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Clearing the Plains - Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life

Clearing the Plains

Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life

Paperback : 9780889773400, 334 pages, August 2014

Table of contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction

1. Indigenous Health, Environment, and Disease before Europeans

2. The Early Fur Trade: Territorial Dislocation and Disease

3. Early Competition and the Extension of Trade and Disease, 1740-82

4. Despair and Death during the Fur Trade Wars, 1783-1821

5. Expansion of Settlement and Erosion of Health during the HBC Monopoly, 1821-69

6. Canada, the Northwest, and the Treaty Period, 1869-76

7. Treaties, Famine, and Epidemic Transition on the Plains, 1877-82

8. Dominion Administration of Relief, 1883-85

9. The Nadir of Indigenous Health, 1886-91

Conclusion

Maps

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Description

In arresting, but harrowing, prose, James Daschuk examines the roles that Old World diseases, climate, and, most disturbingly, Canadian politics--the politics of ethnocide--played in the deaths and subjugation of thousands of aboriginal people in the realization of Sir John A. Macdonald’s "National Dream."

It was a dream that came at great expense: the present disparity in health and economic well-being between First Nations and non-Native populations, and the lingering racism and misunderstanding that permeates the national consciousness to this day.

"Clearing the Plains is a tour de force that dismantles and destroys the view that Canada has a special claim to humanity in its treatment of indigenous peoples. Daschuk shows how infectious disease and state-supported starvation combined to create a creeping, relentless catastrophe that persists to the present day. The prose is gripping, the analysis is incisive, and the narrative is so chilling that it leaves its reader stunned and disturbed. For days after reading it, I was unable to shake a profound sense of sorrow. This is fearless, evidence-driven history at its finest." -Elizabeth A. Fenn, author of Pox Americana

"Required reading for all Canadians." -Candace Savage, author of A Geography of Blood

"Clearly written, deeply researched, and properly contextualized history...Essential reading for everyone interested in the history of indigenous North America." -J.R. McNeill, author of Mosquito Empires

Reviews

"Required reading for all Canadians." -Candace Savage, author of A Geography of Blood

"[C]learly written, deeply researched, and properly contextualized history...Essential reading for everyone interested in the history of indigenous North America." -J.R. McNeil, author of Mosquito Empires

"[A] great work of history...James Daschuk’s Clearing the Plains is colossal. This is excavation of an authentically Canadian past from under layers of colonial myth, performed with a scalpel, and illuminated by searing prose." -Globe & Mail

"Clearing the Plains is a tour de force that dismantles and destroys the view that Canada has a special claim to humanity in its treatment of indigenous peoples. Daschuk shows how infectious diseases and state-supported starvation combined to create a creeping, relentless catastrophe that persists to the present day. The prose is gripping, the analysis is incisive, and the narrative is so chilling that it leaves its reader stunned and disturbed. For days after reading it, I was unable to shake a profound sense of sorrow. This is fearless, evidence-driven history at its finest." -Elizabeth A. Fenn, author of Pox Americana