identities of the Cariboo. I draw on interviews I conducted with Euro-Canadian community leaders representing local and regional governments, the forest industry, the local media, and small business interests. As community leaders, these individuals are especially active in promoting Williams Lake as a positive place for new residents and for industrial and business investment. They market images of the Cariboo on a daily basis, and have an important influence in the public forums in which regional values and identities are represented. Community leaders are not a homogeneous group. There is no consensus among them regarding public values, political philosophies, or the best strategies for addressing current social and economic crises facing their region. Nevertheless, there were striking similarities, key themes and emphases, that appeared repeatedly In the context of the American media, Vidich defines this idealized public morality as a "watered down" verison of 19th century small-town populist norms. 115 in my discussions with them. In particular, many of the community leaders interviewed come from the small business sector. Their vision of Williams Lake and the Cariboo reflects a right-of-center, free enterprise philosophy that, while not shared by all community leaders, nevertheless is highly influential in regional politics. These individuals present a clear statement of some of the most important public values and identities that appear in political discourse in other contexts. I then examine how various non-Native individuals and groups use these public identities and values as a symbolic currency in their oppositional struggles against government policies and practices. Even more significandy, in some contexts these political actors historicize contemporary values and identities by associating them with pioneer legacies and frontier traditions of the Cariboo. The mapping of present values onto past traditions greatiy enhances the moral and symbolic power of oppositional political rhetoric. N o longer are politicians and governments merely violating public values, they are now violating the very spirit and tradition ofthe pioneers. It is at this juncture that the conservative and the creative potential of me frontier myth becomes apparent. Regional Identities and Small Town Values The public face of Williams Lake has undergone some significant changes over the last decade. The regional economy is prospering. Land prices have risen dramatically in the last five years, and there has been an explosion of condominiums, townhouses and new subdivisions. The area population is growing, enhanced by the arrival of many individuals and families from the lower Mainland disillusioned with city life and seeking a quieter, rural lifestyle. The urban influence is evident not only in population growth, but in the impact of urban culture and consumer habits. While the city achieved its first 116 indoor mall some 20 years ago, urban cultural trends have only recently appeared in the city's downtown. Several cappuchino shops (one in 1994 called the Vancouver Cafe) and restaurants offering vegetarian meals have sprung up. Stores such as the Shaman Shop selling third world tribal arts and clothing, a Healing Center, and the Earth Right store providing environmentally-safe products, Birkenstock sandals and self-help psychology books have appeared. Appealing to middle-class, left wing consumers interested in environmentalism, New Age spiritualism and romantic primitivism, these stores add a cultural dimension that clashes with the more conventional features of working-class, resource town culture epitomized by dusty pickup trucks, cowboy hats, anti-Native racism and right wing politics. Concepts of regional culture and identity, and understandings of the relationship between the city and the urban metropolis of Vancouver/Victoria, are in a state of flux. Many people describe the city as "half urban, half rural" (see Watkins 1990). As one person commented: "We have the best of both worlds. Vancouver is only a tankful of gas away, but in half an hour we can be out in the wilderness". In the last twenty years improved transportation links and the creeping urban influence have brought about a shift northward of the conceptual line marking the beginning of northern British Columbia. Whereas twenty years ago locals considered Williams Lake to be a northern town, today there is no consensus. Although a three hour drive to the University of Northern British Columbia, the Cariboo is formally considered to be in the central interior of the province. Despite this dynamic context and the diversity of the area's inhabitants, a distinctive set of themes appears repeatedly in public discussions about Cariboo identity and values. In interview settings, community leaders describe the city of Williams Lake as a "small town" whose culture and social relations are defined by the qualities of friendliness, hospitality, social harmony, egahtarianism, informality, 117 and a commitment to family. These values are reflected in tourism brochures that promise a "hearty Cariboo welcome" to visitors. Many other residents echo the views of community leaders, identifying neighborliness, cooperation and mutual trust as primary characteristics of the Cariboo lifestyle.3 Community leaders link the friendly informality and trusting attitude among one another as rooted in the closeness of social relations: the Cariboo is a place where "everyone knows everyone" and where "people watch out for one another". One member of a Cariboo pioneer family, for example, described this cooperative, trusting spirit as reflecting the "small town attitude": I had a guy come up from Kamloops on Tuesday morning, and his car broke down just outside of 100 Mile House. So he thought, what do I do? So he decided to put his thumb out, and the first person who came along picked him up. And he thought "Wow". That was the last thing he would have expected... we trust people. Because we know them. And in the city we don't trust them,because we don't know them. Another community leader, who lives in a prestigious subdivision, stated with some pride that he never locked the doors to his house. The values of helpfulness and trust that bind the local community are contrasted to the anomie of "big city" life, where individuals are isolated f r O m one another, moving through their daily routines without talking to their neighbours or acknowledging one another's presence. These values are not unique to the Cariboo, but resonant with the images of small town life that prevail in rural cities and towns elsewhere in North America (Vidich and Bensman 1969; Stymeist 1975; Nadel 1983; Dunk 1991), that are reproduced in romantic Canadian travel literature (Neering 1991; McLean 1992), and that are ritually portrayed in small town festivals celebrating egalitarianism, 3 Commission on Resources and the Environment, Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Plan, Appendix Three, p.10. 118 social harmony, and community togetherness (Farber 1983; Errington 1987; Lavenda 1992). In short, the "myth of the moral superiority of the small town" (Vidich 1990:17) is a widespread phenomenon and continues to shape public constructions of small town identity in powerful ways. Many community leaders draw upon rural/urban distinctions to characterize the culture of Williams Lake. One dimensions of difference is lifestyle: the relaxed, "laid back" lifestyle of the Cariboo is contrasted with the rushed, stress-ridden lives of urban residents. One man referred to the relaxed attitude towards punctuality as being on "Cariboo time". Another man bom and raised in the Cariboo referred to Williams Lake as the home of the ninety second minute: "What I value the most, the fact that it is a rural lifestyle, the fact that... the pressures, perceived or otherwise, aren't there. It can be summed up by saying that Williams Lake has minutes that are ninety seconds long... the slower pace of life." Rural communities have long been portrayed as existing out of time, as frozen in history, as epitomizing the traditional, harmonious cultures of the past from which contemporary urban societies have long since evolved. Such portraits are prevalent in Canadian travel writing (McLean 1992), in centuries of British literature (Williams 1973) and in anthropological studies of British rural communities (Nadel-Klein 1995). Agricultural towns in rural areas are especially prone to being relegated to a pre-industrial past. Thus both rural communities and indigenous peoples are subjected to a "denial of coevalness" (Fabian 1983) with respect to modem society; they are both the subject of "imperialist nostalgia" (Rosaldo 1989:69) in which the destruction of their traditional cultures is lamented as the regrettable but inevitable result of Western progress and civilization In contrast, community leaders see Williams Lake, although having a slower pace of life, as being a fully modem, progressive resource city on the leading edge of industrial development and expansion in Canada. Community leaders, especially 119 those of the small business class, have a particular understanding of the nature of progress that is the image of the 'self made man', which they draw upon to distinguish small town values and ethics from those in urban centers. The idea of progress and the myth of the self made man are prominent not only in small town settings, but are widespread in rural and urban regions of Canada and comprise key elements of the dominant Canadian ideology (Marchak 1988). This dominant ideology, or "conventional wisdom", is framed on a series of assumptions about the relationship between the individual, society and the economy. Canadian society is ideally seen as continually progressing along a path of increasing wealth and prosperity. The motor of progress is believed to be the free-market economy, an autonomous and self-regulating system operating according to its own internal logic. A l l individuals are seen to have equal opportunity for advancement in society, competing with one another in the marketplace and achieving status, wealth and prestige in proportion to their ambition, determination and inherent talent. In this system government, democratically elected as the voice of 'the people', has a responsibility to oversee the smooth functioning of society and its institutions, mtervening in the economy only to ensure the principles of fairness and equal access. Central to this ideal vision of society are the values of individualism, equality, democracy, and freedom, and the faith that progress, material prosperity, and advancement can be achieved through an individual's determination, hard work and self-sacrifice. This vision of society resonates with the frontier histories that celebrate heroic individualism as the driving force in the development ofthe Canadian nation. Historical consciousness and understandings of the relationship between the individual and society are closely intertwined and mutually mfomiing. The myth of the self-made man takes on a particular significance when transposed to the setting of a resource industry city in the Canadian hinterland. 