ANTH 4730 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Canadian Pacific Railway

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13 Aug 2016
Journal 4
Daschuk – Chapter 7
The different indigenous tribes are on the brink of dying out due to starvation.
Many of the animals that they use to feed off had gone extinct and the scarcity of meat
was taking a toll on the indigenous people. Adding salt to injury, the scarcity of food had
many dying because of tuberculosis. Many of the indigenous people had been infected
with TB a long while ago, but its conditions did not materialize until many of the tribes
became victims of the severe famine (pg. 100). The indigenous people hoped that they
would be able to recover from this epidemic, since the Canadian government had
promised them to provide food supplies in case of a famine. However, the Canadian
government instead used this opportunity to subjugate the indigenous population. The
liberal government treated the indigenous people relatively fairly, as compared to the
conservative government. Once the conservative government came into power it
consciously withheld food supplies from the indigenous tribes even though it was part of
the treaties they had signed on (pg. 108). The conservative government instead argued
that the indigenous people need to work in order to receive any ration. Some noted that
despite such harsh treatment by the government most of tribes maintained a peaceful
treaty. Instead of stealing from government warehouses, most of the tribes adhered to the
treaty and respectfully demanded what was rightfully theirs. However, despite many
efforts the conservative government only paid attention to the starving indigenous tribes
when they saw they could become a threat to nearby settlers (pg. 117). The indigenous
people throughout their rule under the Canadian government were mistreated, but since
they had economically become dependent on the government they were left with no
Daschuk – Chapter 8
The economic system was changing once again, as the Canadian Pacific Railway
(CPR) line was reaching the west. The North-West Mounted Police, which was
considered to be on the good side of indigenous people, was brought under the force of
the Department of Indian Affairs (DIA) (pg. 127). With the police force under the control
of DIA, most indigenous tribes were forced onto reserves to make way for the CPR line.
The CPR line also brought in competition from the US in the shape of I.C. Baker. The
company undercut most of the companies in Canada, even Hudson Bay Company, to gain
government contracts (pg. 130). However, the food that was provided by Baker was of
low quality and in some cases poisonous which led to the death of many indigenous
tribes who were already starving severely (pg. 143). Despite the rising death toll,
government official covered up reports of the actual conditions on the reserves to avoid
any backlash from the opposition (pg. 136). Furthermore, some official had invested
interest in I.C. Baker and therefore continued to provide them with government contracts
for procuring food supplies for indigenous tribes. Government officials had implemented
harsh cutbacks on spending for the indigenous tribes, and the indigenous people were
slowly getting frustrated of the conditions they were in. Some of the women of
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