A history of Indigenous peoples and Canadian women and their families in the Fraser Valley

Jean Barman's book launch is October 1.








rene Kelleher lived all her life in the shadow of her inheritance. Her local community in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley all too often treated her as if she was invisible.


The combination of white and Indigenous descent that Irene embodied was beyond the bounds of acceptability by a dominant white society. To be mixed was to not belong. Attracted to the future British Columbia by a gold rush beginning in 1858, Irene’s white grandfathers had families with Indigenous women.


Theirs was not an uncommon story. Some of the earliest newcomers to do so were in the employ of the fur trading Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort Langley. And yet, more than one hundred and fifty years later, the descendants of these early pioneers are still waiting for their stories to be heard.


Through meticulous research, family records and a personal connection to Irene, Governor General award-winning historian Jean Barman explores this aspect of British Columbia’s history and the deeply rooted prejudice faced by families who helped to build Canada. Invisible Generations evokes the Catholic residential school that Irene’s parents and so many other “mixed blood” children attended.


Yet individuals and families survived as best they could, building good lives for themselves and those around them. Irene was determined to be a schoolteacher and taught across the farthest reaches of the province, including Doukhobor children at a time when the community was vehemently opposed to their offspring attending school.

Jean Barman is an award-winning historian and author of more than a dozen books about British Columbian and Canadian history, including Sojourning Sisters for which she won the 2004 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing. Much of Barman’s writing attends to the stories and histories of Indigenous Peoples and to Canadian women and families. Her writing has garnered more than a dozen Canadian and American awards, including the Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research.


She is professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She holds graduate degrees from Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley and University of British Columbia, and an honorary doctorate from Vancouver Island University. Jean lives in Vancouver, BC.


Indigenous / Biography regional History paperback, 6" x 9", 192 pp, b&w photos $24.95 CAD Available August 16, 2019.


Buy the book on Amazon here.





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