120 The self-made man is not necessarily a millionaire or a mill owner. Rather, he is the individual who succeeds on the local scale of values. The anti-intellectualism, the value of manual over mental labour, and the general suspicion and hostility towards academics, bureaucrats and professionals that Dunk (1991) described among working class men in a northern Ontario resource town are threads that weave in and out of the dominant culture in Williams Lake. Dunk's "working class" cultural values are championed by many of the civic leaders I spoke with. In their view, the self-made man is the individual who takes entrepreneurial risks to establish his own business, or who works long hours as a labourer in the mining or forest industry. He is the man who runs a logging contracting firm, who operates a well established small business, or who has a well-paying job in the sawmill. The self made man in certain contexts may be the single mother who has managed to pull herself off welfare by opening her own daycare business. These are the people who are '"doing something"', who are taking risks, working hard, and are actively contributing to the capitalist economy. Civic leaders identify the commitment to a strong work ethic, whether as a self-employed entrepreneur or a wage worker, as one of the defining features of the "small town attitude". This ethic is one of the main features distinguishing rural communities from urban centers; Anyone who wants to get out and grasp an opportunity... perhaps they're not as plentiful as they were in [the 1950s and 1960s], but the opportunities are still there i f you can change with the times... People sitting in an urban center would say "The world owes me a living, why don't you give me a job?". That's one of the unique things about Williams Lake or the Cariboo, that I know now, I'm sure most small rural towns are much the same... that people are far more independent, much more self-esteem that gives them the initiative to get out and create their own job. 121 One young community leader celebrated the values of individualism and self-sufficiency through the symbol of the redneck: "I'm proud to say that I'm a redneck. A redneck to me is a person whose neck has become red because he's put in long hours out in the field, in the bush, mining, building roads, making infrastructure that makes this country great. And that's to me what a redneck is." The values of independence, self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, and materialism take their meaning from the context of a late twentieth century resource city. These values are defined in terms ofthe ability of individuals to create their own small business where they enjoy the freedom of self-employment and the burden of responsibility for their success or failure. These values are realized by the ability of workers to find employment in the forest industry and its related businesses, where they can earn high salaries and can exercise the freedom to spend their income as they choose. These values are not created in, nor are they dependent upOn, a specific set of 'objective' economic conditions.4 As Bakke (1940a, 1940b) has shown in his study of unemployed workers during the 1930s American Depression, individuals show a remarkable ability to redefine the practical meaning of independence and self-sufficiency, and to maintain a commitment to the ideal of the self-made man, despite long term unemployment. In Williams Lake, these ideals are upheld as fundamental public values. At the same time, individuals continually struggle to adapt and modify the practical meaning of these ideals in accordance with their changing socioeconomic circumstances. Finally, community leaders' sense of regional identity is strongly influenced by a sense of geographical and political marginalization from the mainstream of Canadian society. In the local idiom, Williams Lake is "up here" as opposed to 4 Clearly these values are associated in general with the rise of industrial capitalism and, as Weber (1958) argued, with the rise of ascetic Protestantism, which transformed the individual's pursuit of wealth through continuous labour into a sacred duty. 122 "down there" in the urbanized lower Mainland. As in the northern Ontario resource towns studied by David Stymeist (1975) and Thomas Dunk (1991), in Williams Lake there is a strong and widespread feeling of resentment towards urban governments and politicians, who are often seen as "outside" intruders on local affairs. Many civic leaders complain that local concerns are frequently ovedooked and ignored by the provincial government, which arbitrarily imposes decisions informed by urban values. Many feel strongly that rural communities receive a disproportionately small percentage of government services and programs. One community leader proclaimed that the adage "There's no hope beyond Hope" circulated frequendy among her colleagues. This, she said, referred to the futility of expecting fair, equitable treatment on the part.of government to extend beyond the town of Hope on the fringe of the lower Mainland. This sense of political marginalization is paralleled by a strong sense of existing on a geographic periphery, a frontier, of settlement. People describe their city as being surrounded by an "unoccupied", natural wilderness. The closeness of the wilderness, in fact, is a main factor drawing new residents and tourists to the region. More importantiy, this "unoccupied" wilderness is seen as being rich in natural resources - whether conceived as timber, minerals, or tourism opportunities - that are free for the taking and that have yet to be fully exploited. "It's a thriving community... [we have] huge tracts of land with resources all around us, to the east, to the west, and we're right in the center of it!" Another leader commented: The ranching, mining, forest industry, tourism... each industry is holding its own if not growing. We've got so much land here that's not even being used Like me lower Mainland, it's just nooks and crannies. Where Williams Lake has a bright future, because there's so much land mat's not being utilized. 123 These references to the Cariboo wilderness as a vast region of empty land with resources free for the taking are striking examples of the pervasiveness of the frontier myth. The empty land image clearly contradicts the vociferous aboriginal claims being put forth by Cariboo-Chilcotin Native:leaders, themselves significant inhabitants of this presumed empty land. While community leaders do not always use the term frontier to describe their city, their understandings of the regional culture and identity, and their orientation to both the urban world and the surrounding wilderness can be considered expressions of a contemporary frontier identity. The central features include the values of individualism and self-sufficiency, the faith in the idea of the self made man, a sense of existing on a periphery of urban society and being surrounded by a wilderness rich in resources free for the taking, and a resistance to outside (urban) controls and regulations. The city's official motto, 'Trosperity, Courage and Opportunity", encapsulates the public myth of Williams Lake: it is a modem resource city perpetuating the legacy of the pioneers in its friendly, small-town ambiance, in the courageous, competitive spirit of the men and women labouring in the resource industries and small businesses, and in the material wealth that awaits individuals with sufficient drive and ambition to succeed. These expressions of collective identity are themselves historically contingent: they emerge from within a specific climate of mounting economic insecurity, unemployment and intensifying land use conflicts. They arise within a context of increasing provincial government efforts to regulate the Cariboo-Chilcotin forest industry to ensure its sustamabihfy over the long term, efforts that are translated as moves to reduce timber harvesting allocations and that are premised on the assumption of a dwindling resource supply. In celebrating small town culture, in proclaiming the abundance of the region's natural resources, and in denouncing urban life, community leaders are also resisting what they see as the 124 threat of political and cultural domination of the city and region by urban values and provincial governments.5 Public Values as Symbolic Currency: Evoking the Symbol of the Pioneer , Individualism, self-sufficiency, autonomy, freedom from external constraint: these values appear repeatedly in political discourse as defining characteristics of Cariboo culture. On occasion,, these public values and identities are mapped onto a historical terrain, becoming associated with the traditions of Cariboo-Chilcotin pioneers. In so doing, various groups mobilize the frontier myth to create idealized images of the past, to defend their particular interests in the present, and to criticize the actions of politicians and governments. In these various debates, the symbol of the pioneer takes its moral power from the unquestioned legitimacy of the frontier historical tradition. At the same time, the symbol of the pioneer takes on different meanings through its creative application to a variety of contexts of conflict. Two recent controversies will demonstrate these processes. The first is a rather bizarre case of a government-ordered bulldozing of the home of a retired Wells resident, Rick Mooney. The second is the bitter conflict that arose surrounding the creation of a regional land use plan by the provincial government's Commission on Resources and the Environment (CORE), and the struggle of pro-5 Nadel-Klein (1991), in her ethnography of a rural fishing village in Scotland, describes how . various parties - outside filmmakers and playwrights, old time villagers, and upper class residents - construct different versions of local identity, portraying villagers as a romantic, tradition-bound people, as backward and unprogressive, or as a marginalized community struggling against external state/corporate powers. Expressions of "localism", Nadel-Klein argues, are constructed in specific political and economic contexts, and serve as weapons of political struggle. Similar complexities in the construction of localism - identities tied to place - can undoubtedly be found in the Cariboo. In the following pages I trace only two contexts in which such identities arise. 125 industry interests in the Cariboo to oppose the province's efforts to restrict industry access to forest lands. The Demolition of Kick Mooney's House In 1989 Rick Mooney, a resident of the S m a l l hamlet of Wells some 80 kilometers east of Quesnel, built a new house that was to be the retirement home for himself and his wife. In the spirit of past generations of Cariboo residents, the retired mill and construction worker built his home in his own fashion, ignoring the building code standards that had recendy been put in place by the Cariboo Regional District (CRD). Regional districts are a relatively recent form of government in the province, being created in the late 1960s to regulate zoning and activities in the rural regions beyond municipal boundaries. With the creation of the Cariboo Regional District, the many remote regions of the Cariboo-Chilcotin with a long tradition of independence suddenly became subject to the scrutiny and regulation of government. One aspect of this regulation was the creation of budding code bylaws. In 1990 a C R D building inspector discovered that Mooney's house was in violation of the building code: its foundation and floors were structurally deficient, it was build with untreated lumber, and it had an unsafe chimney and wood stove, For the next two years the regional district posted stop work orders on the house, sent letters to Mooney demanding his compliance, and finally took the issue to court. Mooney at times agreed to comply. At other times he ignored the CRD's demands. In 1991, the regional district took the matter to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, which authorized the house's demolition. "On the night of November 30, 1991, Big Brother came from Williams Lake with his hired goons, and crunched to kindling a $60,000 new home and took it to 126 the dump."6 So wrote Rick Mooney to the Williams Lake Tribune, echoing the widespread public condemnation that followed the bulldozing of his home. Even before the bulldozing, Mooney had garnered a groundswell of public support in the north Cariboo. Local residents, contractors and tradespeople had formed a volunteer group to go in and upgrade the house. The regional district, unable to find a local bulldozer operator to take on the job of destroying Mooney's house, was forced to hire outside the region. On hearing of the house's imminent destruction, Wells contractors vowed to blockade the path of any bulldozer that came near the home. With a provincial election upcoming in October, all four candidates running for the Cariboo North riding pledged their support for Mooney. When N.D.P . candidate Frank Garden was elected, he intervened and attempted to negotiate a resolution with the C R D , later accusing the regional district of bulldozing the house "in the dark to avoid press coverage".7 Protests continued over the following months. Angry residents from Wells, Quesnel and Williams Lake confronted the regional district directors at a January board meeting, demanding a complete investigation into the Mooney affair. The group circulated petitions in support of Mooney, a war veteran, in Royal Canadian Legion Branches across the province. Mooney, who in more than one media report was described as "cantankerous", carried on his battle for over "three years. He sued the regional district for damages and later built a replica of his house on the same site. Faced with yet another embarrassing political situation - Mooney had once again refused to comply with building codes - the C R D in 1995 resolved the crisis by excluding the district of Wells from the regional district's building code bylaws and inspection services. 