The cultural politics of place naming in Quebec: Toponymic negotiation and struggle in Aboriginal territories.

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Title: The cultural politics of place naming in Quebec: Toponymic negotiation and struggle in Aboriginal territories.
Authors: Nieminen, Anna.
Date: 1998
Abstract: In an analysis of the cultural politics of place naming in Aboriginal territories, and in Baie James/Eeyou Istchee particularly, I trace the themes of "myth-making as it relates to identity" and "knowledge is power" through a cycle of learning about the meaning of naming from the perspectives of "Hearing With a Non-Native Ear", "Hearing With a Native Ear" and "Speaking With Names Across Cultures" I argue that although Quebecois myth-making responds to, or is alternative to, the federalist construction of a national identity, it shares with it certain themes about Aboriginal peoples and places (i.e. the North). But, there are also some distinguishing sub-themes in Quebecois nationalist discourse, such as the greater importance of hydro-electric development in the 'North as hinterland' theme and the greater importance of Aboriginal place names in the 'North as heritage' theme. I use a harvesting metaphor to describe how the Commission de toponymie, which has the power to officialize names in Quebec, transforms Aboriginal place names into Quebecois cultural resources. On the other hand, Aboriginal peoples in the north of Quebec, including the Cree nation, tend to a perception of the 'North as homeland' and place names as "stories" about the environment, history and culture. When these two perceptions of places and place names meet in the same 'garden', toponymic negotiation and struggle ensue, for naming is personal and political. I conclude that when Aboriginal place names are examined and presented with their 'roots' intact (in cultural context), we can gain an appreciation for how place names and place naming are integral to Aboriginal resistance to cultural and territorial appropriation.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/4180
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-10133
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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