Our Homes on Native Land: Settler Ancestors Across North America
In 1890, Harry and Mary Ann Foote arrived on unceded Coast Salish territory and purchased Jedediah, a private island between Texada and Lesquiti islands. This presentation shares work from a project that traces one family across Canada and through hundreds of years to share a personal and evocative lens on the lived experience of settler colonization. Drawing on original letters, transcripts, and oral histories, the project weaves connections between the stories of specific settler ancestors and their connection to land, treaties, and Indigenous peoples at the time. The presentation will provide a brief overview of project overall including colourful stories of homesteading on a remote island in British Columbia, construction of PEI’s parliament building in the 1800s, homesteading on the shores of Ouentironk (Lake Simcoe) in Ontario, and one of the earliest founders of a New Swedish settlement in the days of the Mayflower.
The presentation will share never-before-shared documents and narrative exploring the family of Harry and Mary Ann Foote, whose historic home and orchard remain at Jedidiah Island Marine Park. The Foote family spent several years on Jedidiah in the 1900s before multiple family tragedies pushed them to leave and eventually sell the island. In the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and changing perspectives on BC and Canadian history and present-day realities, this presentation shares a personal, reconciliation-informed story of early settlement in what is now known as British Columbia.
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