Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Regna Darnell

Second Advisor

Dr. Karl Hele


The Caldwell First Nation is a small Chippewa community that lives scattered throughout the central Great Lakes region and has persisted for over 150 years without a land base. This thesis examines the dialogic processes through which this Band has been able to collectively remain as a community long after their dislocation from Point Pelee and Pelee Island. This ethnohistoric and ethnographic project explores the way that academic research and this Aboriginal community have intersected and conflicted, in order to develop a methodological approach that is both academically rigorous and respectful of the concerns of the community. Through the integration of ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, this thesis examines oral histories from contemporary Caldwell descendents, along with the recorded histories of Caldwell leaders, in order to demonstrate that persistence of this Aboriginal community is primarily the result of their collective maintenance of oral histories. Despite being displaced, this community has persisted through narratives.



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