• The Frog Lake Reader

The Frog Lake Reader


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978-1-897126-46-2 | 2009 September | 258 Pages


• Winner of the Canadian Authors' Association Exporting Alberta Award!

• Shortlisted for the Alberta Readers' Choice Award!

Non-fiction author Myrna Kostash merges the past and the present in The Frog Lake Reader, which offers a panoramic perspective on the tragic events surrounding the Frog Lake Massacre of 1885. By bringing together eyewitness accounts and journal excerpts, memoirs and contemporary fiction, and excerpts from interviews with historians, Kostash sheds new light on a tragedy often overshadowed by Louis Riel’s rebellion during the same year.

The history is contentious and its interpretation unresolved, but The Frog Lake Reader, with its broad survey of vital historical accounts and points of view, offers a the most comprehensive and informative narrative on the Frog Lake Massacre to date.

“The story of the Frog Lake Massacre, one of the most fascinating, if tragic, episodes in Canadian history, is made all the more poignant and dramatic told through the eyes of people who were actually there. A great read.”
~ Maggie Siggins, author of Riel: A Life of Revolution

“Myrna Kostash transforms the controversial history of the Frog Lake Massacre into a compelling drama of individual voices, her own calm voice guiding us through this harrowing tragedy.”
~ Heather Robertson, author of Reservations Are for Indians

“It's brilliant reading. Kostash's decision to include all of these voices and versions creates a compelling human drama out of long-dead events.... Kostash hits the perfect pitch between the events that constitute history and the voices that shape it.”
~ Jay Smith, Alberta Views

“The narrative form is fresh, creative and culturally sensitive. Acknowledging that she is but one voice among many, Kostash gives space to perspectives of the past alongside historians of today. By framing The Frog Lake Reader in this fashion she also acknowledges the importance of the oral tradition in First Nations and Metis cultures. By collapsing time, Kostash helps us to realize how these past events still shape our present."
~ Diana Davidson, Edmonton Journal

From the Preface

The fact is that an astonishing amount of material has been written since 1885 about the events precipitated by what has been known historically as the Frog Lake Massacre. Besides eyewitness accounts and contemporary press reports, people have written memoirs (in English and French), poems, short stories, novels; they have assembled oral histories; they have interviewed elders; they have rewritten the histories. All manner of perspective, voice, bias, style, is present. And so I decided to bring them all together, in excerpts, in The Frog Lake Reader. More than a textbook or anthology of these voices, the Reader works as a drama of interplaying, sometimes contradictory, often contrapuntal, narratives.

Besides the excerpts themselves, I have included edited portions of the four interviews I conducted for the Ideas documentary, with historians Sarah Carter, Heather Devine, and Blair Stonechild, and with novelist Rudy Wiebe. And I have added my own point of view here and there, introduced by the letters, MK.