Cook, Peter



Phone number: (250) 472-5484
Department: History

Research description:

- History of early Canada
- Indigenous-settler relations in North America
- Alliances forged between Indigenous nations of eastern North America and European colonies, in particular, New France in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Expertise Profile
Historian Peter Cook is shedding new light on the relationship between Indigenous peoples and European colonizers during the 1500s to 1800s in eastern North America - a relatively unexplored part of Canada's past.

In fact, Dr. Cook's current research project examines the alliance-making that took place between the settlers and Indigenous peoples through political agreements. This alliance was characterized by a feeling of brotherhood between the two parties during the late 16th- and early 17th-century colonization period, he says.

To reconstruct and understand that period, Dr. Cook is gathering evidence from three different sources - Indigenous oral history, European written records, and archaeological studies.

Dr. Cook's work is contributing to our understanding of Indigenous populations in Canada, including questions on how they viewed their alliances with the French and English in a turbulent era of warfare and epidemic disease.

He's also giving us another side to the Indigenous-settler story - one that isn't soaked in war and conflict.

"There's no simple story to what happened," he says. "The settler-Indigenous relationship was not all linear, where everything went right for the settlers and everything went wrong for the Indigenous peoples as we think we know it from 19th- and 20th-century history. There were surprising stories of cooperation and partnership, and enduring diplomatic alliances."

Dr. Cook fosters small class discussions where his students can discuss complex issues on topics in Canadian and Indigenous history.

Related Links
Dr. Cook's Faces of UVic Research video:



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