Inside the Ark
University of Regina Press / 30 January 2014

Inside the Ark: The Hutterites in Canada and the United States by Yossi Katz and John Lehr Published by Canadian Plains Research Center Review by Keith Foster $39.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-282-3 Ever wonder what goes on inside a Hutterite colony? Inside the Ark: The Hutterites in Canada and the United States tells the intimate story of a people little known and even less understood. The impact of the Hutterites is significant. Authors Yossi Katz and John Lehr point out that the 40,000 Hutterites living in 474 colonies throughout Canada and the United States form the largest communal society in the world. The authors show the inner workings of a hardworking society, industrious as a colony of ants, toiling quietly in seclusion. One rural municipality in Manitoba, for instance, is home to three Hutterite colonies that “constitute the three largest operations in the area.” Yet according to the RM’s economic development officer, “we never hear from them, they just go about their business.” Like a protective ark, the commune provides shelter and safety against meddling and corrupting outside influences. But the authors believe that “today, the Ark is leaking.” Technology – especially computers and the Internet – is forcing Hutterites to emerge…

Saskatchewan Architecture: A Visual Journey, 1930-2011
University of Regina Press / 29 October 2013

Architecture of Saskatchewan: A Visual Journey, 1930-2011 by Bernard Flaman Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $49.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-250-2 Saskatchewan is more than a land of living skies and gorgeous sunsets; it also comprises the buildings that dot our prairie landscape and adorn our cityscapes. Architecture of Saskatchewan: A Visual Journey covers the period from the 1930s to the new millennium as a companion volume to Historic Architecture of Saskatchewan, published in 1986, which focused on Saskatchewan’s early heritage buildings. An architect in the field of heritage conservation, Bernard Flaman wrote the introduction to each chapter and the text accompanying the photos. A man of few words, he introduces the chapters, then lets the photos speak for themselves. Flaman uses both black and white and colour images. He took many of the photos himself, supplemented by archival sources and other photographers. This 179-page hardcover coffee table book often shows multiple images of the same structures, displaying the changes or additions that have taken place over the years, or simply showing the buildings in different seasons or at different times of day. The photos create some strange images, especially if one adds a little imagination. The Saints…

Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life
University of Regina Press / 24 October 2013

Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life by James Daschuk Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $39.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-296-0 Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life exposes the seamier side of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald’s National Policy. As the subtitle implies, this book offers startling new insights into the plight of First Nations people and the politics that caused it. Author James Daschuk is an assistant professor of health studies at the University of Regina. Focusing on the medical histories of First Nations people in western Canada, he shows how diseases like smallpox, cholera, tuberculosis, and scarlet fever ravaged the native population. Daschuk’s reinterpretation of Canadian history is a rude awakening to those who believe Canadian attitudes towards aboriginal people were much more humane than their American counterparts. In detailing the politics of persecution and the systematic starvation of natives by withholding rations, Daschuk’s analytical narrative cuts through highly complex issues like a scalpel through skin. He shows that some Indian agents, appointed by the federal government to feed indigenous people, were not exactly men of strong character or high moral values. When…