Date of this Version
Great Plains Research, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2012, p. 213.
The Canadian settler state has enacted egregious practices of assimilation, dispossession, and genocide against First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples throughout its history. Running contrary to these practices are the prevailing narratives found in Canadian historical texts and settler national myths. In Unsettling the Settler, Paulette Regan addresses this contradiction by analyzing the "peacemaker" myth, which she suggests is deployed by the state to construct a history of settler innocence. In light of this, any acknowledgment of historical injustices committed by Canada, such as Indian Residential School policies, is iteratively couched in the promise of reconciliation.
Seeking to navigate the complex terrain of reconciliation in Canada, Regan's text is an important contribution to settler studies in Canada. Unsettling encourages settlers to revisit the problematic appropriation of terms such as warrior and peacemaker that have been grossly misrepresented in settler myths as a way to reframe Indigenous approaches to reconciliation. In doing so, Regan demonstrates how attitudinal shifts may engender new material realities.