'As Their Natural Resources Fail': Native Peoples and the Economic History of Northern Manitoba, 1870-1930

'As Their Natural Resources Fail': Native Peoples and the Economic History of Northern Manitoba, 1870-1930

'As Their Natural Resources Fail': Native Peoples and the Economic History of Northern Manitoba, 1870-1930

'As Their Natural Resources Fail': Native Peoples and the Economic History of Northern Manitoba, 1870-1930

Synopsis

In conventional histories of the Canadian prairies, Native people disappear from view after the Riel Rebellions. In this groundbreaking study, Frank Tough examines the role of Native peoples, both Indian and Metis, in the economy of northern Manitoba from Treaty 1 to the Depression. He argues that they did not become economically obsolete but rather played an important role in the transitional era between the mercantile fur trade and the emerging industrial economy of the mid-twentieth century.

Excerpt

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

'As Their Natural Resources Fail' is a crucial book for anyone interested in the relationships between past and present in Aboriginal Canada. Frank Tough has written a book based on his many years of study and research of northern Manitoba society during its formative period from 1870 to 1930. This work demystifies stereotypes about Aboriginal peoples and their contribution to the development of western Canada. Tough weaves economic, political, social, cultural and legal history in a close fashion, providing the most textured and persuasive account of the transitions of the period.

From the introduction of trade with the Hudson's Bay Company and the rise of mission economies and mission life in northern Manitoba, to the transition from mercantile relations with the Company to treaty and scrip relations with the Dominion of Canada and the new province of Manitoba, the text underscores the dynamic nature of Aboriginal society in the North. It begins with the moment of great political tension -- the conflict in Aboriginal communities over the surrender of the Hudson's Bay Company charter to the Dominion on very favourable terms for the Company and the ongoing struggle to assert and gain recognition for competing First Nations and Metis land rights in the northern region of Manitoba. in a sense, Tough's book is a riveting exploration of the very basic question of how the Aboriginal claim to Rupertsland was ultimately treated as less important than the Hudson Bay Company's claim, particularly when, from the outset, the Imperial and Dominion governments undertook specific legal and political responsibilities for honourable dealings with Aboriginal peoples.

The brilliance of this book lies in its economic analysis of Company- Aboriginal and Crown-Aboriginal relations, as this economic context is clearly central to any full understanding of the period. It also provides a compelling human story of this region of Canada. For example, Tough takes specific families, such as the Swanson family from Norway House . . .

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