Staying in Place: Plains Metis Borderland Communities, 1885-1930

  • Author / Creator
    Pollock, Katie C.
  • Over the last few years, the importance of place in the creation, and continuation of, Metis communities has comprised one of my primary research interests. Tied up in this idea of place are the key questions: why did Metis individuals and families decide to stay in the borderlands in the face of mounting state opposition; and how were they able to create and maintain their trans-border communities despite that opposition. This study takes as its starting point that between the years of 1885 and 1930, residence in the Canadian-American borderlands provided a number of unique opportunities that facilitated the continuity of Plains Metis communities. To illustrate this, my dissertation focuses on four distinct localities that drew families back to certain places after the collapse of the bison economy and the North-West Rebellion of 1885: Turtle Mountain, Wood Mountain, Cypress Hills, and the Foot Hills. This decision to remain provided several opportunities that differed from those available in more distant Metis communities, like those at Red River or Lac Ste Anne. To remain in familiar places, individuals and families drew on three distinct tactics unique to this borderland experience. The first, a manipulation of settler-state policies; the second, an adaptation to new market opportunities; and the third, the reworking of women’s traditional artistic practices. This challenges the existing literature that argues these borderland communities declined and had all but disappeared by the turn-of-the-century, suggesting instead that these communities not only survived economic and political collapse after 1885, but were able to withstand the subsequent large-scale economic and environmental catastrophe that swept the Great Plains starting in the 1930s.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • History
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Ens, Gerhard Dr. (History and Classics)
    • Racette, Sherry Farrell Dr. (Visual Arts, University of Regina)
    • Mills, David Dr. (History and Classics)
    • Piper, Liza Dr. (History and Classics)
    • Lemire, Beverly Dr. (History and Classics)