The intention in writing this paper is to take a look at a representation of what Canadians were reading about their Indians over seventy years of this century. The purpose is to determine what view of the Canadian Indian writers were extending in the popular national magazines, and to suggest attitudes and changes in attitudes during these seven decades.
The thesis involves a need for some definition of what is considered to be the English language national, popular magazine press. Because of the problems involved in research of this type, especially in a country where no clearly defined popular national magazine press has evolved, an explanation of the methodology is needed. Review of Reviews, in a 1906 survey of what Canadians read, concluded that in the popular magazine field, which was very small, Canadian Magazine was the only one that even approached a national level. The natural void in the field was filled by the common American and British publications. Indeed, the Canada Year Book, 1959, described the Canadian magazine press as a mere journalistic transplant that finally spread throughout Canada. Klinck supports this contention that the standard British and American publications were read widely by Canadians on a national level. There was much concern over the difficulty of establishing a native popular magazine press over the years, serious enough, indeed, to see government royal commissions appointed to investigate the problem. The Massey Commission in 1951 concluded the above-mentioned facts. The O'Leary Commission of 1961 also investigated similar problems. It was primarily concerned with combatting the influx of foreign magazines which was seen as a threat to a distinctive culture for Canada but it clearly made the point that the indigenous magazine press was small and, indeed, succumbing to the American press.
These sources indicate that very few magazines which could be termed "national" and "popular" in the sense of not regional and for the "provision of entertainment and general information" of the average Canadian, were native to Canada. This is not to say that other Canadian periodicals did not exist--they certainly did. In the early years of the century Canadian Magazine was the only one considered to qualify. There were others but they were regional, not national, small and often short-lived.
Magazines such as MacLean's and Saturday Night are the obvious choices in the later years but not in the first decades because there was no clear definition yet, because the field of native periodicals was still small, and because the nation itself was regional until well after the Second Great War. As a result the author . . .