Claiming the Land

By (author): Daniel Marshall

This trailblazing history of early British Columbia focuses on the 1858 Fraser River gold rush. Marshall’s detailed account becomes an adventure, prospecting the rich pay streaks of B.C.’s “founding” event and the gold fever that gripped populations all along the Pacific Slope. In doing so, Marshall unsettles many of our romanticized assumptions about the Fraser rush. He shows how foreign miner-militias crossed the 49th parallel, taking the law into their own hands and conducting extermination campaigns against Indigenous peoples. Drawing on new evidence, Marshall explores the three principal cultures of the goldfields: those of the fur trade (both Indigenous and the Hudson’s Bay Company); the Californian; and the British. The year 1858 was a year of chaos unlike any other in Pacific Northwest history. It produced not only violence but the formal inauguration of colonialism, Native reserves, and, ultimately, the expansion of Canada to the Pacific
Slope – leaving Indigenous sovereignty waiting for a full resolution.


Daniel Marshall

DANIEL MARSHALL is a fifth-generation British Columbian whose Cornish ancestors arrived in the Pacific province in 1858, the year of the Fraser River gold rush. As host of Canyon War: The Untold Story, televised on Knowledge Network, APTN and PBS, the author was subsequently Chief Curator for the Royal BC Museum’s successful “Gold Rush: El Dorado in British Columbia Exhibit” in 2015. He makes his home in Victoria, B.C.


“Marshall has, in effect, rewritten the pivotal history of the birth of the province. This book is long overdue and will form the basis for further research for years to come.” – Canada’s History

“Our efforts toward reconciliation, seen from this perspective, still have very far to go. Claiming the land continues; now it is Indigenous peoples versus pipelines. The stakes are as high as they were in 1858.” – The Tyee

“This is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the gold rushes of the Western Cordillera and the geopolitical origins of British Columbia.” -&nbspThe Ormsby Review

“Marshall’s lucid script documents the complexities of the 1858 Gold Rush and the various confrontations between Indigenous people and gold-seeking immigrants.” – Canadian Literature


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406 Pages
9.07in * 6.21in * .99in


June 01, 2018


Ronsdale Press



Book Subjects:

HISTORY / Canada / Pre-Confederation (to 1867)

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