Introduction: The Territories in the History of Education in Canada: Where Are We Going? (and Why?)
McGregor, Heather E.
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Why should we study the history of education in the territories? And if we do, can it, and should it, form part of a larger pan-Canadian history? Where, indeed, do territorial histories of education fit into Canadian scholarship? We note that much less attention has been paid to historical work on this region of Canada than on any other. How can we explain such neglect? Is it due to the tendency of southerners (which is how we will refer to Canadians living well south of latitude 60) to focus mainly on their own con-cerns? To ignore a distant, little-known, and “empty” land? It is true that, altogether, the three territories comprise a vast geographical area that has only some 113,000 inhabitants. Nearly 40 per cent of them live in just two small cities — Whitehorse and Yellowknife — with the rest spread over some 60 other, mostly very small, communi-ties.1 Throughout the nation’s existence, the inhabitants of the territories have always formed but a tiny proportion of the population. Does their history offer Canadians something deserving greater attention? Or will it continue to be relegated to the pe-riphery, perhaps relevant only to the people who happen to live there?The articles in this Special Issue have been drawn together to illustrate some of the ways in which histories of education in the territories are important for us all. They cover a range of levels and types of education, they touch on different geographic areas of the three territories, they provide some new explorations and insights, and they reveal some possible directions for further research. In this introduction we want to expand on some of the reasons, and questions, associated with unfolding these histories, and with placing them in the context of a national history of education.