Battling Parish Priests, Bootleggers, and Fur Sharks: CCF Colonialism in Northern Saskatchewan
Quiring, David Menno
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"Battling Parish Priests, Bootleggers, and Fur Sharks: CCF Colonialism in Northern Saskatchewan," examines the relationship between the government of Saskatchewan and the northern half of the province during the immediate post-World War Two period. Prior to 1944, the people of the region lived in relative isolation and had developed a unique society, culture, and economy distinct from the rest of the province. But under the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), which formed the government of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1964, the North underwent profound change. During this twenty-year period, using colonial methods, the CCF attempted to impose modernization, assimilation, and socialism within the northern Aboriginal society. CCF efforts in the North proved largely unsuccessful. A failure to commit adequate resources, a lack of planning, and resistance from northerners to the intrusive governmental presence combined to limit the success of the CCF project. The CCF also destroyed much of the former northern economic and social system, while failing to build a workable new economy and society. This contributed to the worsening poverty and social dysfunction within Aboriginal communities. This work breaks new ground in significant ways. Other studies have examined particular aspects of the CCF northern record, but none have employed extensive original research in an effort to grasp the larger northern picture. This research seeks to understand and explain, in a comprehensive fashion, the legacy left by the CCF to the North. Additionally, this study offers a new perspective on the socialism of the CCF in Saskatchewan. The CCF's northern record indicates the presence of a much stronger socialism than many observers, who have only examined the CCF in the South, thought. Various sources have provided information for this research. Archival records located at the Saskatchewan Archives Board served as the largest single source. Documents from the Glenbow Archives also have proven valuable. Oral interviews with northern residents and former provincial government employees added new perspectives and invaluable checks on the archival information. The existing body of secondary scholarship has provided a necessary base of information.