6 "Mooney wants refund", Williams Lake Tribune, 28 May 1992, A10. 7 "Mooney loses, house to bulldozer", Williams Lake Tribune, 5 December 1991, A2. 127 Rick Mooney's letter to the Tribune reflected the standard frame used by local letter writers to condemn the regional district's actions. The event was portrayed as a classic David and Goliath encounter between the "little guy" and the "state". In so doing, Mooney and his supporters engaged in a powerful form of symbolic politics that could be called the 'politics of victimization', i n which discrepancies of power ate symbolically highlighted, and where political, economic or cultural powerlessness of a particular groups is transformed into moral power. Robert Paine traces these processes among Saami aboriginal peoples of Norway, and describes how Saami political activists staged "ethnodramas", public protests that took the form of staged displays ofthe cultural domination and victimization of small aboriginal minorities by state governments and bureaucracies (Paine 1985:190-191). Similar political rhetoric, however, can be found not only in Canadian aboriginal politics (Armitage and Kennedy 1989) but also in North America and Britain in the struggles of rural settler communities to protest the intrusions of urban governments and/or the expansion of resource industries (see Broady 1975; Nadel 1983; Landsman 1987:108; Nadel-Klein 1995). I show later how rural/urban dichotomies and 'David versus Goliath' symbolic rhetoric is central to the politics of victimization engaged in by resource communities protesting the imposition of provincial authority (and protecting the privileges of forest companies) in rural regions. In this political rhetoric, powerlessness and vulnerability are equated with virtuosity and the struggle between the powerless and me powerful is presented as a heroic crusade. The politics of victimization were central to the public defense of Mr. Mooney. A variety of criticisms were voiced in the opinion columns and letters in the Williams Lake Tribune and Quesnel Cariboo Observer. Letter writers condemned the regional district for overreacting to the problem, for misusing its bureaucratic 128 power, for wasting taxpayers' money, and for not considering other more reasonable means for resolving the problem. Many letter writers called for the resignation of the C R D board and administrator. The Vancouver media picked up the story, running sympathetic coverage of Mooney and his plight and causing intense embarrassment to C R D officials. Both urban and local media coverage of the Mooney affair both celebrated Mooney as the little guy' confronting a big, impersonal bureaucracy. In local debates, though, the public values being appealed to in defense of Mooney - the values of individualism, democracy, and freedom - were not just articulated in the abstract. Instead, in some instances they were associated with place, with a contemporary regional identity, and with a local historical tradition of settlement. For example, Paul St. Pierre, a regular Tribune columnist and well-known writer of Cariboo Chilcotin fiction, portrayed the event as a warning to all citizens concerned with protecting their individual rights and freedoms: By now most of us who remember freedom and Lord State Almighty will have heard about Rick Mooney and his fight to prevent his government from wrecking his house. The case is not clear cut. Cases usually aren't. But whatever the details, most who read it feel somebody walking on their grave.9 He applauded Mooney's independence and stubbornness in refusing to conform to mindless government regulations as emblematic of Cariboo values and identity: "Conforming is just not what Cariboo people are good at". To St. Pierre, who has made a living creating bizarre and humorous stories of the region's fictional inhabitants (for example, St. Pierre 1984,1985), the Mooney affair was simply another example of the odd characters who populate the Cariboo. 8 A Quesnelresident likened the CRD's actions to those typical of Nazi Germany. 9 "Let's bomb Mooney", Williams Lake Tribune, 5 December 1991, A6. 129 In contrast, an older woman, herself a member of a prominent pioneer family and an author of a recently-published popular history, saw the affair in a deeper historical context. She viewed the matter as not only a violation of contemporary Cariboo values but, more importantly, as a violation of the pioneer tradition of Canada. She denounced the destruction of Mooney's home, writing: "It was a cruel and un-Canadian thing to do. The pioneers of this country always tried to help people instead of hurting them."1 0 She concluded, "Years ago I read a story, fiction, in a magazine about a family's home in a far off country like Russia, that was demolished because it didn't comply with government regulations somehow. I thought, how terrible, nothing like that could ever happen in Canada. But it could and did. How times are changing." A Quesnel man wrote a stinging letter to the Cariboo Observer, condemning the "spiteful and dastardly deed by governmental big shots who took such a vicious and heartless attitude" against an impoverished "courageous, elderly old age pensioner".11 He demanded the firing of the regional district's administrator and cited the CRD's actions as a gross violation of democratic principles. This letter writer, too, drew on historical narratives and metaphors to further support his opinions: This is Canada - the country built by pioneers who had to live with what they had available and could afford. There were no C.R.D.'s and little or no regulations - only the rule of God and the belief in, and the will, to build this beautiful country for the betterment of future generations. I am sure this type of action by governmental employees and C.R.D. bosses is not what our pioneers had in mind. "Gook is correct, bulldozing cruel", Williams Lake Tribune, 4 February 1992, A5. 1 1 "Fire the top CRD brass for decision", Quesnel Cariboo Observer, 11 December 1991, A5, 14. 130 Both letter writers weave myths of frontier history and heroic individualism with contemporary public values and identities. The symbol of the pioneer is metaphorically extended to frame Rick Mooney. These letter writers see in his actions the pioneer qualities of independence, courage, self-sufficiency, thrift, and personal responsibility. His struggles against government bureaucracy are equated with the determination of pioneers to stand up for the principles of individualism, democracy and freedom. In embodying the character and spirit of the pioneers who 'built' the Canadian nation, Mooney is transformed into a symbol of national pride and identity. With Mooney shrouded in these sacred symbols, the CRD's actions become tantamount to a public burning of the Canadian flag.12 The symbol of the pioneer is what.Richard Slotkin refers to as a "mythic icon", a condensed symbol of "tremendous economy and compression and a mnemonic device capable of evoking a complex system of historical associations by a single image or phrase" (1992:6). In these letters, the symbol of the pioneer evokes an entire historical scenario based on the populist version of frontier history. It suggests me idea mat history has been me product of the heroic characteristics and actions of individual, unnamed men and women on the frontier rather than of complex economic and political forces. It suggests that the expansion of European settlement, and the colonial project itself, has been less a political and economic project than a moral campaign; even more, a sacred Christian endeavour sanctified by the "rule of God". A t the same time, these letter writers evoke a particular narrative of frontier The public responses of regional district officials were extremely weak in the face of such powerful symbolic rhetoric. The regional district chairman fell back on the image of paternalistic government: the regional district, he said, was responsible for ensuring the safety of public. It was merely protecting itself - and thus "saving" taxpayers money - from a potential civil lawsuit should an occupant or tenant have been hurt. "CRD enforcing the law in Rick Mooney case - Reeves", Quesnel Cariboo Observer, 30 October 1991, A5; "Mooney loses house to bulldozer", Williams Lake Tribune, 5 December 1991, A2. 131 history that deviates; somewhat from those discussed in the previous chapter. Here the historical scenario suggested is one in which the frontier experience, while marked by the encounter and struggle between opposing moral forces, is not an encounter between whites and Indians, or man and nature. Instead, the encounter is marked by the struggle of the settier to escape the shackles of metropolitan governments, traditions and regulations that would seek to constrain his behaviour and destroy his spirit: his stubborn independence, his commitment to freedom, his determination to be self-sufficient. The dark, evil force to be opposed and conquered on the frontier is that of the metropolitan government committed not to the principles of democracy and freedom, but to the total regulation and control over the human body and spirit. The birth of the Canadian nation, it is suggested, depended precisely on the triumph of the settler over these totalitarian forces. Populist versions of the frontier myth, pitting the small, virtuous pioneer against the dark, menacing powers of urban government, have been one of the major vehicles of social criticism in twentieth century America (Slotkin 1992). Slotkin identifies two opposing ideological versions of the frontier myth that have dominated the popular culture and entertainment industries. 