The Burden of History: Colonialism and the Frontier Myth in a Rural Canadian Community
This book is an ethnography of the cultural politics of Native/non-Native relations in a small interior BC city – Williams Lake – at the height of land claims conflicts and tensions. Furniss analyses contemporary colonial relations in settler societies, arguing that “ordinary” rural Euro-Canadians exercise power in maintaining the subordination of aboriginal people through “common sense” assumptions and assertions about history, society, and identity, and that these cultural activities are forces in an ongoing, contemporary system of colonial domination.
She traces the main features of the regional Euro-Canadian culture and shows how this cultural complex is thematically integrated through the idea of the frontier. Key facets of this frontier complex are expressed in diverse settings: casual conversations among Euro-Canadians; popular histories; museum displays; political discourse; public debates about aboriginal land claims; and ritual celebrations of the city's heritage.