Susan Roy publishes Mysterious People: Shaping History and Archaeology in a Northwest Coast Community

Department of History congratulates Dr Susan Roy, our new SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the History Department, on the publication of her book, These Mysterious People: Shaping History and Archaeology in a Northwest Coast Community, published recently by McGill-Queen's University Press, 240pp. For further details, see

Here's a summary of the volume:

Archaeologists studying human remains and burial sites of North America's Indigenous peoples have discovered more than information about the beliefs and practices of cultures - they have also found controversy. These Mysterious People shows how Western ideas and attitudes about Indigenous peoples have transformed one culture's ancestors, burial grounds, and possessions into another culture's "specimens," "archaeological sites," and "ethnographic artifacts," in the process disassociating Natives from their own histories. Focusing on the Musqueam people and a contentious archaeological site in Vancouver,

These Mysterious People details the relationship between the Musqueam and researchers from the late-nineteenth century to the present. Susan Roy traces the historical development of competing understandings of the past and reveals how the Musqueam First Nation used information derived from archaeological finds to assist the larger recognition of territorial rights. She also details the ways in which Musqueam legal
and cultural expressions of their own history - such as land claim submissions, petitions, cultural displays, and testimonies - have challenged public accounts of Aboriginal occupation and helped to define Aboriginal rights in Canada An important and engaging examination of methods of historical representation, These Mysterious People analyses
the ways historical evidence, material culture, and places themselves have acquired legal and community authority.

On behalf of the Department, many congratulations, Susan, on the appearance of the volume.