This isn’t the usual type of article I have been sending each month in lieu of our usual monthly in person meetings. Instead it’s some belated, but happy news about one of our former members.
Translation and Appropriation In the Long Eighteenth Century
Olive Dickason’s many contributions to society were recognized twice during October 2021. In addition to Darren Prefontaine’s biography, Changing Canadian History – The Life And Works of Olive Patricia Dickason, published that month, a portion of a conference was dedicated to her memory as well.
The October 13-16, 2021 conference on Translation and Appropriation In the Long Eighteenth Century, hosted by the University of Winnipeg, was sponsored by two academic societies – the Canadian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (CSECS) and the Midwestern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (MWSECS). It was originally going to be held at the University of Winnipeg but due to pandemic concerns became an online event.
The conference’s main program was co-organized by Dr. Erin Keating from the University of Manitoba, Dr. Anne Sechin from Université de Saint-Boniface, and Dr. Kathryn Ready, associate professor of English, University of Winnipeg. It included topics like Eighteenth Century Influences on Canada’s Place Names, Women Writers and Gender Studies, plus panel discussions on Historical Fictions, New Approaches Beyond Europe, and Finding New Frameworks for Understanding.
One of the conference’s aims,” said Dr. Ready, “was to bring together a large group of scholars and researchers who work on material related to the Indigenous Eighteenth Century.” She explained that since Eighteenth Century studies is multi-disciplinary, including scholars in the humanities (literature, music, philosophy and visual arts etc.) and because they represent such wide ranging fields, they don’t normally present at the same conferences or publish in the same kinds of journals.
Dedication to Olive Dickason
Part of the Indigenous Eighteenth Century portion of the conference included an October 13 roundtable discussion, dedicated to the memory of Olive Dickason. Entitled The Past in the Present, Possibilities for the Future, it was organized by Paul De Pasquale who had worked with Dickason as a graduate student at the University of Alberta, and Kathryn Ready.
In addition to scholars and researchers from Native/Indigenous studies, law, anthropology, and archeology, presenters during that program mainly represented the fields of literature, visual arts and history. Annette Trimbee, Métis, President and Chancellor, MacEwan University, moderated the session which included the following panelists: Elder Louis Bird, Omaskego, Peawanuck; Elder Maria Campbell, Métis, Saskatoon and Gabriel’s Crossing, Saskatchewan; Elder Dave Courchene, Anishinaabe, Turtle Lodge, Sagkeeng First Nations, Manitoba; Ruth Christie, Cree, Aboriginal Student Services Centre, University of Winnipeg; and Elder Thomas R. Porter, Kanaatsiohareke Mohawk, Kanstsiohareke Mohawk Community, New York State.
Virtual Museum Link
The conference also included a link to the Virtual Museum featuring the Olive Dickason Collection that is housed at the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Darren Préfontaine, editor, researcher and author with GDI’s Métis Culture and Heritage Department pointed out that the items on the Institute’s website are only a small fraction of the papers, photographs and other items donated by Dickason’s daughters after their mother’s death in 2011. To see the virtual museum go the GDI website – www.metismuseum.ca
“Later this year we will publish a book dedicated to Olive Dickason’s lifetime of work and her contributions as a journalist and historian,” said Dr. Ready. “It will contain a collection of papers inspired by the Indigenous Eighteenth Century program.” She added that Anne Dickason will write an item about her mother for the book. Also, Dr. Cary Miller, Native Studies, University of Manitoba, who spoke at one of the conference’s plenary sessions, will contribute a piece about her experience working on the latest edition of Dickason’s classic award winning book, A Concise History of Canada’s First Nations which is in all Canadian high schools and on university curricula worldwide.
You can experience part of the October conference soon as the plenary talk given by Cary Miller during the conference will be available to watch on Utube. Once posted it will be announced as will the publication date of the book based on the October conference.
Olive Dickason was a member of the Canadian Women’s Press Club/Media Club for many decades. More information about her, including her numerous books and awards, can be found on both the Media Club of Ottawa’s old and new websites – www.mediaclubofottawa.ca and www.mediaclubofottawa.ca/en