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
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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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Contents

CHAPTER1 Indigenous Health Environment and Disease before Europeans
1
Territorial Dislocation and Disease
11
Early Competition and the Extension of Trade and Disease 174082
27
Despair and Death during the Fur Trade Wars 17831821
41
Expansion of Settlement and Erosion of Health during the HBC Monopoly 182169 159
59
Canada the Northwest and the Treaty Period 186976
79
Treaties Famine and Epidemic Transition on the Plains 187782
99
Dominion Administration of Relief 188385
127
The Nadir of Indigenous Health 188691
159
CONCLUSION
181
Map
187
Notes
195
Bibliography
251
Index
305
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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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