How Mountie mythology helped create a romantic vision of Canada
The Secret Life of Canada explores how Canadian Mounties became cultural heroes. They explore the image of the Mountie in early Hollywood, what Irish and Indian resistance to British rule has to do with it, and why young Canada felt a greater need for policing in the West.
"The Mounties Always Get Their Land (Part 1)" now available
The Mountie is one of Canada's most enduring symbols. Found on souvenirs from key chains to clothing, our national police force are icons to the rest of the world — which makes The Secret Life of Canada wonder: how did that happen?
In part one of The Mounties Always Get Their Land, Leah and Falen look for the roots of a romanticized story and dive into early Hollywood to find the answer.
Then, with the help of Dr. Winona Wheeler, they investigate the foundations of the North-West Mounted Police, the deep history of law enforcement in the Canadian West and how early policing days created a complex relationship with Indigenous people that, for better or worse, continues on to this day.
- An interview with Dr. Winona Wheeler, an associate professor of Indigenous Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, on the early history of the North-West Mounted Police.
- How Canada's first police force, The Dominion Police got started.
- Why Canada used the policing model from Ireland, and how Great Britain's use of India's police force also inspired young Canada as a prototype.
- A very brief history of Cypress Hill and how the massacre that happened there became catalyst in the solidifying the North-West Mounted police.
- How John A. Macdonald wanted to use the North-West Mounted police as law enforcers, and treaty negotiators — which meant dispossessing Indigenous people of their land.
- Why the vast Canadian West, or modern day Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, became a focus for the police and Canadian government and how genocidal tactics were used to debilitate First Nations and Métis people.
- The role of Cree leaders like Chief Big Bear, Poundmaker, Little Pine, Lucky Man and the signing of Treaty Six.
- The police role in banning Indigenous meetings, feasts and ceremonies like the Sun Dance and Potlatch.
- Why early novels and Hollywood movies adopted the Canadian Mountie as a protagonist, and what Victorian nostalgia had to do with it.
- Dr. Winona Wheeler, Professor of Indigenous Studies University of Saskatchewan
- "Indigenous Genocide in Saskatchewan." Article By Robert Alexander Innes. Website: Shekon Neechie.
- "An Unauthorized History of the RCMP." Book by Caroline Brown and Lorne Brown.
- Poundmaker Cree Nation, Website
- Manitoba Metis Nation, Website
- "Police Brutality In Canada: A Symptom Of Structural Racism And Colonial Violence." Yellowhead Institute Article by Krista Stelkia.
- "The Mountie: From Dime Novel to Disney." Book by Michael Dawson
- "The History of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police." Website
- "Clearing the Plains: disease, politics of starvation, and the loss of Aboriginal life." Book by James W. Daschuk
- Treaty Six, Treaty Research Report. Government of Canada by John Leonard Taylor
- "Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People." Book by by Michel Hogue
- "The Cypress Hills: The Land and Its People." Book by Brian Hubner and Walter Hildebrandt
- "The 'Irish model' and nineteenth‐century Canadian policing." Article by Greg Marquis
- "House of Commons Debates, Official Report, Volume 12." 1882, Canada House of Commons