When the government recently tried to abandon its responsibility to protect what little remains of the natural prairie, Trevor Herriot pushed back, only to discover an injustice haunting the lands he was trying to defend. In 1938, when the Métis of Ste. Madeleine returned from working away, they found their homes burnt to the ground and their animals shot. The land they held in common was no longer theirs, but was now controlled by the federal government.
Facing his own responsibility as a descendent of settlers, he connects today's ecological disarray to the legacy of Metis dispossession and the loss of their community lands. With Indigenous and settler people alienated from one another and from the grassland itself, hope and courage are in short supply. This book offers both by proposing an atonement that could again bring people and prairie together.
"Beautifully written, thoroughly persuasive, and a much-needed argument for the preservation of our remaining prairie, Towards a Prairie Atonement may well take its place among classics about the Western plains. " - Sharon Butala
"A brave, heart-breaking book in its unflinching analysis of government policy, colonial violence, and corporate greed. " - Lorna Crozier
"A sensitive, layered introspective on truth and reconciliation, this book guides us through an examination of 200 years of Métis residence on the prairie--land use, loss of the commons, displacement and subsequent conservation issues. It challenges us to re-examine our stewardship responsibilities for the Aspen Parkland and our relationships with Indigenous people. " - Lawrence J. Barkwell, Louis Riel Institute, and author of The Battle of Seven Oaks: A Métis Perspective
"[Herriot] has a strong naturalist bent and writes in illuminating detail about what he sees and hears on the ground, and about what has been lost. " -- Dennis Gruending, The Catalyst
"Herriot's writing sweeps across the page with the same breadth of the prairie he loves. ... By book's end, Towards a Prairie Atonement becomes an important call to action for increased prairie conservation and more communal land use. " - Foreword Reviews
"Herriot argues for a system based on the Metis commons, a way that combines European and Indigenous practices in land that is both private and public. " - Prairies North
"Explores the psychogeography of the grasslands of the Aspen Parkland in Saskatchewan. More than just a recounting of history, Towards a Prairie Atonement is a call to action for author and reader alike. " - World Literature Today
"Impassioned. " - Globe and Mail
"A call to enter into a new relationship with the prairie environment and with the peoples left behind by the gods of profit-driven development. " - Prairie Messenger
"Towards a Prairie Atonement is ultimately a call to action and a testimonial to the power of amends. " - Toronto Star