I Have Lived Here Since the World Began

I Have Lived Here Since the World Began

An Illustrated History of Canada's Native People

Paperback - 1996
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Arthur J. Ray describes the various economic arrangements Native men and women entered into with newcomers, the assault on Native culture in the Industrial Age, and the relentless efforts of Native groups to find a place in the new world order.

Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : Lester Pub. : Key Porter Books, c1996.
ISBN: 9781895555943
Characteristics: xvii, 398 pages, [32] pages of col. plates :,illustrations (some color), maps, portraits ;,25 cm.


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Oct 21, 2017

I Have Lived Here Since the World Began is a very good history of First-Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples in Canada, covering, of course, the complex economic, social, and political relationships with settler culture. Arthur Ray, a cultural geographer and history professor at the University of British Columbia, has devoted decades to studying such issues, and has testified in court as an expert witness for the Gitxsan and Wet'suwet'un of B.C. In this book, he shows how indigenous peoples and European explorers, settlers, and traders were bound together in economic relationships that strongly affected both cultures. As we know, eventually the power moved to one side, followed by exploitation, broken treaties, and ignoring of indigenous rights and needs across Canada. Ray's final chapters bring us into the contemporary era and the struggles to regain both Native rights and lost land.

Ray's research is thorough, and his writing should be readable to anyone with a high school education. He does not simplify issues or patronize or villainize any group of people, though he is willing to cast blame where due. He shows numerous examples of Native people attempting to adapt to the changing world by taking up farming or commercial fishing for instance, only to be thwarted by politicians, bureaucrats, economic competitors, and land-hungry settlers. Anyone who believes that first-nations people want to live in an imagined past and are unwilling to help themselves will have their eyes opened by this history. I Have Lived Here comes with numerous illustrations, though some are too small to show clearly to what the descriptions refer.

Many Canadians state, justly, that we never studied indigenous history in school. Now, that you know about this book, you have a remedy for that problem. I can't imagine many who won't learn a great deal from this history. To get a good grounding in First Nations history and its relationship to settler culture, read I Have Lived Here Since the World Began.

Jul 24, 2013

Too much is attempted and not enough background nor references to back up a picture of any of the 600 groups/amerinds/first nations that make up what is now Canada.
One should not include all into the Prairies, for one. The author mixes and matches; so one is bouncing around historically. There is no emphasis on the fabulous work done by the French in maintaining peace.
There is no reference to the depravities suffered when land was taken away. There is no reference to the Metis and their positive influences, nor even reference to this two volume work (vol 1 on-line here)


Lots is missing, the French, Jesuits, Louis Riel, Many chiefs and so on. The reference are not the best, and actually include those who may have ulterior motives to the benefits of first nations.

check out: The Metis of Western Canada; Strange Empire, and maybe, The Blackhawk Wars.
and tonnes of others.

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