White Settler Reserve

New Iceland and the Colonization of the Canadian West

Ryan Eyford

  • Published: 2016. Paperback April 2017
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies; History / Canadian History
  • Bibliographic information: 272 pp., 12 illus., 5 maps, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

One of The Hill Times' Best Books of 2016

In 1875, Icelandic immigrants established a colony on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipeg. The timing and location of New Iceland was not accidental. Across the Prairies, the Canadian government was creating land reserves for Europeans in the hope that the agricultural development of Indigenous lands would support the state's economic and political ambitions. In this innovative history, Ryan Eyford expands our understanding of the creation of western Canada: his nuanced account traces the connections between Icelandic colonists, the Indigenous people they displaced, and other settler groups while exposing the ideas and practices integral to building a colonial society.
Ryan Eyford is associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg.

"Ryan Eyford has written a fine-grained and richly textured analysis of the ideas, practices, and processes behind the building of a colonial society in the Canadian Northwest. This book will become a key work in Prairie scholarship."
-Shannon Stunden Bower, author of Wet Prairie: People, Land, and Water in Agricultural Manitoba

"Moving beyond the familiar story of the Métis, Louis Riel, and the Red River Resistance, Ryan Eyford offers up a novel and fascinating account of Manitoba's early history. By exploring the experiences of a well-known group of settlers - the Icelanders - he reveals a whole new side of the colonial reserve system."
- Robert Wardhaugh, author of Behind the Scenes: The Life and Work of William Clifford Clark

1. Northern Dreamlands: Canadian Expansionism and Icelandic Migration
2. Broken Townships: Colonization Reserves and the Dominion Lands System
3. The First New Icelanders: Family Migration and the Formation of a Reserve Community
4. Quarantined within a New Order: Smallpox and the Spatial Practices of Colonization
5. "Principal Projector of the Colony": The Turbulent Career of John Taylor, Icelandic Agent
6. Becoming British Subjects: Municipal Government and Citizenship
7. "Freemen Serving No Overlord": Debt, Self-Reliance, and Liberty

"White Settler Reserve contextualizes the emigrant story, and triangulates what is sometimes simplified into a binary relationship between settlers and indigenous peoples, lands and humans."
-Claire Campbell, Pacific Northwest Quarterly