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Dick, Lyle. "Red River's Vernacular Historians." Manitoba's History Winter 2013, no. 71 (2013): 3-15.


In this article, Lyle Dick discusses how historical writing in Western Canada predated the founding of the professional discipline of history in 1900 by examining the work of five non-professional “vernacular” historians in Old Red River in the 19th century: Pierre Falcon, Alexander Ross, the Reverend James Hunter, Joseph James Hargrave, and Donald Gunn. Dick argues that their work can be considered “indispensible” as they were “well-prepared by virtue of a combination of book learning, oral tradition and direct experience of the ‘school of life.’” In the historiography from that time period, it can be noted that these Red River vernacular historians included varied types of sources and representations of indigenous people whereas the Western Canadian historical scholars made limited mention of them and their multicultural impact on the region. These five historians provide indispensible historiography to traditional Western Canadian narratives regarding the settlement and evolution of this region from 1812-1870.

Shannon Leggett