Canoe Nation: Nature, Race, and the Making of a Canadian Icon by Bruce EricksonCanoe Nation: Nature, Race, and the Making of a Canadian Icon by Bruce Erickson

Canoe Nation: Nature, Race, and the Making of a Canadian Icon

byBruce Erickson

Paperback | January 1, 2014

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In the summer of 2007, the CBC declared the canoe to be one of the Seven Wonders of Canada. More than an ancient means of transportation and trade, it has come to represent a vision of Canada that encompasses our past and present. It stands for cultural tradition, commerce, recreation, nature, and even political protest.

In Canoe Nation, Bruce Erickson chronicles the story of the canoe in the Canadian imagination. He argues that the canoe’s sentimental power has come about through a set of narratives that attempt to legitimize a particular vision of Canada – including this country’s history of colonialism and industrialization – and explores how the canoe shifted from being an industrial-economic vehicle in the fur trade to its contemporary place as a recreational vessel. From Alexander Mackenzie to Grey Owl to Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the canoe has been overvalued as a connection to the “nature” of Canada. Examining voyageur re-enactments, turn-of-the-century sportsman stories, and the subsequent “greening” of the canoe, this book shows how this symbol authenticates Canada’s reputation as a tolerant, environmentalist nation, even when there is evidence to the contrary. Ultimately, the stories we tell about the canoe need to be understood as moments in the ever-contested field of cultural politics.
Bruce Erickson is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at York University in Toronto.
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Title:Canoe Nation: Nature, Race, and the Making of a Canadian IconFormat:PaperbackDimensions:252 pages, 8.98 × 6 × 0.65 inPublished:January 1, 2014Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:077482249X

ISBN - 13:9780774822497

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Table of Contents

Preface: Canoeing Matters

Introduction: Canoes and the Nature of Canada

1 Pedagogical Canoes: “Forced Intimacy,” Suffering, and Remembering National History

2 I Fish, Therefore I Am: Recreational Canoeing and Wilderness Travel at the Turn of the Century

3 Regimes of Whiteness: Wilderness and the Production of Abstract Space from Seton to Grey Owl

4 Recreational Nationalism: Canoeing as Political Activism

Conclusion: Future Politics and the Production of the Nation

Notes

References

Index

Editorial Reviews

More than an ancient means of transportation and trade, the canoe has come to be a symbol of Canada itself. In Canoe Nation, Bruce Erickson argues that the canoe’s sentimental power has come about through a set of narratives that attempt to legitimize a particular vision of Canada that overvalues the nation’s connection to nature. From Alexander Mackenzie to Grey Owl to Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the canoe authenticates Canada’s reputation as a tolerant, environmentalist nation, even when there is abundant evidence to the contrary. Ultimately, the stories we tell about the canoe need to be understood as moments in the ever-contested field of cultural politics.In this book, Erickson places the canoe firmly in the middle of timely and thorny debates in Canadian cultural politics and makes us rethink our histories and present actions with new and provocative insights. It is a significant intervention in Canadian studies and other related fields including cultural and historical geography, environmental studies, and Aboriginal studies. - Laura Cameron, Department of Geography, Queen’s University, and co-editor of Rethinking the Great White North: Race, Nature, and the Historical Geographies of Whiteness in Canada