• The Seven Oaks Reader

The Seven Oaks Reader


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978-1-926455-53-2 | 2016 April | 232 Pages


The long rivalry between the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company for control of the fur trade in Canada's northwest came to an explosive climax on June 19th, 1816, at the so-called Battle of Seven Oaks. Armed buffalo hunters—Indigenous allies of the Nor-Westers—confronted armed colonists of the HBC's Selkirk settlement near the forks of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers in today's Winnipeg. This “battle” would prove to be a formative event for Métis self-determination as well as laying down a legacy for settlers to come.

The Seven Oaks Reader offers a comprehensive retelling of one of Canada’s most interesting historical periods, the Fur Trade Wars. As in the companion volume, The Frog Lake Reader, Kostash incorporates period accounts and journals, histories, memoirs, songs and fictional retellings, from a wide range of sources, offering readers an engaging and exciting way back into still-controversial historical events.

  • Finalist for the Wildrid Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction at the 2017 Alberta Literary Awards

“Myrna Kostash provides a robust history of the Battle of Seven Oaks from a diverse range of perspectives, relying on primary and secondary sources, as well as original interviews with contemporary scholars. The Seven Oaks Reader includes all the most relevant details about the events, accounts, and controversies that stem from Seven Oaks, and is accessible to scholars, students, and the public in general.”
— Adam Gaudry, Assistant Professor, Department of Indigenous Studies, University of Saskatchewan

“In 1816 the Métis poet Pierre Falcon memorialized the Battle of Seven Oaks in a provocative Michif ballad. Two hundred years later Myrna Kostash offers us this beautifully detailed reader of facts and varied, often contradictory, opinions about that tragic event.”
— Rudy Wiebe, author of Come Back

“Myrna Kostash’s The Seven Oaks Reader is an impressive effort to pull together all the information and perspectives imaginable on the controversial event that played a crucial role in the initial defining of Métis identity on the Prairies, while also providing a justification for Anglo-Canadian settlers for wresting control over the region from Métis and First Nations people alike.”
— Alvin Finkel, Manitoba Historical Society (full review)