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Politics of cursing : imagining human difference in a BC mining town Robertson, Leslie Anne 2001

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POLITICS OF CURSING: IMAGINING H U M A N DIFFERENCE IN A BC MINING TOWN by LESLIE ANNE ROBERTSON B.A., Simon Fraser University, 1991 M.A., University of Calgary, 1994  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Anthropology and Sociology) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August* 2001 © Leslie Anne Robertson, 2001.  In  presenting this  degree at the  thesis  in  University of  partial  fulfilment  of  of  department  this thesis for or  by  his  or  scholarly purposes may be her  representatives.  permission.  Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  for  an advanced  Library shall make  it  agree that permission for extensive  It  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not  DE-6 (2/88)  requirements  British Columbia, I agree that the  freely available for reference and study. I further copying  the  is  granted  by the  understood  that  head of copying  my or  be allowed without my written  11  Abstract In the late 19th century, an English entrepreneur arrived on the B . C . frontier eager to learn the whereabouts o f coal seams i n the area. In exchange for this knowledge he courted and promised to marry an "Indian Princess." After receiving the information, he jilted the woman and submitted the first coal syndicate application for the E l k Valley. Indigenous people cast a curse on W i l l i a m Fernie, on the region and its residents. They would suffer from fires, floods and famine. This narrative forms the backbone o f my dissertation. It is deeply ingrained in expressions o f local identity, tied to personal histories and ideas o f social justice. Ktunaxa traditionalists officially lifted the curse in a public ceremony i n Fernie i n 1964.1 trace how participants speak about this event and the legend across generations and within shifting ideological contexts. Cursing is an important theme throughout this work. It implies the power that stories have to carry and construct meanings about who people are. M y dissertation is an ethnography o f ideas about human difference generated and transmitted through time and through narratives. Fernie, B . C . is currently transforming from a predominantly working-class resourcebased town to an internationally recognized destination ski resort. I trace images, legends and theories as powerful narrative resources i n the contexts o f colonialism, war, immigration, labour strife, natural disaster, treaty-making and development for tourism. Folklore, mass media, scholarly theories and political discourses propagate narratives about human difference shaping the ways that people are imagined. Although rephrased and sometimes disguised, fundamental forms o f race, gender, class, nationality, religion, age, locality and sexual preference remain intact. In Part I, I look at ideas o f difference perpetuated in hegemonic discourses during three overlapping time periods. More contemporary taxonomies o f difference appear i n Part II. Ideas are transmitted across generations, they are evident in public performances and i n narratives o f place and space. Through participants' accounts I examine intersections between personal expressions and official narratives.  iii Table o f Contents Abstract Table o f Contents List o f Figures Acknowledgements Dedication Introduction: K n o w i n g W h o Y o u r Neighbours A r e  » iii vi vii viii 1  Chapter 1: Ideas M a k e Acts Possible Tensions Between F i e l d and H o m e Interviews and Rapport L o c a l Events and Secondary Sources Situating M y s e l f Participants' Narratives Founding Legends: The Curse as a K e y to History Politics o f Information: Controlling the F l o w Invoking Difference Scholarly Theories Political Realities L o c a l Histories Textual Strategies Conclusion  8 9 10 11 13 14 17 20 24 26 30 35 36 37  Introduction to Part I: Politics o f Cursing  39  Chapter 2: Conversations A m o n g Europeans Colonial Discovery: Managing Appearances Empty and U n k n o w n Lands Mapping Naming Social Rituals Courting B l o o d and "Race" Evolutionary Theory Cursing: Persistent Narratives Legacies Conclusion  43 46 48 51 52 54 55 58 62 63 66 71  Chapter 3: Latkep Ansicht V i e w B^Jt. Constructing the'Toreigner" Unraveling the Past Tracing Origins Popular M e d i a Immigration Before the Turn o f the Century "Dangerous Classes" "Anglo-Saxons" and "Nordics" Pedigrees  72 74 75 76 78 82 84 88  iv  Immigration After the Turn o f the Century Selecting "Desirable" Citizens Disaster and Foreign-ness "Enemy A l i e n s " and W o r l d War I Conclusion  89 92 95 99 103  Chapter 4: "The Story A s I K n o w It:" Cursing in L o c a l Context Supernatural Thinking Cursing as a Social A c t Superstition Seeking the Invisible Past The M i n e r ' s M a r k A Regional Curse Medical Knowledge and Cursing War and Cursing Conclusion  105 109 Ill 115 116 117 123 126 128 132  Introduction to Part II: Imagining Difference Transmission o f Ideas Social Performance Maps  133 135 136 137  Chapter 5: A Moment o f Silence The Experience o f W a r Social Performance Remembrance Day Other Relationships to Remembering Transmission o f Ideas Inter-generational Discursive and Ritual Techniques After the War in Femie Social Sanctions and Speech Maps Neighbourhoods The Outskirts Conclusion  139 143 144 144 150 153 153 155 159 161 165 166 171 173  Chapter 6: Getting R i d o f the Story Social Performances Lifting the Curse Ritual, Spectacle and Cross-cultural Perceptions Maps Social and Spatial Proximity Separateness Map-making Transmission o f Ideas Blood ,.  175 179 179 .....185 191 190 194 196 198 200  V  Conclusion Chapter 7: Development, Discovery and Disguises Social Performance The M o g u l Smoker The Snow Gods Tensions Around Snow M o g u l Smoker Postscript Maps Locality Discovery Locals and Granolas The Closet Transmission o f Ideas Ventriloquism Conclusion  202 204 207 207 212 214 216 217 218 221 223 227 229 230 234  Chapter 8: One Step Beyond: O l d Ideas in N e w Forms Social Performance A Visiting Hypnotist Video Games Maps Town "Hanging Out" Graffiti Site: Race and Visualism Graffiti Site: Religion Graffiti Site: Sexuality Transmission o f Ideas Gossip, Rumour and Scholarly Myths Conclusion  236 239 240 244 248 250 251 253 258 260 263 264 267  Conclusion: Re-Marks  269  Figures  276  Bibliography  295  vi List o f Figures Figures: 1. Newspaper advertisement: Boer War Veteran (1909) 2. Postcard: "Feeding the Refugees" (1908) 3. Newspaper advertisement: Sells Floto Circus (1914) 4. Postcard/photograph: W i l l during W o r l d War I (circa 1916) 5. Photograph: Morrissey Internment Camp (1916) 6. Postcard: B l a c k Cat (circa 1916) 7. Postcard: Cave Mountain (1909) 8. Postcard: Ghostrider image 9. Postcard: German National Socialists in Naples (1938) 10. Postcard: Arab boy and Mercedes Benz (circa 1940) 11. Postcard: Recent Ghostrider image 12. Newspaper interview: The Three Sisters, The Ghostrider and The G r i z (1998) 13. Image o f O d d Einnarsen, Mountain Fresh (1998) 14. Activist's poster: " W h o is Holga?" (1997) 15. M u r a l o f Ghostrider Junior A Hockey team L o g o (1997) 16. 1998 Hockey Program: Stylized logo o f Ghostrider 17. Graffiti: West Side Gang (1998)  276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292  Maps: 18. EastKootenay region 19. City o f Fernie B C  293 294  Vll  Acknowledgments Research, study and writing require all kinds o f support - emotional, intellectual, collaborative and financial. I am indebted to many people who generously provided these (sometimes intangible) gifts to me throughout the life o f this project. Perhaps the most important bestowal to a researcher is the openness to engage with her imaginative endeavour and to contribute to a work that is not quite i n focus. I have been greatly rewarded in this sense by participants in Fernie, by my family, friends and colleagues, by my teachers and by staff at libraries, archives and the University o f British Columbia. It is somewhat o f a travesty that the names o f those whose stories have shaped this work are absent from this space o f acknowledgment. It is a dilemma arising from research ethics and the stricture o f anonymity. Participants in Fernie generously shared with me their histories, stories and ideas, exploring sometimes difficult issues. I am greatly appreciative o f their warm acts o f hospitality and the many hours o f v i v i d conversation they granted me. I am indebted to my family, friends and colleagues whose contributions are difficult to summarize. They have endured the best and the worst o f this process. Their wisdom and encouragement has greatly supported my efforts. Members o f my supervisory committee, Dr. Julie Cruikshank, Dr. Martin Silverman and Dr. Dara Culhane have challenged and inspired me as researchers, teachers and writers. Their engagement with ideas and issues has fuelled my intellectual imagination and I look forward to our continued dialogues. M y parents, Valerie and Gordon, have sustained me in many ways. M y mother was both participant and parent. Her attachment to Fernie facilitated my social placement there and her stories originally sparked my intrigue about that place. M y father's support was unbending throughout this process. Femke V a n Delft offered me her inspiring intellectual and creative insights during research and writeup. She read the seemingly endless parade o f early drafts, prepared the illustrations in this dissertation and helped me to disentangle citations. Throughout the years o f study and research I was privileged to meet so many people whose insights I have drawn upon. M a n y pointed me in locally or theoretically significant directions, they offered me resources that I may not have stumbled upon. Some endured the general anxieties o f graduate work and provided emotional and intellectual support. The weaving o f text and voice that is at the heart o f this ethnography also owes much to other people who provided feedback on ideas and written work, helped with translations, technical information and resources. I would also like to thank: Leslie Butt, Elizabeth Eley-Round, Carolyne Embling, L i z Furniss, M o Gaffney, Lesley Girodey, M a r y Giuliano, Anna Gravelle, M i k e K e w , Randall M c N a i r , Sybille Manneschmidt, Mary Menduk, Lexine Phillipps, Bev Sellars, Wanda Slavens, Nevenka Stankovic, E l l a Verkerk, Nancy Wachowich, staff at the Fernie and District Historical Society, at the Fernie Public Library and the Fernie and District Hospital. I am grateful to members o f the Ktunaxa-Kinbasket Tribal Administration and the Elders Traditional Use Study team who met with me and read earlier drafts o f chapters. Mary Giuliano translated interviews conducted with the Italian Oral History Project and Rose Anselmo typed the transcripts in her Calabrian dialect. The final stage o f my graduate work culminated in the thesis defense where external examiners, Dr. Petra Rethmann, Dr. Bruce M i l l e r and Dr. Richard Cavell provided thought-provoking commentary. A l l dissertations are collaborative constructions and I have been greatly rewarded by my collaborators in this process.  viii  Dedication  This dissertation is dedicated to my grandmother's memory and in memory of Victoria Kucera (1909-1998) Maria Anebaldi (1900-1998) Maria Gigliotti (1899-1999) Tina Hesketh (1912-1998)  1  Introduction  K n o w i n g W h o Y o u r Neighbours A r e The B.C. Tel man, wearing crampons, has climbed up the telephone pole to replace my line. I stand in the middle of the road diverting traffic. A group of elderly women are crossing the street. We exchange greetings. "Are you in this house? " one of them asks. "Yes. It's my grandmother's house. I'm Leslie Robertson. " The most fragile of them lifts her arm from her walker and points to the house: "It was my understanding that no-one would be living in Margaret's house!" Twice. She said it twice. And in between I enthusiastically told her how great it was to be able to stay here a year or so to do research. Another woman was consoling: "Have you come from the city dear? " "Yes." "You '11 like living in a small town. You know who your neighbours are here!" (Fieldnotes 10 August, 1997). Fernie is, officially at least - a city, with a population o f just over 5,000 people. It is located in the south-east corner o f British Columbia, nestled in the E l k Valley, within the larger region o f the East Kootenays. The E l k Valley intersects with the Crowsnest Pass, the lowest and southern-most corridor across the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I was lured to Fernie by stories about this place. A s an anthropologist interested in ideas o f difference, the cultural diversity o f people who live here sparked my intrigue. Fernie was the first settlement in the Crowsnest and East Kootenay Mountains; established in 1897, it was incorporated into a city i n 1904. European immigrants settled here seeking prosperity in the coal mines. The spectrum o f cultural backgrounds include: Slavic speaking-peoples o f Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Czech and Slovak heritage; Northern and Southern Italians; and Anglo-Europeans from Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, Eastern Canada and the United States. M o r e recent immigrants have arrived from South Africa and Australia. I was drawn to Fernie to conduct research for several reasons. Firstly, the town is the birthplace o f my mother and my grandmother. Secondly, it is a place inhabited by people originating from across Europe whose diverse origins present an opportunity for research grounded in one locale that taps into ideas and images from elsewhere. I spent eighteen months living i n Fernie conducting interviews and participating i n local events. I worked with residents who hail from across Europe as well as members o f the Ktunaxa-Kinbasket First Nation living in surrounding areas, some o f whom were raised i n town. I followed social networks spanning  2  generational, cultural and geographical frontiers. M y un-covering o f different sites central to this dissertation was largely serendipitous and leaves out others. Although I was virtually a stranger in this town, my kinship ties facilitated access to, and social placement within, this tight-knit community. In my grandmother's house the familiar yellow spines o f National Geographic fill two shelves. There