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Often remembered for its humanitarian platform and its pioneering
social programs, Saskatchewan’s Cooperative Commonwealth
Federation (CCF) wrought a much less scrutinized legacy in the northern
regions of the province during the twenty years it governed.
Until the 1940s churches, fur traders, and other wealthy outsiders
held uncontested control over Saskatchewan’s northern region.
Following its rise to power in 1944, the CCF undertook aggressive
efforts to unseat these traditional powers and to install a new
socialist economy and society in largely Aboriginal northern
communities. The next two decades brought major changes to the region
as well-meaning government planners grossly misjudged the challenges
that confronted the north and failed to implement programs that would
meet northern needs. As the CCF’s efforts to modernize and
assimilate northern people met with frustration, it was the northern
people themselves that inevitably suffered from the fallout of this
In an elegantly written history that documents the colonial
relationship between the CCF and the Saskatchewan north, David M.
Quiring draws on extensive archival research and oral history to offer
a fresh look at the CCF era. This examination will find a welcome
audience among historians of the north, Aboriginal scholars, and