WINNIPEG, Oct. 16, 2014 /CNW/ - In his latest book, Clearing the Plains; Disease, Politics of Starvation & the Loss of Aboriginal Life, James Daschuk uncovers the connection between the construction of Canada's railway and the demise of thousands of aboriginal people. The Regina professor shines a critical spotlight on Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and blames him for systematically starving aboriginal people to make way for the railroads and his national dream.
As the railway snaked through Canada, it crossed into the Plain and Wood Cree Treaty Six territory. At the time, First Nations groups in the area were facing a famine due to the loss of bison. Although their 1876 treaty had included a clause for government support during times of famine, Daschuk maintains that the Dominion used the situation to their advantage by ordering his people to withhold food until they moved several hundred kilometres away from the construction site.
For his provocative work, James Daschuk is the recipient of the Governor General's History Award for Scholarly Research: the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize. The 2014 Governor General's History Awards will be presented at a ceremony at Rideau Hall on November 3, 2014.
Michel Duquet, CHA Executive Director remarked, "Based on an impressive research, James Daschuk's book draws on ethnohistory, historical climatology, biology, as well as environmental, economic and political history to demonstrate the devastating impact that diseases, global trade, the changing environment and government policies had on the lives of Plains First Nations in the 18th and 19th centuries. This remarkable manuscript is sure to become a standard reference on the nineteenth century treaty-making era."
The Governor General's History Awards bring together students, teachers, historians, museums and community organizations, writers and media producers to celebrate as well as learn from each other. The day prior to the award ceremonies, recipients will participate in a public history forum at the Canadian War Museum. This year's forum is open to the public to attend onsite or online by registering at www.CanadasHistory.ca/HistoryForum.
The Sir John A. Macdonald prize is the top history-writing prize for Canadian academics. The prize is awarded annually by the Canadian Historical Association (CHA). The recipients receive a cash prize of $5,000 generously provided by Manulife Financial, as well as an all-expense paid trip for the recipients to Ottawa provided by Canada's History Society.
About Canadian Historical Association
Founded in 1922, the Canadian Historical Association/La Société historique du Canada is a bilingual not-for-profit and charitable association devoted to fostering the scholarly study and communication of history in Canada. It is the largest of its kind in the country.
The Association seeks to encourage the integration of historical knowledge and perspectives in both the scholarly and public spheres, to ensure the accessibility of historical resources, and to defend the rights and freedoms of professional and emerging historians in the pursuit of historical inquiry.
With members from across Canada and around the world, the CHA/SHC serves professional historians and is open to anyone with an interest in history.
Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. It celebrated 125 years of providing clients strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions in 2012. Its international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services. These products and services include individual life insurance, group life and health insurance, long-term care services, pension products, annuities, mutual funds and banking products. Manulife provides asset management services to institutional customers worldwide and offer reinsurance solutions, specializing in property and casualty retrocession.
About Canada's History Society
Canada's History Society is a Winnipeg-based charitable organization devoted to popularizing Canadian history. In addition to publishing Canada's History (formerly The Beaver) magazine, and Kayak: Canada's History Magazine for Kids, the Society also produces the Governor General's History Awards to celebrate excellence in the field and encourage more discovery, celebrations and understanding about our rich history and culture. More details can be found at CanadasHistory.ca.
SOURCE: Canada's History
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