is a picture book o f Australia and another depicting the liberation o f Holland by Canadian soldiers. Recipes torn from magazines fill one kitchen drawer. Yellowed, undated pages accidentally flip to a description o f "Mountain M e n fighting Indians," an advertisement for a boy's first rifle, spice tips "from the British rule o f India." Flyers appear in the milk box at the back door courtesy o f the Jehovah's Witness'. In them I read about genocide i n Yugoslavia, the United Nations Declaration o f Human Rights and relations between humans and angels. Such materials remind me of the busyness o f information moving through people's lives and connecting them to larger relationships in the world. I cannot ask my grandmother about the things i n her house. She now lives a few blocks away i n the extended care wing o f the hospital. Alzheimer's has taken her memory, at least it has stolen her ability to communicate. M y contacts with people began with my grandmother's friends. Belonging to an " o l d family" i n Fernie carried a significance which I had initially underestimated. Eventually, I did come to know who my neighbours were. Homes separated by gardens and l o w fences look deceptively similar in Fernie; their insides however, are lined with languages, aromas and objects literally worlds away from one another. Regional dialects from Southern Italy or Czechoslovakia fill kitchens over expresso or poppy-seed pastries. Some people lament the passing o f these word-worlds, commenting on national programmes o f language "purification" or the difficulties o f keeping a language alive i n another country. Medallions o f Saints; dream catchers; shields; crucifix's; fine cut work; samovars; paintings o f local places; carvings o f wildlife; calendars from Germany, Scotland, Czechoslovakia - a l l belong to the stuff o f selves. The figure o f Buddha appears surprisingly here and there, on mantles below the glass eyes o f an elk or within Saint Anthony's peripheral vision. For some, the objects symbolize friendships with - or the marriages o f sons and daughters to people from different cultural backgrounds. They are the manifestation o f social relationships extending beyond cultural traditions and i n many cases, across boundaries o f class and privilege in a place where the idea o f ethnic hierarchy is acknowledged by many.  3  There is an uneasy blend o f old and new in Fernie. I am told there is a room, still dusted with coal above the Cappuccino place on mainstreet. It makes me realize the layers o f time separating what is seen from what is vanishing and from that which is now invisible. Brick buildings "uptown" bear the engraved names o f Anglo-European men. Advertisements for businesses long gone are barely discernible i n the weathered bricks o f the E l k ' s Lodge and the hardware store. The newest shops show mirrored sunglasses, gortex suits, packs, skis and snowboards. In the window o f an art gallery is an image o f a Masai man leaning on his staff and next to this, a photo-realistic print o f wolves, inside the store is a watercolour o f an "Indian Princess." The dynamic figure o f a Plains "warrior" atop his horse is stencilled large on the outside o f the ice arena in Fernie. I am intrigued by these public representations that seem so conspicuous within the present, highly charged context o f treaty negotiations i n British Columbia. I conducted my research for this dissertation between 1997 and 2000. A t this time the Ktunaxa-Kinbasket First Nation have signed The Treaty Framework Agreement and are "negotiating an Agreement-in-Principle ... that w i l l form the basis o f the treaty" (Treaty Negotiations Update for the Kootenay Region 2000). The Tobacco Plains Band i n Grasmere is the closest reserve community, approximately a thirty minute drive south west o f the town. It is one o f seven Bands located across two states and one province: the St. M a r y ' s Band in Cranbrook, the Lower Kootenay Band i n Creston, the Shushwap Band i n Invermere, and the Columbia Lake Band i n Windermere. In the United States, Ktunaxa-Kinbasket communities include the Kootenay Tribe o f Idaho in Bonner's Ferry and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe in E l m o , Montana. M a p s o f traditional Ktunaxa territory include the region around Fernie and extend into the United States. The treaty-making process i n British Columbia is unsettling established colonial relationships and ushering in new representational conventions. It is a reminder that changing political structures shape ideas o f proximity and acts o f exclusion between people. When I hear o l d people i n Fernie speak about neighbourhoods there is a sense o f the ground beneath them continuously shifting, re-arranging i n response to war, immigration policy and the strategies o f industry. The "south end," to many, where the "moneybags" live, was i n times past the [Anglo] district o f mine and railway "bosses," bankers and businessmen. AngloEuropeans tell me that the "north end" is the Italian district. Most Italians I spoke with comment  4  on the mixture o f ethnic groups here, especially before the male residents o f Chinatown "just died out." Across the highway that was once the Great Northern Railway track, is the district called "The Annex." Homes here were built upon piles o f slack dumped near the E l k River. I have heard about the now vanished French grocers and lumbermen from Italian, "Slav" and "Scotch" residents. "Workers" lived in West Fernie. Many, like my great-grandfather, were employed by the mines at C o a l Creek. Before the saw m i l l shut down there was an area here known as the " M i l l Shacks" where "Hindus" lived. West Fernie is enigmatic; it's citizens have strongly resisted incorporation into the city for about one hundred years. M o v i n g up the sides o f the valley are post 1970's suburbs built in the wake o f Kaiser Steel's take-over from Crowsnest Industries. Presently, the E l k Valley rings with the sound o f construction as new houses for skiing vacationers fill the cracks i n scenic valleys. A more detailed social history o f class, gender, age and religion is inscribed on the hillside cemetery above the city. Names, dates, and epitaphs appear in Italian, English, Russian, Polish, and, less frequently, in Chinese. M i n e explosions, railway accidents and epidemics are among the causes o f death etched into the headstones o f Welsh, Irish, and Hungarian residents. There are some upon whose graves appear the symbol o f the United M i n e Workers o f America. M a n y more are impressed with insignia o f the Loyal Order o f Moose, The Masons, Oddfellows and sister signs of Rebekhas and Eastern Star. White stone beds stand as memorials to those who lost their lives i n the First and Second W o r l d Wars. Children's graves lie beneath the figure o f the lamb. Visually, the boundary between Catholics and Protestants is easily discerned. Some o f the tall stone or metal crucifix's are gated by ornate iron fences, some bear Christ near statues o f the V i r g i n Mary. M y great-grandparents are buried i n the Protestant area beneath a flat, plain stone inscribed only with their names and dates. B e l o w the cemetery, Fernie spreads to fill the gaps between the winding E l k River and the thickly forested base o f mountains. The city's ever-extending boundaries are held tight by Hosmer Mountain to the North East, close by Proctor and Trinity Mountains each draped with stories based on "Indian legend." O l d time residents have been socialized into these narratives, now offered as important symbolic resources o f Fernie identity. T o the west is the Lizard Range where a 1,000 hectare ski area accommodated 305, 000 skiers during the 1999 season. Here, an ironic, modern cornucopia o f myth and ritual circulates around the figure o f " G r i z , " a stout, whiskered man - dressed i n skins, holding a powder musket. Arriving i n Fernie from the East or  the West, G r i z appears on highway signs inviting drivers to "Discover U s . " Long-time residents  J  of Fernie express a sense o f isolation, o f no longer being known. I wanted to know where, i n a socially diverse setting, people draw lines o f human difference, what criteria they use and how they speak about it i n a present where the community is transforming from a predominantly working-class, coal mining town to an internationally-recognized destination ski resort. In this dissertation I analyze how Fernie residents express their ideas about human difference. I trace images, legends and theories that people use to negotiate various relationships within contexts o f colonialism, conquest, immigration, labour strife, wars, treaty-making and development for tourism. Each context activates particular narratives where social categories are revived or newly constructed and difference is negotiated. M y main point is that stories are powerful political tools that contribute to the construction and maintenance o f taken-for-granted ideas about the way things are. Chapters i n this dissertation are structured around a popular local legend about a curse cast on Fernie by Indigenous people. I use the story to introduce the multiple locations from which people spoke to me about particular issues. I trace changes i n the way this legend is narrated across generations within shifting ideological contexts. Cursing is an important theme throughout this work. It is both a verbal act that wields the force o f intentional social action and a potent symbolic gesture that implicates ideas o f justice. I explore several forms o f what I call cursing - instances where words are viewed as a powerful social force: gossip, representation, political correctness and beliefs around word magic. A s a metaphor, cursing implies the power that stories have to carry and construct meanings about who people are. Folklore, mass media, scholarly theories and political discourses each propagate narratives about human difference, shaping ways that people are imagined. M y work discusses how people make use o f available narrative resources. M y research methods, conceptual and theoretical grounding are discussed in Chapter 1. The remainder o f the dissertation is divided into two parts. Part I consists o f three chapters and is titled "Politics o f Cursing." Here I discuss how difference is constructed within historical processes o f colonialism, early immigration and local historical events. In these chapters I identify hegemonic discourses that maintain a stubborn hold in the popular imagination. In effect, these discourses constitute a lingering curse on Indigenous and non-Anglo European peoples.  6  Colonialism dictates a story o f sorts in which images o f people are managed through erasure and produced through social classifications. In Chapter 2,1 discuss anthropological theories, map-making, history writing, popular literature and folklore as vehicles propagating such erasures and appearances. Chapter 3 details the arrival o f early immigrants leading up to W o r l d War I. Settlement in Canada corresponded with the rise o f medical authority, theories o f eugenics and applied physical anthropology. Through emerging forms o f mass media, government officials and theorists publicized their debates about European migrants reinforcing older theories o f difference. Images o f the "foreigner" and "enemy alien" i n contrast to the "Anglo-Saxon" appear during this period. These categories still resonate with people who are members o f the eldest generations. In Chapter 4,1 discuss Fernie's turbulent history through a series o f disasters and beliefs that were in the air at the time. Residents have experienced the grief caused by explosions and bumps i n the bituminous mines where hundreds o f men have lost their lives. Labour unrest i n the form o f strikes and riots echoed larger conflicts between nations. Fernie residents have been rocked by floods, landslides and epidemics and by economic cycles o f boom and bust. Within this context, I examine the idea o f cursing and other symbolic resources available to residents through their diverse belief systems. I discuss religious difference and the social stigma o f "superstition" as they are linked to ideas o f cursing and episodes o f tragedy. In Part II: "Imagining Difference," I examine legacies o f these events, images and ideas through a more ethno-historical approach to contemporary expressions. 1 document taxonomies o f difference and the ways that they are transmitted. These ideas are evident in public events and made visible i n the social maps constructed by people in Fernie. During interviews some people mark difference i n essentialized, explanatory ways - naturalizing the distance between themselves and others. Some "look sideways," casting lines o f affiliation based on personal experience and more interpretive discourses. A complex terrain o f silences and telling emerges. It is shaped by perceptions o f political, traditional and social power. I organize the four chapters in Part II around shifting experiential and ideological contexts. This structure allows for an examination o f locally relevant understandings o f difference across generations. The physical and social landscape o f Fernie has transformed over time. Different events and places resonate with meaning to different age groups. In Chapter 5,1 delineate the eldest generations through their first-hand experiences o f war and nationalism albeit from many  7 nations. These people express a remarkable diversity o f perspectives that reflect national histories and political regimes. Their taxonomies revolve around class, religion and nationality collapsed with "race." This complexity is not evident in the ways that successive generations speak. I discuss the persistence o f colonial narratives i n Chapter 6. Special rights discourses maintain ideas o f "race," religious and economic difference through the attempted erasure o f colonial history. Inter-generational perspectives suggest subtle shifts i n the ways that Europeans imagine Indigenous people. I compare descriptions o f the 1964 curse-lifting ceremony to current dialogues about land claims i n B . C . Inter-cultural performances are vital sites for these dialogues. These accounts provide insight into the continual re-creation o f public narratives in this tight-knit community. In Chapter 7,1 describe the present context o f local development where regionalism has replaced nationalism as the most intense public issue. Development for tourism has spawned conflict between "locals" and outsiders that revolves around hidden issues o f class. N e w processes o f discovery are reifying traditions and images that now represent Fernie to the larger world. Difference is based on ideas o f locality that are reminiscent o f older schemes o f otherness. I discuss how some people are currently side-stepping public sanctions surrounding representation by appropriating now authenticated voices o f immigrants and old-timers. L i k e their parents' generation, youth in Fernie hide categories o f class and "race." In Chapter 8,1 discuss views o f the youngest age groups i n Fernie. Sexuality is their most pressing issue o f human difference. Teenagers discuss their ideas through globalized forms o f mass media, music and video games. The narrative o f the curse has all but vanished, it is now subsumed under the commodified image o f the Ghostrider o f Hosmer Mountain. M y intention i n this dissertation is to identify narratives o f difference within which we are all socialized and to highlight the structures and processes through which these ideas are propagated. There is an alarming consistency i n the ways that essentialized categories o f "race," class, religion, gender, age and sexuality persist across time. While different eras are characterized by shifts i n social consciousness, the list remains salient. Our repertoires o f difference constitute a kind o f common-sense social knowledge. It is important to examine particular contexts wherein these ideas are generated, negotiated and contested. This dissertation is about the interplay o f theories o f difference manifest i n social practice.  