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History Post-confederation (1867-)

Forest Prairie Edge

Place History in Saskatchewan

by (author) Merle Massie

University of Manitoba Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2014
Post-Confederation (1867-), Environmental Policy, Historical Geography
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
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Saskatchewan is the anchor and epitome of the ‘prairie’ provinces, even though half of the province is covered by boreal forest. The Canadian penchant for dividing this vast country into easily-understood ‘regions’ has reduced the Saskatchewan identity to its southern prairie denominator and has distorted cultural and historical interpretations to favor the prairie south.

Forest Prairie Edge is a deep-time investigation of the edge land, or ecotone, between the open prairies and boreal forest region of Saskatchewan. Ecotones are transitions from one landscape to another, where social, economic, and cultural practices of different landscapes are blended. Using place history and edge theory, Massie considers the role and importance of the edge ecotone in building a diverse social and economic past that contradicts traditional “prairie” narratives around settlement, economic development, and culture. She offers a refreshing new perspective that overturns long-held assumptions of the prairies and the Canadian west.

About the author

Merle Massie is a Saskatchewan historian and award-winning author of Forest Prairie Edge, raised in Saskatchewan's forest fringe and trained at the University of Saskatchewan. She now lives on the prairies, farming with her husband and writing Saskatchewan stories.

Merle Massie's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Massie’s command of her sources and intimate knowledge of the place and people allow her to weave together a story that is both personal and universal, and always enlightening.”

Forest History Today

“Reveals new narratives, rewrites others, and is yet another demonstration of the excellent environmental history scholarship that has been produced in Canada in recent years.”

H-Net Reviews

“A remarkable piece of work that has contributed to filling a significant gap in both Saskatchewan and Canadian history. This book challenges not only dominant regional approaches to environmental history, but also the assumptions held by most of us about Saskatchewan as a purely prairie province.”


“This provocative place history, which calls even Saskatchewan’s designation as the ‘Land of Living Skies’ into question, offers a powerful lens through which to view, interpret, and further question the place in which we find ourselves, regardless of where that is.”

Alone on a Boreal Stage

“An excellent piece of local history that complicates Saskatchewan’s provincial history, provides an excellent resource for scholars interested in how to do local place history, and presents a much more nuanced picture of the settlement of the Canadian prairie.”

The Goose

Other titles by Merle Massie