'Trogressivist" versions of the frontier myth celebrate American history in terms of the continual development of industrial capitalism, the expansion of corporate monopolies, and the development of centralized national political institutions. In contrast, "populist" versions envision twentieth century industrial and corporate expansion as leading to a breakdown in democracy and an increase in political and material inequalities, processes that have led American society away from the social relations of equality idealized in the agrarian past (ibid.:23). The central heroes of populist myths are the "social bandit" figures - the Western outiaw, the outiaw/detective -who have stood on the margins of society to fight industrial development, the expansion of the railroads, the large ranching conglomerates, and the big city 132 financiers and banks. In this way, the producers of dime novels and popular Westerns employed the frontier myth as forms of "lower-class resistance" (ibid.: 151) - at least, as forms of lower class resistance imagined and expressed by the publishing industries. In a similar way, these Cariboo letter writers are engaging populist versions of the frontier myth to construct a historically contingent and selective vision of the past that they use to oppose and criticize the actions of contemporary governments. These letter writers suggest certain lessons learned from the past need to be heeded today: the importance of protecting the individual's rights to autonomy, independence, and freedom from regulation, the very qualities that enabled the Canadian nation to grow and prosper. Implicitly, they are suggesting that the present course of history is deviating from this ideal past, and are attempting to realign social practices and values in conformity with idealized past traditions. In the course of mobilizing the images of the pioneer and the frontier legacy for their own political interests, these Euro-Canadians are creatively reformulating the past to suit their interests in the present. The symbol of the pioneer is often used to evoke a variety of imagined pasts, all variations of the frontier myth theme. Yet in so doing Euro-Canadians are affirming not only the veracity of the frontier myth as a historical epistemology, but the morality of the colonial endeavour itself. It is simply assumed that an association with early pioneers is a positive quality; that the acts of the early pioneers, and European colonization, are to be celebrated. It is this balance - the ability of the frontier myth to serve as a language of diverse (and sometimes competing) political interests while reinforcing a highly selective historical vision - that enables it to persist as a hegemonic cultural complex. It is this selective historical tradition that justifies the very social arrangements that 133 aboriginal people are attempting to challenge in quite different domains of political conflict. The particular version of the past put forth by these letter writers equates . the 'pioneer' with 'freedom'. The meaning of freedom is relational rather than absolute: it refers to the relative freedom that early settlers and pioneers had to build their own homes as they choose, rights now denied to Mr. Mooney. In their selective association of pioneers with freedom, letter writers are constmcting an idealized image of the past designed to suit their agendas of critiquing the actions ofthe C R D as an unreasonable intrusion of government into the present lives of ordinary residents. Yet this association of pioneers and freedom detracts attention from a more complex historical scenario in which government forms of power, domination and regulation were central to the course of history. The pioneers' success did not simply depend on the absence of government regulation. Rather, their ability to take up land, to farm, and to fend off attempts of area Native peoples to protest their settlement on aboriginal lands depended on an apparatus of colonial authority that included missionaries, Indian Agents and the Indian Affairs bureaucracy, federal and provincial legislation, justices of the r peace and the colonial court system. In different ways, each of these colonial groups sought to control the aboriginal populations and to make the Cariboo safe for settlement. While the early settlers may have enjoyed comparative freedom, they did not live in the absence of government regulation. On the contrary, Cariboo-Chilcotin settlers themselves made extensive use of the colonial court system to resolve interpersonal conflicts and business disputes (Loo 1994). Furthermore, the establishment of homesteads, farms and ranches was supported by an expanding capitalist economy encouraged by the colonial governments, an economy that created a market for local products - furs, minerals, agricultural products, beef cattle, and later, lumber - and that eventually transformed the . 134 Cariboo into an exploited hinterland of metropolitan Canada, Britain and the United States (Innis 1962; Marchak 1983). To celebrate the pioneer as the builder of Canada renders invisible these overarching structures of colonial power, and erases from history the acts of coercion, violence and brutality against aboriginal peoples that were central to the settlement of Canada. These letter writers creatively extend the symbol of the pioneer to embrace Rick Mooney and his actions. The term pioneer is frequendy used in the Cariboo in a number of contexts. According to Webster's dictionary, a pioneer is "a person or group that originates or helps open up a new line of thought or activity or a new method or technical development; one of the first to settle in a territory". This is often, but not always, the sense in which this term is used in local discourse in the Cariboo. For example, the term pioneer is frequently found in tourism brochures, in popular histories, and in newspaper stories. A brochure advertising the Museum of the Cariboo CMcotin advises the tourist: "Gold lured settlers to the Cariboo - the green grass meadows kept them here. The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin tells the story of these early pioneers who found a way of life, i f not their fortunes, in cattle ranching." A pamphlet advertising guest ranches in British Columbia announced: "Since the days of the pioneers, the lure of the West has held an irresistible attraction for anyone with a longing for adventure and wide open spaces". A pioneer, thus, is someone who arrived from somewhere else, who braved the unknown to eventually settle and put down roots in a new land, who succeeded in creating a new life for himself and a new society for his fellow men. The term pioneer is not restricted to these early settlers. In actual use, the term is an honorary one, the equivalent of the Native term 'elder'. It refers more generally to any non-Native who is a respected member of the community, who can demonstrate at least some length of residence in the area, and who is 135 recognized to have contributed in some significant way to the development of the community. At times, there may be debates about the length of time required for a person to be designated a pioneer. In one instance, an individual who arrived in the Cariboo-Chilcotin in the 1950s was honored as a pioneer, but not without private discussions about the validity of this designation. In 1996, the term pioneer was extended to honor an elderly Tsilhqot'in woman who was chosen the Pioneer of the Year at the annual Pioneer Days celebration held in the small Chilcotin town of Alexis Creek. The meaning ofthe term pioneer is capable of a great degree of creative extension and play; the degree to which these processes of metaphorical extention succeed depends on public response. In the case of Rick Mooney, there was no public challenge to his pioneer status, despite the fact that Mooney had lived in the Cariboo region only since 1978.13 To these letter writers, however, Mooney embodies the spirit of Canadian pioneers from all comers of the country, those individuals celebrated in frontier histories for risking their lives to venture into the wilderness where they carved out homesteads, endured poverty and hardship, and helped one another in times of crisis. It is important to trace not only how Euro-Canadians use the term pioneer, but also the many contexts in which this term does not enter the language of political debate. There are many instances in which individual efforts to resist government intrusion are not publicly defended through championing frontier histories and the pioneers' right to freedom and autonomy. The efforts of Native people to be independent arid self-sufficient, as their ancestors were, by hunting and fishing on Crown land, by cutting firewood and house timbers on Crown land, or by building homes or cabins on Crown land are not only not publicly defended by Euro-Canadians, but are subject to intense public criticism. The equally "Wells's sharpest thorn awaits his day in court", Vancouver Sun, 15 September 1993, A15. 136 extensive intrusion of governments into the lives of aboriginal people has proceeded with virtually no public commentary. There is here a selective application of the concept of freedom and the illegitimacy of government regulation that exclusively favours forms of Euro-Canadian resistance. The symbol of the pioneer is not extended to defend Native peoples' resistance to colonial intrusion; rather, Native people are positioned on the opposite side ofthe symbolic divide in the frontier myth's narrative structure of history. Instead, their 'conquest' and submission to colonial authorities are a necessary component of the triumph of the settlers and the 'building' of the Canadian nation. The CORE Protest Frontier legacies and pioneer traditions are evoked not only to construct nationalist identities and to defend the rights of individuals struggling against unyielding, domineering bureaucracies. There are also instances in which this imagery is drawn upon to construct homogeneous regional identities that distinguish the Cariboo-Chilcotin from the surrounding national society, and that are used by local interest groups as a vehicle for resisting the intrusive policies and practices of the state. A clear example can be found in the debates that arose surrounding the Cariboo-Chilcotin C O R E land use process. In 1992 the provincial New Democratic government created the Commission on Resources and the Environment (CORE). The Commission was struck in a political climate of increasing conflicts between environmental groups, forestry and mining companies and First Nations regarding ownership and control of the province's resources. The CORE's mandate was to create regional land use plans that would mediate the demands of environmental protection and continued access to timber resources and employment by industry, labor groups, and 137 resource-based municipalities. The issue of aboriginal claims was addressed in a separate policy shift, in which the provincial government resolved to negotiate outstanding aboriginal tide claims with First Nations. The C O R E process began in four regions of high land use conflict: Cariboo-Chdcotin, Vancouver Island, West Kootenay-Boundary, and East Kootenay. In an attempt to devolve centralized decision-making processes to regional communities, in each region negotiating tables were established consisting of local residents representing the various 'stakeholders' in regional Crown Lands, mcluding the forest and mining industries, labour, local government, business, agriculture, recreation, tourism, and environmental groups. First Nations groups also were 'invited' to participate. Not surprisingly, many boycotted the C O R E process, arguing that aboriginal title claims had to be resolved before any long-term decisions could be made over the use of Crown Lands by secondary user groups. Through the C O R E process, twelve percent of each region was to be protected to preserve the region's wildlife and ecological diversity. Each table was expected to collectively designate these protected areas and create a regional zoning system to balance industrial, agricultural, tourism and recreational uses of Crown Lands. Forestry-dependent communities throughout the province immediately began to voice opposition to C O R E . Many pro-industry sectors interpreted the C O R E process, with its "protected areas" strategy and its explicit goal of ensuring the "sustainability" of the forest industry, to foreshadow a significant reduction in the forest