The ranchers who resettled British Columbia’s interior in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries depended on grassland for their cattle, but in this they faced some unlikely competition from grasshoppers and wild horses. With the help of the government, settlers resolved to rid the range of both. Resettling the Range explores the ecology and history of the grasslands and the people who lived there by looking closely at these eradication efforts. In the process, the author uncovers in claims of “range improvement” and “rational land use” more complicated stories of dispossession and marginalization.
John Thistle is a research associate at the Labrador Institute at Memorial University.
Layer upon layer of history and ecological change are writ large on the map of B.C. Resettling the Range is very much a story about our relationship with animals, landscapes, indigenous peoples and their pursuit of aboriginal rights. Environmental historian John Thistle has generated a necessary and thorough study of rancher settlement, the ranching industry’s interactions with grasslands and the effects of ranching on First Nations peoples, most of whom were dispossessed from access to grasslands – a profound rangeland legacy that lives with us still.