Big Bear : the end of freedom

Hugh A. Dempsey ( Dempsey, Hugh A. )
General Library Collection  [ Browse Items ]
Publication Year
Big Bear -- Cree Chief -- 1825?-1888 
Series Name
"Big Bear, chief of a Plains Cree community in western Canada in the late nineteenth century, was a transitional figure between the height of Plains Indian culture and the modern era's emphasis on political resistance by First Nation leaders. Born the son of a chief in 1825, Mistahimusqua, as he was known in Cree, learned to be a buffalo hunter, a warrior, and a chief, in the period when the Plains way of life was being eroded by oncoming Euro-Canadian immigration and settlement. As highly regarded for his religious powers as his political leadership, Big Bear emerged as a champion of the old ways in reaction to the assertion of authority over the prairies by the new nation of Canada. During the 1870s and early 1880s, Big Bear became the focal point of opposition for Cree and Saulteaux bands that did not wish to make treaty with Canada. During the early 1880s, after hunger and hardship forced him into treaty, he spearheaded a Plains diplomatic movement to renegotiate the treaties in favour of aboriginal groups, whose way of life had been devastated by the disappearance of the buffalo. Although Big Bear personally favoured peaceful protest, violent acts by some of his followers during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 provided the federal government with the opportunity to crush him by prosecuting him for treason-felony. Big Bear died in 1888, after serving part of his sentence in penitentiary. In the late twentieth century leaders such as Big Bear serve as models for new generations of prairie Native leaders who seek once again to renegotiate the relationship between the communities and the government of Canada. Miller's study, while incorporating the available original scholarship, is presented in a manner that makes it accessible to general readers. In addition to depicting the major events in Big Bear's life and career, it provides a useful introduction to Plains culture and its collision with Euro-Canadians in the latter part of the nineteenth century." 
227 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, map, portraits ; 22 cm. 
Biblio Notes
Includes index.  
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