Each year the Center for Great Plains Studies presents a prize for the previous year's best book on the Great Plains. The Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize carries a cash award recently increased to $10,000. Publishers or authors may make nominations; each publisher may submit up to five titles. Only first edition, full-length, nonfiction books copyrighted in 2016 are evaluated for this year's award. The deadline for books arriving at the Center is Jan. 23, 2017.
This year's winner of the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize, presented by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center for Great Plains Studies, is Michel Hogue's "Métis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People."
The book tells the story of the Métis, descendants of the French-Canadian fur traders and northern indigenous tribes in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They were important economic and political intermediaries between white and Native peoples on both sides of a poorly defined U.S.-Canada border. The "Medicine Line" is what some Natives called the U.S.-Canadian border because it seemed to magically stop American soldiers from pursuing them further. Hogue's meticulous research reveals this unappreciated and critical component of northern Great Plains history.
Published by: University of Regina Press (Canada), University of North Carolina Press (U.S.)
The Cowboy Legend: Owen Wister's Virginian and the Canadian-American Frontier
John Jennings, University of Calgary Press
“The Cowboy Legend” details the evidence that a cowboy from Virginia named Everett Johnson was the prime inspiration for Owen Wister's cowboy (which transformed the notion of the cowboy for the public), and in the process shows that Johnson led a fascinating life in his own right. His memories of both the Wyoming and Alberta cattle frontiers provide insight into ranch life on both sides of the border while featuring legendary period figures such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp and Butch Cassidy. Jennings is a retired Associate Professor from Trent University Peterborough in Ontario, Canada.
“(The book’s) main focus is the creation of the cowboy mystique by western novelist Owen Wister and his two close friends, Theodore Roosevelt and the western painter Frederic Remington,” Jennings said. “The book is partly a biography of Everett Johnson, a Virginia cowboy, who was on the cattle frontiers of both Wyoming and Alberta, so that I was able to compare the customs and institutions of these two ranching frontiers, features which gave them their uniqueness.”