Each month the Center for Great Plains Studies features one book as its "Great Plains Book of the Month." We carefully choose books that are accessible and on topics of interest and importance for our region. They may be on any subject, of any genre, published within the last couple of years; occasionally we may feature a book published by or written at the Center. Mainly we want to bring attention to what we consider exceptional works both to learn from and enjoy.
July Book of the Month
Towards a Prairie Atonement
Details: Politics; Canada; Métis
Publisher: University of Regina Press, 2016
Towards a Prairie Atonement addresses the question of our relationship with the land. Trevor Herriot enlists the help of a Metis Elder, Norman Fleury, and revisits the history of the western Great Plains of Canada. This book's blend of personal narrative, prairie history, imagery, and argument begins with the cause of protecting native grassland on community pastures. As the narrative unfolds, Herriot, the award-winning author of Grass, Sky, Song and River in a Dry Land, finds himself recruited into the work of reconciliation. Facing his own responsibility as a descendent of settlers, he connects today's ecological disarray to the legacy of Metis dispossession and the loss of their community lands. With Indigenous and settler people alienated from one another and from the grassland itself, hope and courage are in short supply. This book offers both by proposing an atonement that could again bring people and prairie together.
"Beautifully-written, thoroughly persuasive, and a much-needed argument for the preservation of our remaining prairie, Towards a Prairie Atonement may well take its place among classics about the Western plains."
— Sharon Butala, author of 'Wild Stone Heart'
Past Great Plains Books of the Month:
American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains, Dan Flores (Jan. 2017)
A Chorus of Cranes: The Cranes of North America and the World, Paul Johnsgard (Feb. 2017)
Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930, Karen Hansen (March 2017)
Wild Again: The Struggle to Save the Black-Footed Ferret, David Jachowski (April 2017)
A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor, Joe Starita (May 2017)
Natives of a Dry Place: Stories of Dakota Before the Oil Boom, Richard Edwards (June 2017)