8 Chapter 1  Ideas M a k e A c t s Possible Ideas make acts possible.  and then they make it possible for acts to be accepted (Balibar 1991:17).  M y research focusses on the social and political power o f stories, the ideas o f human difference they carry and the modes through which they are transmitted. In this dissertation I work with the narratives o f people from different age, ethnic, gender, class and religious locations, in order to bring into relief the imaginative resources they draw upon to reckon human difference. I discuss how ideas are transmitted across generations, through mass media, i n official and popular narratives. I examine forms o f social knowledge circulating within particular contexts that constitute shared understandings, common-sense views o f the world and social relationships within it. Such views are maintained and contested by people using narratives drawn from folklore, history, scholarly theory and political discourse. They are powerful resources invoked to explain and negotiate particular conflicts. People employ a "repertoire o f ideas" and concepts to explain and understand human difference (Stolcke 1995:4). M y interest in how people use imaginative resources is inspired by several scholars who call for scrutiny o f discursive environments and different knowledges (Balibar 1991; Kuper 1994; R o y 1994; Thomas 1994; Barth 1995; Cruikshank 1998). A s these writers highlight, such resources are drawn from local histories, scholarly, political and cultural discourses. No-one denies that conflict is based on unequal power relations. The focus changes from an analysis o f more structural relations between people to the complex webs o f representation used to justify or negate them. The greatest challenge i n writing this dissertation is how to maintain the complexity o f perspectives expressed by participants. Group actions are formulated from the experience o f identity,... the complex construction o f an individual's location in the community and her ties with others. Similarly, the w i l l to action is born o f detailed ideologies that often are experienced as common sense or unexamined assumptions about rights and powers. Both identity and ideology-making draw deeply at the well of... shared histories constructed through storytelling that serve to define memberships within groups and relations among them... (Roy 1994:3)  M y research includes attention to the form and content o f narratives and the social networks through which they pass. These approaches to narrative constitute what Cruikshank calls "the social life o f stories" that recognizes "story-telling as communication-based social action" (1998:153-155). In this chapter I outline theories, concepts and methods that are at the base o f my research. I begin with a discussion o f fieldwork methods and an overview o f participants' narratives. The curse legend is the backbone o f this dissertation. I introduce the ways that this story is deeply implicated in expressions o f community identity. Throughout this work the act o f cursing is associated with the power o f popular discourses used to explain human difference. I examine how such ideas are propagated and the social, cultural and political mechanisms through which they are sanctioned. Ideas about human difference are generated by scholarly theories, political realities and local events. I examine popular narratives circulating i n different contexts o f colonialism, immigration, historical tragedy and tourism. Tensions between distance and proximity appear throughout this dissertation. They are evident i n ideas o f place and space, in perceptions o f affinity or strangeness, and i n the relationship between official and popular discourses.  Tensions Between Field and Home W i t h i n anthropology there is a certain unease about the conceptualization o f a field setting (Clifford 1997:52-91). Scholarly constructions o f difference have often reflected takenfor-granted notions o f geographical distance and isolation o f place (see for example Strathern 1987; Appadurai 1991; Gupta and Ferguson 1992; B l u 1996; Okely 1996). In the past anthropologists have overlooked regions like the E l k Valley as "zones o f cultural invisibility" where processes o f assimilation are complete (Rosaldo 1989). Perhaps perceived to be familiar, contemporary and non-isolated, Euro-Canadians have been largely precluded from ethnographic attention. Studies o f western societies tend to be institutionally marginalized within the discipline o f anthropology (Carrier 1992; Okely 1996). T o some extent, the discipline is moving towards such investigations (Crapanzano 1986; Dominy 1995; Stewart 1996). Several scholars are now complicating the criteria used to think about groups. M a n y identify the tendency to essentialize and homogenize the West i n the project o f understanding others (Carrier 1992; Dominy 1995;  Okely 1996). What they call "Occidentalism" is manifest most profoundly in assumptions o f history and privilege. These writers advocate attention to the particularities o f given settings 1  within larger social and political contexts. This dissertation examines the complexity o f perspectives expressed by European, Euro-Canadian and Indigenous people from their diverse locations vis-a-vis dominant society.  Interviews and Rapport M y work is structured by what people told me during fieldwork. A l l o f the narratives i n this thesis are edited excerpts from conversations between individuals and myself, an ethnographer. They reflect differing degrees o f acquaintance. I conducted 36 taped interviews and wrote up fieldnotes for several less formal conversations. I spoke with Northern and Southern Italians; Anglo-Canadians; Ukrainians; Russians; Polish people; Germans; Czechs; Slovakian and Ktunaxa people. Most o f my work was conducted with self-identified "oldtimers," local residents who range in age between 60 and 100 years. Husbands and wives often sat down with me together. Three teenagers sat with me for a group interview and I spoke more informally with younger children. Settings for these conversations were living rooms and kitchens i n participants' homes, mountain-sides and fast-food outlets, public events and long drives. I transcribed interviews as soon as possible. These written materials were given to participants who then edited and corrected whatever they wished. Most people viewed the transcript as something valuable to pass on to their children, many o f whom now express an interest i n their histories. I wrote fieldnotes each day. Some people chose not to be recorded on tape but were conscious o f my fieldnotes, sometimes reminding me that I should write something down before I forgot it. Everyone was aware that I was "writing a book." M y presentation is based on patterns in content and form that emerged from these the conversations. Establishing contact with participants followed largely from word-of-mouth. During conversations about my research, people directed me to others who were regarded as  Two ethnographic examples: In her work with high country farmers in New Zealand, Dominy argues for a "spatial rather than chronological [view of] history" to understand expressions of settler identity (ibid:370). She highlights discourses of "constructed indigeneity" which constitute an authentic claim of belonging to the land (ibid:359). New Zealand settlers and Maories here share competing political claims of attachment to place based on "primordial affinities" (ibid:371). Regarding assumptions of privilege see Stewart (1996) who worked with the oral narratives of "Hillbillies" living in rural poverty in South-west Virginia. She found that sociality was manifest here in "face to face" relations and that narratives were structured around intense identifications to the physical surroundings (ibid: 151). 1  11  knowledgeable historians or authentic representatives of a particular cultural or occupational group. Sometimes, I was intentionally introduced to people with controversial views. I argued with some people about issues we did not agree upon. These on-going dialogues did not create unresolvable tensions. They were treated with humour and an "agreement to disagree" over ideas that everyone recognized as controversial. I make no claims that these people are representative of the ethnic, age or gender groups to which they belong. My analysis looks at how people express their ideas, the discursive resources they draw upon to configure human difference. I brought photo-copied maps of the town with me to some interviews. People marked down areas delineated by ethnicity, neighbourhood boundaries, class, occupation and particular activities. During these sessions, events and individuals came suddenly to mind. Spatially short distances were widened as people identified social categories seemingly worlds apart. Different age groups in Fernie narrate changing landscapes of people and places. Landmarks have shifted between generations, a sign of the physical changes in the landscape but also in the social relevance of place and ideas of identity. I was guided to many sites that are infused with local knowledge; berry and mushroom-picking, memories of persecution, work, re-location or childhood happiness. "Place-making" is a "universal tool of historical imagination,... a way of constructing the past,... social traditions and, personal and social identities" (Basso 1996:5, 7; see also Stewart 1996; Gupta and Ferguson 1997). I analyze the diverse avenues through which different generations of people in Fernie conceptualize place and how these reflect shifting notions of human difference.  Local Events and Secondary Sources During fieldwork I met many people simply through the day-to-day encounters in a small community. M y routine included a visit to my grandmother in the hospital each evening. Here, I spoke with staff and other residents, met religious leaders and witnessed the passing of a generation of collective memories. I attended funerals and flea markets, went berry-picking and fossil hunting, was guided to sites where the towns of Morrissey and Coal Creek once bustled. I went to ceremonial events: at the Legion Hall in Remembrance, Roman Catholic Mass' and Ktunaxa pow wows in Fernie and Creston. The "Mogul Smoker" and Griz Days events opened a view to the social world of skiers and tourists. I was exposed to issues of youth through: speaking with friends' children; events surrounding the closure of the historical Fernie High  12 School and attending a performance o f Mesmer the Hypnotist. I joined a committee to commemorate Italian heritage in the E l k Valley and coordinated an oral history project for the Fernie and District Historical Society. In 1998, the Royal British Columbia Museum sponsored folk dancing, bocce tournaments, Italian opera, historical exhibits and food banquets in Fernie as part o f their provincial celebration. Fernie has a diverse and active arts community. 1 regularly viewed exhibits o f paintings, sculptures and weavings. There is a conscious move here to have art spill out into public spaces through street performance and displays o f visual art throughout town. M a n y o f the works are infused with historical references and symbolic cues o f local identity. Throughout this dissertation I examine social events as performances that provide clues to the social and symbolic repertoires o f participants. Secondary sources were also an insightful avenue o f analysis. I spent some time at the local museum looking through historical records and speaking with historians and archivists there. The public library provided me with microfiche copies o f the local Free Press newspaper dating from 1898.1 had access to media descriptions o f events and people through the language and imagery o f the times. Transcripts from an oral history project i n 1971 were also a rich resource. People invited me to peruse their personal archives: eloquent write-ups o f family histories, collections o f old newspaper articles and school text books, work stubs and immigration forms, photographs and home movies. M a n y showed me documents from the " o l d country:" religious images that commemorate communions, weddings or Saints' Days, items o f propaganda from W o r l d War II, frail books and teen magazines in many languages. Public messages were also interesting: local events, funeral announcements, items for sale or houses for rent are posted to telephone poles and bulletin boards throughout town. Sometimes, these notices were political statements intended to inform the community o f an injustice or critique controversial actions. Articles and advertisements from the Fernie Free Press newspaper, postcards and photographs appear throughout this dissertation. M y approach to these materials o f popular culture is informed by Appadurai's concept o f "mediascape" wherein mass media is inextricably tied to the local, national and global contexts within which it circulates (1990:7). The many forms o f media "provide repertoires o f images, narratives and ethnoscapes to viewers in which politics, news and commodities are profoundly mixed" (ibid; see also Ginsburg 1994:5). These  Appadurai's concept of ethnoscape is as follows : "the landscape of persons who constitute the shifting world in which we live: tourists, immigrants, refugees, exiles, guestworkers and other moving groups ... [who] affect the 2  13  materials serve to highlight "hegemonic forms  the creation o f national and other social  imaginaries; and the development o f new arenas for political expression and the production o f identity" (Ginsburg 1994:8). M y work focusses on the diversity o f perspectives narrated by Europeans and Euro-Canadians across generations, nationalities and places. Forms o f mass media provide a sense o f official and popular discourses circulating locally and transnationally during particular moments i n time.  