The Homesteaders covers the whole settler experience, beginning the year Canada was founded and the first sodbusters appeared in what is now Saskatchewan, right through the immigration boom years preceding the First World War. In their own words, settlers recount their lives from the moment they registered for their “home quarter” -- 160 acres of land given to them, so long as they could cultivate it. Homesteaders describe the formidable task of building the family home from sod or logs, the back-breaking labour of cropping and harvesting the fields, the patience needed when working with draught animals, and the misery of dealing with the pests which threatened their livelihood. Their reminiscences extend further as they discuss the type of food that was available, the medical practices they had to endure, and the educational experiences of their children in one-room schoolhouses, as well as their hobbies, the books that they read, the songs they sang, the pets that they owned, the games that they played, and the local dances, picnics, weddings, and chivarees that they attended during these early years.
About the authors
Sandra Rollings-Magnusson is an Associate Professor of Sociology at MacEwan University. She has studied western Canadian homesteaders for over thirty years. Since receiving a Master’s Degree from the University of Regina and a PhD from the University of Alberta, she has written numerous academic journal articles on homesteading life and lectured on a number of homesteading topics. She has also written two books, Heavy Burdens on Small Shoulders: The Labour of Pioneer Children on the Canadian Prairies (University of Alberta Press) and The Homesteaders (University of Regina Press).
"[The Homesteaders] is an informative and intimate portrait of the Saskatchewan homesteading experience, largely in the words of those who settled the land." —Great Plains Quarterly