First Nations’ perspective on history, food, and health

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Centennial Dialogues on Critical Issues in Land and Food Systems: First Nations’ perspective on history, food, and health. (Continuing the Dialogue on Truth and Reconciliation)

Shortly after WWII, when knowledge about nutrition was still sparse, scientists in Canada took advantage of Aboriginal children in Indian Residential Schools (IRS) by using them as unknowing research subjects to investigate the effects of different diets and withholding dietary supplements. Evidence of these government-sanctioned experiments was recently published by food historian and UBC History alumnus Ian Mosby, and received widespread media attention across Canada. Now under the spotlight, attempts have been made to reconcile these past actions, provide support to survivors who were subjects in the experiments, and find ways to move toward a more civilized society for everyone in Canada.

The aftermath of these experiments still has an effect today in the lives of IRS survivors and inter-generational IRS survivors. Join us for a panel discussion about this dark era in Canadian history. Find out how UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems is working to address issues such as access to healthy food, food sovereignty, traditional food, food security for all and land stewardship.


Friday, October 17th 2014
12:30pm to 2:30pm (Program 12:30-2:00pm; Reception 2:00-2:30pm)
The reception from will be catered by the Feast Bowl (http://aboriginal.ubc.ca/2012/12/13/feast-bowl-meal-brings-together-the-ubc-community/)


UBC First Nations Longhouse
Sty-Wet-Tan Hall
1985 West Mall
Vancouver, BC

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1550960018466543/?notif_t=plan_user_invited

DNA analysis of sweet potatoes suggests that Polynesians reached Americas before Europeans

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New DNA analysis of sweet potatoes, which were first cultivated in the Americas, suggests that Polynesians reached the New World long before Columbus.

The prevailing theory about the “rediscovery” of the American continents used to be such a simple tale. Most people are familiar with it: In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Then that theory was complicated when, in 1960, archaeologists discovered a site in Canada’s Newfoundland, called L’Anse aux Meadows, which proved that Norse explorers likely beat Columbus to the punch by about 500 years.
Now startling new DNA evidence promises to complicate the story even more. It turns out that it was not Columbus or the Norse — or any Europeans at all — who first rediscovered the Americas. It was actually the Polynesians.
All modern Polynesian peoples can trace their origins back to a sea-migrating Austronesian people who were the first humans to discover and populate most of the Pacific islands, including lands as far-reaching as Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island. Despite the Polynesians’ incredible sea-faring ability, however, few theorists have been willing to say that Polynesians could have made it as far east as the Americas. That is, until now. Read More…

CFP: Remaking North American Sovereignty: Towards a Continental History of State Transformation in the Mid-Nineteenth Century.

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Call for papers: Remaking North American Sovereignty: Towards a Continental History of State Transformation in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. 

Date: July 30-August 1, 2015, at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada.

Description: This conference seeks to bring historians of Canada, indigenous peoples, Mexico and the United States to consider state making in mid-1800s North America from a continent-wide perspective.

Peaking in the years 1865-67 with the end of the American Civil War, Canadian Confederation, and the restoration of the Mexican republic after the expulsion of Maximilian, a French-imposed monarch, this era of political transformation has had profound consequences for the future of the continent.

Key to this process was the question of sovereignty, or the power to rule. Battles over sovereignty ran through the struggles waged not only by the nation states that came to dominate the North America—Canada, Mexico, and the United State—but also those that failed, like the Confederate States of America, and others, like the European empires and indigenous peoples, that came into conflict with the three main states.

These conflicts went well beyond the years 1865-67 and encompassed more than simply the legal forms of the nation state. Battles over sovereignty also ran through the histories of newly emancipated slaves, immigrant communities, and the reorganization of the family.  As such the conference explores not only the political and diplomatic aspects of state making but also the broader social, economic, and cultural histories of this process.

Thus far, the continental dimensions of this North American sovereignty have been obscured by historical traditions that confine each of these state-making conflicts within its specific national framework. In light of the global turn in 19th century historiography, as well as the real interconnections across the continent, it is time to consider these political crises as an inter-related struggle to redefine the relationship of North Americans to new governments.

Keynote addresses will be delivered by Professors Steven Hahn, University of Pennsylvania; Pekka Hämäläinen, Oxford University; Erika Pani, Colegio de Mexico; and Andrew Smith, University of Liverpool.

The conference organizers seek papers that offer original work examining different aspects of national sovereignty formation in Mexico, Canada, the United States and indigenous peoples during this pivotal era. Work that examines these conflicts in a transnational perspective is especially welcome. Paper proposals (between 200-500 words) should be accompanied by a brief CV and should be submitted to Frank Towers (ftowers@ucalgary.ca) by August 31, 2014.

Papers from the conference may be included in a publication. In preparation, presenters will be asked to circulate drafts of their papers by July 1, 2015.

This conference is sponsored by the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State University and supported by the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech University and the University of Calgary.

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