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

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

byJames Daschuk

Hardcover | May 13, 2013

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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

About The Author

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.
La destruction des indiens des Plaines
La destruction des indiens des Plaines

by James Daschuk


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Details & Specs

Title:Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal LifeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:340 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.12 inPublished:May 13, 2013Publisher:University of Regina PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889772967

ISBN - 13:9780889772960

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Extra Content

Table of Contents



1. Indigenous Health, Environment, and Disease before Europeans

2. The Early Fur Trade: Territorial Dislocation and Disease

3. Early Competition and the Extension of Trade and Disease, 1740-82

4. Despair and Death during the Fur Trade Wars, 1783-1821

5. Expansion of Settlement and Erosion of Health during the HBC Monopoly, 1821-69

6. Canada, the Northwest, and the Treaty Period, 1869-76

7. Treaties, Famine, and Epidemic Transition on the Plains, 1877-82

8. Dominion Administration of Relief, 1883-85

9. The Nadir of Indigenous Health, 1886-91