The weather has been way too hot for the usual dose of summer reading. So take these next two posts as summer-but-maybe-fall suggestions. The first read is the new issue of Canada’s History formerly The Beaver. You can read here Christopher Moore’s description of the many worthwhile articles especially his commentary on David O’Keefe’s vigorous essay on the reasons for the Dieppe Raid and why it failed.
Moore’s own column in Canada’s History argues that Canadians, especially governments, need to listen to the voices of Indigenous historians. He also reiterates the importance of acknowledging treaty obligations if we are to follow the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “Real reconciliation,” writes Moore, “depends on Indigenous people being able to run their own affairs and to control the resources that make that possible.”
One fascinating Canada’s History article that Moore does not describe is Rachel Poliquin’s exploration of the mythology and fantasies about the beaver. I had no idea that the beaver supposedly would escape a hunter by biting off its testicles and that this led early Christian moralists to praise it as a model of chastity and prudence. The Canadian myth of the beaver’s dedication to hard work was different but no less moralistic as it was used by various writers to encourage virtues such as obedience to the Seigneur in New France or fidelity in marriage.
The magazine cover continues to note its former name as The Beaver. The entire catalogue of back issues of The Beaver is now available online — for free — via a new mobile-responsive Archive. Users can browse some 90+ years of issues. The search engine will launch in the fall.
Canada’s History continues to be an essential read for all teachers of Canadian history. Subscribe here.