Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Department of History has begun to issue press releases celebrating the major achievements of our faculty and students. These bulletins are sent to news outlets on campus, around town, throughout Saskatchewan, and across Canada. But you can read them here first. Be sure to congratulate Jim Miller when you see him, by the way.

Miller Key Player in Aboriginal Treaties Exhibition
University of Saskatchewan History Professor, J.R. (Jim) Miller has helped curate a new national exhibition, "Spirit and Intent: Understanding Aboriginal Treaties," at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.

Miller, Canada Research Chair in Native-Newcomer Relations and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, is one of the leading authorities in historical Aboriginal studies in Canada and author of several books, including the award-winning Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens. His latest project is a comprehensive history of treaty-making in Canada.

Over the past year, Miller and fellow curator, Dr. John Borrows, Law Foundation Chair of Aboriginal Justice and Governance at the University of Victoria and a member of Chippewa of the Nawash First Nations, have worked closely with Library and Archives staff in Ottawa to identify and select a rich collection of artifacts for the exhibition. Indeed, their work together on the exhibit is a reflection of the partnership underlying the treaty process.

“Spirit and Intent explores the assumptions and motives behind agreements between Aboriginal peoples and the Crown,” said Dr. Miller. "This process has been an important building block for modern Canada."

The artifacts in the exhibition include publications, maps, paintings, wampum belts, trade items, totems, diaries, land claim negotiations, and modern agreements. One of the many highlights is the original Treaty 9 document from 1905-06, also known as the James Bay Treaty.

"This exhibition is a significant expression of our continuing dedication to preserve and make the history of Canada’s First Peoples known," said Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. "It contains treasures of our shared past that are extremely rare, priceless and of immense historical and cultural significance."

Miller’s involvement in the project illustrates the growing pre-eminence of the University of Saskatchewan in Aboriginal and Native-newcomer studies.

The Spirit and Intent exhibition is on display in Room C at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa until March 24, 2008. The exhibition is also profiled on the LAC website: