Correcting Canadian History Books
Dr. Kathryn Labelle’s first book, Dispersed But Not Destroyed: A History of the Seventeenth-Century Wendat People, is the culmination of several years of interdisciplinary research in History and Indigenous Studies.
Her goal is to “correct Canadian history textbooks” who claim that the Wendat/Wyandot people became extinct 400 years ago. Her book was launched at the U of S in conjunction with the 2013 Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) Annual Meeting, the first time that NAISA was held in Canada. At Labelle’s book launch, she was accompanied by Wyandot Chief Janith English, effectively demonstrating that the Wyandot people were not destroyed by European disease and military conquest. Although the destruction of the people is a popular belief in Canadian Indigenous history, Labelle seeks to discredit the myth in her book.
Although an assistant professor in the Department of History, Dr. Labelle’s unique research is relevant to a wide range of academic fields and has garnered support and attention from various funding agencies. She has brought together graduate students from various disciplines as well as Wendat community members in an attempt to engage young scholars with concepts of historic trauma, Wendat history and cultural renewal.
Dr. Labelle’s research hopes to revise the understanding of Aboriginal identity, gender relations and diplomacy relative to the demise of one of the most powerful confederacies in North America.