Where Happiness Dwells

A History of the Dane-zaa First Nations

Robin Ridington and Jillian Ridington

  • Published: 2013
  • Subject Listing: History
  • Bibliographic information: 336 pp., 54 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

At the request of the Doig River First Nation, anthropologists Robin and Jillian Ridington present a history of the Dane-zaa people based on oral histories collected over a half century of fieldwork. Taking a poetic form that does justice to the rhythm of Dane-zaa storytelling, these powerful stories span the full length of history, from the story of creation to the fur trade, from the arrival of missionaries to cases heard in the Supreme Court of Canada.
Robin Ridington is a professor emeritus ofanthropology at the University of British Columbia and has worked withthe Dane-zaa First Nations since the 1960s. JillianRidington is an ethnographer and researcher who has workedwith the Dane-zaa First Nations since 1978. Their books about theDane-zaa include Robin's Trail To Heaven: Knowledge andNarrative in a Northern Native Community, and a co-authored book,When You Sing It Now, Just Like New: First Nations Poetics, Voicesand Representations.

"From the indigenous perspective, a writer is accountable first and foremost to the people he or she writes about. The writing must proceed in the form of stories, in the voice of speakers addressing people they know. This book is one of great respect and insight that will be appreciated by scholars and enjoyed by all its readers."
-Jean-Guy Goulet, Faculty of Human Sciences, Saint Paul University

"This book offers a highly original yet rigorous view of Dane-zaa culture and history. It will be an important book for all scholars of First Nations .. and for First Nations seeking a model to write their own histories."
-Guy Lanoue, Department of Anthropology, Université de Montréal

Preface, with Linguistic Note and Pronunciation Guide

Introduction: Trails of Time

1 The Dane-zaa Creation Story

2 Tsááyaa, the Culture Hero

3 Shin kaa, the Vision Quest

4 Archaeology, Prehistory, and Oral History

5 The Early Fur Trade

6 The Later Fur Trade and the Hudson's Bay Company

7 Priests and Dreamers

8 The First and Last Dreamers

9 Kinship and Community

10 The 1899 North West Mounted Police Census and Treaty

11 Seasonal Rounds in British Columbia and Alberta

12 The 1918 Flu Epidemic

13 Losing Suu Na chii k'chige, the Great Fire, and


14 The Place Where Happiness Dwells, Indian Reserve

15 Today and Tomorrow

16 Dane-zaa Stories and the Anthropological


Works Cited