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Distributed for Athabasca University Press


A Meditation and History on the Great Plains

Amer-European settlement of the Great Plains transformed bountiful Native soil into pasture and cropland, distorting the prairie ecosystem that the peoples who originally populated the land had long understood and were able to use wisely. Settlers justified this transformation with the unexamined premise of deficiency, according to which the vast area of the Great Plains was inadequate in flora and fauna and lacking in the advances of modern civilization.

384 pages

Table of Contents

Introduction | 1

1. A Unified Field Theory of the Great Plains |17

2. Exploring the Explorers | 45

3. Spiritual and Intellectual Resistance to Conquest, Part1: Custer and Riel | 63

4. Spiritual and Intellectual Resistance to Conquest, Part2: Messianism, the 1885NorthwestResistance, and the 1890Lakota Ghost Dance | 79

5. Spiritual and Intellectual Resistance to Conquest, Part3: John Joseph Mathews’ Wah’Kon-Tah and John G. Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks | 111

6. Intellectual Justification for Conquest: Comparative Historiography of the Canadian and US Wests | 127

7. Homesteading as Capital Formation on the Great Plains | 143

8. The Women’s West | 167

9. And Still the Waters | 185

10. Dust Bowls | 205

11. Mitigating but Not Rethinking: George W. Norris, Tommy Douglas, and the Great Plains | 217

12. Planning and Economic Theory | 243

13. Mouse Beans and Drowned Rivers | 265

14. Oil | 275

15. Arts, Justice, and Hope on the Great Plains | 291

Conclusion | 319

Notes | 333

Credits | 365

Index | 367

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