Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Karl Hele

Second Advisor

Dr. Neal Ferris


This thesis which examines three generations of the Ironside family that lived through the frontier borderlands, along western Lake Erie and the Detroit River, and later along north Lake Huron and Manitoulin Island, is ideal for exploring how identity on a physical borderland, and between the biological and cultural borderlands between European and Native, could be revised to serve personal notions of self, as well as to create a hybrid of innovative categories of identity. To achieve this exploration, I examine the identity of the Ironside family by primarily focusing on correspondence by members of this family, written in official and personals contexts. The insights obtained from this tangential material, from discussions of woman’s culture in the 19th century, to male sibling dynamics, ultimately advance the core thesis of this work by shedding light on the vibrant role this family played in the building of the Canadian nation as well as their own identity.



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