Canada's History

Words matter


I enjoyed “Magnetic North” (December 2018-January 2019), but I was concerned by language used in reference to Richard Hourde’s encounters with Anglican missionari­es. Author Katherine Schumm writes, “Hourde made friends easily, chumming around with Anglican missionari­es and local folks.” This makes the missionari­es seem like a bunch of friendly, jovial people. Schumm later writes, “He jotted down quick notes about how well [the Indigenous residents] spoke English, courtesy of Anglican missionari­es who had introduced the language.” My understand­ing is that these people were part of a mission to convert Indigenous peoples, eliminatin­g and minimizing their cultures. “Forced the language” is more accurate wording.

Canada’s History often demonstrat­es a priority in valuing Indigenous cultures by exposing injustices that occurred over the past several hundred years. This is why I’m surprised that the magazine published the above-mentioned references, as if sugar-coating reality.

Jeff Arbus Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

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