companies' access to timber resources. As the C O R E tables were struck in each of the four regions, intense conflicts began to arise between pro-industry and pro-environmental sectors. These struggles were nowhere as apparent as at the Cariboo-Chilcotin C O R E table. Conflicts between environmental and industry/labour groups in the Cariboo-Chilcotin were already raging at the time the C O R E table was struck. By 138 the early 1990s a coalition of local, provincial and national environmental groups had formed under the banner of the Cariboo Mountains Wilderness Coalition to protect the watersheds and wedands of the eastern Cariboo. Forest industry workers and their supporters in Williams Lake had formed the Save Our Jobs Committee and the Share the Cariboo-Chilcotin Resources Committee, and were lobbying for public support to protect the industry's long-term access to timber resources. At the C O R E table, individuals representing these different sectors faced the daunting task of negotiating a mutually acceptable solution to these and other land use crises. The C O R E process began in the Cariboo region in the summer of 1992. After a series of public meetings, various individuals and organizations formed into sectors, each represented by two individuals who sat at the C O R E negotiating table. By March 1993 twenty-four sectors were participating, representing agriculture, mining, forestry, recreation, local government, tourism, labour, small business and conservation groups. After over a year of negotiations, though, the Cariboo-Chilcotin C O R E table collapsed over the failure of the different parties, now polarized as "browns" and "greens", to reach consensus on the lands to be designated as protected areas. The failure of the C O R E process sparked one of the most intense public controversies in the recent history of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Various sectors accused one another of negotiating in bad faith and lacking a commitment to a regional, consensual planning process. From the start, a coalition of forest company, labour and business interests in the Cariboo had expressed opposition to the C O R E process, perceiving it as a threat to the status-quO of forest companies' privileged control over timber resources and thus to the employment base and survival of small interior communities. Williams Lake resident and International Woodworkers of America vice-president Harvey Arcand later boasted of how the 139 coalition of pro-logging interests at the C O R E table had deliberately sabotaged the C O R E process by manipulating procedural rules, by stacking the table with pro-industry sectors, and by refusing to move from their original position during the fifteen months of negotiations.14 Bitter debates went on for months about the legitimacy of the C O R E process and about the appropriateness of the conduct of key individuals at the table. In letters to the city newspaper, these debates degenerated into personal attacks and criticisms of the representatives of the environmental and pro-industry movements, including the city's mayor who played a lead role as anti-CORE spokesperson after the C O R E failure. These debates intensified after C O R E Commissioner Stephen Owen, in the absence of a regional consensus, released his own recommendations for a Cariboo-Chilcotin land use plan in July 1994. By this time, two groups in the Cariboo had formed to represent the competing environmental and industry interests in the region; both had created their own regional land use plans and were lobbying for government acceptance of their.recommendations. Environmental interests were represented by the Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Council, headed by a west Chilcotin conservationist. Pro-industry interests were represented by the Cariboo Communities Coalition, an alliance of 14 of the 24 original sectors at the C O R E table and including forest and mining companies, agriculture, backcountry tourism, chambers of commerce, local government and labour. With its headquarters in City Hall and the mayor as its spokesperson, the Coalition became the voice of the most powerful sectors ofthe regional society. 1 4 "Then again, some don't: Arcand ofthe IWA explains how to break the back of CORE", Vancouver Sun, 8 April 1994, A-19; "How to wreck the CORE process, IWA style", Williams. Lake Tribune, 21 April 1994, A-4. 140 The Conservation Council and the Cariboo Communities Coalition each sought to sway public support for their platforms by demonstrating their solutions were in the best interests of the regional community as a whole. Both groups made use of a political rhetoric of victimization and made appeals to the need to protect the region's natural resources legacy for future generations. Yet their political rhetoric differed radically in their use of symbols of history, of identity, and of public values. Public opposition to C O R E by forest industries and resource communities, from the outset, was rhetorically framed by images of honest, hard-working small town people struggling to resist the intrusive and oppressive actions of urban governmental forces and environmental activists. At a massive demonstration on the grounds of the Provincial legislature in March, the mayor of Port McNeill roused the crowd by proclaiming that "Loggers, farmers and miners... carry this country on their backs". He condemned the C O R E report as the creation of "academics and backroom boys who have never had rain in their lunch buckets and who don't have to live with the consequences of their theory".15 International Woodworkers of America representative Jack Munroe was widely quoted in the media in his condemnation of "cappuchino-sucking, concrete condo-dwelling, granola-eating city slickers" attempting to impose urban environmentalist ethics and interfering in the lives and livelihoods of rural resource communities.16 In portraying resource communities as the David against the Goliath of urban governments, speakers were engaging a set of powerful cultural symbols and identities to rouse public support. The celebration of the small town work ethic and of physical labour, the dismissal of intellectual and bureaucratic knowledge, and the antagonism towards urban society and governments resonated not only 1 5 "Premier fails to provide forestry workers with assurance he will reject land-use plan", Vancouver Sun, 22 March 1994, A-3. 1 6 "15,000 forest workers drown out premier", Vancouver Sun, 22 March 1994, A-1. 141 with the perceptions of civic leaders of Williams Lake, but with attitudes that are widespread in northern resource communities across Canada. Speakers demanded recognition for the vital role of resource industry in the national economy and insisted that resource industry workers had a moral right to have their jobs and lifestyles protected. Resource industries, and their workers, were transformed into symbols of nationalism deserving of special reverence and protection. This oppositional rhetoric underwent some important modifications when the anti-CORE protest was transported to the context of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Once again, a politics of embarrassment was engaged that took its shape from considerations of place, regional identities and historical traditions. The Cariboo Communities Coalition hired a Vancouver public relations consultant and launched an expensive local and provincial radio, newspaper and television advertising campaign in which it claimed to speak for "the people" of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. A distinct regional identity was put forth and used as a vehicle for claiming the right of "the people", not urban governments, to control the land and resources of the region. This regional identity was a populist one with a heavy emphasis on families and family values. Typical phrases included 'Tlease... Listen to the People!"; typical images showed 'ordinary' millworkers, ranchers and tourism operators with their families. In the politics of victimization, hardworking families and their values were pitted against the might of urban government: " C O R E has put our families, or workers, our communities at risk", "We need to protect families", "We believe that we need to protect the social and economic well-being of our families". This populist construction, appealing to the central public values that define the uniqueness of the Cariboo people, culture and lifestyle, rendered invisible the diversity of regional groups and interests, the very diversity that had precluded the original success of the regional C O R E process. 142 The Cariboo-Chilcotin regional identity was also defined by the length of (settler) occupation and activity in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and by the special attachment residents felt towards the land. A newsletter stated: "Many of us have lived here for generations, working the land as ranchers, farmers, miners, foresters, loggers, guides, outfitters and contractors". It continued: "Our forefathers developed the Cariboo-Chilcotin. They - and we - have helped strengthen the social and economic fabric of the province. And we're proud of that". The Coalition argued that Cariboo-Chilcotin people, by virtue of their residence in the area, had political and moral rights to control the region's destiny, and that the 'local voice" had been denied in the C O R E process. "We need a Made in the Cariboo solution!" and "We deserve a say in our destiny" were typical slogans. These demands were backed by notions of the superiority of practical knowledge of local residents over the theoretical knowledge of outside academics and bureaucrats: "This kind of balance [between social, environmental and economic interests] can only truly be recognized by people who live, work and play in the area - people who are I N the Cariboo Chilcotin - people who know the Cariboo Chilcotin." Finally, the right of local people to direct future land use practices also was a moral one, stemming from their commitment to future generations and to stewardship of the land. "We feel we have a right and an obligation to have a direct say in the future development of our area - for the sake [of] our children and grandchildren." These assertions of quasi-indigenous localized identities - identities rooted in the special, unique relationship that rural non-Natives have to the land - are not unique to the Cariboo-Chilcotin nor Canada, but have been described in other settler colonies such as New Zealand (Dominy 1993,1995) as well as rural regions of Great Britain (Nadel-Klein 1991,1995). Many of the rural areas of settler colonies by now have been occupied by four, five, or more generations of 143 European settlers: farmers, pastoralists, and ranchers. Over time, these groups have developed their own distinctive cultural traditions and identities that are centered on their relationship to the landscape. As processes of decolonization proceed - to the extent that outstanding aboriginal land claims are being discussed and negotiated - rural settler communities are faced with parallel claims to territories by aboriginal peoples also asserting indigenous identities. Rural non-Natives are also faced with the increasing efforts of national/state governments and transnational corporations to control, regulate and exploit the resources of rural areas. In these contexts, rural peoples are creating localized identities as a vehicle for asserting political rights to self-determination and regional autonomy. The particular shape of rural constructions of identity is highly influenced by the political context and the tenuous balance of power in which rural settlers, aboriginal peoples, and centralized state governments are enmeshed. This becomes apparent when contrasting the processes of identity construction in the Cariboo-Chilcotin