What happens when hidden histories become a national conversation?
This episode originally aired on June 13, 2021.
June is National Indigenous History month. It's a time to celebrate and reflect on the contributions of the many nations across this land. But for a long time Indigenous history wasn't celebrated, or even acknowledged. Often, it was hidden.
This week on Unreserved, we're talking about what happens when hidden histories come to light, and pull everyone into the conversation.
At the end of May, news that the remains of more than 200 children had been found at the site of Kamloops Indian Residential School, seemed to mark an awakening across the country. Many Canadians were shocked to learn about the violence of residential schools.
But for many Indigenous communities, this wasn't "news" at all.
Host Falen Johnson is learning about her own family history and its potential connections to the Underground Railroad. She has Tuscarora lineage on her father's side and has heard stories that the Tuscaroras travelled to Six Nations using the route of the Underground Railroad. To explore that more, Falen speaks with Robert Keith Collins, a historian from San Francisco State University; Pura Fé, a blues singer and member of the Tuscarora Nation; and Roy Finkenbine, who teaches history at the University of Detroit Mercy and is writing a book called, Freedom Seekers in Indian Country.
Back in the fall, we dove into the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's arrival in Massachusetts. Wampanoag historian Linda Jeffers Coombs has devoted much of her life to challenging inaccuracies about what happened when pilgrims arrived on the shores of her nation. One myth is the story of Squanto — the friendly Wampanoag translator for the English. Coombs says the reality includes themes of disease and slavery.
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