How does Hunt’s article provide a new way of looking at history? What does Hunt mean by a “felt archive”?
In the article, Nikikiwan, Hunt challenges the way history is written from a settler perspective while seemingly erasing indigenous history. The essay writer author states that it is not surprising that writings have tended to obscure the indigenous people while illuminating that of the settler community. Hunt shows this by saying that history lessons have concentrated on “Sir John A. Macdonald and the railway rather than Louis Riel and the buffalo” (Hunt, 2016, p. 25). Recently, there has been a shift of focus towards issues faced by the indigenous people. The author indicates that this illumination towards such indigenous issues has created an opportunity to unearthing the history from the First Nation’s perspective. The same archives used to create the settler nation could also be used to bring forth a resurgence into indigenous history.
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Hunt discusses “felt archive” as a means through which the indigenous people could record their history. Here, the article mentions the experience of the author’s grandmother, who had been displaced from the ‘Swan River Settlement.’ The felt archive is used to record the history that is being felt and then intellectualized. These archives are bound to break the barriers between personal and political grounds. They would now bring a sense of belonging to the indigenous community, making it possible to “unmap” settler spaces and “remap” indigenous communities. Through felt analysis, the community can explore and theorize its experience and connect it to the larger historical context. Also, the felt archives would put forth histories that contradict the settler narrative.
Hunt, D. (2016). Nikikiwan: Contesting settler colonial archives through indigenous oral history. Canadian Literature 230/231/Autumn Winter.