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Furrows of stone: Race, politics and the Alberta Métis land question, 1932-1936

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
In the 1930s, impoverished, landless Alberta Métis united to form a political movement. The aim of its members was to gain title to the land they had historically occupied. The movement’s leaders also hoped to use the land issue as a catalyst to revive a nationalist consciousness among Métis. Viewing aboriginal political organization as a threat, the Alberta government appointed a Royal Commission to diffuse this challenge. Ostensibly an investigation of Métis destitution, the Ewing Commission served as a blue print to assimilate the Métis. This project examines how the Commission, underpinned by racist discourses, was able to redraw the land issue as a failure of the Métis to adapt to white society. By reframing arguments and redirecting blame, the Commissioners were able to justify creation of a land relief program that would not only act as a tool of assimilation but effectively absorb Métis political ambitions.
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