Icelandic Migration and the Suppression of Indigenous Resistance in the Canadian North West, 1885.

Open lecture by Laurie Bertman.

5.03.2018, 12:00-13:00, Gimli-102

Approximately sixty Icelanders enlisted to oppose Indigenous Canadian resistance during the North-West Uprising in 1885, just ten years following the arrival of Icelandic immigrants in Manitoba. The armed stance of a group of Icelanders against Indigenous forces fighting land appropriation and suppression in 1885 is unusual, since most Icelanders were relatively recent arrivals and the immigrant community maintains a collective memory of friendship with indigenous peoples. Moreover, in Winnipeg, many Icelanders at this time regularly faced discrimination as members of the urban working class, rumoured among English Canadians to be of “Eskimo’’ extraction. How and why did a marginalized group of immigrants seemingly transform themselves into active, armed colonial agents in nineteenth-century Western Canada?

Laurie Bertram, Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto, Canada. Professor Bertram’s research, public history practice and teaching interests focus on Canada and Iceland. Her forthcoming book, “Immigrant Threads: Fashioning Icelandic-North American Culture, 1870 onwards,” studies the formation of Icelandic immigrant identity and culture though alternate media, including fashion, food, “Viking” souvenirs and ghost stories. Her current research examines the historical relationships between brothels, colonialism, race and nation building on the Prairies from 1.