Situating  Myself  The notion o f distance is further complicated i n this research by my personal connections to Fernie. Kinship networks were perhaps the most significant lines through which I made contact with people. I am the fourth generation i n my mother's line to live i n Fernie and have visited this place throughout my life. Introductions always included this vital piece o f information. I was, at times, taken aback by the spontaneous and v i v i d accounts o f my relatives that were offered. It was a little eerie to see my great-grandfather i n home movies, tipping his hat to the camera or a book o f poetry inscribed with his hand writing. I met people who spoke to me about the care my grandmother had provided as a nurse during the birth o f their children. In the Extended Care wing o f the hospital I passed time with a woman who used to cook supper for my mother and other children in West Fernie. Several people recounted meetings they had with me as a child. Sometimes, during interviews people surprised me by detailing our relatedness through marriage. Clearly, old time residents in Fernie are able to place me socially through their acquaintance with my origins. Many, i n fact, knew more about my family than I do. M y research included a foray into my own family history. I eventually interviewed my mother. Could you tell me about our family history in Fernie? Our family history as I know it. Phyllis Natrass and Alec Henderson married in Nine Banks church in Northumberland; travelled over to Canada and as I know it, they were on the train station just outside of Allendale in a town that no longer exists. They, with a group of other immigrants go on the train; travelled to a port in South West England. Got on a boat, travelled across - probably to Montreal. Disembarked and travelled by train all across Canada to Fort Macleod, Alberta. Where, as I understand it, they had homestead property. I don't know too much of what happened at that time except that my grand mother became very, very ill. That was around 1905 - 06, because historically, 1907 or 1908 have gone down in the history books as being one of the coldest winters of all time. And as my grandfather told me, my grandmother became very ill with one of the infectious diseases of the time - it could have been diphtheria. I was led to understand that his homestead politics of (and between) nations ..." (1990:6). He is writing about present" global interactions" however, I suggest that this reading is equally relevant to other historical periods.  14 property wasn't the best and because of the illness and possibly other reasons - they picked up and moved to Fernie. Where he went back to the mines. O f course, when he left England he'd hoped to have had his own farm, to be a farmer or a rancher. So his plan didn't work out and of course the mines were booming at this stage. So they got on the train again and went further west into the Crowsnest Pass and stopped off in Fernie. It was probably around 1909 or 10. Because my mother was born in 1913. M y grandfather was down in the mines. As he told me - there was a terrible mine accident he wasn't in the accident, there was fairly severe loss of life. He told me that he decided at that stage he would never go down again. It was in Coal Creek I think. So he decided he was going to stay up on top and as far as I know, that's when he became - he was in charge of the horses. As I grew up I knew him to be the blacksmith at Coal Creek (Interview 12 M a y , 1998. Anglo-Canadian b. 1937).  Stories o f arrival constitute a popular genre o f oral tradition i n Fernie. They are narrative links to distant places, cornerstones o f identity that hint at the complex journeys o f ideas. M y ignorance o f my own family history reflects the tenuous connection I have to this place. A s part o f an ex-patriot family, I spent my childhood in Australia. While my research was conducted i n a small, rural, town i n British Columbia, many o f those with whom I work are also connected personally, or through their parents, to trans-national contexts. Most o f the participants in this research originally arrived in Fernie as members o f labouring classes in large-scale migrations. Appadurai uses the term "deterritorialization" in reference to movements o f "persons, images and ideas" (1991:198) i n " l o c a l " places. Hannertz asserts the need to examine networks o f people who carry "collective structures o f meaning" across the globe (1990.239). Ideas are 3  carried with people as they embark on great journeys. They are revived and applied in new settings.  Participants'  Narratives  A s my familiarity with people in Fernie deepened, I recognized several forms o f narrative circulating i n this town. People's stories draw from different social realities and inter/ national events. During fieldwork I listened to personal narratives, to family histories, place histories, and national histories, to accounts o f war, arrival and work. Personal narratives are striking for "what they reveal about social history,... the complexities o f daily life and contradictions i n relations o f  Both theorists contest popular distinctions between territorially-defined units of culture, or "locals" and what has come to be regarded as a new phenomenon of trans-national Diasporas. I suggest that the international flow of populations is also an historical phenomenon.  15 power" (Cruikshank 1994:408). Cruikshank writes that perhaps the greatest challenge for those working with oral materials is to: demonstrat[e] how all social constructions, including our own, factor into social processes we are trying to understand, and how they connect generations, times, and places (ibid:418).  Throughout this dissertation I analyze flows and ruptures i n social knowledge, how narratives reveal strategies o f political regimes and popularized social theories. People's stories reveal places where categories o f human difference become visible, the criteria these categories are based on and how they are spoken about. Through personal narratives I gained a sense o f the ways that ideas are passed on, reconfigured and sometimes lost. Details o f arrival are perhaps the most authenticating aspect o f Anglo and non-Anglo European narratives. Old-timers are able to recite to me the bare bones o f other people's arrival stories. Itineraries o f ports and stations, problems with officials, sea-sickness and exhaustion fold into descriptions o f a new and seemingly endless landscape. Food and language are the most immediate terrors encountered by newcomers i n the stories o f non-Anglo Europeans. Others, forced to leave behind children and extended family spoke o f the intense grief they experienced on their journeys. There is something else i n these narratives. It is the collision o f images about the new country, not paved i n gold, but rough and rural and without a kind o f cosmopolitanism that people were accustomed to. For others, the strangeness offered new horizons detached from the grim, post-war realities o f Europe, political oppression or desperate unemployment. Some people describe stepping onto the rail platform i n Fernie and feeling dread from the closeness o f the mountains. M a n y women, reunited with husbands and relatives felt only relief that they had arrived. The accounts are most vividly narrated by those whose experience was first-hand although the subsequent generation were also able to provide details. Children o f immigrants spoke often about the melancholy o f their parents, especially mothers. Narratives o f arrival provide important clues about how "foreigners" are received and imagined by the host nation. I examine shifting perceptions o f European otherness through personal narratives, policies and theories affecting immigration during different eras. People from all cultural groups with whom I spoke had stories o f the old country. These narratives o f elsewhere are important carriers o f ideas about people, nations and events. Participants recalled turbulent experiences o f war-time in different nations, labour unrest,  16 revolutions and poverty. Some invoked pastoral beauty, the sense o f closeness to extended family and ways o f living that fulfilled their social needs. People often spoke about the ruptures in their religious lives, the sudden loss o f daily spiritual involvement or the absence o f their particular faith i n the new country. First generation Canadians pull i n and out o f their parents' stories. A s one woman told me: " M y thoughts are my mother's memories. M y real memories are here in Canada." Ideas passed on and kept alive from the old country include impressions about people from different nations. I learned that ideas are transmitted from one setting to another, and in some cases passed on through generations. These ideas carry taxonomies o f difference that have become "traditionalized" i n the repertoires o f people from different nations (Bendix and K l e i n 1993:6; see also Dundes 1971a:187; Gorog-Karady 1992:114). Throughout this dissertation I examine the ways that ideas from different times and places continue to inform contemporary interpretations o f human difference. I was surprised by the complex work histories i n Fernie. For men, the flexibility o f occupations corresponded with wars, fluctuations i n the coal market and strikes or injuries. Everyone spoke about periods o f unemployment and poverty, o f times when they went "into the bush" to hunt rather than leave the area i n search o f work. Other informal economic strategies included labour i n exchange for rent, food and sometimes language lessons. Changes i n technology and workers' rights are embedded i n these accounts. Hoteliers and small businessmen provided histories o f retail and clientele. O l d timers were particularly nostalgic for an era when people worked together, a kind o f mutual dependence, knowing that you and your neighbour were i n the same boat. Often, these reminiscences revolved around ideas o f community shaped by shared experiences o f class or relationships to a dominant ethnic group. Work is deeply implicated i n expressions o f identity. Throughout this dissertation I analyze how work appears i n participants' narratives reflecting changing discourses around class and invoking occupational symbols. Women's narratives included the work histories o f their male relatives. For the wives and children o f early miners, anticipation o f the dreaded emergency siren was a daily burden. Women's work histories were most commonly narrated by non-Anglo Europeans, many o f whom worked cleaning the homes o f wealthier residents, as chambermaids i n the hotels or in the kitchen o f the Chinese restaurant. Others took in boarders, usually coal miners, tending to their laundry and meals. The oldest generation o f women told me about prostitution, once prolific in  17 this region where, demographically, working men are still i n the majority. Strategies o f berry and mushroom picking, fishing and sometimes, tending a trap-line were also mentioned in women's narratives. For the eldest generations, tending to livestock was a daily routine. A l l women mentioned their vegetable gardens, still a vital topic o f conversation in Fernie. Gender issues appear throughout this dissertation. Participants' generalizations about ethnic groups were often phrased through perceptions o f how women are treated. In Fernie, people o f all ages speak about the curse legend through gender transgression.  Founding Legends: the Curse as a K e y to Flistorv. Folkloric expression itself can be a political act, even without a necessarily political interpretation [It].... raises issues o f unequal power and social exploitation.... When and where these forms are expressed - and where they are not, either forbidden or hidden - carries enormous weight in both their symbolic and their practical value (Westerman 1996:571).  There are many forms o f collective lore circulating in Fernie that meld legend with history. These narratives are embedded i n the mountains surrounding Fernie. They are alive with contested meanings brought into service during periods o f local conflict. Some stories describe interactions between Indigenous characters, and between Indigenous people and EuroCanadians. Others tap into folklore traditions from other places now transposed onto new landscapes. Norse mythology surrounds the Lizard Range where the ski h i l l is located. Hosmer Mountain and Trinity Mountain are draped i n narratives detailing gender transgression and unrequited love. Written history is contentious i n Fernie. A litany o f disasters and conflicts resurface i n each new publication about the area's past. These accounts describe uneasy relations between Anglo and non-Anglo Europeans. In town, some old-timers talk about people identified as "foreigners" who seem destined to remain forever frozen i n these accounts. L i k e these nonAnglo Europeans, Indigenous people are also reified through folklore, a kind o f popular history that reinforces taken-for-granted notions o f who people are. I draw from the work o f scholars who analyze forms o f folklore as resources through which power is negotiated, contested and controlled (Brunvand 1971; Dundes 1971; Shai 1978; Gaudet 1988). Throughout this dissertation I approach folklore as "ideological narratives" whose "purpose is to come to terms with a social and historical reality" (Gorog-Karady 1992:114; see also Taussig 1987:121; Linke 1990:118; K l e i n 1992:465; Westerman 1996:571-574).  