Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger

Keepers of the Game

Indian-Animal Relationships and the Fur Trade

Calvin Martin (Author), Nancy Lurie (Introduction)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 240 pages
ISBN: 9780520046375
April 1982
$28.95, £24.00
Examines the effects of European contact and the fur trade on the relationship between Indians and animals in eastern Canada, from Lake Winnipeg to the Canadian Maritimes, focusing primarily on the Ojibwa, Cree, Montagnais-Naskapi, and Micmac tribes.
Foreward, by Nancy Oestreich Lure
Prologue: The Paradox

Part One: An Ecological Interpreation of European Contact with the Micmac
1. The Protohistoric Indian-Land Relationship
2. Early Contact and the Deterioration of the Environmental Ethos

Part Two: The Ojibwa Cosmo and the Early Fur Trade
3. Pimadaziwin: The Good Life
4. Contact and Nature's Conspiracy

Part Three: The Paradox Resolved
5. The Hunter's Relationship with the Hunted
6. Conclusion

Epilogue: The Indian and the Ecology Movement
Calvin Luther Martin, formerly a professor of history at Rutgers University, now lives and writes in the Adirondacks. 
"A brilliant book which deals with the complex relationship between American Indians and animals, as it changed through time. Martin argues that an aboriginal ecosystem . . . was destroyed by 'European disease, Christianity and the fur trade,' and the symbiosis which had existed between hunters and their game turned into an adversary relationship."--New Republic "The nature of the relationship between Indian and animal, he argues, was essentially a contract of mutual obligation and courtesy. When European epidemic disease began to ravage them, destroying perhaps 90 percent of the native population, Indians took it to be a 'conspiracy' by game animals against them. When their own medicine men were unable to cure these diseases, the stage was set for a 'war of retaliation'--the sacred agreement with the Keepers of the Game having been broken. . . . [T]here is a fine and fair mind at work here."--Harper's "The clarity, directness and originality of this small book should. . . . earn it many readers who will wonder at the tangled web of the living world and the variousness of the human mind."--Scientific American

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more