Laws and Societies in the Canadian Prairie West, 1670-1940examines the legal history of the north-west frontier, from theearliest years of European-Native contact in the seventeenth century tothe mid-1900s. Challenging myths about a peaceful west and prairieexceptionalism, the book explores the substance of prairie legalhistory and the degree to which the region's mentality is rooted inthe historical experience of distinctive prairie peoples. The chapters,written by a cross-section of established and emerging scholars workingin the allied fields of law, legal history, sociology, and criminology,focus on what is distinctive in prairie legal culture.
By approaching the issue from a variety of perspectives –those of colonial administrators, fur company employees, Nativepeoples, women, men, entrepreneurs, judges, magistrates, and thepolice, among others – the authors find evidence of a consciouseffort to apply broad, non-regional experiences to seemingly familiar,local issues. The ways in which prairie peoples perceived themselvesand their relationships to a wider world were directly framed bynotions of law and legal remedy shaped by the course and themes ofprairie history. Legal history is not just about black letter law. Itis also deeply concerned with the ways in which people affect and areaffected by the law in their daily lives. By examining how central andimportant the law has been to individuals, communities, and societiesin the Canadian Prairies, this book makes an original contribution.
Laws and Societies is a useful contribution to the sparse history of law and governance in Canada ... The editors challenge historians of western Canada to muse about the use of the law and legal documents in their projects. Hopefully, the collection will inspire future conferences, discussions, and monographs on the law and its application in western Canada and in Canada.
[UBC Press’ Law and Society Series], edited by W. Wesley Pue, is a prime example of the excellent scholarly work that is currently being conducted on the critical issues surrounding the interaction between law and society in Canada. The eleven essays in Laws and Societies in the Canadian Prairie West underscore the complexities of implementing the rule of law and administering “justice” in the sparsely settled and geographically vast area of Canada’s Prairie region. As Lou Knafla notes in the introductory chapter, the Prairies represent the “least developed” region in Canadian legal history (p.2). This volume makes a notable contribution to correcting this imbalance. As well as being a valuable source for Canadian legal and social historians, Laws and Societies in the Canadian Prairie West will prove to be beneficial to scholars outside of Canada who wish to gain a better understanding of some of this country’s key legal foundations.
1. Introduction: Laws and Societies in the Anglo-Canadian North-WestFrontiers and Prairie Provinces, 1670-1940 / Louis A.Knafla
Part One: First Nations and First Peoples
2. Law and Necessity in Western Rupert's Land and Beyond,1670-1870 / Hamar Foster
3. "There Seemed to be No Recognized Law": Canadian Lawand the Prairie First Nations / Sidney L. Harring
4. The Exclusionary Effect of Colonial Law: Indigenous Peoples andEnglish Law in Western Canada, 1670-1870 / Russell C.Smandych
5. Discipline and Discretion in the Mid-Eighteenth-CenturyHudson's Bay Company Private Justice System / Paul C.Nigol
Part Two: Adaptations to Modernity
6. Policing Two Imperial Frontiers: The Royal Irish Constabulary andthe North-West Mounted Police / Greg Marquis
7. The Common Law and Justices of the Supreme Court of theNorth-West Territories: The First Generation, 1887-1907 / RoderickG. Martin
8. The Implications of a Provincial Police Force in Alberta andSaskatchewan / Zhiqiu Lin and Augustine Brannigan
9. The Development of Prairie Canada's Water Law, 1870-1940 /Tristan M. Goodman
10. Monopolies and State Regulation: The Calgary Power Company,Utilities, and the Alberta Public Utilities Board, 1910-30 / JaniceErion
11. The Law and Public Nudity: Prairie and West Coast Reactions tothe Sons of Freedom, 1929-1932 / John McLaren
Acknowledgments Contributors General Index Index of Cases Index ofOrdinances, Proclamations, and Statutes
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