The Line which Separates: Race, Gender, and the Making of the Alberta-Montana Borderlands

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University of Alberta, 2005 - Social Science - 236 pages
Nations are made and unmade at their borders, and for the United States and Canada in the late nineteenth century, the forty-ninth parallel was a key site for this process in the West. Governments on both sides wanted the border to be a clear and unequivocal dividing line between the two nations, both under process of construction. Both Canadian and U.S. officials also wanted the border to reinforce the unique spatial, racial, and gender categories that would distinguish the two nations. Along the Alberta-Montana border, the transition from Blackfoot country to borderlands in the late nineteenth century did not follow the path scripted for them by government officials. Rather, cross-border traffic by Kainah, Piikuni, and Siksika Blackfoot peoples as well as railroads, immigrants, and local farmers continually challenged the legitimacy and effectiveness of the line. The growth of a white female population in the region, which should have "whitened" and "easternized" the region, merely served to complicate emerging categories. In The Line Which Separates, Sheila McManus reveals the ways in which gender, race, and national identity fought a complex battle that bifurcated and divided a previously indigenously conceived, cohesive region along international models.

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About the author (2005)

Sheila McManus is Associate Professor of History at the University of Lethbridge in southern Alberta. Her book, The Line Which Separates, was co-published by the University of Nebraska Press and The University of Alberta Press in 2005. Currently, she is writing a textbook on women in the U.S. West.

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