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

James Daschuk
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 39.95
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Book Description

May 13 2013 CPS (Book 65)
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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Review

"Required reading for all Canadians." -Candace Savage, author of A Geography of Blood "[A] great work of history...James' Daschuk's Clearing the Plains is colossal. This is excavation of an authentically Canadian past from under layers of colonial myth, performed with a scalpel, and illuminated by searing prose." -Globe and Mail "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 diseases 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 "[C]learly written, deepy researched, and properly contextualized history...Essential reading for everyone interested in the history of indigenous North America." -J.R. McNeil, 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.

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Canadian should read this book. March 2 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An in depth look at the history between the First Nations people and the European settlers of Canada. This book of factual accounts creates a path of understanding as to how we came to be where we are today. It is heart wrenching in some places, but the window of clarity it opens in one's conscience makes it a must read for all of us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clearing the Plains Feb. 14 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like it says on the back cover, A must read for all Canadians! Gives you a better understanding of what our First Nations are dealing with.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 10 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
very good
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4.0 out of 5 stars The destruction of a people.... June 23 2014
Format:Hardcover
Clearing the Plains is a worthwhile read but not for the faint-hearted. Daschuk presents an accurate picture of the suffering and death that our Native people experienced at the hands of European powers. Diseases, especially TB, became epidemic among a nation of people who, until the arrival of the Europeans, were found to be among the tallest and healthiest people in the world. Over time the bison became extinct, food was rationed by government agents, and Native people were now suffering from severe malnutrition. It's not surprising their health declined over time.
Learning about a people's past helps us to better understand their role in society today.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on a sad topic Aug. 16 2013
By oliver
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While the book is quite technical, and obviously a thesis, i have thoroughly appreciated this book. Very well researched book.
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