White Settler Reserve: New Iceland and the Colonization of the Canadian West by Ryan EyfordWhite Settler Reserve: New Iceland and the Colonization of the Canadian West by Ryan Eyford

White Settler Reserve: New Iceland and the Colonization of the Canadian West

byRyan Eyford

Paperback | March 1, 2017

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In 1875, the Canadian government created a reserve for Icelandic immigrants on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipeg. Hoping for a better life in Canada, many of the New Iceland colonists found only hardship, disappointment, or death. Those who survived scurvy and smallpox faced crop failure, internal dissension, and severe flooding that nearly ended the project only six years after it had begun.This innovative book looks beyond the experiences of these Icelandic immigrants to understand the context into which their reserve fits within the history of settler colonialism.

Ryan Eyford reveals that the timing and location of the Icelandic settlement was not accidental. New Iceland was one of several land reserves created for Europeans by the Canadian government in the late nineteenth century. Canadian leaders hoped that group settlements of immigrants on Indigenous lands would help realize their ambitious plans for western expansion.

By juxtaposing the Icelanders’ experiences with those of the Cree, Ojibwe, and Metis people they displaced, Eyford makes clear the connections between immigrant resettlement and Indigenous displacement. By analyzing themes such as race, land, health, and governance, he draws out the tensions that punctuated the process of colonization in western Canada and situates the region within the global history of colonialism.

Ryan Eyford is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg. He has published articles and chapters in Histoire sociale/Social History, the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, Sport History Review, and the edited collection Within and Without the Nation: Canadian History as Transnational...
Title:White Settler Reserve: New Iceland and the Colonization of the Canadian WestFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:March 1, 2017Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774831596

ISBN - 13:9780774831598

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Table of Contents


1 Northern Dreamlands: Canadian Expansionism and Icelandic Migration

2 Broken Townships: Colonization Reserves and the Dominion Lands System

3 The First New Icelanders: Family Migration and the Formation of a Reserve Community

4 Quarantined within a New Order: Smallpox and the Spatial Practices of Colonization

5 “Principal Projector of the Colony”: The Turbulent Career of John Taylor, Icelandic Agent

6 Becoming British Subjects: Municipal Government and Citizenship

7 “Freemen Serving No Overlord”: Debt, Self-Reliance, and Liberty


Notes; Bibliography; Index

Editorial Reviews

In 1875, Icelandic immigrants established a colony on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipeg. The timing and location of New Iceland was not accidental. Across the Prairies, the Canadian government was creating land reserves for Europeans in the hope that the agricultural development of Indigenous lands would support the state’s economic and political ambitions. In this innovative history, Ryan Eyford expands our understanding of the creation of western Canada: his nuanced account traces the connections between Icelandic colonists, the Indigenous people they displaced, and other settler groups while exposing the ideas and practices integral to building a colonial society.Moving beyond the familiar story of the Métis, Louis Riel, and the Red River Resistance, Ryan Eyford offers up a novel and fascinating account of Manitoba’s early history. By exploring the experiences of a well-known group of settlers – the Icelanders – he reveals a whole new side of the colonial reserve system. - Robert Wardhaugh, author of Behind the Scenes: The Life and Work of William Clifford Clark