Letter From the Interior: James Teit and the "Injustice of Displacement"


  • Eileen Delehanty Pearkes independent researcher




In Wendy Wickwire's recently published biography of James Teit, At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging, she questions “the authority of mainstream history and historiography” to determine “who is celebrated and who is not and why” (22).   Providing Teit a much-deserved and long overdue moment in the spotlight, the book aptly surveys his immeasurable contributions to the written record of British Columbia’s Indigenous people.  Her observations on the questionable authority of history link directly to a case currently before the Supreme Court of Canada involving a B.C. Indigenous tribe – the Sinixt, or Arrow Lakes Indians.   This tribe’s identity, sovereignty and aboriginal rights under Section 35 of the Canadian constitution have all been questioned for decades, as a result of their lack of status under the Indian Act following a 1956 Order in Council under the federal Indian Act declaring them "extinct."  This lack of bureaucratic status has served as an authoritative force that confuses and confounds the accuracy of Indigenous history in the southeastern corner of B.C., where Sinixt traditional territory is situated.  






Research Note