Maskepetoon: Leader, Warrior, Peacemaker
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by Hugh A. Dempsey
Heritage House, Victoria, B.C., 2010
256 pp., illus., $19.95 paperback
Only a handful of First Nations leaders have transcended the pages of history texts to gain wider recognition, among them Crowfoot, Poundmaker, and Big Bear. Author Hugh A. Dempsey would like to add another name to that list: Maskepetoon.
In his book Maskepetoon: Leader, Warrior, Peacemaker, Dempsey argues that this former chief of the Rocky Mountain Cree deserves wider recognition for his role in encouraging peace between the warring tribes of the plains and western foothills, as well as for forging positive relationships with non-natives, particularly the Methodist missionaries who were practising in the region in the mid-1800s.
He was a fierce and respected warrior who consciously chose the path of peace, but Maskepetoon’s fate was to be murdered — unarmed and in cold blood — while seeking a truce with his tribe’s long-standing enemies, the Blackfoot.
Dempsey, the author of nineteen books on Western Canadian history and the editor of many more, has a novelist’s skill for storytelling. Here he has woven a fascinating tale of a little-known chief who was martyred for his pacifist beliefs.
— Mark Reid (Read bio)
Mark Reid is the Editor-in-Chief of Canada's History.