“What can that mean, I and my family will have a ‘reserve of one square mile’?”
So asks Big Bear of Governor Morris, come to impose a square treaty on the round, buffalo-covered world of the Plains Cree. As the buffalo vanish and the tension builds to the second Riel Rebellion, Big Bear alone of the prairie chiefs keeps up pressure for a better treaty by refusing to choose a reserve. He argues, “If any man has the right to put a rope around another man’s neck, some day someone will get choked.”
It is Big Bear’s story – and the story of Wandering Spirit, of Kitty McLean and John McDougall–that is told in this novel with rare and penetrating power. Permeated with a sense of place and time, this eagerly awaited work by Rudy Wiebe reflects the author’s sensitivity to the Canadian prairies, their history, the minds and hearts of their diverse people.
Exploring Big Bear’s isolated struggle, Wiebe has encompassed in one creative sweep not only his hero’s struggle for integrity, but the whole range and richness of the Plains culture. Here is the giant circle of the prairie horizon, and the joy, the sorrow, the pain and the triumph and the violence of unconquerable human beings faced with destruction.
About the authors
Rudy Wiebe was born near Fairholme, Saskatchewan in 1934. From the University of Alberta, he received a B.A. 1956 and a M.A. in Creative Writing in 1960. He studied under a Rotary International Fellowship at the University of Tuebingen in West Germany, and in 1962 he received a Bachelor of Theology degree from the Mennonite Brethren Bible College. In 1962ᆧ63 he was editor of the Mennonite Brethren Herald, a position which he resigned because of the controversy over his first novel,Peace Shall Destroy Many. From 1967 to 1992 he was Professor of Creative Writing and English at the University of Alberta. Wiebe has published twenty-five books, including nine novels and the non-fiction best-sellerStolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman, co-authored with Yvonne Johnson. He was awarded the Governor General’s Award for fiction forThe Temptations Of Big Bear in 1973, and again in 1994 forA Discovery Of Strangers. He is also the winner of the Lorne Pierce Gold Metal of the Royal Society of Canada for his contribution to Canadian literature ླ87). Wiebe has served as chairman of both the Writer’s Guild of Alberta and the Writers’ Union of Canada. He now lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
Robert Kroetsch was a teacher, editor and award-winning writer. Born in Heisler, Alberta, in 1927, Kroetsch grew up on his parents' farm and studied at the University of Alberta and the University of Iowa. He taught at the State University of New York, Binghamton, until the late 1970s and then returned to Canada, where he taught at the University of Calgary and the University of Manitoba from the 1970s through the 1990s. Kroetsch also spent time at the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts and many writer-in-residencies, where he powerfully influenced recent writing on the Canadian prairies and elsewhere. His generosity of spirit and openness to the new showed many authors new ways to pursue their own kinds of writing. In honour of both his writing and his contributions to Canadian culture in general, Kroetsch was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2004. In 2011 he received the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award. Robert Kroetsch died in a car accident outside of Edmonton, Alberta, in 2011.
Other titles by Rudy Wiebe
Other titles by Robert Kroetsch
The Poetry of Robert Kroetsch
An Illustrated Tribute
Sketches Toward a Self-Portrait
The Man from the Creeks
An Anthology of New Poetry
Writing the Terrain
Travelling Through Alberta with the Poets