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True North: The Yukon and Northwest Territories

What can be said of the Yukon and Northwest Territories as a homeland? What does it mean to be indigenous to this area? This book offers a wealth of photographs and illustrations, as well as a lively and approachable historical text, in its documentation of the land and its people.

Canadians have always been fascinated by the North. Celebrated in song, story and motion picture, it has contributed such icons of the public consciousness as the Klondike Gold Rush, the doomed Franklin expedition, the outlaw Dan McGrew and the lady that's known as Lou, the Mad Trapper of Rat River, the Mountie who always gets his man, and the heroic Inuit hunter.

True North looks at all aspects of the region, to provide an accurate account of its past.
True North: The Yukon and Northwest Territories

For many readers the most fascinating chapters will be those on the exploration of the region, featuring Eric the Red, Cabot, Frobisher, Baffin, Mackenzie, Franklin, Amundsen and many more. With the explorers came the fur trade, and the hardships involved in moving goods from England to the Canadian arctic: "...the average time from the day that a copper kettle left the company's warehouse in London until the beaver pelt that paid for it arrived was an astonishing seven years. The feat was analogous to trading with Mars."

Here also is the real story of the Klondike Gold Rush--almost as melodramatic as the Holywood version.

The book's final chapters deal with recent history and modern concerns: the militarization of the region, with developments such as the DEW line: and its exploitation by business interests.

At the centre of the book, of course, are the Inuit and Dene. Their history is constantly present, in discussions of their early contact with European explorers, their treatment in missionary-run government schools, relations with the mining settlements, fur traders and whalers, the diseases brought to the North by the builders of the Alaska Highway, and the administration of government policy on the north and native peoples.

The book's closing chapter, "Search for the Future", discusses in detail several topics of particular importance to the First Nations, such as the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline, the devolution of political power, land claims negotiations, and preparations for the creation of a third territory.

Throughout, carefully chosen photographs illustrate all facets of this fascinating region: landscapes, glaciers, and waterfalls; towns, bridges and buildings; ships and dogsleds, explorers and Mounties; historical native costumes and activities; even a frozen mastodon head. The result is a lucid, accessible and stunningly illustrated introduction to the Canadian north.

1.Imagination and Reality
2.First Peoples
4.Fur Traders and Missionaries
5.The Age of Exploration
7.Quiet Years, 1900-40
9.The New North
10.Search for a Future

Written by William R. Morrison. Published by Oxford University Press, 1998.

Other titles in the Illustrated History of Canada series:
British Columbia: Land of Promises
Forging the Prairie West
Ontario: Image, Identity, and Power
Catalogue No. 0-19-541045-9
Price $26.95
Format Softcover
Pages 202
Language English only
Price and availability subject to change. Shipping and applicable taxes extra.
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This page last modified: December 5, 2006

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