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History General

Spirits of the Rockies

Reasserting an Indigenous Presence in Banff National Park

by (author) Courtney W. Mason

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2014
General, Essays, General, General, Native American, Native American Studies, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
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  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
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The Banff–Bow Valley in western Alberta is the heart of spiritual and economic life for the Nakoda peoples. While they were displaced from the region by the reserve system and the creation of Canada’s first national park, in the twentieth century the Nakoda reasserted their presence in the valley through involvement in regional tourism economies and the Banff Indian Days sporting festivals.

Drawing on extensive oral testimony from the Nakoda, supplemented by detailed analysis of archival and visual records, Spirits of the Rockies is a sophisticated account of the situation that these Indigenous communities encountered when they were denied access to the Banff National Park. Courtney W. Mason examines the power relations and racial discourses that dominated the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and shows how the Nakoda strategically used the Banff Indian Days festivals to gain access to sacred lands and respond to colonial policies designed to repress their cultures.

About the author

Courtney W. Mason is Canada Research Chair, Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Communities at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Courtney W. Mason's profile page

Editorial Reviews

‘Mason offers a novel interpretation of the historical production of racialized indigeneity.’

Canadian Journal of History vol 51:03:2016

‘Spirits of the Rockies contributes most significantly to our understanding of the history of indigenous people’s participation in sport, recreation, and exhibition…Scholars in several disciplines will appreciate it.’

The Canadian Journal of Native Studies vol35:01:2015

Other titles by Courtney W. Mason