Rediscovering the Prairies: Journeys by Dog, Horse, and Canoe

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TouchWood Editions, 2005 - History - 224 pages

In the early days, Plains Indians travelled on foot across the vast Canadian prairies, with only fierce, wolf-like dogs as companions. Later, with the arrival of Europeans, horses and canoes appeared on the scene. In Rediscovering the Prairies, Norman Henderson, a leading scholar of the world's great temperate grasslands, revives the earlier modes of prairie travel. He journeys along 325 kilometres of Saskatchewan's Qu'Appelle Valley by dog and travois (the wooden rack pulled by dogs and horses used by First Nations to transport belongings), then by canoe, and finally by horse and travois.

Henderson's often humourous descriptions of his attempts to find and train a dog and a horse highlight the difficulties involved in recreating traditional travel methods. Henderson interweaves his own adventures with the exploits of earlier travellers, such as La Vérendrye, Alexander Henry and Peter Fidler, and the experiences of fur traders and others who struggled across this strange and forbidding landscape. His captivating account will foster a better appreciation for, and a deeper understanding of, the natural and human history of the Canadian prairies.

 

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Contents

chapter one Night VisionOf the Moonlit Prairies by Train
5
chapter two DogOf the Dogs of the Old Plains
13
chapter three MushOf Prairie Journeys through Heat Snow
29
chapter four CanoeOf the Extraordinary River Voyages
63
chapter five En Avant Of Coyotes Cattle and Wire
83
chapter six HorseOf the Great Gift of the Spanish
127
chapter seven Gee UpOf a Final Journey in the Great Valley
145
chapter eight Day FlightOf Home and the View from Above
173
Acknowledgments
181
Biographic Notes 183 Chapter Notes 193 References 197 Index
203
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Norman Hendersonwas born in Saskatchewan in 1960. He studied in Saskatchewan, Germany and Britain, where he completed a doctorate in environmental sciences. He currently works in climate research at the University of Regina. He lives in Regina.

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