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The Red Man's on the Warpath: The Image of the Indian and the Second World War

The Red Man's on the Warpath: The Image of the Indian and the Second World War

By University of Toronto Press

$85.00
- +

During the Second World War, thousands of First Nations people joined in the national crusade to defend freedom and democracy. High rates of Native enlistment and public demonstrations of patriotism encouraged Canadians to re-examine the roles and status of Native people in Canadian society. The Red Man's on the Warpath explores how wartime symbolism and imagery propelled the "Indian problem" onto the national agenda, and why assimilation remained the goal of post-war Canadian Indian policy--even though the war required that it be rationalized in new ways.

The word "Indian" conjured up a complex framework of visual imagery, stereotypes, and assumptions that enabled English Canadians to explain the place of First Nations people in the national story. Sheffield examines how First Nations people were discussed in both the administrative and public realms. Drawing upon an impressive array of archival records, newspapers, and popular magazines, he tracks continuities and changes in the image of the "Indian" before, during, and immediately after the Second World War.

Informed by current academic debates and theoretical perspectives, this book will interest scholars in the fields of Native-Newcomer and race relations, war and society, communications studies, and post-Confederation Canadian history. Sheffield's lively style makes it accessible to a broader readership.

Review

Sheffield’s exploration of this time period, an often-overlooked era in Canadian Aboriginal history, his “holistic” use of newspapers to access images of First Nations people held by the dominant society, combined with his detailed, yet readable argument, makes an important contribution to the twentieth-century historiography of Canadian Aborgininal people. (Robert Alexander Innes, American Indian Studies Program, Michigan State University Great Plains Quarterly, Spring 2006)

Sheffield’s analysis of the unfolding of these successive images on the whole is persuasive. While his interpretation, as he forthrightly acknowledges, is “in several respects similar (10)” to Ronald Haycock’s The Image of the Indian, Sheffield’s research is more systematic and his argument more fine-grained ... The Red Man’s on the Warpath is an important contribution to our understanding of both domestic attitudes towards First Nations and the impact of external events upon those views. (JR Miller, University of Saskatchewan International Journal, Autumn 2005)

Subtle, interesting book ... It is a mark of the quality of this book that it stimulates such broad questions, while satisfying our curiousity about a particular phase of Canadian history. (James M. Pitsula, University of Regina Labour/Le Travail, Issue 58, Fall 2005)

Sheffield’s task is monumental and, accordingly, the scope of his documentary analysis is impressive ... Sheffield has clearly made a valuable contribution of an underdeveloped area of scholarship. He has laid the pioneering framework for future work that will, I hope, fill in the remaining gaps ... (Madelaine Jacobs Canadian Literature, Spring 2006)

“The red man’s on the warpath! The time has come for him to dig up the hatchet and join his paleface brother in his fight to make the world safe for the sacred cause of freedom and democracy.” -- Winnipeg Free Press, May 1941

During the Second World War, thousands of First Nations people joined in the national crusade to defend freedom and democracy. High rates of Native enlistment and public demonstrations of patriotism encouraged Canadians to re-examine the roles and status of Native people in Canadian society. The Red Man’s on the Warpathexplores how wartime symbolism and imagery propelled the “Indian problem” onto the national agenda, and why assimilation remained the goal of post-war Canadian Indian policy – even though the war required that it be rationalized in new ways.

The word “Indian” conjured up a complex framework of visual imagery, stereotypes, and assumptions that enabled English Canadians to explain the place of First Nations people in the national story. Sheffield examines how First Nations people were discussed in both the administrative and public realms. Drawing upon an impressive array of archival records, newspapers, and popular magazines, he tracks continuities and changes in the image of the “Indian” before, during, and immediately after the Second World War.

Informed by current academic debates and theoretical perspectives, this book will interest scholars in the fields of Native-Newcomer and race relations, war and society, communications studies, and post-Confederation Canadian history. Sheffield’s lively style makes it accessible to a broader readership.

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