It is with great pleasure that the American Indian and Indigenous Community Center at Virginia Tech invites you to the following virtual event:
Associate Professor and Chair of First Nation Studies
University of Northern British Columbia
September 23, 2020
Of Da Yee and Mein Jiih A: Tsek’ehne Governance and Missionary Colonialism in Early Twentieth-Century British Columbia
Separation of church and state is an American ideal that due to the influence of the United States is often assumed to exist in the Dominion of Canada. As a constitutional monarchy, whose queen is not only head of the Church of England, but also theoretically anointed by god, nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, as agents of the colonial state missionaries and church officials were intimately connected to the colonial process, most infamously in helping the federal government run the residential school system. Their impact, however, was not merely socio-cultural and missionaries often functioned as ersatz Indian Agents when it came to implementing Aboriginal policy in Canada, especially in regions where actual Indian Agents were lacking. This simple fact is quite apparent among my people, the Tsek’ehne of northern British Columbia, where one was more likely to see a sasquatch than an actual Indian Agent. Rather than escape the worst excesses of colonialism, here missionaries directly challenged a political system that was ordained by Ya K-eh-Sud-da. Using a combination of oral and written sources this presentation will examine the impacts on Tsek’ehne governance as well as the implications regarding the consent of equating mein jiih a with an Indian Affairs band chief and elevating the position above all others. It will suggest that it is only Tsek’ehne resistance to this imposition and continuance of traditional governance structures that prevents the decisions of present-day band chiefs from being rendered completely illegitimate.
For more information please contact Dr. Polanco by email at firstname.lastname@example.org