The Cypress Hills: The Land and Its People

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Purich Pub., 1994 - Social Science - 133 pages
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"Get them out" was a Canadian government policy to remove Aboriginal Peoples from the Cypress Hills area, according to Nekaneet Band Elder, Gordon Oakes, in this book's foreword. Walter Hildebrandt and Brian Hubner explain why the Cypress Hills - a 2,600 square kilometre plateau straddling the Alberta/Saskatchewan/US border - were an important gathering place for Aboriginal Peoples for thousands of years, and why the Canadian government did not want them there. The Indians and the Métis came because game and lodge pole pine were plentiful. Buffalo abounded and the authors describe all aspects of the buffalo hunt from spiritual preparation to the final kill. Fur traders and wolfers came, too, - mostly from Montana - and with them clashes between the different worlds leading to the 1873 Cypress Hills massacre. That event brought the North-West Mounted Police and led to the building of Fort Walsh in the Hills. It was in the Hills that Chief Sitting Bull and the Dakotas sought refuge after defeating Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. While the NWMP worked to maintain peace, they also helped disperse Aboriginal Peoples from the area. As a result, today there is only one Indian Reserve in the Cypress Hills area.

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Very well researched and written book on the period of critical transition from Buffalo Culture to impoundment of Canada's plains aboriginal people. Highly recommended reading for any student of western Canadian story.

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