The Prairie West as Promised Land


The Prairie West as Promised Land

So the emblem of the West
Our bright Maple Leaf is bless'd
To its children of the goodly open hand;
All the nations of the earth
Are now learning of its worth
And are flocking to this wealthy, promised land. - The Sugar Maple Tree Song, 1906

In 1906, the Sugar Maple Tree Song was just one example of the rhapsodic pieces that touted the Prairie West as the "promised land." In the formative years of agricultural settlement from the late nineteenth century to the First World War, the Canadian government, along with the railways and other Prairie boosters, further developed and propagated this image within the widely distributed promotional literature that was used to attract millions of immigrants to the Canadian West from all corners of the world. Some saw the Prairies as an ideal place to create a Utopian society; others seized the chance to take control of their own destinies in a new and exciting place. The image of the West as a place of unbridled prosperity and opportunity became the dominant perception of the region at that time. During the interwar and post-World War II eras, this image was questioned and challenged, although not entirely replaced, thus showing its pervasive influence.The Prairie West as Promised Land is group of essays, which includes contributions from some of the best-known Prairie historians as well as some of the most promising new scholars in the field, explores this persistent theme in Prairie history and makes an important contribution to the historiography of the Canadian West.

With Contributions By:
Sarah Carter
Catherine A. Cavanaugh
Brett Fairbairn
Michael Fedyk
R. Douglas Francis
David Hall
Laurence Kitzan
Chris Kitzan
George Melnyk
Doug Owram
Anthony W. Rasporich
Bradford J. Rennie
Bill Waiser
Matthew Wangler
Randi Warne

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front Cover 1
Title Page 4
Bibliographic Information 5
Contents Section I 6
Contents Section II & III 7
Contents Section IV & V 8
Introduction 10
Section I: Visions of the Promised Land 26
1.The Promise of the West as Settlement Frontier 28
2. Adventurers in the Promised Land: British Writers in the Cnaadian Northwest, 1841-1913 54
3. Canada's Rocky Mountain Parks: Rationality, Romanticism, and a Modern Canada 78
4. Clifford Sifton's Vision of the Prairie West 102
Section II: Settling the Promised Land 126
5. "We Must Farm to Enable Us to Live": The Plains Cree and Agriculture to 1900 128
6. Utopian Ideals and Community Settlements in Western canada, 1880 - 1914 152
7. "Land We Can Own": Settling in the Promised Land 180
Section III: Envisioning the Prairie West as a Perfect Society 200
8. The City Yes, The City No: Perfection By Design in the Western City 202
9. The Land of the Second Chance: Nellie McClung's West as Promised Land 224
10. The Kingdon of God on the Priaries: J.S. Woodsworth's Vision of the Prairie West as Promised Land 250
11. "A Far Green Country Unto a Swift Sunrise": The Utopianism of the Alberta Farm Movement, 1909-1923 268
Section IV: A Promised Land for the "Chosen People" 284
12. "No Place for a Woman": Engendering Western Canadian Settlement 286
13. Preaching Purity in the Promised Land: Bishop Lloyd and the Immigration Debate 316
14. Policing the Promised Land: The RCMP and Negative Nation-Building in Alberta and Saskatchewan in the Interwar Period 338
Section V: Readjusting the Vision of the Promised Land in the Modern Era 358
15. Uncertain Promise: The Prairie Farmer and the Post-War Era 360
16. The Artist's Eye: Modernist and Postmodernist Visualizations of the Prairie West 380
17. The Dream Still Lives: Promised Land Narratives During the Saskatchewan Golden Jubilee 404
18. From Farm to Community Co-Operatives in Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1905-2005 430
Notes on Contributors 458
Back Cover 490