with that occurring among rural, high country sheep farmers in New Zealand (Dominy 1995). In both cases, rural settler communities are parties to competing claims to lands and resources (whether the competitors are other rural non-Natives or aboriginal groups), claims that are to be mediated by agents of established national/provincial governments. In both cases, groups are making claims to political autonomy on the grounds of the many generations of residency in the area, and their commitment to local political control, to families and future generations, and to a responsible stewardship of the land. Yet in the New Zealand case, settler families in the South Island high country were struggling against competing claims put forth by the Maori to lands assigned to them through the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. At the Waitangi Tribunal hearings, high country families asserted their rights to these pastoral lands by virtue of their distinct cultural identity that emerges from their close relationship with the 144 land, the significance of the land to their way of life, their many generations of occupancy of the region, and to their conimitment to act as custodians or caretakers of the land. In asserting the importance of the land to their identity and lifestyle, high country farmers were explicidy claiming an indigenous status. They are claiming to be like' Maori, and thus their claims should have equal validity (ibid.:363). In the context of a Tribunal that eventually proved highly sympathetic to Maori claims, setders were forced into a defensive stance. While Dominy argues that high country farmers were not making political claims based on "an appropriation of Ngai Tahu symbology" (ibid.:369), her evidence suggests that, at the minimum, they were making claims based on explicit efforts to make features Of their cultural identity analogous to that of the Maori claimants in a political climate that ultimately favoured Maori interests. In contrast, the regional cultural identity put forth by the Coalition was not framed by claims of indigenous status similar to aboriginal peoples. In fact, First Nations and the question of aboriginal tide - issues at the forefront of provincial politics - were invisible through much of the local C O R E debate. The political struggle was not against aboriginal peoples, but against local environmentalists and provincial governments. In this context, the indigenous status the Coalition claimed was one that emerged from the traditions and legacy of Cariboo-Chilcotin pioneers. References to Cariboo-Chilcotin pioneers, and to Cariboo values and identities, were scattered through the publicity materials: The Cariboo Chilcotin and this province were founded on the entrepreneurial spirit and self-reliance. Our forefathers worked hard to eke out an existence from the land, and we continue to do so - at the same time ensuring that we protect the land from being wasted. 145 We believe that we have a lot to be proud of in the Cariboo Chilcotin -of how our forefathers established the area - of how our ranchers have managed the range - of how our small businesses and tourism industry took major entrepreneurial risks to build our local service economy. The Cariboo Chilcotin pioneer spirit of self-sufficiency and looking after our neighbours has remained a key value in the area... we believe that we have the strength, the commitment, the experience and the heart to continue to preserve the values ofthe Cariboo Chilcotin. B.C. should never ignore the fact that the foundation of this province was built on the families who immigrated to the province from other parts of the world. This is what made our province prosperous. Once again, collective identities were forged through populist expressions of the frontier myth of history. The pioneer is no longer the individual heroically battling the wilderness on his own, but the families of the Cariboo-Chilcotin who, through their hard work, drive and determination, have built the province of B.C.. The concept of the pioneer is metaphorically extended further to the small businesses and tourism ventures that have taken "major entrepreneurial risks" to "build" the economy. Cariboo-Chilcotin families, the values of independence, self-sufficiency, neighborliness and the entrepreneurial spirit, and the resource industries themselves are thus historicized as reflecting the spirit of the pioneers; through this historical association they are deserving of respect, honor and protection. This populist construction of the past also served to warn of the dangers of implementing government policies that would lead society away from the values and traditions that had been instrumental in the 'building' of the Canadian "nation. By creating parks and thus restricting the forest companies' access to timber, Owen's C O R E report was seen as dismpting the regional economy: forest industry employment would decline and have a serious impact on the survival of Cariboo families, their value systems, and the very cultural, tradition and legacy of the 146 pioneers. Through this metaphorical equation, Owen's C O R E report was construed as an assault against the sacred pioneer tradition of Canada. The Coalition's populist rhetoric effectively overshadowed and silenced the voices of dissenting local groups. Claiming to speak for "the people" of the Cariboo, and claiming to uphold the pioneer legacy of the region, the Coalition instead spoke only for those groups in the region that were committed to preserving the status-quo of industry access to forest resources. This silencing of competing voices was enabled by the Coalition's strategy of drawing on the most sacred symbols of the regional culture to frame its concerns. The Coalition was able to bombard the public through radio, television and newspaper advertisements with a message that was apocalyptic in tone: i f the C O R E report was implemented, the regional culture, lifestyle, and pioneer legacy would be destroyed. In contrast, the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Council, with a relatively low key and low budget media campaign, also engaged in a politics of victimization which emphasized the exploitation of hinterland communities by transnational resource corporations.17 But their symbolic rhetoric had little strength in the context of a regional culture dominated a frontier tradition of history-as-progress, by a popular ideal of the self-made man, and by a pervasive faith in the unlimited 1 7 For example, a Williams Lake Advocate newspaper advertisement (August 3, 1994) argued that 98% of job losses in the forest industry were due to mechanization; only 2% were due to the establishment of parks. "Mechanized sawmills are laying off workers and consuming more and more wood - their appetites are insatiable" the ad read. In a Tribune advertisement (July 14, 1994) stated "[The Cariboo Communities Coalition] campaign is backed by groups financed by big forest companies. These are the same companies that have been laying off workers and replacing them with machines. They are racing to cut as much wood as they can before the saw logs disappear". 147 abundance of natural resources.18 Issues of aboriginal title were remarkably absent during the course of public discussions of C O R E , discussions that ostensibly were to lead to greater "certainty" over land tenure and the resolution of regional land use conflicts. While industry, business, tourism, labour, recreation and environmental groups debated the future of Cariboo lands, the very right of the state and various sectors of non-Native Canadian society to be claiming rights to Crown lands prior to addressing the issue of aboriginal title was directly challenged by First Nations in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, who refused to participate in the C O R E discussions. The use of frontier myth metaphors and imagery in the C O R E debates - imagery that enhanced the stereotype of the 'invisible Indian' by rendering aboriginal people absent from the landscape of the past - facilitated the public's ability to ideologically separate these two domains of political activity, and to temporarily forget about the overriding issue of aboriginal tide. As an epilogue, there is one final example showing the creative use of the image of the pioneer in public discussions about contentious events. At the height of conflict over the C O R E process, a woman who had recentiy immigrated from Europe wrote a letter to the Williams Lake Tribune criticizing the "outbreak of hatred" between different sectors in the controversy. Appealing to the values of tolerance for alternate lifestyles and political opinions, she called on the public to rally behind the spirit ofthe pioneers to weather the difficult period of change the 1 8 This conflict was finally resolved in October 1994 when the Cariboo Communities Coalition, the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Council and the provincial government negotiated an agreement over a new land use plan. Park lands were designated and other regions were, cleared for future logging activity. A year later, the chief forester announced that the five year annual allowable cut for the Williams Lake timber supply region would remain unchanged from the pre-CORE levels, suggesting that the CORE report, now passed into legislation, had little impact on forest company harvest levels. Debates continue in Williams Lake over the implementation ofthe CORE plan, over the provisions for protected areas, and over the sustainability of current harvest levels. 148 community was undergoing: We shouldn't forget that hatred consumes energy whereas understanding and goodwill create the strength to go through rough times. This is how this country has been built and it takes the spirit of the pioneers now and again to go into a changing world and to overcome the fear of change. The new frontier is our inventiveness - let's work together.19 The symbol of the pioneer has the potential to serve a variety of competing political interests and to carry a variety of meanings. The spirit of the pioneers -the imagined courage, goodwill and community spirit demonstrated by the early settlers - is here evoked not to justify public conflict, but to mediate it. That frontier imagery is so quickly adopted by an individual who has only recentiy immigrated to Canada is testimony to the dominance of the frontier myth of history in the collective Euro-Canadian imagination. Conclusion In evoking pioneer values and traditions, Euro-Canadians are making claims to a continuity between the present and the past. They are creating public identities that are founded on the presumption of a set of unchanging cultural values and traditions that unite old-time settlers and contemporary residents in one cultural community. In reality, the population and cultural composition of the region has undergone dramatic change over the last century. Between 1950 and 1990 the population ofthe main Cariboo cities quadrupled, largely due to the massive influx of newcomers arriving to take advantage of the booming industrial economy. The majority of Cariboo residents can not claim lengthy ancestral roots in the region. A significant proportion can not claim lengthy histories in Canada. "Worried about recent hatred", Williams Lake Tribune, 4 August 1994. 