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 Featured Title
Game in the Garden
A Human History of Wildlife in Western Canada to 1940
George Colpitts  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 10/31/2002
ISBN: 9780774809627    

$34.95 Paperback
Release Date: 7/1/2003
ISBN: 9780774809634    

216 Pages


About the Book

Frontier and pioneer societies provide numerous unexplored avenues of social history. Game in the Garden identifies the imaginative use of wild animals in early western society. In what is now western Canada, humans have long used wildlife in order to survive their surroundings, better understand their natural world, and form aspects of their identity.

The shared use of wild animals has helped to determine social relations between Native peoples and newcomers. In later settlement periods, controversy about subsistence hunting and campaigns of local conservation associations drew lines between groups in communities, particularly Native peoples, immigrants, farmers, and urban dwellers. In addition to examining grassroots conservation activities, Colpitts identifies early slaughter rituals, iconographic traditions, and subsistence strategies that endured well into the interwar years in the twentieth century. Drawing primarily on local and provincial archival sources, he analyzes popular meanings and booster messages discernible in taxidermy work, city nature museums, and promotional photography.

Environmental historians, Native studies specialists, history students, conservationists, nature enthusiasts, and general readers alike will find fascinating how western attitudes to wild animals changed according to subsistence and economic needs and how wildlife helped to determine the social relations among people in western Canada.

About the Author(s)

George Colpitts has his doctorate in history from the University of Alberta. He lives in Hull, Quebec.

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Tables



1 Amerindians, Voyageurs, and the Animal Exchange in the Western Fur Trade
2 The Territorial Period, Game Crisis, and the Western Domestication Movement
3 From Meat to Sport Hunting
4 Boosters, Wildlife, and Western Myths of Superabundance
5 Pioneer Society and Fish and Game Protection


Appendix: Independent Conservation Associations in Western Canada


Selected Bibliography



"Part of the challenge of conserving biological diversity in the 21st century, Colpitts argues, will be to grapple with old, utilitarian understandings of nature and wildlife. [Game in the Garden] is well and clearly written, a solid attempt at developing those very understandings."
-- Terry Glavin, Discovery, Spring 2003

In an admirably fine-grained and muti-faceted analysis, Colpitt tells the story of how the newcomers’ grappled with the wildlife as an integral part of regional settlement history and of the changing economic and social fabric of pioneer communities.

Colpitt’s account "from the bottom up" of wildlife in the so-called "Unexploited West" significantly enriches our understanding of the social forces that impinge upon the issues of nature preservation.

I applaud Colpitt’s plea to allow for interdigitating of wildlife and civilization in order to retain what is left of the last remnants of the wild prairies, wetlands, and boreal forests and their nonhuman inhabitants.

I warmly recommend this book to environmental historians as a rich and detailed study of wildlife and social history in western Canada....
- Karen Wonders, Environmental History Journal, Volume 12, Number 4, October 2007

Sample Chapter


Related Topics

History > Canada
Environmental Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Game in the Garden from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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