The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture

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Arsenal Pulp Press, 1992 - History - 258 pages

Now entering a seventh printing, and with over 18,000 copies sold, "The Imaginary Indian" is a fascinating, revealing history of the "Indian" image mythologized by popular Canadian culture since 1850, propagating stereotypes that exist to this day. Images of the Indian have always been fundamental to Canadian culture. From the paintings and photographs of the nineteenth century to the Mounted Police sagas and the spectacle of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show; from the performances of Pauline Johnson, Grey Owl, and Buffalo Long Lance to the media images of Oka and Elijah Harper?the Imaginary Indian is ever with us, oscillating throughout our history from friend to foe, from Noble Savage to bloodthirsty warrior, from debased alchoholic to wise elder, from monosyllabic "squaw" to eloquent princess, from enemy of progress to protector of the environment. The Imaginary Indian has been, and continues to be ?as Daniel Francis reveals in this book?just about anything the non-Native culture has wanted it to be; and the contradictory stories non-Natives tell about Imaginary Indians are really stories about themselves and the uncertainties that make up their cultural heritage. This is not a book about Native people; it is the story of the images projected upon Native people?and the desperate uses to which they are put. "The Imaginary Indian" is an essential title for aboriginal studies in Canada. Now in its 7th printing.

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User Review  - LynnB - LibraryThing

The Indian is a familiar icon in Canadian culture. In this book, Daniel Francis shows us that the iconic Indian is largely imaginary -- made up by non-Aboriginals based on fears, prejudices and ... Read full review

About the author (1992)

Daniel Francis is an historian and the author/editor of more than twenty books, including five for Arsenal Pulp Press: The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture , National Dreams: Myth, Memory and Canadian History, LD: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver (winner of the City of Vancouver Book Award), Seeing Reds: The Red Scare of 1918-1919, Canada's First War on Terror and Imagining Ourselves: Classics of Canadian Non-Fiction. His other books include A Road for Canada, Red Light Neon: A History of Vancouver's Sex Trade, Copying People: Photographing British Columbia First Nations 1860-1940, The Great Chase: A History of World Whaling, New Beginnings: A Social History of Canada, and the popular Encyclopedia of British Columbia. He is also on the board of Geist magazine, and was awarded Canada's History Pierre Berton Award in 2017. Daniel lives in North Vancouver, BC.

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