Towards a Prairie Atonement
By Trevor Herriot University of Regina Press, 110 pages, $22.95
This short, impassioned book is in a way a case study picking up where A World We Have Lost leaves off. “Only 3.5 per cent of the native grassland in Canada’s Prairie Ecozone has any form of protection,” Trevor Herriot writes. “The little that remains, our fragments of old-growth prairie, are every bit as diverse and irreplaceable as Canada’s last refuges of old-growth forest.” In
Towards a Prairie Atonement, Herriot asks how inheritors of settlerism can atone to the land, and looks to the Métis ethic of “the hay privilege” as an example of the Commonwealth. In the process, he recounts a history of dispossession, from the Battle of Seven Oaks to the Red River Rebellion to the present. “We were good caretakers of the land,” Norman Fleury writes in his afterword. “We still are.” Herriot makes a strong case about a historical injustice – social and ecological – that has carried through to today, but I wanted to hear more about indigenous participation in this contemporary.