149 Given the 'newness' of the population, it is remarkable that the symbol of the pioneer has attained such a powerful sacred status.. The symbol of the pioneer is ideally suited to addressing a central problematic of the regional culture: how a sense of collective identity can be • constructed to embrace a diverse group of residents lacking a shared past. The power of the symbol of the pioneer lies in its flexibility: it can be extended to embrace a variety of individuals, situations and circumstances. Euro-Canadians use the term not to indicate length of residence in the region, but to refer to adherence to a certain set of contemporary values, morals, and ideals that they equate with pioneer traditions. While Euro-Canadians in the Cariboo may not share a common past, they do share their common participation in a mythic conception of history. The frontier myth provides a sense of identity, a sense of morality, and a sense of belonging for old-time families and recent immigrants alike, who enthusiastically identify with the heroic processes of colonization and who freely draw on its symbols and metaphors to define their imagined collective histories. In these formulations, non-Natives in the Cariboo achieve a sense of connection to the landscape, a regional, place-centered identity, hot through the process of "indigenization" as suggested by Terry Goldie (1989), in which non-Natives identify with Canadian aboriginal peoples as a medium for identifying with place. Nor do non-Native Canadians construct their identity in terms of their direct relationship with the landscape, as Dominy suggests for New Zealand rural settlers. Instead, Cariboo non-Natives achieve an indigenization through history; specifically, through the medium of the 'pioneer', an icon of the frontier myth. In celebrating the symbol ofthe pioneer,. Euro-Canadians are putting forth a vision of history that is presumed to be natural, common sense, and shared by all Canadians. Indeed, the moral power of the symbol ofthe pioneer, when used in the politics of embarrassment, depends on the widespread acceptance of this 150 dominant historical tradition. The frontier myth infuses these symbolic politics, reproducing a selective vision o f history less through direct polemics, but through understandings that are indirect, implicit and conveyed through metaphorical images and associations. Its power as a dominant cultural mode o f seeing the past is evident in the subtle ways in which it infiltrates a range o f political discourses on a variety o f subjects. A t the same time, the frontier myth is capable o f serving a variety o f political interests. Pro-logging interests, individuals protesting the application o f everyday government regulations, and citizens criticizing the conduct o f local leaders all manipulate the terms o f the frontier myth for their own purposes. In each evocation o f the idea o f the pioneer, an imagined past is juxtaposed with the present as a form o f cultural critique. In drawing On frontier myth imagery, these groups ares staking moral claims to the legitimacy o f their struggle. They are using public values and identities as a symbolic currency that validates diverse and often opposing interests. In so doing, they nevertheless are all participating in and reproducing a mythic language that has emerged f rom the colonial experience and that continues to function in both material as well as cultural - and metaphorical -capacities. 151 Chapter Five-Frontier Identities: Indians and Whites Frontier histories in North America describe the encounter and inevitable conflict between Indians and settlers on the historical frontier. These histories reduce the complexity and diversity within and between both aboriginal and colonial societies to two homogeneous and 'natural' categories: Indian and white. These 'naturalized' categories - Indian and white - are not just a feature of historical myth. Instead, they constitute the most important categories in the symbolic ordering of contemporary social relations in Williams Lake. This chapter is concerned with tracing the ethnographic reality of the social categories of Indian and white, and with demonstrating how these categories operate in reinforcing relations of power between the Native and non-Native populations.1 Historical myths and contemporary understandings of Native/non-Native relations are fully congruent: both are central components of the frontier cultural complex that frames the dominant culture of Williams Lake. The public values of friendliness, hospitality, and neighborliness stand in stark contrast to the reality of contemporary Native/non-Native relations in the city. Williams Lake, like many other small cities and towns across rural Canada, is a harsh place for Native people to live. There is chronic tension between the Native and non-Native populations. Racial prejudice and discrimination against Natives is 1 Gillian Cowlishaw (1988), in her ethnography of small town aboriginal/white relations in rural Australia, demonstrates clearly the inadequacy of the categories of 'black' and 'white' as analytical constructs to account for the complexities of social relations in a rural town. It is critical to demonstrate not only the analytical inadequacy, but the ethnographic reality of the categories of Indian and white, to explore how these categories are embedded in a deeper set of ideological and epistemological frameworks, and how these categories operate in reinforcing relations of power. My strategy in this chapter is not to deconstruct the categories of Indian and white, but to demonstrate one way in which these categories are regularly reproduced. 152 commonplace in both subtle gestures and in overt racial insults. Native people are alternately subjected to intense public scmtiny and criticism,, or are simply ignored and rendered invisible in the landscape. By tacit convention an invisible line ideally divides the Native and Euro-Canadian populations into separate social universes. A t the same time, relationships between Euro-Canadians and Natives are also in a state of flux. Native people are now challenging their subordinate position within mainstream society on a variety of legal, political and bureaucratic fronts. The Tsilhqot'in chiefs have declared sovereignty from the Canadian state, the Shuswap First Nations are participating in aboriginal treaty talks, and all First Nations organizations are involved in negotiations with government agencies to increase Native control over the administration of justice, education, and social services in reserve communities. Euro-Canadians are becoming more and more aware ofthe Native presence in the region. The city newspaper now carries regular stories on Native political activities and even the occasional feature on social events in reserve communities. These developments have brought questions of the past and future roles of Native people in the regional society and economy to the forefront of public discourse. • In this dynamic context of change and transition, Euro-Canadians engage in a plurality of discourses that contemplate the nature of Natives and Native/ndn-Native relations. A t times, Euro-Canadians express admiration for Native cultures and traditions and construct 'difference' in terms of romantic, exoticized images of the noble savage. At other times, particularly in the context of opposition to land claims, Euro-Canadians deny the existence of differences between Euro-Canadian and aboriginal peoples. N o one set of images captures the complexity of Euro-Canadian attitudes. Rather, Euro-Canadian discourses often generate conflicting and contradictory images of Native people. What is important to trace is not the images themselves, but how various conceptions of Native/Euro-Canadian 153 'difference' are enacted in specific contexts, and what impact these ideas and images have on mamtaining relations of inequality. In this chapter I trace one of the dominant Euro-Canadian genres of discourse about Native people, that encountered in the everyday conversations that occur in casual, relaxed settings over the dinner table, at the backyard barbeque, and in the pubs and restaurants around town. This genre is dominated by the conventional racist image ofthe inferior Native Other. In the following pages, I begin by presenting a selective account of the casual remarks I encountered as I moved through the aural landscape of the Euro-Canadian social world, both in interview settings and in informal contexts. I show how Euro-Canadians discuss Indian-white differences, engaging in conversational rituals of solidarity that condemn Natives as a morally and culturally inferior people and that create a sense of socialized belonging that celebrates Euro-Canadian frontier values. I then turn to a series of discussions with area Native people who describe their relationships and experiences with Euro-Canadians in the city. These voices contrast sharply with the official public accounts celebrating the friendliness and social harmony of small town life. Instead, Native perspectives reflect their accumulated historical experiences of racial discrimination, and show how Euro-Canadians have exercised the power to ascribe negative identities in situations of everyday, informal Native/Euro-Canadian contact. These processes constitute forms of "status domination" (Scott 1990:198), modes of interpersonal violence that effectively contribute to the personal and political disempowerment of the Native population. Native accounts of their experiences in the city also reveal the various forms of resistance they are enacting to challenge racist practices. Withdrawal, verbal and physical challenge, collective political opposition, and humourous parody are all 154 part of the repertoire of Native oppositional practices that comprise a private and at times public culture of resistance. The Dimensions of Difference: Indians in Euro-Canadian Conversational Discourse Euro-Canadians frequendy talk about the current land claims treaty process and its potential impact on the Williams Lake community. Distinct from these serious discussions ofthe political and historical legitimacy of aboriginal claims are . the everyday, routine conversations through which Euro-Canadians discuss Indian-white differences. A distinguishing feature of this discourse is its moral focus and lighthearted tone: Natives are criticized and ridiculed for a variety of perceived moral deficiencies, and often through the medium of jokes or humorous comments. Indeed, 'joking about Indians' is so common among Euro-Canadians that it could be considered a recreational activity. Similar patterns of discourse have been discussed among working class white men in northern Ontario. Thomas Dunk writes: The image ofthe Indian which appears most frequendy [in young working-class men's discourse] is generally derogatory. In jokes, offhand comments, and general banter and gossip, the Indian stands for negative personality traits... the idea of the Indian as the living embodiment of pathological behavioural characteristics is never far from the surface of the mind or the tip of the tongue (1991:107). In the Cariboo these conversational patterns are not limited to the working class, but are engaged in by people from many different sectors: loggers, mill workers, middle class professionals, business people, politicians, housewives and store clerks. Disparaging remarks about Natives can be heard between friends and acquaintances in the privacy of individual homes, in the workplace, and in the radio 155 airwaves of late night truckers hauling logs out of the Chilcotin. These remarks can occasionally be overheard in public domains: the business offices, coffee-shops and bars around town. In short, negative beliefs and attitudes about Natives constitute socially constructed 'truths' that pervade the conversational landscape. They are central part of the dominant culture of Williams Lake, existing as a form of 'common-sense' racism. , The drama, humour, and intense feeling that discussion of Natives engender suggest that these discussions are not merely intellectual exchanges of information. In another northwestern Ontario town David Stymeist similarly noted that discussions of Natives often took on "ritualistic" qualities. The litany of complaints voiced by Euro-Canadians about Natives created an implicit tone of "us against them", with the complaints being put forth in a very "theatrical" manner (Stymeist 1975:75-76). These insights suggest a central feature of Euro-Canadians'casual discourse about Natives: they are the conversational equivalent of community rituals in which public values, morals, and identities are enacted and affirmed. These conversational rituals play an important role in the construction of local Euro-Canadian identity and in the socialization of newcomers into the community. In the absence of extensive and permanent lines of communication between the Euro-Canadian and Native reserve communities, these informal conversations among Euro-Canadians are among the most important vehicles through which 'information' about Natives is shared and circulated. Through these ritualized interchanges, newcomers are informed that to be a resident of Williams Lake is to belong to a small town community on the fringes of Canadian society, and to be a member of a close knit community held together in moral opposition to Natives. 