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Loyal till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion

Loyal till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion    
Format Softcover
Catalogue No. 978-1-897252-73-4
Pages 310
Language English only
Price $19.95
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Written by Blair Stonechild and Bill Waiser.
Published by Fifth House Ltd., 2010 (c. 1997).


In this startling retelling of the North-West Rebellion, Loyal till Death explodes the myth of a grand Indian-Métis alliance and delves into the reasons why Indians have been branded as traitors and rebels in both the public imagination and official records.

After the rebellion, twenty-eight reserves were officially identified as disloyal, and more than fifty Indians – including Poundmaker and Big Bear – were convicted of rebellion-related crimes. The most damning event was the mass execution of eight Indian warriors at Fort Battleford in November 1885.

But Indian elders have long told stories about how First Nations remained faithful to their treaty promises during the conflict. Having their own peaceful strategies for dealing with an insensitive federal government, they were not interested in Riel's activities, and any Indian involvement was isolated, sporadic, and minimal. But Ottawa deliberately portrayed the Indians as outlaws to justify increasingly restrictive and repressive measures, an injustice that has left a lasting legacy with First Nations people.

Loyal till Death is the first comprehensive look at the Indian version of the North-West Rebellion. It brings to life many personalities – particularly those of the Indian leaders, whose voices have seldom been heard in conventional histories of the Canadian West. Combining oral history and exhaustive research, and illustrated with more than one hundred archival photographs, the book sheds new light on a greatly misunderstood aspect of our past.

About the authors:
Blair Stonechild, a member of the Muscowpetung band, earned his B.A. at McGill University and M.A. at the University of Regina. He is currently the executive director of planning and development at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College. He lives in Regina.

Bill Waiser is the author, co-author, or co-editor of over ten books. From 1998 to 2001, Waiser hosted a weekly Saskatchewan history television series, Looking Back - now also a book of the same name. Waiser has served on the council of the Canadian Historical Association and the board of directors of Canada's National History Society. In 2007 Bill received the honour of election to the Royal Society of Canada.

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This page last modified: September 21, 2010

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