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

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University of Regina Press, 2013 - Social Science - 318 pages
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

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User Review  - EnidaV - LibraryThing

Very important subject but sometimes a little hard to get through as it’s written for academics (it was Daschuk’s PhD thesis). Read full review


CHAPTER1 Indigenous Health Environment and Disease before Europeans
Territorial Dislocation and Disease
Early Competition and the Extension of Trade and Disease 174082
Despair and Death during the Fur Trade Wars 17831821
Expansion of Settlement and Erosion of Health during the HBC Monopoly 182169 159
Canada the Northwest and the Treaty Period 186976
Treaties Famine and Epidemic Transition on the Plains 187782
Dominion Administration of Relief 188385
The Nadir of Indigenous Health 188691

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About the author (2013)

James Daschuk has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Manitoba. He is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina and a researcher with the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit.

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