Why do First Nations people continue to be history's outsiders? Republished by Phys Org

Press/Media: Article/Feature


For as long as "History" with a capital "H' has been written, Indigenous peoples have been placed outside its circle. Consequently, whole groups of peoples, whole continents like Australia, and whole spans of human time, are missing from history's scope.

Why have Indigenous peoples become History's outsiders? One reason is the formal discipline of history originated in Europe and was based on analyzing written texts.

Traditionally History has used books and articles to share its findings. It has also relied on documentary archives for its data. Yet Indigenous cultures the world over had their own methods of maintaining History: story telling, art, ritual, dance and song. Many cultures still practice these today.

In our collection, The Routledge Companion to Indigenous Global History , we reveal no truly global history can be written unless we take account of the depth, scale and scope of Indigenous histories.

Our book assembled a wide range of contributors (Indigenous and settler), working across a vast array of geographical locations, including Africa, Asia, Northern Europe and the Americas. The collection spans many time-zones—from the human journey out of Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago detailed by Martin Porr to the forced migrations of North American peoples in the 1820s and 30s, to the intermixed groups arising from slavery in the Caribbean.

Indigenous authors include Paulette Steeves, May-Britt Öhman, Kirstine E. Møller, Kella Robinson, Judi Wickes, and John Maynard. These authors reconnect with their traditions through an exploration of early Native American archaeology, Saami fishing stories, and the hidden stories of Australian Indigenous identity. These personal accounts repeatedly show us we have much to learn from Indigenous histories. Not only in their content, but also in their ways of telling.

Period27 Oct 2021

Media contributions


Media contributions


  • Social Science
  • Political Science
  • History
  • First Nations Histories
  • First Nations Peoples