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By Sarah A. Carter

Agriculture on Plains Indian reserves is usually notion to have failed as the local peoples lacked both an curiosity in farming or an inherent ability for it. In misplaced Harvests Sarah Carter unearths that reserve citizens have been frightened to farm and expended huge attempt on cultivation; executive regulations, greater than the rest, acted to undermine their luck. regardless of repeated requests for the help of Plains Indians, the Canadian executive supplied little or no support among 1874 and 1885, and what little they did provide proved lifeless. even supposing drought, frost, and different average phenomena contributed to the failure of early efforts, reserve farmers have been decided to create an financial system in response to agriculture and to develop into autonomous of presidency rules and the necessity for suggestions. officers in Ottawa, even if, attributed setbacks to not monetary or weather conditions yet to the Indians' personality and traditions which, they claimed, made the Indians unsuited to agriculture. within the decade following 1885 executive regulations made farming nearly most unlikely for the Plains Indians. They have been anticipated to subsist on one or acres and have been denied entry to any advancements in know-how: farmers needed to sow seed by way of hand, harvest with scythes, and thresh with flails. After the flip of the century, the govt. inspired land surrenders in an effort to make reliable agricultural land on hand to non-Indian settlers. This destroyed any probability the Plains Indians had of constructing agriculture a sturdy monetary base. via an exam of the correct released literature and of archival resources in Ottawa, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Carter presents the 1st in-depth research of presidency coverage, Indian responses, and the socio-economic of the reserve groups at the prairies within the post-treaty period.

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Extra resources for Lost Harvests: Prairie Indian Reserve Farmers and Government Policy

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But the Cree of the plains were able to define themselves as a definite political unit, separate from their neighbours. At their summer encampments, which functioned as their "intermittent town,"53 the bands of Cree reinforced their solidarity in language, customs, and ritual. It was a time for visiting friends, for trading, gambling, and competing in sports together. The sun dance, a central ceremony of the Cree during which they asked their spirit powers to bless mankind, was held almost annually and was a major integrating force.

The Cree forged and retained a tribal identity and developed a distinguished diplomatic and military record. This identity was not dependent upon or undermined by relations with European traders. Acquisition of a supply of horses was the underlying purpose of most of their military and trade strategy, and horses were not a commodity controlled by European traders. Throughout this period the Cree continued to make decisions with reference to their own interests, maintaining systems of political and economic alliances in which the European trader was one of several but not a determining variable.

Public money was not to be used, however; the program of civilizing the Indians was to be funded by the sale of the Indians' own land. The philanthropic attitude toward the Indian was vigorously supported by a vocal humanitarian lobby in Britain that was critical of the Empire's treatment of its new subjects. It advocated the need to reclaim Canada's Indians from their state of barbarism, instruct them in the industrious, peaceful habits of the civilized, and protect them from unscrupulous interests while this process proceeded.

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