Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Jacques Cartier, Chief Donnacona, and developing perspectives on Canadian Colonialism

Inference exercise, with some of my observations.
Historically, what is missing are the facts that Jacques Cartier, on behalf of the king of France, set him on a voyage of exploration to help establish French trade connections to Asia and to "make France rich," according to the Pearson Grade 7 History textbook.  I am not certain who Iroquoian Chief Donnacona is; I am assuming he could be the man to the right of the cross.  Remember, this is a painting and an artist's rendition, or interpretation, of this historical event.
 In searching for references to Colonialism in the textbook, I could not find any.  Even the scene pictured above, where Cartier is in the process of showing France's claim to the "new" land, is not critiqued in the textbook.   What is mentioned in more detail on p. H7 of the textbook is story of how we got the name for Canada.  

Historica Canada, a non-profit organization promoting key stories in our history, created a 1 minute movie around this naming.  Apparently, this happened in the year 1594, when the cross was erected.  I am not sure if there were two separate events, but here are a couple of screen shots, from the video, and a link to the video on YouTube.  You will notice some similarities between the painting and the screenshots below.

The placement of the cross is somewhat troubling because it scratches the surface of Canada's history of Colonialism.  Colonialism, is a definition which we need to get into our history books.  For our purposes, we should understand that what eventually became Canada, had a history of Colonialism.

The policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.  

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