Earth, Water, Air and Fire
Studies in Canadian Ethnohistory
The contributors use a holistic approach comprising the four elements — earth, water, air, and fire — to address the diverse themes and variations in First Nations communities across Canada.
"The fact that this book exists at all is a very encouraging thing for anyone who believes that to understand a people better, one must not only look at the parts, but the whole. "- Cheryl Isaac, Aboriginal Voices
"From Earth, Water, Air and Fire we are left with the impression that the history of aboriginal peoples in Canada is a tattered pile of fragments that need to be reintegrated into a new, broader quilt. This is not such a bad impression, as it challenges the fundamentals of the way we continue to think about history and provides us with the baseline, detailed data that can contribute to a more adequate understanding of the place of aboriginal peoples in the Canadian story. "- Christopher G. Trott, University of Toronto Quarterly
"The fifteen wide-ranging papers in Earth, Water, Air and Fire: Studies in Canadian Ethnohistory clearly reveal the current diversity and complexity of Aboriginal history. Some contributors challenge conventional views or question established assumptions. Sidney Harring, for example, offers a provocative view of early Indian policy in Ontario, specifically the lax treatment of squatters on Aboriginal lands. E. Reginald Good challenges the interpretation of early European settlers as 'hard-working noble pioneers' when they simply moved onto lands previously cleared by the Indians. Joan Fairweather compares the apartheid system in South Africa and the Canadian reserve system; Bruce Hodgins discusses the relationship between the Ontario provincial government and the Aboriginal of Northern Ontario; and Olive Dickason examines the relationship between art and Amerindian world views. Together, these essays indicate the new depth of research now being conducted in the rapidly growing field of Aboriginal history in Canada. "- Donald D. Smith, Department of History, University of Calgary