Documenting the effects of the Indian residential school system (governmental boarding schools for indigenous children), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015) recently defined reconciliation as ‘establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples’. The Commission determined that this is a relationship that Canada does not presently have. The country is at an important moment in its relationship with First Nations. It is beginning to acknowledge its own colonial history and there is discussion of how reconciliation might be achieved. The context of why reconciliation is needed relates to dark aspects of Canadian history, which linger on today.
A Viking army invaded the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia in 869 and killed its king, Edmund. The murdered monarch would be venerated as one of the great saints of medieval England, but his cult began in Danish East Anglia and was promoted by the people who killed him.
The development of Edmund’s cult in the Danish kingdom of East Anglia (which existed between 869 and 917) undermines the stereotype of Edmund as a symbol of Anglo-Saxon resistance to Viking invaders. The enthusiasm with which the Vikings embraced the figure of Edmund suggests that his commemoration became a way of forging a common Anglo-Danish identity for the people of eastern England – an identity that would become increasingly important as Danish kings dominated England in the 11th century.
In the archives of Trinity Hall College, Cambridge, there is an infrequently studied medieval manuscript. Created in 1406 it is an illustrated version of Boethius’ sixth-century ad Consolation of Philosophy. The Consolation is a fusion of Christian and pagan principles written in an attempt to identify the root of happiness – and set down while the author Boethius was awaiting execution in Pavia.
The Atacama Desert is the driest in the world. Stretching over 1,000 kilometres between northern Chile and southern Peru, this arid area is marked by a barren, mountainous landscape with extremely small amounts of rainfall. It seems an unlikely battleground.