18 I was initially lured to Fernie by "Indian legends" that appeared to function as narratives carrying cross-cultural information. The main actors in these stories include a l l o f the characters of colonialism: chiefs, braves, princesses, explorers and business men. There are scenes o f exploitation and mystical revenge, skirmishes o f power embedded in the contours o f mountains. The most ubiquitous legend surrounds Hosmer Mountain. It is the story o f the curse through which people address issues o f gender, class, ethnicity and age. This narrative constitutes the backbone o f my dissertation: O l d legends tell o f Captain W i l l i a m Fernie courting an Indian Princess o f the Kootenay Indian band to learn the source o f her necklace's "sacred black stones." Upon learning the location o f the Morrissey coal seams, Fernie jilted his Indian bride. Her angry mother then placed a curse on the E l k Valley ... a curse officially lifted by the Kootenay Indian Band in 1964 (Postcard inscription. Purchased i n Fernie 1996). The story appears on a postcard depicting the "Ghostrider o f Hosmer Mountain," a horseand-rider-shaped shadow visible in the early evening light on a rock face above the city o f Fernie. According to the writer, the image is that o f the ghost o f Fernie destined eternally to "flee the angry Indian C h i e f and his daughter" (ibid). The postcard evokes a narrative landscape o f sorts where the story is visible to those who reside there. During my research, this narrative was repeatedly offered to me as the story o f Fernie. In varying forms the story erupts spontaneously from residents. It is offered to "strangers" as a narrative hinge upon which identity swings. Some present the tale as belonging to a widespread rural genre almost expected i n casual encounters between people from different places. The message here is that the story travels well. Others acknowledge market value, the managing and packaging o f the story; its power to lure tourists into the mystique o f an unknown place. Newcomers are very aware o f the latest incarnation i n popular media, especially advertising for tourism. I asked everyone who participated in my research about the curse. It became a kind o f barometer to trace the way that a story flows through a community. Where does it stop? Why? H o w is it used? The legend o f the curse and the image o f the Ghostrider are dynamic imaginative resources. I track their transformations and link them to shifting historical contexts o f representation. The curse is well documented in published accounts o f Fernie's history (Fernie and District Historical Society 1977; Norton and M i l l e r 1998). Residents freely offer their versions, some o f which include real people and witnessed events. W i l l i a m Fernie arrived in the E l k Valley i n the mid 1800s (Dawson 1995:21). Ktunaxa traditionalists officially lifted the curse in a public ceremony i n 1964. According to some people who attended the curse-lifting, the curse  19 was subsequently reinstated. L i k e Bauman (1986:2) I am interested in an ethnographic and contextual view o f narratives " i n order to discover the individual, social, and cultural factors that give [them] shape and meaning in the conduct o f social life." It became clear to me that longtime residents have been socialized into the story that is deeply embedded in landscape and history. Participants' narratives anchor my analyses in this dissertation. M y approach to history therefore, reflects what Cohen (1994:4) calls a "popular processing o f the past" that highlights "multiple locations o f historical knowledge." I discussed my intention to use the curse as a main thread i n this work with an active community member in Fernie. She was, at first, hesitant, concerned about community morale and the consequences o f dredging the story up - feeding a pessimism she felt was not useful. She told me about an editorial i n the local newspaper within the last year that revived the curse, how angry she was that this writer was casting the story out again, making people feel helpless. This is the essence o f the story to her - the feeling that the people here can't control what w i l l happen. I told her that I was interested in the legend for what it says about Indigenous- European relations. This interpretation both surprised and intrigued her. L i k e many people in Fernie she did not approach the narrative through ethnic relations; a significant point 1 w i l l argue, in the colonial process o f inscribing Indigenous people. A s the chapters i n this dissertation attest, the curse story is used by various people in varying contexts to speak about gender, class and intergenerational relations. Throughout my work I analyze the curse legend within particular historical and political contexts o f discovery and colonization, early immigration, local industrial history and current tourism development. Following the historian Robert Darnton (1984:3) I pursue "not merely... what people thought but how they thought - how they construed the world, invested it with meaning, and infused it with emotion" (ibid). Following Geertz, he employs what he calls the "anthropological mode o f history" that "begins from the premise that individual expression takes place within a general idiom," what he identifies as "a framework provided by our culture" (ibid:6). Hegemonic views o f human difference are constructed and maintained from various positions o f power. I approach the curse story as a popular narrative that takes on different meanings within particular circumstances. In the context o f the colonial encounter I look at the historical grounding o f the curse legend and what it reveals about relationships between European and  20 Indigenous people leading up to the 20th Century. I examine popular narratives as successful forms o f colonial propaganda; reinforcing a story that marginalizes Indigenous people. I also analyse the legend through different cosmologies and changing regimes o f belief, through ways that the story makes sense as something to "think with" (Darnton 1984:4). The curse is essentially an origin story for the Crows Nest C o a l Company. It implicates industrial relations in this historical coal-mining community. In the context o f development for tourism and skiing the curse story is fading behind new legends and the commodified image o f the Ghostrider shadow. W h i l e everyone I spoke with had a sense o f the story, it is important to note that not everyone could narrate the details o f the curse legend. Some more recently arrived non-Anglo immigrants and younger people i n the community were hesitant about the narrative. Younger people sometimes blended elements o f it with details o f other local legends. Uneven knowledge of the legend highlights the notion o f story-sharing communities within which people become socialized. Different versions from different age groups also provide insight into how such narratives transform over time, which elements remain significant and which are dropped. People's hesitations also led me to examine the ways that they felt constrained to express themselves. "Superstition," in particular, summons ideas o f backwardness. These beliefs are not currently sanctioned by reigning religious and medical authorities (Davies 1999). During fieldwork, the story o f the curse lead to discussions about curse beliefs while my questions around difference prompted many to comment on the constraints imposed by external forces.  Politics of Information: Controlling the Flow. I was constantly reminded o f the politics surrounding who one speaks to and about what. I brought some berries in today [to the Seniors' Home] for my grandmother and Mrs. . Two of the nurses asked me where I was picking. I hesitated and smiled. One of them burst out laughing and pointed at me saying: "You 're becoming a Fernie-ite! She's not saying where her patch is!" We laughed. She said: "When someone asks, just say 'up the mountains'.." (Fieldnotes 1 September 1997).  While berry-picking has its political dimensions, other topics around which information is guarded evoke more serious tensions between "locals" and outsiders, and between members o f different generations, classes, genders, language and ethnic groups. This dissertation is an analysis o f discourses o f difference circulating in Fernie. M y main point is that stories carry ideas and images o f people; that they are a form o f social action used to contest or maintain  21 hegemonic views. With this i n mind it is important to examine both how people express themselves and how they feel constrained in their expression. While conducting research I became acutely aware o f contexts wherein speech acts and particular representations were seen to be breaches o f appropriate behaviour. Conceptually, cursing is a potent idea through which to explore connections between thought, speech and action. I explore cursing through traditional knowledge ("mal'uocchiu" and other European examples), informal networks o f talk (gossip and rumour), scholarly ideas about representation and political correctness. Although these draw from different contexts o f meaning (cultural, social and political) each o f these forms o f what I call cursing, are compelled by recognition o f the repercussions o f speech acts. Not surprisingly, anthropologists interested in the social power o f words explore connections between witchcraft or sorcery and gossip (Paine 1968:278; Gluckman 1968). In her exhaustive review o f scholarly works on gossip, Brison concentrates on the salience o f "dangerous words" and their power to "constitute social worlds" (1992:4). Cursing is, at base, a speech act with serious ramifications. M a n y people with whom I work expressed belief in curses, the theme that connects chapters o f this dissertation. I obtained the clearest views on the subject from Italian participants who explained ideas around "mal'uocchiu" translated to me as "the crooked eye." L i k e gossip, beliefs that fall within the evil eye complex may be viewed narrowly as a mechanism o f social control. U n l i k e gossip, mal'uocchiu requires only thought (conscious or unconscious) to affect the physical being o f others. A s Migliore notes, both representations o f the evil eye, and the actual complex o f beliefs surrounding it are "inherently ambiguous, vague, and variable" (Migliore 1997:x, 13-15). Most writers agree, however, that the phenomenon should be approached through the contexts o f its use in a particular social setting (Dimen-Schein 1977; Dundes 1981; Gait 1982; Migliore 1997). I w i l l be presenting material on this subject as it pertains to the management o f personal information and public impressions. According to participants, to be watchful o f mal'uocchiu is to deter any sentiments o f envy ("invidia") that may arise from careless boasting, displays o f prosperity, beauty and health. Class consciousness is acute for residents o f this traditionally working-class community. M a n y o f the anxieties expressed revolve around displays o f "being better than" one's neighbours. In much the same way, people were also apprehensive about participating in certain informal networks o f talk.  22 Without providing examples, they spoke about the harsh power o f gossip in this small community. Power is implicated in most scholarly works on rumour and gossip. What is most potent about this form o f talk is the power o f such stories to affect "social processes extending beyond the immediate social encounter" (Goodwin 1982:799). Gossip functions as a form o f sanction to powerful economic corporations (Turner 1992), a way o f indirectly challenging leaders and public personalities (Brison 1992). Rumour is particularly effective i n "dense social networks where people share many acquaintances" (Brison 1992:10). A s strategic interpretations o f events and persons these narratives transmit moral evaluations affecting "how people perceive and react to events" (ibid: 18-19). They provide, in effect, an immediate critique o f hegemonic assumptions through the circulation o f alternative interpretations (ibid: 13). Rumour is also, at times, generated by dominant discourse-makers. During periods o f conquest, warfare, political and economic strife there is a kind o f "talk" in circulation that demonizes particular people, naturalizing enmity and essentializing difference (Kuper 1990; Ryan 1996). I explore several o f these contexts and the discourses they generate. I look at atrocity myths, official forms o f propaganda and scholarly theories as they appear i n personal narratives. What I hope to make clear is the way in which old stories are revived and new ideas are brought into circulation to bolster common-sense understandings about who other people are i n relation to oneself. In the late 1990's i n scholarly, political and social arenas there is an intense awareness o f the use o f words, particularly those through which difference is ascribed. Political correctness rests on the assumption that language propagates ideas and images that could harm certain groups o f people or justify acts o f exclusion, inequality or violence. Although cursing is categorized by folklorists as a verbal genre, others suggest that writing too may be viewed as "constitutive o f social action" (Danet and Bogoch 1992:133). This is the power o f representation. In academia and, particularly in anthropology, issues o f representation have 4  come to occupy a central and somewhat scratchy place in cultural politics (Said 1978; Clifford and Marcus 1986; Fabian 1990; Dominguez 1992). I hope to show that the concepts underlying cursing resonate in social and academic realms. Legacies o f representation are tangled up in  Perhaps the first widespread challenge to written and verbal language use came out of the 1970's feminist movement. These scholars called for a re-formation in language use toward gender-inclusion (LeyserdoriT, Passerini and Thompson 1996:2). At base here is the assumption that older forms of speech and inscription perpetuate male dominance (ibid). 