Temptations Of Big Bear
Early in his writing career, Rudy Wiebe's imagination was caught by a heroic character of Cree and Ojibwa ancestry whose birthplace was within twenty-five miles of where Wiebe himself was born 110 years later. The man's name translated into English was Big Bear, and he came to be the subject of one of Wiebe's most highly praised works of fiction. A modern classic, Wiebe's fourth novel is a moving epic of the tumultuous history of the Canadian West. The book won the 1973 Governor General's Award, and in the 1990s was made into a CBC television miniseries based on a script co-written by Wiebe and Metis director Gil Cardinal, shot in Saskatchewan's Qu'Appelle Valley.From the early days of North America, European settlers forced Natives aside, taking over their land on which they had lived for thousands of years. Big Bear envisioned a Northwest in which all peoples lived together peaceably, and in the 1880s made history by standing his ground to keep his Plains Cree nation from being forced onto reserves. The buffalo food supply was vanishing, but Big Bear led his people across the prairie, resisting pressure to cede rights to the land and give up freedom in exchange for temporary nourishment. The struggle brought starvation to his followers, tearing apart the community and eventually his own family. The story follows Big Bear's life as he lives through the last buffalo hunt, the coming of the railway, the pacification of the Native tribes, and his own imprisonment. Wiebe's magnificent interpretation of Western Canadian history encompasses not only his hero's struggle for integrity and justice but also the whole richness of the Plains culture.
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