1 156 Interview Talk and Everyday Conversation One of the most common images that appears in Euro-Canadian discourse is that of the 'drunken Indian'. Alcohol problems are not limited to the Native population, but are widespread in the Cariboo region generally. Community health surveys have repeatedly identified alcohol abuse as one of the major health concerns in the Cariboo. Teenage drinking parties, involving up to 200 youth, occasionally occur in the outlying areas and are a source of much public criticism. In the spring of 1994 a large gathering of youth on the Stampede grounds erupted in violence, requiring R C M P intervention. While these instances of drinking and lawlessness occasionally are given treatment as public problems, they do not compare to the massive amount of attention and public energy assigned to discussing and moralizing about the problem of 'drunken Indians'. A small group of Native people, known locally as the Troopers, are often seen on the streets of town. They are recognized by their dishevelled appearance, their public inebriation, and their habit of collecting bottles in the city's garbage cans or along the highway. The Troopers have existed as a social category in the city since the early 1970s. To many Williams Lake residents they are a source of embarrassment, and are seen as stains on the city's public image. Although the Troopers represent only a minority of the Native people visible on the streets of town on any given day, and although not all Troopers are Native, to many Euro-Canadians the Troopers are a frequent reference point for more general criticisms of 'drunken Indians': the Troopers are drawn upon as evidence for the moral degradation of the Native population as a whole. The very name 'Trooper' is spoken in an affectionately patronizing term that has a vicious, derogatory edge: Despite the frequent discussions and jokes about the Troopers, Euro-Canadians know little about these individuals. Euro-Canadians are unsure of who the Troopers are, how many of them there are, where they go at night, or how 157 long these individuals have been living on the streets. Some theories have the Troopers circulating between reserve communities and the city streets, staying in town for only a few days or a few weeks. Other Euro-Canadians believe that the Troopers are permanentiy homeless fixture of the city. These questions, though, do not occupy a great deal of Euro-Canadian attention or interest Instead, Euro-Canadians view the Troopers as a nameless and faceless group of Indian alcoholics. In sharp contrast is the way the Troopers are viewed by area Native people. In reality, the Troopers are integrated into the extensive kinship networks that link the Cariboo Chilcotin Native community. Native people know the Troopers by name, by family relation, and by personal history. They know them as individuals who have fallen on hard times, as having come from difficult family situations or as having suffered extremes of abuse in the residential school system. They are not ostracized from the Native communities of the region; rather than being homeless, many Troopers have relatives in reserve communities with whom they could stay i f they chose. In fact, a number live on the Sugar Cane reserve in their own individual homes, and merely spend their days in the town of Williams Lake. To Euro-Canadians, these intricacies of individuality and personal history are invisible. Not only are the Troopers an anonymous collective, but in many instances the area Native communities are also rendered invisible. Both are relegated to the peripheral zones of the social world of Euro-Canadians, becoming the subjects of interest only in discussions that reify their difference from the Euro-Canadian townspeople. Jokes about 'drunken Indians' are not limited to the Troopers, but are extended to Natives in general. It is an assumed truth that most Natives have drinking problems. In Euro-Canadians' joking discourse and banter there is little discussion as to why these differences may exist. Instead, it is assumed that drinking is simply an inherent part of Native culture, and/or that Natives are biologically predisposed to alcoholism. This naturalization of the 'drunken Indian' stereotype was suggested by one older woman. She explained the presumed prevalence of drunkenness among Natives on biological grounds: Natives have a natural thirst for alcohol. I think the Troopers evolved out of the high alcohol problem with the Natives when they were allowed into the beer parlours. Because, from. what I understand - and you'd have to talk to them, or talk to doctors or whatever - but they have an insatiable thirst for anything sweet. If you've ever watched them drink juice or pop... we had the highest wine sales in B.C. at one time [laughs]! The colonial gaze of the local Euro-Canadians transforms Natives into natural spectacles to be watched while drinking pop or engaged in other behavior in public. This is only one example of the way in which Native people are. subjected to a form of hyper-visibility through Euro-Canadian scrutiny. Through this public surveillance, the most mundane acts of Native people are transformed into highly meaningful events constimting proof of Euro-Canadian assumptions of Native 'difference'. This theme of Natives as public spectacles was echoed by a woman who, recounting memories of growing up in Williams Lake in the 1950s and 1960s, described Native people as sexually immoral drunks. Native 'difference' is not seen in a historical context; rather, past and present are blurred as she draws on her memories from forty years ago to portray the contemporary reality of Native people: There was the Famous Cafe that all of us kids went to when we were teenagers... I mean, we went there, all the time. And probably five nights out of every week, or at least every weekend, there'd be an Indian man 159 and woman sittin' outside, and half the time they'd be making love, or he'd have his hands up her pants, or her pants would be off or whatever. I mean, it was just... we just walked around them and went in. That's what they were... when they were sober they were great people. But that wild juice did things to them! [laughs] But they used to work for my dad, and they were excellent. Some of the nicest people I know are Indian people. But when they're into the bottle, they're not nice. They're different than we are. And they are different. The belief that sexual immorality and violence are natural, inherent features of Native life is commonly heard in Euro-Canadian talk. While the sexual abuse of Native students at St. Joseph's Mission residential school has received national media attention, many local Euro-Canadians believe that sexual abuse has long been a widespread problem in reserve communities. As one man stated, "they can't blame the Catholic schools for that". A harsher version was expressed by one community, leader: I think that there are real problems in the reserves. I don't think its any secret by people who are aware of the way things are that the abuse of women is... much.more common than we'd like to see it in the aboriginal communities. I was talking to a [health care professional]... he was saying that he believes that a large number of people, maybe 90% of aboriginal females, are sexually abused, penetrated, by the time they are ten years old. He was "absolutely convinced" that these perceived social problems are not a recent historical phenomenon, nor a manifestation of social crisis and breakdown, but have been an inherent part of Native culture since before Europeans' arrival. Images of Natives as drunken, sexually immoral and violent are frequent currency in these ritualized conversations and joking remarks. These images are not unique to Williams Lake;, but are prevalent attitudes voiced by Euro-Canadians in many other small town settings in Canada (Braroe 1975:4-5, 87-120; Stymeist 1975:75-76; Dunk 1991:109-114). These images are common themes that have filled the pages of Canadian history textbooks, popular literature, pioneer autobiographies and fur trade journals for centuries. They are part of the national tradition in Canada of "imagining" Indians (Francis 1992). These images, however, are not just inert, textual expressions of a colonial ideology. When they circulate in small-town talk in regions such as Williams Lake, they exert a profound influence in shaping Euro-Canadian understandings and attitudes and have devastating and destructive consequences to the lives and experiences of Native people. Another set of images frequently drawn On to describe Native differences are more closely related to the cultural setting of Williams Lakey and to the values and morals that define local Euro-Canadian identities. These images relate to the perceived special status that Natives enjoy by virtue of their relationship with the federal government. There aire several common criticisms, many of them founded on misconceptions: that Natives enjoy a "tax free" status, that they are given "free houses" and "free" university education, and that they enjoy a wealth of government payments that flow into reserve communities to support highly paid Band staff and unrealistic economic development projects that are doomed to fail through mismanagement. This image of the Vealthy, undeserving Indian', for example, is circulated in the frequent jokes about how most Natives are now driving new, expensive trucks "that even I can't afford". There is a strong resentment that Natives enjoy privileges that are not available to Euro-Canadians;; that they get things "for free" while Euro-Canadians have to work hard to afford these luxuries. Thus Natives'purported laziness, irresponsibility and alcohol dependence are supported by their special relationship with government. Again, Braroe (1975), Stymeist (1975) and Dunk (1990), whose work spans three decades, have described virtually identitical attitudes among Euro-Canadians in other rural Canadian towns. 161 These sentiments were captured in condensed form in an interview with a retired man, who vigorously condemned Native people: I've been in every Indian house in the Cariboo. I have yet to see one Indian house with one vegetable garden. If you look at our vegetable garden up here, its a quarter of an acre, we produce enough to keep us going right through... the winter. I have yet to see an Indian get out with a pick and shovel and dig the ground, and sweat. They're just not made that way... I have yet to see an Indian working who's an apprentice for a plumber or an electrician or a carpenter. The Indians want new houses at Sugar Cane, they get a white man to build them, and then they start to wreck them.2 In portraying Natives through these varied images, Euro-Canadians are simultaneously expressing an ideal ad