4  23 particular fields o f power and deeply affect the lives o f people belonging to inscribed groups (Cardinal 1969; Crosby 1991). They also influence perceptions o f relationship with others. A more expansive level o f social consciousness is at play here affecting how people, myself included, express ourselves. In his extensive work on "Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe" Poliakov (1975:5) describes the present wherein a kind o f "anti-racist dogmatic orthodoxy" reigns (see also D y c k and Waldram 1993:17; Balibar 1991). M a n y o f us live i n a current context where sanctions (against or for) what we say or write are popularly named political correctness. A s most scholars o f oral tradition and social talk agree, meaning is negotiated within particular social contexts extending from local face-to-face situations to larger societal arenas wherein particular ideas are agreed upon, negotiated and challenged. Management o f information takes place within several contexts o f what proper social behaviour or thought entails. Smith and Saltzman view these interventions as "traditional acts" by audiences o f "expressive culture" that serve to reinforce a moral universe (1995:86-87). This is 5  a theory o f word power that deeply implicates notions o f justice. Political correctness operates as an "ideological code ... i n the field o f public discourse to structure text or talk" (Smith 1995:26). Complex sanctions on "everyday social practice" are committed to a culture o f human rights (Richer and W e i r 1995.6) Concepts o f racism and human rights are relatively recent additions 6  to popular Western consciousness. Clearly, successive eras o f social thought are characterized by particular guidelines for acts o f speech and behaviour. I discuss the ways people spoke about these issues as well as the silences these issues invoke. A s oral historians we have frail but precious tools: attention to language and form, to how things are remembered, or forgotten; and not only to the contents o f memory, but also to what is not remembered, to silences (Passerini 1992:15 see also Scott 1990; Cohen 1994).  Participants mentioned silence often. It is an enigma both between generations and within. Silence hovers around the subjects o f war, immigration and politics. M e n who experienced W o r l d Wars I and II as soldiers do not speak about their experiences. First generation Canadians noted their parents' silence about harsh conditions i n their home countries  They distinguish between censure and censorship. The former takes the form of disapproval or reprimand aimed at the speaker after the transgression. Censorship is stronger and is focussed on the actual idea or form of expression: it aims to prevent "disapproved expressions or ... their spread"... "before it can be repeated" (ibid:86). Scholars in this edited volume on political correctness approach it as a "neo-conservative appropriation" that acts to "dismiss human rights initiatives as forms of intolerant fanaticism and oppression" (Richer and Weir 1995:3). 5  6  24 or about circumstances o f persecution after they arrived. Silence is audible in the hesitations and whispers about oppressive political regimes or beliefs not sanctioned by formal authorities. Several people with whom I work have experienced life under N a z i and Fascist regimes. Others have felt the closure o f communication with their families in Soviet territories. A few participants openly critiqued the social taxonomies imposed by national regimes, others chose to speak " o f f the record," and some presented these categories as natural and unquestioned. Theoretically, these responses may be approached through Passerini's (1992:7) idea o f "totalitarian mentalities;" that is, social systems requiring consensus and authority and involving "a system o f propaganda as well as control o f expression and communication" (ibid). Totalitarian states utilize "the technology o f amnesia" (Watson 1994:6) which includes official censorship, propaganda and a system o f enforcement that imposes a kind o f personal silencing (ibid; see also Passerini 1992; Khubova, Ivankiev and Sharova 1992; Cruikshank 1994). Throughout this dissertation I identify methods used by different political regimes including British Imperialism, to manage the appearance o f particular issues and peoples. I look to the places where these impressions and images intersect with personal narratives.  Invoking Difference Implicit social knowledge is not simply a passive, reflecting, absorbing faculty o f social being; it should also be thought o f as an experimental activity, essaying this or that possibility, imagining this or that situation, this or that motivation, postulating another dimension to a personality - in short trying out in verbal and visual image the range o f possibilities and near-possibilities o f social intercourse, self and other (Taussig 1987:394).  Theoretically, I draw from many fields contributing to studies about difference: folklore, inter-ethnic relations, the history o f anthropology, and oral history. Wherever possible I confine my references to those whose work addresses the particular context I am discussing. These include: colonialism (Stocking 1968; Mackenzie 1984; Taussig 1987; K u k l i c k 1991; Povinelli 1994; Thomas 1994; Furniss 1999), immigration (Boas 1908; Palmer 1975; Avery 1979; W o l f 1982; M c L a r e n 1990; Mazumdar 1992), war (Kuper 1981; Passerini 1992; Hobsbawm 1994; Bozworth and Dogliani 1999) and tourism (Rothman 1998). While approaches and ideas vary, each o f these scholars are interested in hegemony; in proccesses that generate and maintain a "commonsense" view o f the world and social relationships within it (Williams 1976:145; Roseberry 1996; W o l f 1999:44-46). Recognition o f different kinds o f knowledge circulating  25 within particular contexts is key to these investigations. Knowledge refers "to what people employ to interpret and act in the world: feelings as well as thoughts, embodied skills as well as taxonomies and other verbal models" (Barth 1995:66). What I present in this dissertation is a body o f ideas circulating in theoretical and popular contexts that signal discursive shifts i n the ways human difference is thought and spoken about. Concentrating on information flow and ideas o f difference I look at how people talk (form), and what they say (content). I wanted to know how information about human difference is conveyed: between parents and children, between members o f the same social group and between members o f different social collectivities. Participants offered stories and anecdotes. Their ideas include legends, political doctrines and scientific theories that reveal taxonomies o f difference. Some refered to mass media interpretations and products o f popular culture. In most cases there were overlapping ideas by members o f the same cultural group. "Culture" was not, however, the salient shaper o f perceptions about difference. Instead, I heard people speaking from their experiences as men and women, as members o f a certain generation, as "foreigners," "enemy aliens," " D P s , " and those who are marked by racialization, as people with spiritual convictions, as members o f particular economic classes, and as "locals." Throughout this dissertation I work towards maintaining the complexity o f locations from which people speak. These distinctions serve to dissipate monolithic categories that have been constructed at particular historical junctions. A kind o f web o f alliances that cuts across normalized boundaries o f ethnic identity became apparent to me. This is what I call looking sideways, lines o f affiliation cast laterally between people who, superficially, do not share group membership. Non-Anglo Europeans look sideways based on their treatment as "foreigners" in Canada. Italians expressed an understanding and affinity for Indigenous people through their shared sense o f ritual and deep commitment to faith. A Ktunaxa woman who was raised in Fernie spoke about her kinship with Italians through their common experience o f racialization by dominant "Caucasian" society. Ideas o f affiliation and estrangement shift within particular contexts o f interaction between people. In each act o f looking sideways there is an implicit other: a dominating culture or class group, an age grade with radically different perspectives, non-believers, regional outsiders or strangers. Each scenario pivots around some arrangement o f unequal power through structural relationships or  I include narrative excerpts from many perspectives. My intention is to present the ways that people distinguish themselves outside of the monolithic categories of: "Immigrant," "Slav," "foreigner," "peasant" and "Indian." 7  26 representational control. The chapters in this dissertation discuss the ways people express their knowledge o f difference, o f drawing boundaries between themselves and others. What I hope to make clear is a changing constellation o f relationships where concepts such as "race," class, age, gender, nationality, religion, sexuality and "culture" intersect. They are markers i n the malleable discourses o f human difference. Working with members o f more than one ethnic group turns attention away from the idea of isolated units to relationships grounded i n ordinary social activity. I approach ideas o f difference within larger ideational contexts that are influenced by changing scholarly theories, political realities and localized social formations (Balibar 1991:17 see also Stolcke 1995). I investigate how these resources are used by people [or not] to facilitate interactions and make sense o f their social environment. It is important to acknowledge the dialogues o f social theory and the political structures shaping social knowledges i n circulation.  Scholarly  Theories  Philosophies and theories, like political opinions, should be regarded as part and parcel o f the world in which we live rather than transcendent views that somehow escape the impress o f our social interests, cultural habits, and personal persuasions (Jackson 1996:1). In this dissertation I discuss dialogues about social theory that continue to inform the ways that people express their ideas about human difference. These theories have long intellectual histories and have been used at various points in time to delineate European and Indigenous peoples. Social evolution, race theory, Nordic superiority and eugenics each provide a way o f imagining human difference. In specific contexts they have been wielded by explorers, government officials, medical authorities, politicians and scientists to classify people. These theories and the taxonomies they dictate have been applied to Indigenous people in an alarmingly consistent manner across time. B y contrast, the official application o f these ideas to Europeans in Canada has been erratic.  At this point a kind of epistemological determinism seems inevitable which cuts to the core of the anthropological dilemma. As Barth puts it: "No matter how often and how compellingly anthropologists arrest reification and oppose homogenization, these selfsame features seem to crop up again and again ..." (1995:65). I do not wish to suggest that the people who participated in this research are locked into strict frames of reference determined by their cultural or political experiences. Indeed, in this dissertation I will [re]-present material showing the flexibility in people's interpretations of others.  27 Although rephrased throughout the history o f anthropology, portrayals o f cultural difference lie at the philosophical heart o f the discipline. The most influential concepts are race, culture and ethnicity ( W o l f 1994). Nineteenth century notions o f the "primitive" and the " c i v i l i z e d " (Bieder 1986; Kuper 1988), theories o f race and evolution (Stocking 1968), and influential mythologies o f others (Poliakov 1974) have been well noted i n the intellectual 9  histories o f disciplinary thought. Throughout this dissertation I trace the way that "race" is used in both official and popular arenas. Scholars have long debated the usefulness o f "culture" as a grand concept reifying difference. A s many argue, it maintains notions o f uniqueness and selfcontainment o f "systems o f shared meaning" (Rosaldo 1989:27-28; see also Clifford 1988:234; Abu-Lughod 1991; W i k a n 1992:472). Ethnicity emerged i n the 1960's as a concept recognizing power relations and processes o f identity construction within and between groups previously conceived as cultures ( W o l f 1994:6). Perceived racial and cultural differences remain central 10  to studies o f ethnicity (Thompson 1989:4). The term 'ethnic identity' can ... refer to origin, uniqueness, passing on o f life, "blood", solidarity, unity, security, personal integrity, independence, recognition, equality, cultural uniqueness, respect, equal economic rights, territorial integrity, and so on, and these in all possible combinations, degrees o f emotional content, and forms o f social organization (Roosens 1989:19). Historically, broad sociological survey methods have been used to measure "ethnic phenomena": including racial / ethnic classifications; sentiments; and types o f social organization (Cohen 1978). Traditional studies focused on an ethnic group and its contact across boundaries with other groups. Important theoretical perspectives include the recognition o f subjective, contextual processes o f group identification (Leach 1954; Barth 1969); scholarly and local traditions o f conceptualizing such processes (Boon 1982; Linnekin and Poyer 1990) and the entanglement o f the latter in larger political fields (Said 1978; W o l f 1982). Current approaches focus on power relations and the problems o f conceptualizing identities, cultures and peoples.  