UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Natives and reserve establishment in nineteenth century British Columbia Seymour, Anne Elizabeth


Conventional academic argument has it that reserve establishment in British Columbia was something which was imposed upon a subjugated, oppressed population. This argument suggests that after eighty years of mutually beneficial socio-economic interaction with Europeans, Natives were suddenly unable to cope with the effects of European settlement. Careful scrutiny of relevant documents from reserve commissions, however, tends to suggest a different interpretation. Although faced with the societal effects of depopulation as a result of epidemic disease, and in spite of restrictions placed upon them by European law and Victorian hegemonic beliefs, Natives were able to maintain their cultural integrity and participate effectively within European systems of power. Although the agenda and objectives of Natives with regard to land were not evident to contemporary Europeans, they are beginning to be seen and understood by historians and other observers.

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