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[book cover] Views From Fort Battleford


About the Book

The Myth of the Mounties as neutral arbiters between Aboriginal peoples and incoming settlers remains a cornerstone of the western Canadian narrative of a peaceful frontier experience that differs dramatically from its American equivalent. Walter Hildebrandt eviscerates this myth, placing the NWMP and early settlement in an international framework of imperialist plunder and the imposition of colonialist ideology. Fort Battleford, as an architectural endeavour, and as a Euro-Canadian settlement, oozed British and central Canadian values. The Mounties, like the Ottawa government that paid their salaries, “were in the West to assure that a new cultural template of social behaviour would replace the one they found.” The newcomers were blind to the cultural values and material achievements of the millennia-long residents of the North-West. Unlike their fur trade predecessors, the settler state had little need to respect or accommodate Aboriginal people. Following policies that resulted in starvation for Natives, the colonizers then responded brutally to the uprising of some of the oppressed in 1885. Hildebrandt’s ability to view these events from the indigenous viewpoint places the Mounties, the Canadian state, and the regional settlement experience under an entirely different spotlight.

About the Author

Born in Brooks, Alberta, Walter Hildebrandt is known as both a poet and historian. A consultant on Aboriginal treaties, he is co-author of The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7 and The Cypress Hills: The Land and Its People. He has authored his fifth book of poetry, Finding Louis O’Soup. His previous volume, Where the Land Gets Broken, received the Stephen G. Stephensson Award for Poetry in 2005. Walter Hildebrandt currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta.



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Copyright: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 CA). It may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided that the original author is credited.


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Download Front Matter

DownloadTable of Contents

Download Preface

DownloadChapter One
Conquest of the Prairie West

Download Chapter Two
The Material Culture of Fort Battleford

DownloadChapter Three
Administration of the Law at Fort Battleford: 1876-1885

Download Chapter Four
The Social and Economic Life of Fort Battleford

DownloadChapter Five
Fort Battleford in 1885

Download Chapter Six
Years of Waiting: 1885-1897

DownloadChapter Seven
Fort Battleford as an Historic Site

Download Conclusion

DownloadBack Matter

DownloadFold out Map