At The Edge Of Canada: Indigenous Research
March 19, 2018
Today our guest is Dakelh Indigenous sport historian Dr. Allan Downey, Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University. We discuss his new book published by UBCPress: The Creator’s Game: Lacrosse, Identity, and Indigenous Nationhood. Allan’s book gives us the lifecycle of lacrosse in indigenous communities from one end of Turtle Island to the other. An ambitious project to say the least, as much for how sacred the game is for the Haudenausonee people, but also because of how difficult it is to track the projects of settler-colonialism that have disrupted, fragmented, and coportized this game from its spiritual roots. Yet, Allan not only finds amazing stories about Iroquian assertions of nationhood and resurgence, he executes a deep-dive into Andy Paul’s work in Squamish communities while holding the mechanisms of biopolitical power accountable for their use of the sport in residential school and its corresponding effect on Indigenous ill-health. Allan insists the voices of Elders and spiritual characters into the narrative thus making this book an act of Indigenous sport history that is a clear “inside job” so-to-speak. We talk about the convergence of oral history and Indigenous sport history, W.G. Beers and his white settler arrogance, and we dish about the sacredness of the lacrosse stick.