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Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life
Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life | James Daschuk, James James
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"
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shawnmooney
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A few weeks ago somehow or other I stumbled upon this 2013 article (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/when-canada-used-hunger-to-clear-the-wes...), a rude awakening for me personally about the degree to which Canada starved and massacred its aboriginal peoples to clear the prairies for settlement. So now I have the book to delve further. Happy 150 Canada indeed. Ethnic cleansing is something to atone for, not celebrate...

saresmoore Homeschooling my daughters in American history was a rude awakening for all three of us. Sometimes I think my teachers must have glossed over the atrocities of racism, ethnic cleansing, genocide, slavery in favor of highlighting white "religious freedom". I don't think anyone should be surprised by the current state of our nation. Sorry, that was a bit of a soapbox moment. Anyhoo, I relate to your comment! 3y
shawnmooney @saresmoore And I relate to yours! :-) Next month is Canada's 150th birthday, and the only thing I feel is worthy of celebration is the fact that the indigenous culture and peoples have survived the white man and our genocidal assault upon them. 3y
LeahBergen Oh, man. This looks like a tough read. 3y
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Reggie @saresmoore Um, I have to agree. I read Kindred and The Hate You Give this past spring and thought, I got nothing of this in school. Itold my friend the things they were doing to slaves in Kindred he told me to watch 12 Years as a Slave. We were both shocked, we're both in our 30's and none of these horrors were covered in school. Even reading T.H.U.G. There were times I kept reminding myself, holy crap, this happens in my country. Very sad. (edited) 3y
shawnmooney @saresmoore @LeahBergen @Reggie All this has made me rethink the common critique of Japanese culture, in particular the education system, faulting it for not teaching kids about the atrocities Japan committed in WW2. It's a valid criticism to be sure, but which culture has a leg to stand on when it comes to castigating others for whitewashing history? 3y
shawnmooney I can't believe I have a history degree for cripes sake and never heard about this ethnic cleansing in my own backyard until a few short weeks ago! 3y
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twohectobooks
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When the only blog comments you ever receive are spam.

batsy 😂 I know the feeling 3y
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review
twohectobooks
Pickpick

Every Canadian should read this book. It deals with the way diseases like small pox and tuberculosis killed many of the indigenous people on the Canadian plains, as well as the way the Canadian gov't used starvation as a tool to subjugate these people and move them onto reserves, once the buffalo hunt came to an end. Shocking, infuriating and tragic. #canada150

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twohectobooks
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Persistence hunting: "involves the pursuit of prey, on foot, until the hunter overtakes the animal, which has been immobilized by exhaustion and hyperthermia."

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present insane feats of human endurance that were once commonplace? I became exhausted just reading that sentence. #read4reconciliation #canada150

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twohectobooks
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Ecological studies have shown that [these traditions] purposefully abstained from beaver hunting as a means of managing the amount of available water.

I can already tell that this book is going to blow my mind. Here we get a bit of foreshadowing about the beaver hunt. #read4reconciliation #canada150

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twohectobooks
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Picked this up for my #library's #Read4Reconciliation challenge. #canada150