A Border without Guards: First Nations and the Enforcement of National Space

Abstract from the Author: "During the mid-to-late nineteenth century, the American Civil War, Canadian Confederation, transnational violence, and rising concerns over undesirable immigration increased anxieties in Canada and the United States over the permeability of their shared border. Both countries turned to a combination of direct and indirect control to assert their authority and police movement across the line. Direct control utilized military units, police officers, customs officials, and border guards to restrict movement by stopping individuals at the border itself. This approach had minimal success in limiting the movement of groups such as the Coast Salish, Lakota, Dakota, and Cree. In response, both countries employed indirect border-control strategies that attacked the motivations for crossing the border instead of its physical manifestation. They used rations, annuities, extra-legal evictions, and reserve land to impose national boundaries onto First Nations communities in the prairies and on the West Coast. The application of this indirect approach differed by region, by tribe, and by community leading to a ragged set of borderland policies that remained in flux throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." Pg 89.

Hoy, Benjamin
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Hoy, Benjamin. “A Border without Guards: First Nations and the Enforcement of National Space.” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 25, no. 2 (2014): 89–115. http://dx.doi.org/10.7202/1032842ar.