Trucking and trading with outsiders: Blood Indian Reserve integration into Southern Alberta economic environment, 1884-1939, a case of shared neighbourhoods

Regular, W. Keith (1999) Trucking and trading with outsiders: Blood Indian Reserve integration into Southern Alberta economic environment, 1884-1939, a case of shared neighbourhoods. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This dissertation examines the economic association that existed between the Blood Indian reserve and the surrounding region of southern Alberta for the period of the 1880s through the 1930s. This study fills the gap left by Canadian historiography that has largely ignored the economic associations between Natives and non-Natives living in a common and limited environment. Instead historians have uncritically accepted the perception that Native reserves have played only a minor role in regional development. Consequently Natives and their reserve land base are seen by Anglo-Canadians to have had little influence on the economic circumstances in which Natives and newcomers found themselves in the post treaty period on the Canadian Plains. – The Blood tribe and their large reservation were a significant factor in the southern Alberta region in which they were located. Their land base was important to the nascent and established ranching industry near the reserve through the period of the Depression. The produce of the Blood reserve, especially coal an hay, were commodities in demand by settlers and the Bloods were encouraged to provide them as needed. The bloods became expert freighters and the local community sought them out to transport the much needed produce from the reserve and to trans-ship goods for non-Native entrepreneurs. Blood field labour in the Raymond area sugar beet fields was at times critical to the functioning of that industry. Their availability and willingness to work was a deciding factor in the operations of the Knight Sugar Company especially during the first decade of operations. Finally the Bloods’ ties to the merchant community, especially in Cardston and Fort Macleod, resulted in a significant infusion of money into the local economy. Importantly, much of this cash resulted from the personal wealth of the Bloods and was not a consequence of Department of Indian Affairs charity. The Bloods were not a drain on the local resources but were important contributors to the developing economy of the region. The relationship that the bloods had with local merchants was very much like that of their White neighbours. – Unfortunately the Department of Indian Affairs did not recognize the potential of the reserve to serve the needs of the Bloods, or at least did not let this recognition mitigate their policies of restriction and paternalism. Had they done so the fortunes of the Bloods, and many other Native reserves, might be much different today. So too might there be greater recognition of the part played by Natives in regional economies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 11326
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 350-372.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Indians of North America--Alberta--Economic conditions; Kainah Indians--Alberta.

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