Open Access Week

October 23 - 29, 2023 | Everywhere

A Challenge to Collaborate-- from the ground up

Published in June 2013 and written by the University of Regina historian James Daschuk, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss ... is a study of population health of the Indigenous people who lived (and continue to live) in Canada’s Plains region. More importantly, the book is an indictment of the actions of the government of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. During the nineteenth century, Macdonald implemented a policy of starvation that was designed to wreak havoc among Indigenous peoples and, literally, “clear the plains” to enable settlement. Daschuk recounts this history and shows how the physical effects of disease and malnutrition linger among those people’s descendents, even today.

Historians had long known about Sir John A. Macdonald’s policies and their effects on our First Peoples. But for academics who weren’t historians, for many Indigenous people, and for the Canadian public at large, this story of mass starvation was a revelation.

Clearing the Plains became a national best seller. Op-eds appeared in national newspapers, expressing the need for Canadians to acknowledge this dark chapter of our history and to teach it to our children. Readers told us of the horror and sorrow they experienced while reading the book, even while thanking the author for his work. On November 3, 2014, in Ottawa, James Daschuk received a Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research (ironically, this award is called the “Sir John A. Macdonald Prize”).

For many people, Clearing the Plains has completely changed their view of Canada as a so-called “nice” nation.

On October 19, we released on U of R Press’s website the twenty years of research—primary source documents, notes, bibliographies—that went into writing Clearing the Plains.

Academics have traditionally guarded their research from view, so James Daschuk has taken a giant step forward in OA by making available his publicly funded research. Daschuk hopes new ideas will flow from his research, with scholars, students, and writers using it to deepen our understanding of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples.

University of Regina Press challenges all scholars to follow Daschuk’s lead to speed productivity, research progress, and knowledge translation, and to take the OA model to this logical next step.

Views: 249


You need to be a member of Open Access Week to add comments!

Organized by:

in partnership with our
Advisory Committee

Twitter Feed

All content subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License unless specified differently by poster.   Created by Nick Shockey.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service