Lianne C. Leddy Transcript

I came to history as a child, I was really interested in my family history. I was really interested in the community histories, both communities where I'm from. And so one thing that I've been interested in as an Indigenous scholar, as an Anishinaabekwe, is to bridge historical methods. So traditional archival methods with oral history methods as well. And trying to do history in ways that represent as much as I can the stories that I grew up with.

And so the the book Serpent River Resurgence is about how the Serpent River First Nation confronted uranium mining in Elliott Lake in the Cold War period that set in this time during, you know, a large global search for uranium, global geopolitics that are at work in terms of the Cold War and the ways that that the uranium industry really had an impact on Serpent River First Nation, but also how community leadership really tried to resist and mitigate some of these changes that were happening on our lands and waters. 

It is very much rooted in my personal family history and my personal experiences. Having grown up in this territory. I know it very, very well and and a lot of the the people that I talk to, I knew they were the elders in the community and my grandmother included. And so it has a tremendous personal importance to me. In addition to being also a history monograph, it's something that is very much rooted in who I am as a person. Where I came from and my roots. 

So I came to the story as a little girl, listening to my grandmother, seeing her going off to all kinds of meetings, and as well as other community leaders who are really busy as activists and land defenders during this time. Trying to reclaim some of the acid plant territory and have it cleaned up properly. So this is something that I've grown up with and it was so important for me to be able to tell this story, including community leaders and who were elders by the time I was doing this research, but also combining that with archival research. And so it is very much a story in which I'm rooted. It's very much a story that has a lot of importance to me.

And it's it's really, you know, also part of what inspires me to move forward because it's I'm an historian, so I look to the past, but I'm also really interested in reconciliation and augmenting Indigenous history and stories today and our experiences. And this project allowed me to be able to do that. And what inspires me is also the future thinking about my own daughter now, as much as I was inspired by my grandmother, looking forward to future generations of our families. 

So what I hope that the history community derives from this research is the the way that the the Indigenous voices and experiences are centred in it. It's my hope that this decolonizes our our sense of what is Canadian history and gives people a better sense of that shared history and to be able to focus on individual experiences, community experiences in many of these extractive processes that are happening across what is now Canada.

This recognition is tremendously moving, both professionally and personally. It's so much a part of of who I am. The story that that I'm not sure I could separate those two things, those two parts of me. And so to have the history community than my peers recognize this work as being important, I think sends a signal to other Indigenous scholars, Indigenous historians, students who are coming up in the future that our histories matter. That people want to know more about who we are as people, what our experiences are, and what this could mean, also then, for the field and to be decolonizing Canadian history.

I think it's really important for the public to engage with history because our past shapes who we are and whether that's as individuals, as community members, as citizens of what is now Canada. Our past shapes us. And I think further to that, it also then provides us with lessons to learn if we're willing to learn from them and to have a greater sense then of where we're going in the context of reconciliation, in particular in Canada right now, I think having a better understanding of Indigenous history in particular is essential. And so this is what I would like to see happening more outreach to community members, to members of the public to have a better sense of of what that shared history looks like.