971: The Nature of Empires and the Empires of Nature by Karl Hele

by Gerard


971.300497: Hele, Karl S., ed. The Nature of Empires and the Empires of Nature: Indigenous Peoples and the Great Lakes Environment. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013. 297 pp. ISBN 978-1-55458-328-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 970: History of North America
  • 971: History of Canada
  • 971.3: History of the province of Ontario
  • 971.3004: Ethnic and national groups
  • 971.300497: Native American peoples

Karl Hele’s Nature of Empire and the Empires of Nature is a collection of eco-historical essays on the indigenous peoples of Ontario, Canada. Originally delivered as talks during a conference in Canada, these essays focus on how empires seek to control the environments of their colonies and, more importantly, the ramifications of the British colonial rule on the First Nations of Canada. While many of the chapters digress and discuss other indigenous populations, such as the Aborigines of Australia and the peoples of the Central Africa, the focus is on Canadian history. They look at how indigenous Canadian culture, education, and attitudes toward nature have been shaped by world events.

The authors also look at ways that the both the First Nations and newly-minted Canadians can reconnect with their environment through place-based education. While some of the essays deal with very specific Canadian events, such as the effects of the uranium industry on the Serpent River First Nation, the broad theme of Native American history and the environment does make for an interesting lens through which to view events of the past. The tone of this book is scholarly for sure but the subject matter should interest a lot of people. A dense but informative read.