Black, Kelly

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    Explaining settlers to ourselves: Rethinking interpretive narratives at heritage sites
    (British Columbia Historical Federation, 2021-03) Black, Kelly
    Since the 1960s, Point Ellice House in Victoria has engaged visitors with stories of tea, croquet, romance, and high society. Of course, there’s much more to the site than tea on the lawn, as the Vancouver Island Local History Society is demonstrating since we took over management of the site in 2019. We are working to understand Point Ellice House as a “historical hub,” a site connected to its neighbourhood, the wider city of Victoria, and to British Columbia’s and Canada’s legacies of colonization. When we started at Point Ellice House, our non-profit society began a reassessment and overhaul of the dated interpretation and training documents. We also continue to reimagine site programming; we’ve dropped 30 years of declining afternoon tea service in favour of storytelling and exhibits. Central to these changes is interpreting the house and its families within the context of the British Empire and settler colonialism.
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    An archive of settler belonging: Local feeling, land, and the forest resource on Vancouver Island
    (Carleton University, 2017) Black, Kelly
    This dissertation explores the local, material, and affective processes of Settler (non-Indigenous) attachment to land on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I describe these feelings for land as Settler belonging and my research is guided by a reflexive and interdisciplinary approach that seeks to “explain Settlers to ourselves.” Through original archival research and personal reflection, I argue that “(dis)possession,” a term that encompasses Settler efforts to take the land and belong to the land, is a generational process, one that is worked at over time in an effort to link the past with the present and serve future Settler belonging. Through a study of plants, forest resource extraction, roads and railways, park creation, and real estate development in the Cowichan Valley and Sooke-Juan de Fuca regions, I argue that Settler feelings for land manifest in locally specific and contradictory ways. I build upon studies of Settler colonialism and political economy in Canada by adapting the staples approach, as developed by Harold A. Innis, Mel Watkins, and others, to trace the intersection of belonging with the resource economy and the characteristics of Settler colonialism. This dissertation links historical and ongoing transformations in the relations of production, such as the conversion of private forestry lands into real estate, to reveal the ways in which belonging adjusts to political and economic changes that both assist and threaten its future. I argue that studying the locality of belonging contributes insight and nuance to our understanding of materiality and affect, class relations, the staple economy, and Settler colonialism’s broader processes. In doing so, I demonstrate that Settler attachment to land is entrenched and expanded through a series of recurring events that are shared, personal, and conflictual.
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    [Pre-print] [Book Review] The promise of paradise: Utopian communities in British Columbia
    (Taylor & Francis Group, 2018-01-15) Black, Kelly
    Review of the book "The promise of paradise: Utopian communities in British Columbia" by Andrew Scott (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2017).
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    Unsettling the Settlement Act: Land conflict in the past and present on Vancouver Island
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2017-05-05) Black, Kelly
    In 1883 the provincial government attempted to bring an end to speculation and debate about the transcontinental railway on Vancouver Island. Through the introduction of the Settlement Act the government intended to settle the question of the where and on what terms a railway would be built. The Act created the massive Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway land grant, referred to as The Great Land Grab by the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group, and generated legislation, court cases, and public inquiries that lasted decades. The settlement of a $49 million specific land claim agreement in 2016, between the Snuneymuxw First Nation and the Government of Canada, has demonstrated the ongoing influence of the Settlement Act. Despite its profound impact on colonization and property relations, the Settlement Act and its related events have been overlooked and understudied within BC history. This paper outlines the complexities of the act in an effort to demonstrate its place as an antecedent to land use conflicts in the present day. The lack of academic study related to the Act and the consequences for our understanding of BC History are also addressed. The paper argues that studying the Settlement Act and land grab can unsettle and disrupt our understanding of Settler – First Nation relations on Vancouver Island.
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    Extracting northern knowledge: Tracing the history of post-secondary education in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut
    (Yukon College, 2015) Black, Kelly
    This article traces the historical development of post-secondary education in the Western and Eastern Arctic from the end of the Second World War to the late 1980s and explores the role that southern Canadian universities have played in carrying out the socio-economic goals of nation building in the North. Writing from an interdisciplinary perspective, I argue that the history of higher education in the North should be situated within the context of settler colonialism, Canadian nationalism, resource extraction, and the struggle for Indigenous self-determination. The debate around a "bricks and mortar" northern university is ongoing, and this article brings attention to the questions and concerns of the past in order to inform present and future dialogue around post-secondary education in the North.