This Day in Western Canadian History
Since 1987, I have spent much of my research time working in southern Alberta, seeking to understand the postglacial history of the landscape using the tools of earth science and palaeoecology. This is one way of approaching landscape; there are many others. I have sought to illuminate my own work through a deeper appreciation of the land and its people by reading widely in related disciplinary areas.

The following pages record some books and articles about the Palliser Triangle that I have read in my leisure time. The recent human history of this region especially fascinates me. Many of these treatments of human history are popular books. This is not to say that they are unscholarly, quite the opposite. However, the authors are often concerned to make the material accessible. All the writings listed here should be able to be read with enjoyment by non-specialists.

Much has been written on the archaeology and recent human history of the region, as outlined in a chronology of events. Though the Palliser Triangle is defined as the southern Canadian praires, its boundaries have no meaning for the archaeological, and much of the historical, record. So these writings also cover material from adjacent areas of the northern US and western Canada. In the recent past, some intriguing and colourful characters have influenced the trajectory of events. Many of these people have been described in biographies and memoirs. Another perspective is provided by writings in ethnology, which record aspects of Aboriginal traditions.

The prairies have a distinctive natural history, characterized by grasslands and associated wildlife, especially bison. Certain areas within the region, such as Dinosaur Provincial Park, are famous for distinctive associations of landscape, geology, and palaeontology. Many geological discoveries in this region are significant for the history of earth sciences on a global scale.

The vastness of the prairie landscape has often inspired self-examination and reflection, recorded in essays and through art and photography. Other writers have travelled through the region, observing, analyzing, recording, and using their experiences to meditate on the hidden meanings of the landscape.

Finally, some writers have used the landscape as a starting point for a journey of the imagination, exploring meaning through stories and poetry. Even popular literature with a prairie setting helps to illuminate distinctive prairie ways of life and attitudes.

You may also view a complete list of publications in this bibliography, with no annotations.

For technical publications on the region, see also the SCAPE File.

The call numbers are for the library system at the University of Alberta. The remarks in black are my comments. Number of citations: 203

  Poetry Art and
and Memoir
Stories History
Essays Archaeology Ethnology Geology and
This presentation has been compiled and is © 1998-2011 by
Alwynne B. Beaudoin (
Last updated August 22, 2011
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