11  Ideological contexts including nationalism, colonialism and scholarly debates o f  Poliakov traces the "Aryan Myth" intertwined with the ideologies of race, evolution and Nordic superiority in the histories of European social thought. Throughout this dissertation I use ethnicity to designate identities variously described as cultural, national or "racial." Wallerstein's (1974) Modern World System Theory is a totalizing approach which attempts to account for ethnic particularities (as forms of social stratification) and the fallacy of notions of boundedness between social groups and nation-states. The totalizing concept here is the capitalist world economy where "race" provides the criteria for division of labour and nation enforces a political structure (1991.19). In the interests of theorizing, a typology of persons emerges which appears overwhelmingly homogenous, ignoring the diversity of ethnic expressions in changing 9  1 0  1 1  28 ethnicity explode previous strategies o f enquiry. Critics o f the literature on ethnicity agree that standard works (however eclectic) tend to normalize concepts that are extremely problematic (Roosens 1989; Thompson 1989; Balibar and Wallerstein 1991; Barth 1995). Notions o f static boundaries, homogenous groups and the taken-for-granted fact o f conflict interest me. 1 include sometimes lengthy excerpts from narratives in this dissertation in order to show discourses where these assumed notions break down. It is the complexity o f the locations people inhabit that 1 strive to convey. Contexts o f negotiation o f difference in anthropology have included colonialism, the ethnographic encounter, multi-ethnic field settings and, more recently, discursive fields o f interaction. Processes o f decolonization sparked the publication o f accounts o f oppressed populations about their oppressors (Fanon 1963; M e m m i 1968; Deloria 1969; Cardinal 1969; Said 1978). There is a rich legacy i n anthropology exploring the spaces between interacting cultural groups. Initially research dealt with the ambiguity in constructions o f cultural boundedness between non-European people (Leach 1954; Barth 1969). More recently, studies include self conscious treatments o f the role o f theorizing difference and its place in the western imagination (Linnekin andPoyer 1990; Thomas 1994; W o l f 1994). Ethnographers dealing with ethnic relations in Canada importantly focus on the Indigenous - European social divide and structural realities o f inequality (Braroe 1975; Stymeist 1975; Lithman 1984). In more current works there is a central and necessary reference to 12  history and the ways that nations narrate a story o f colonial interactions (Culhane 1987, 1998; Furniss 1999).  A prolific literature details the history o f mis-representation o f Indigenous  people in official and popular mediums (Pearce 1953; Berkhofer 1979; Bieder 1986; Clifton 1990; Francis 1992). Some Indigenous scholars critique these essentialized images working with  historical and local contexts. In later works Wallerstein admits to the changeability of state-imposed "uniformities" and the need to investigate the ambiguity of plural discourses of identity (1991:82). Braroe and Lithman consider social processes of identity maintenance and economic strategies used by Indigenous people in two rural Canadian communities. Stymeist worked with Euro-Canadians and was interested in the "social importance of ethnicity in an ethnically-diverse setting" (1975:12). He found that Euro-Canadian "ethnics" perceived "Indians" to be inferior based on a racial ideology that was fixed. The salience of ethnicity within the non-Indigenous population was, however, situational (ibid:5-7). Culhane (1987, 1998) examines philosophical and political assumptions at the heart of legal processes and government structures that constitute barriers to Aboriginal communities in British Columbia. Her works detail histories of European social theory, political, legal and social discourses constituting sites of colonial power. Furniss (1999) examines "myths" circulating in a B.C. forest town. She reveals the "systematic way in which a dominant colonial culture operates in multiple dimensions of ordinary life" (204). Both scholars highlight ideas about history and the colonial past and the ways these are presently used to negotiate new relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. 12  1 3  29 the notion o f "hybridity" that takes into account history and situatedness (Damm 1993; Crosby 1997). Throughout this work I. highlight continuities i n the visual and ideational representations o f Indigenous people across different historical contexts. Although there is a body o f works detailing Indigenous views o f Europeans (Lips 1937; Basso 1979; H i l l 1988; Holden 1976; Wickwire 1994), many are relegated to the academic margins o f ethnohistory, folklore or linguistics (Hymes 1981:7). These contrast with the politically-charged demands for interrogations o f "whiteness" by Indigenous and AfricanAmerican scholars (Crosby 1991; Todd 1992; hooks 1992). Through my consultations with members o f the Ktunaxa-Kinbasket Nation I was informed o f current protocols o f selfrepresentation.  1 4  What appears in this dissertation is documentation o f popular and official  discourses now "traditionalized" i n European repertoires o f human difference (Gorog-Karady 1992:114). This work contributes to the project o f analyzing European-ness from several national locations. European theorists are currently identifying new discourses o f exclusion and examining the role these play in conflicts between "foreigners" and "natives." These discourses suggest "a resurgence o f essentialist ideologies" i n a world where race theory is now "discredited politically" (Stolcke 1995:2 see also Bendix and K l e i n 1993). "Cultural fundamentalism" has replaced older discourses o f race through which biological inferiority was naturalized (ibid). In contrast, the new expression o f xenophobia essentializes relations o f conflict (ibid:4-5). In the 15  context o f economic pressures and the rise o f right-wing ideologies, new discourses "scape-goat" particular populations o f people thus masking the "economic-political roots o f modern poverty" (Stolcke 1995:3). The discourse is evident in current struggles in Fernie between "locals" and "newcomers." Xenophobia, in this context evokes a typology that distinguishes between rural and urban people (Stewart 1996:116-139). Essentialized difference also appears i n discussions about sexuality as the latest frontier o f otherness. Queer theorists negotiate similar discursive terrains bounded by binary oppositions o f gay and straight (Ingraham 1994; Seidman 1994; Epstein 1994). I explore how essentialized ideas o f difference are expressed through discourses o f regionalism, nationalism, class, sexuality and ethnicity.  See Chapter two for a discussion of these issues. I spoke with many members of the Ktunaxa nation . In this work I highlight excerpts from the taped interview with one woman who grew up in Fernie. I do not wish for her voice to appear as token or representative. This Ktunaxa woman is included because she is/ was a Fernie "local," well-versed in the social idiosyncrasies of the town as experienced from her perspective. Stolcke defines xenophobia as "hostility towards strangers and all that is foreign" (1995:5). 1 4  1 5  30 M y consideration o f difference also includes age, an angle that is often under-discussed in ethnographic works. M a n y classificatory schemes assume a stereotyped continuity across time and space, fixed through ethnicity, nationality, class position, sexuality or gender. Several scholars examine the spaces where images and practices are not successfully translated across generational lines, thus creating conflict (Ackelsberg 1992; Muratorio 1986). Inter-generational differences point to ruptures in "memory and meaning; politicization, de-politicization and politics" (Ackelsberg 1992:126). What has been identified as the "Problem o f Generations" (Mannheim 1952) pivots on the "historically situated redefinition o f meanings" (Mahon 2000:291 see also Ginsburg 1989:62-64). In Part II o f this dissertation, I structure chapters through wide categories o f age that correspond to shifting discursive contexts. I hope to portray the ways that age cuts across normalized boundaries, highlighting categories and discourses shared by people whose ideas have been shaped within different historical contexts. Scholarly theories o f human difference carry political ramifications, they do not belong strictly to the world o f academe, but are used in multiple ways by those with power to control populations. In this dissertation I explore narratives that reveal imaginative strategies drawn from popular culture, scholarly theories and political discourses o f difference. Race, culture and ethnicity are part o f the apparatus o f public representations used in popular and political arenas. Political  Realities The partitioning o f the human species - makes possible a variety o f political and ethnographic projects: particular populations may be visible as objects o f government; they may serve as ethnological illustrations or subversive counter-examples i n comparative social argument; and these reified characters may be available for appropriation in anti-colonialist, nationalist narratives (Thomas 1994:71-72). This dissertation is complicated by the diversity o f political regimes within which  participants have experienced their lives. I suggest similarities i n the ways that National Socialism, Italian Fascism, British Imperialism and Soviet Communism have made use o f conventional symbolic codes and created particular taxonomies o f human difference. I analyze official and unofficial performances through which these ideas become visible. Major political discourses "constitute linked cultural constructions o f domination and difference" (Tsing 1993:14). Amongst these are what Borneman calls "national narratives:" the "different state strategies for defining nation, manifested i n , . . . how it narrates ... political history ... and official  31 codes for group membership" (1992:46). Official histories are saturated with popular understandings o f human difference. In British Columbia at present, how to narrate the violent history o f colonial incursion is at the centre o f public and legal debates. "History provides societies with categories o f thinking or mythologies through which they might represent and relive their past" (Wachtel 1990:11-12). Culhane names perhaps the two most powerful colonial narratives that are central in popular understandings about who Indigenous people are: "Terra Nullius, Unoccupied, Empty L a n d " (1998:37-57) and "Terra Incognita, Unknown L a n d " (ibid:61-107). Roseman calls the political erasure o f Indigenous peoples "the aboriginal absent presence" (1998:108), to Furniss (1999:60) it is a case o f the historically "invisible Indian." Several scholars identify "frontier mythology" as another such powerful story o f Indigenous -European interaction (Slotkin 1973; K l e i n 1992; Furniss 1999). Central to this narrative is the "mythic icon" o f the pioneer as first settler whose "heroic characteristics and actions" become the focus o f history rather than the "complex economic and political forces" o f colonial power (Furniss 1999:90). Non-Anglo-European immigrants are encompassed within what Stymeist calls "mythologies o f capitalism" where suffering and discrimination are coupled with rising above levels o f perceived inferiority through hard work and perseverance (1975:10-11). In Stymeist's research these discourses were used by 'ethnics' to justify the perceived racial inferiority o f Indigenous people in their community (ibid). While I encountered these narratives in my research I found that the ways that people reckoned their relationship to others were more nuanced. Immigrants' perceptions o f Indigenous people are expressed through comparison with their own experiences o f exclusion, their particular national histories and forms o f religious knowledge. M a n y Anglo-Europeans, however, had conspicuously little to say i n the way o f perceiving historical injustices. John Mackenzie's work on "Imperial Propaganda" (1984) serves to highlight the intersection between political and popular narratives. H e is a social historian who looks to the places where everyday materials and expressions are infused with imagery that propagates values o f British Imperialism. These projections o f Empire play a role i n the negotiations o f difference between Anglo and non-Anglo Europeans and between Indigenous and settler peoples. M y dissertation contributes to a view o f British Imperialism from many perspectives. I examine narratives that both maintain dominant political discourses and contest them. I discuss particular historical contexts wherein ideas and images are part o f the political  32 apparatus' used to manage appearances during colonial conquest, European settlement and different periods o f immigration. Sovereignty o f a nation is based on the "definition and enforcement o f social and territorial boundaries" (Borneman 1992:45). I am concerned with social boundaries although it is important to note that physical barriers are also part o f the administrative apparatus o f colonialism and immigration. State control over people's movement is most significant. Indigenous people were confined to reserves under the colonial regime. Canada's immigration policy has meandered between dissolving international borders during periods o f demand for inexpensive and often dangerous labour, and periods where the state has imposed exclusionary policies and restrictive penalties on particular populations o f people. The Canadian state works from three primary categorizations o f people: Aboriginal, Immigrant and Charter populations. This dissertation explores the narrative construction o f meaning from each o f these perspectives while looking to the places where people obscure the categories. M y purpose is to identify significant political discourses that maintain a stubborn hold i n popular social consciousness. The Indian A c t is state legislation that delimits diverse Indigenous populations. It does so by defining and categorizing linguistically, politically and socially diverse people as "Indians" while instituting sanctions that effectively partition them from Euro-Canadian society. The privilege to classify through naming is one manifestation o f state power. Throughout this dissertation I use the terms "Indigenous" and "Aboriginal" in reference to people variously known as "Indian," "Native" and, increasingly i n British Columbia, as "First Nation." Given the complexity o f issues raised through colonial classifications I have chosen terms that evoke a more international discourse o f human rights and highlights issues o f power. I use the names o f particular cultural groups when I am discussing specific situations.  16  Superficially, the criteria o f classification i n the Indian A c t has changed from racial and cultural difference to legal status. Originally the definition was based on "blood," the legal definition was instituted in 1951 (Frideres 1974; Treaties and Historical Research Centre 1978; Venne 1981). Given the enforcement o f patrilineal descent in Canadian Indian policy the insignificance o f "blood" is debatable. The current A c t reads: "'Indian' means a person who  See Culhane (1998:24-25) for her criticism of the term "Indigenous" and for her thorough discussion of the many complications that arise from these labels. Culhane's critique speaks to the way that this term obliterates the particularities of a group's history, language, political, religious and economic systems. I agree that such erasures are part of the colonial machinery of representation. M y discussion, however, focusses on discourses that have been used to reify original inhabitants of lands across the world and across North America in a variety of colonial situations.  