Skip to content

Richmondite enabled B.C. indigenous history book to be published in China

Around 1.4 billion people in China will soon be able to read a book on Canadian indigenous history next year, but the book translation was almost destroyed by raised tensions between China and Canada.

Around 1.4 billion people in China will soon be able to read a book on Canadian indigenous history next year, thanks to a $10,000 donation from a Richmond businessman. 

University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) historian Keith Carlson's award-winning book, titled The Power of Place, the Problem of Time: Aboriginal Identity and Historical Consciousness in the Cauldron of Colonialism, had been translated into Mandarin by scholars in China and was set to be published across China in 2019. 

However, the project stalled after the Chinese publisher notified Carlson that it couldn’t proceed, as China-Canada relations deteriorated when Canadian authorities detained Huawei executive Meng Wangzhou, on the back of a U.S. extradition request for alleged fraud.

Richmondite Chris Pereira, president and CEO of Richmond-based Canadian Ecosystem Institute, told the Richmond News that he learned a year ago of the cancellation.

"In my opinion, after a year like 2020, we need more initiatives like Keith's project - projects that build bridges and tear down walls, projects that build true understanding, acceptance, and inclusion,” said Pereira, adding that, as a Canadian who spent 15 years in China, he believes smart engagement and proactive promotion of Canadian values is essential. 

“I'm proud to have Canadian Ecosystem Institute sponsor this project, and I hope more people and companies in Canada and China will follow the example Keith and UFV are setting. 

“We all need to continue to work hard to bring greater awareness and attention to First Nations issues, engage with the world, and strongly promote and protect Canadian values overseas.”

With the secure funding for publication, the Chinese language translation of Carlson's book will be in Chinese readers' hands by the summer of 2021. 

“There is a lot of interest in China about Canada's indigenous history and culture, and Keith's book addresses many of those questions," added Pereira.