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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

As Their Natural Resources Fail

Native Peoples and the Economic History of Northern Manitoba, 1870-1930

In conventional histories of the Canadian prairies, Native people disappear from view after the Riel Rebellions. In this groundbreaking study, Frank Tough examines the role of Native peoples, both Indian and Metis, in the economy of northern Manitoba from Treaty 1 to the Depression. He argues that they did not become economically obsolete but rather played an important role in the transitional era between the mercantile fur trade and the emerging industrial economy of the mid-twentieth century.

392 pages

Table of Contents

Illustration, Figures, and Tables




1 “To Look for Food Instead of Fur”: Local Economies - Indian Bands and Company Posts

2 “The Only Remedy Is the Employment of Steam”: Reorganizing the Regional System

3 “Dependent on the Company’s Provisions for Subsistence”: The Decline of Kihchiwaskahikanihk (York Factory)

4 “To Be Shut Up on a Small Reserve”: Geographical and Economic Aspects of Indian Treaties

5 “Lands Are Getting Poor in Hunting”: Treaty Adhesions in Northern Manitoba

6 “Terms and Conditions as May Be Deemed Expedient”: Metis Aboriginal Title

7 “Go and Pitch His Camp”: Native Settlement Patterns and Indian Agriculture

8 “Nothing to Make Up for the Great Loss of Winter Food”: Resource Conflicts over Common-Property Fisheries

9 “A Great Future Awaits This Section of Northern Manitoba”: Economic Boom and Native Labour

10 “They Make a Comfortable Living”: Economic Change and Incomes

11 “Wait until Advancing Civilization Has So Interfered with Their Natural Resources”: Surplus Labour, Migrations, and Stagnation

12 “The Fish and Waters Should Be Ours”: The Demise of Native Fisheries - Regulation and Capitalization

13 “Civilizing the Wilderness Will Affect Us”: The Demise of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Re-Emergence of Competition

14 “And Now That the Country Has Gone Mining Crazy”: Industrial Capital, Native People, and the Regional Economy



A. Fur Trade Productivity and Prices: Stagnation and Revival

B. Summary of Treaty Terms (Written Version)

C. Some Land Scrip Intricacies Notes Index

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