The American Revolution, the First Nations, and Colonel Samuel Smith

My interest in military history arises from my current documentary project in Long Branch where I live. One of the personalities associated with Long Branch is Colonel Samuel Smith who faught in the Wars of the American Revolution.

Not much is known about Colonel Smith. He’s perhaps best known for deprecations directed his way by the Scottish author and reformer Robert Gourlay after a visit to Smith’s log cabin east of Etobicoke Creek near the shore of Lake Ontario. Often when I meet somebody and mention Colonel Smith, I hear the anecdote about Gourlay’s visit to Smith’s homestead. The anecdote positions the colonel in the minds of many contemporary observers.

More is known about the American Revolution, the First Nations of North America, and the world history of warfare. These topics offer another means whereby we can position the colonel in our minds.

My study of Military workfare began with Note 2 on p. 269 of Chapter 6, “The military after discipline.” I look forward to learning what the author means by the term ‘military after discipline.’ Note 2 discusses how the occupation of air force pilot serves as an exception to trends regarding the market value of military skills. Fortunately for air force pilots, their occupation offers “highly marketable skills in commercial flight.”

The resulting recruiting and retention challenge in this distinct case, the author notes, is to retain individuals with adequate skills as opposed to attracting them to military life in the first place. One can assume the chapter deals withs employability after service and recruitment challenges in the military.

I found Note 2 interesting. I moved on to Note 3 which remarks that, founded in 1946 with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations is an ‘action oriented research orientaion.’ The Tavistock website notes that the institute was formally founded as a registered charity in 1947. Founded in 1946; formally founded in 1947: A question arises regarding dates.

In Note 3 Deborah Cowan adds that the Tavistock Institute was in part the continuation of work by Second World War British psychiatrists, clinical and social psychologists, and anthropologists.

The reference to athropologists reminds me of a discussion by Stanley Barrett in Anthropology: A student’s guide to theory and method. Barrett (2009: 225-226) notes that those who oppose the involvement of anthropologists in war-related activity may draw a distinction between justifiable and unjustifiable wars. He adds that most anthroplogists on the Allied side participated in the Second World War.

Notes 2 and 3 have convinced me to study this book in depth.

On the inner flap of the book, I came across several intriguing terms including the expression ‘organized violence’ as in: “… this study examines the complex, often concealed ways in which organized violence continues to shape national belonging.”

‘Organized violence’ is an apt expression. It reminds me of a passage in another book in which military leadership is described as management of violence. I look forward to learning what the term ‘national belonging’ denotes in this book, which draws on what are described as five decades of restricted archival material, by a writer whose first day of her PhD work in geography at the University of Toronto happened to be September 11, 2001. I look forward to reading the book.


An April 15, 2016 Globe and Mail article by Bob Rae is entitled: “Attawapiskat is not alone: Suicide crisis is national problem.”

An Aug. 10, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Popular theory on how humans populated North America can’t be right, study shows.”

A December 2015 Atlantic article is entitled: “The Accidental Patriots: Many Americans could have gone either way during the Revolution.”

An April 26, 2017 CBC article is entitled: “Scientists find evidence that humans were in North America 100,000 years earlier than believed: Researchers basing opinion on tools found next to mastodon site in San Diego.”

An April 26, 2017 Atlantic article is entitled: “A New Study Says Humans Were in America 130,000 Years Ago: That’s 100,000 years earlier than previously thought—and most archaeologists aren’t buying it.

An April 26, 2017 Canadian Art article is entitled: “Video: In the Studio with Kent Monkman.”


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