John A. Macdonald and the First Nations

Event Date: 
Monday, February 23, 2015 - 11:30am to 12:30pm EST
Event Location: 
Lakehead University Chancellor Paterson Library, Room 5002
Event Fee: 
Free. Everyone one is welcome.
Event Contact Name: 
Dr. Michel S. Beaulieu
Event Contact Phone: 
(807) 343-8341
Event Contact E-mail: 
Event Contact Web: 

The Department of History, Lakehead University Library, Office of Aboriginal Initiatives, and Thunder Bay Museum is pleased to present Dr. Donald Smith (Professor Emeritus of History, University of Calgary) who will speak on “John A. Macdonald and the First Nations.”Poster for Donald Smith Presentation

Dr. Smith will also be recognized before the presentation for his significant donation of materials relating to Indigenous history to the Lakehead University Library.

A number of scholars argue that the Macdonald administration had a negative attitude toward the First Nations. In a 2013 contribution to the Globe and Mail, for example, James Daschuk identifies Macdonald as one of those most responsible for the horrors inflicted upon the Aboriginal people on the prairies. He concludes “that modern Canada is founded upon ethnic cleansing and genocide.”

Based on recently published work in the collection, John A. MacDonald at 200: New Reflections and Legacies, this presentation takes a biographical approach to the question of Macdonald and Aboriginal Canada.  Don Smith will examine our first prime minister¹s personal contact with the First Nations from his boyhood to the troubles of 1885.

About the Speaker: Donald Smith is a respected professor emeritus, a senior scholar in the history of Aboriginal Canada, an esteemed biographer and a champion for Aboriginal students at the University of Calgary. He excelled at leadership, research, teaching and community service during the 35 years that he taught Canadian history at the university. Smith’s research and service to numerous historical organizations advanced and highlighted the history of Western Canada. His latest book Mississauga Portraits: Ojibwe Voices from Nineteenth Century Canada received the Donald Grant Creighton Award from the Ontario Historical Society and the Floyd S. Chalmers Award from the Champlain Society.