384 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 May 2011


A Meditation and History on the Great Plains

Athabasca University Press

Amer-European settlement of the Great Plains transformed bountiful Native soil into pasture and cropland, distorting the prairie ecosystem that the peoples who originally populated the land had long understood and were able to use wisely. Settlers justified this transformation with the unexamined premise of deficiency, according to which the vast area of the Great Plains was inadequate in flora and fauna and lacking in the advances of modern civilization.

Drawing on history, literature, art, and economic theory, Frances W. Kaye counters the argument of deficiency, pointing out that, in its original ecological state, no region can possibly be incomplete. Goodlands examines the settlers’ misguided theory, discussing the ideas that shaped its implementation, the forces that resisted it, and Indigenous ideologies about what it meant to make good use of the land. By suggesting methods for redeveloping the Great Plains that are based on native cultural values, Kaye points the way to a balanced and sustainable future for the region in the context of a changing globe.

Kaye’s work is innovative, transnational, and felicitously written by a renowned scholar of both Canada and the United States. Andrew Graybill
Frances W. Kaye is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Nebraska. She has held two Fulbright Teaching Program positions, in Montreal and in Calgary, the first of which resulted in the book Hiding the Audience: Arts and Arts Institutions on the Prairies. Kaye divides her time between a farmstead outside Lincoln, Nebraska, and a house in Calgary, so that she may always be close to the prairie land that drives her research.

Introduction | 1

1. A Unified Field Theory of the Great Plains |17

2. Exploring the Explorers | 45

3. Spiritual and Intellectual Resistance to Conquest, Part1: Custer and Riel | 63

4. Spiritual and Intellectual Resistance to Conquest, Part2: Messianism, the 1885NorthwestResistance, and the 1890Lakota Ghost Dance | 79

5. Spiritual and Intellectual Resistance to Conquest, Part3: John Joseph Mathews’ Wah’Kon-Tah and John G. Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks | 111

6. Intellectual Justification for Conquest: Comparative Historiography of the Canadian and US Wests | 127

7. Homesteading as Capital Formation on the Great Plains | 143

8. The Women’s West | 167

9. And Still the Waters | 185

10. Dust Bowls | 205

11. Mitigating but Not Rethinking: George W. Norris, Tommy Douglas, and the Great Plains | 217

12. Planning and Economic Theory | 243

13. Mouse Beans and Drowned Rivers | 265

14. Oil | 275

15. Arts, Justice, and Hope on the Great Plains | 291


Conclusion | 319

Notes | 333

Credits | 365

Index | 367

Free Shipping   Blue
Find what you’re looking for...
Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters
Current Catalogue
Spring 2019 Canadian Cover
Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.