Inheriting a Canoe Paddle: The Canoe in Discourses of English-Canadian Nationalism
Published: February 2013© 2013
240 Pages, 6.02 x 9.05 x 0.55 in, 10 b&w illustrations
If the canoe is a symbol of Canada, what kind of Canada does it symbolize? Inheriting a Canoe Paddle looks at how the canoe has come to symbolize love of Canada for non-aboriginal Canadians and provides a critique of this identification’s unintended consequences for First Nations. Written with an engaging, personal style, it is both a scholarly examination and a personal reflection, delving into representations of canoes and canoeing in museum displays, historical re-enactments, travel narratives, the history of wilderness expeditions, artwork, film, and popular literature.
Misao Dean opens the book with the story of inheriting her father’s canoe paddle and goes on to explore the canoe paddle as a national symbol – integral to historical tales of exploration and trade, central to Pierre Trudeau’s patriotism, and unique to Canadians wanting to distance themselves from British and American national myths. Throughout, Inheriting a Canoe Paddle emphasizes the importance of self-consciously evaluating the meaning we give to canoes as objects and to canoeing as an activity.
Introduction: Inheriting a Canoe Paddle
Chapter One: Paddling the Uncanny Canoe
Chapter Two: Canada is a Canoe Route
Chapter Three: The Anglo-Saxon Idea of Pleasure
Chapter Four: The Centennial Voyageur Canoe Pageant
Chapter Five: Reading/Writing the Wilderness Canoe Trip
Chapter Six: Return to Eden
Chapter Seven: Recapitulation: The Canadian Canoe Museum
Chapter Eight: De-colonising the Canoe
‘Inheriting a Canoe Paddle is a wonderful book that I will be recommending to many – the extensive recreational paddling community should be excited by its content and personally challenging theme. I enjoyed Misao Dean’s fresh, thoughtful treatment of new topics relating to Canadian identity and canoe literature analysis in this major contribution to research.’ Robert Henderson, McMaster University