33 pursuant to this A c t is registered as an Indian or is entitled to be registered as an Indian" (Indian A c t R.S., 1985, c. 1-6, s.l.:2). The state differentiates between people o f First Nations, I n u i t  17  and Metis heritage. Indigenous people are divided into categories o f 'status' under the Indian A c t and 'non-status' or non-registered. Inuit and Metis people as well as those with status fall under the term "Aboriginal" within the Canadian Constitution (Hedican 1995:8). Officially and 18  unofficially, there is an astounding array o f classifications applied to and by these people There are status Indians, non-status Indians, Metis, Inuit Dene, Treaty Indians, urban Indians, on reserve Indians, off reserve Indians; there are Indians who are Band members and Indians who are not Band members. There are First Nations peoples, descendants o f First Nations, Natives, Indigenous peoples, Aboriginal peoples, mixed bloods, halfbreeds, enfranchised Indians, B i l l C-31 Indians. ... A n d these are just some the labels we must consider in identifying ourselves. There are also definitions based on Tribal / First Nations affiliations, on language, on blood quantum (Damm 1993:11). Within larger Canadian society the Indian A c t enforces separateness in government, educational, medical, residential and social spheres ( K e w 1990:162). After the horrors o f the European Holocaust, the western international community resolved "to eliminate officially sanctioned systems o f racial segregation" (Dyck and Waldram 1993:17). During this period 19  western structures serving as "ideological watch-dogs" were established (Poliakov 1974:5; see also Balibar 1991). In 1951 a series o f revisions to the Indian A c t lifted prohibitions against religious and political expression. State policy at this time turned towards more legalistic definitions o f "Indians" a n d a project o f assimilation (Dyck and Waldram 1993:17). A s it applies to Indigenous populations, assimilation is a strategy to displace the history o f domination based on the construction o f racial and cultural differences. T o Ktunaxa people with whom I spoke, the constellation o f meanings around the term "Indian" have remained consistent throughout the history o f colonization in Canada. Throughout this dissertation I discuss a kind o f "psychological apartheid, an apartness that... is institutionally reinforced" (Crapanzano 1986:xxii). I look at the ways that separateness is bolstered through representational strategies and physical distances. The state distinction between "Immigrants" and "Aboriginals" is significant. A s part o f the colonial enterprise i n Canada immigrants were: "recruited to fill a specific, lower class  The language used in the Act is worth noting: " A reference in this Act to an Indian does not include any person of the race of aborigines commonly referred to as Inuit" (Indian Act R.S.,1985, c. 1-6, s.l.:4). Prior to the 1985 amendment of section 31 of the Indian Act, non-status First Nation people included women married to non-Native men, "illegitimates" and those who had enfranchised (Brizinski 1989:176; Hedican 1995:11). Nazism was the enactment of the Aryan hypothesis in combination with scientific racism taken to its extreme. Miles notes that racism was "first used to identify the Nazi theory of Aryan superiority and Jewish inferiority" (1989:69). 1 7  1 8  1 9  34 position, to be a proletariat, to settle the land and populate the country at a certain level at a time o f geographic and economic expansion" (Stymeist 1975:20). Early immigration was linked inextricably to nation-building in North America. Shifts in immigration policy reflect relationships between different nations and the demands o f industry (Avery 1979). Policymakers at different periods tapped into current theories o f human difference that constituted taken-for-granted ideas about the character and productivity o f certain populations (McLaren 1990). Nationalism is a means to sustain a sense o f commonality, particularly i n periods o f conflict and crisis within a nation state, and the state plays a central role i n the articulation o f this ideology in order to guarantee conditions for the reproduction o f the capitalist mode o f production (Miles 1989.121). The "Canadian mosaic" is a v i v i d image o f nationalist identity that evokes multiculturalism and propagates a "public ideology o f harmony and balance" (Stymeist 1975:1). T o Porter (1965), this is a "vertical mosaic" where Indigenous people are undeniably the lowest class. Stymeist (1975:10) suggests that assimilationism provides a meta-narrative o f sorts which remains central to immigrants' ideas o f cultural difference. Officially, multiculturalism was instituted in Canada i n 1971 in response to demands for equality from "ethnic immigrant collectivities" (Kallen 1982:165; see also Turner 1993:413). Ideologically, the policy challenges assimilationism in favour o f pluralism. The rationale is as follows: In a culturally pluralist society, ethnic groups are believed to share some aspects o f a common culture and participate collectively in its economic and political life while retaining their unique ethnic culture i n their social networks, residential enclaves, churches and languages ( L i 1988:8 my italics). Critiques o f multiculturalism revolve around the abyss separating the ideal from the "institutional reality" (ibid). Put differently, it is the "illusion o f multi-ethnic harmony and equality without seriously undermining the dominant ethnic group's hold on state power" (Thompson 1989:132). M y research examines intersections between what people told me and official political narratives surrounding multiculturalism and treaty-making. What came across clearly was a map o f differently-situated knowledges implicating national histories and political categories but also different experiential realms.  35 Non-Anglo Europeans I spoke with were articulate about changing ethnic hierarchies. The terms " a l i e n , " "foreigner," "displaced person," "peasant" and "Slav" were mentioned frequently. They are official labels used by the Canadian government now firmly entrenched in social repertoires o f difference and identity. Some people, personally or through the stories o f their parents, remember the trauma o f internment as "enemy aliens" during W o r l d War I (see Dawson 1995:78; Norton and Verkerk 1998:66-92). M a n y recall the humiliation o f compulsory registration, surveillance and curtailed mobility during W o r l d War II. Most recall stories o f exclusion: name-calling, harsh enforcement o f English-only on school grounds, post-war tensions. A s Europeans who do not fall within the category o f Charter, these people offered articulate impressions o f British imperialism.  Local  Histories M y research was conducted within a climate o f political awareness, flows o f scholarly,  state, and localized representations. In Fernie, state narratives o f difference are apparent in official renditions o f the past and collide with unwritten versions o f events from marginalized perspectives. Local written histories celebrate the "many nationalities" o f the region (see Fernie Historical Society 1977; Crowsnest Pass Historical Society 1979, 1990; Scott and Hanic 1979; Turnbull 1983; Dawson 1995; Norton and M i l l e r 1998). "The Italian community was looked on with particular suspicion" (Scott and Hanic 1979:147). The notorious Black Hand Gang - a "Sicilian offshoot o f the M a f i a " is especially prolific in accounts o f early Fernie (ibid). Most people with whom I spoke had much to say about the ways that "foreigners" continue to be represented in many publications. The history o f Fernie has been scripted as violent both in terms o f clashes between Europeans and in terms o f labour exploitation, crime and physical disasters. Fernie's turbulent past coincides with huge scale movements o f migrant labourers, Wars, revolutions, and shifting immigration policy. The C r o w ' s Nest Coal Company hired immigrants from across the world to work i n the mines (Scott and Hanic 1979:137-139). Passage from Europe, accommodation , food, and equipment were deducted from wages. Miners worked on a contract basis, and were fired upon injury or i f they did not meet set quotas o f coal production. C h i l d labour was used i n the mines until 1920 (ibid). In 1902 one hundred and twenty-eight miners were killed i n an explosion i n the C o a l Creek mine, six miles from Fernie (Turnbull 1983:77). T w o years later a fire wiped out  36 the commercial district o f town. In 1908 three miners were killed i n a "bump" i n the Coal Creek mine and two days later six thousand residents were left homeless by another fire that killed ten people (ibid:79-81). Before its closure in 1958, the C o a l Creek mine was the site o f a further fourty-four deaths: six i n 1912 from a rock and snow slide; thirty-five in 1917 and another three in 1938 i n mine explosions (ibid 83-84). During W o r l d War I, "miners o f British, Belgian, Russian, Italian and Montenegrin descent combined to demand that a l l German and Austrian miners be dismissed" (Norton and Verkerk 1998:67). Three hundred and six "enemy aliens" were arrested and interned i n Fernie and nearby Morrissey (Dawson 1995:78). The early 1920's were marked by labour unrest i n the form o f a series o f strikes (Turnbull 1983:84). Ethnographically, Ktunaxa-Kinbasket people have been inscribed as people inhabiting the Plateau culture area, linguistically they are mapped as a language isolate. Here and there in the early ethnographic representations o f Ktunaxa people, writers mention resentment and hostilities between "Indians" and "the Whiteman" (Boas 1918; Turney-High 1941; Baker 1955; Schaeffer 1934-1969). Disputes over the establishment o f the U.S. boundary and thus the severing o f Ktunaxa-Kinbasket communities are especially noted (Turney-High 1941:17-19). According to Turney-High, C h i e f M i c h e l " l a i d a stricture o f silence on the Kutenai" i n response to relocations enforced by the U . S . government (ibid: 18). Further "resentments" have been inscribed by Baker as the inevitable results o f colonial oppression (1955:54-55). Most o f these works are concerned with the stuff o f culture: religious and economic systems, forms o f warfare and subsistence technology; language classifications and toponyms. In this dissertation, I am concerned with how people are imagined and represented in scholarly, political and popular arenas.  Textual Strategies Fieldwork produces a kind o f authority that is anchored to a large extent i n subjective, sensuous experience... But the professional text to result from such an encounter is supposed to conform to the norms o f a scientific discourse whose authority resides in the absolute effacement o f the speaking and experiencing subject (Pratt i n Clifford and Marcus 1986:32). In any ethnography the writer is faced with several decisions that reflect uneasy power relations between those who represent and those who are represented. Perhaps, the need for clarity inherent i n the form is partially to blame for the ways that representational conventions  37  arise. Participants' words constitute the flesh o f this ethnography. I highlight them i n order to reinforce the materials upon which I have built this dissertation. It is an attempt to remain selfconscious about scholarly interpretation. Having stated this, the words o f participants often appear throughout this dissertation i n de-contextualized texts, they are severed from the rich particulars o f individual's relationships and histories. The voices I present here are marked through categories o f nationality, gender and age, sometimes neighbourhood and region. These are inevitable reductions given my attempts to preserve the anonymity o f participants. M y intention is not to reduce the complexity o f individual narrators but to highlight the particular views stated through discourses they use to speak about human difference. I use several forms o f text throughout this dissertation. I use boldface type for the transcribed words o f participants in order to clarify the origins o f materials. M y fieldnote entries appear i n italics along with their date o f entry. Plain text represents my analytical interpretations and the words o f others borrowed for their insights. The rationale for this strategy is, in part, based on the fact that there are several audiences for this dissertation. In the past I have used this form o f presentation and received feedback from community members who appreciated the option to read the work variously, through elicited narratives or through my inscription o f events and theoretical observations (Robertson 1994). I have, without doubt, stumbled into errors o f reduction either through personal bias or through my surface understandings o f other histories. Working with people whose ideas are shaped by varying historical contexts requires some attempt to provide a sense o f disparate national events and processes. M u c h o f this information appears i n footnote entries throughout this dissertation. M y intention is not to distract readers from the ethnographic analysis but to provide some brief understanding o f unique processes within different histories. The greatest challenge in writing this dissertation has been to preserve the complexity o f locations from which people speak and the diversity o f issues that they employ.  Conclusion In this chapter I have outlined methods, theories and concepts that are at the base o f my dissertation. M y research methods included formal and informal interviews, attendance at local events and perusal o f archival, media and personal materials. Each form contributes to my understanding o f the ways that differently-situated people imagine human difference at  38 particular moments in time, and in particular places. Ideas o f who people are have been passed down through parents to their children. They are drawn from national histories. Nations narrate categories and ideas drawn from the flow o f scholarly theories. Participants' narrativ