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Range wars : ranching and pest eradication on British Columbia's Interior Plateau Thistle , John 2009

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RANGE WARS: RANCHING AND PEST ERADICATION ON BRITISH COLUMBIA’S INTERIOR PLATEAU  by  John Thistle  B.A., University of British Columbia, 2000 M.A., University of British Columbia, 2002  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  (Geography)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  August 2009  © John Thistle, 2009  Abstract  Range Wars examines the social, cultural, and ecological dimensions of pest eradication in western North American grasslands in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Using the semiarid interior plateau of British Columbia as a case study, I discuss two closely related ‘wars’ waged by ranchers and grazing officials against creatures they considered pests. In the first part of the thesis, I focus on the ecological problem of grasshopper ‘plagues’ and the ways in which a campaign organized to eradicate them worked to expose and exacerbate economic inequities among immigrant cattle ranchers. Next, I recount a ‘war’ with ‘wild horses’ that also served to dispossess aboriginal people and discredit their competing claims to land. Both campaigns aimed to accommodate cattle in increasingly degraded grasslands, but ultimately the problem of range degradation went unsolved. By focusing on the broader social, cultural, and ecological dimensions of pest eradication, the study provides new perspective on North America’s environmental past.  ii  Table of Contents  Abstract ............................................................................................................................... ii Table of Contents............................................................................................................... iii List of Figures .................................................................................................................... iv Acknowledgements..............................................................................................................v Chapter 1: Introduction ........................................................................................................1 Part I: Grasshoppers...........................................................................................................36 Chapter 2: Grappling with Grasshoppers...........................................................................37 Chapter 3: What is Overgrazing?.......................................................................................64 Chapter 4: The War with Insects .......................................................................................85 Chapter 5: Enduring Problems.........................................................................................112 Part II: Wild Horses .........................................................................................................154 Chapter 6: Worse than Worthless Animals......................................................................155 Chapter 7: The Biogeography of Dispossession..............................................................174 Chapter 8: The War on Wild Horses................................................................................210 Chapter 9: Conclusion......................................................................................................236 Bibliography ....................................................................................................................247  iii  List of Figures Figure 1.1: Study area ..........................................................................................................2 Figure 1.2: Fraser River south of Churn Creek....................................................................5 Figure 1.3: Physiographic map of Interior Plateau ..............................................................7 Figure 1.4: Cross-section of Fraser River at Pavillion.......................................................12 Figure 1.5: Cross-section of Thompson River...................................................................13 Figure 1.6: Cross-section of grasslands .............................................................................15 Figure 1.7: Cross-section of ponderosa pine forest ...........................................................16 Figure 1.8: Cross-section of interior Douglas fir forest.....................................................17 Figure 1.9: Gang Ranch and Indian Reserves....................................................................24 Figure 1.10: Ranches and cattle, 1893 ...............................................................................26 Figure 1.11: Financial Records, Western Canadian Ranching Company..........................27 Figure 2.1: Sketch of hopper dozer....................................................................................44 Figure 2.2: Grasshoppers of British Columbia ..................................................................48 Figure 2.3: Ranches and reserves, middle Fraser River.....................................................57 Figure 2.4: Gang Ranch properties on the Interior Plateau ...............................................59 Figure 3.1: Gold Rush Cattle Trails...................................................................................67 Figure 4.1: Ranches and reserves, Nicola Valley ..............................................................86 Figure 4.2: Grazing Fees....................................................................................................99 Figure 5.1: Depleted grassland, Riske Creek...................................................................118 Figure 5.2: Range degradation, Riske Creek ...................................................................119 Figure 5.3: Overgrazed range, Riske Creek.....................................................................120 Figure 5.4: Crested wheatgrass ........................................................................................122 Figure 5.5: Dense growth of Kentucky bluegrass............................................................123 Figure 5.6: Exclosure, Nicola Valley...............................................................................124 Figure 5.7: State and transition model .............................................................................125 Figure 5.8: Overgrazed range and exclosure, Riske Creek..............................................127 Figure 5.9: Overgrazed range and exclosure, Riske Creek..............................................128 Figure 5.10: Overgrazed range and exclosure, Riske Creek............................................129 Figure 5.11: Overgrazed range and exclosure, Riske Creek............................................130 Figure 5.12: Overgrazed range and exclosure, Riske Creek............................................131 Figure 5.13: Depleted lower grassland ............................................................................135 Figure 5.14: Cheatgrass ...................................................................................................136 Figure 5.15: Bark-beetle problems ..................................................................................140 Figure 5.16: Bark beetle problems...................................................................................141 Figure 6.1: Rest-rotation grazing plan .............................................................................170 Figure 6.2: Climax model of range succession................................................................172 Figure 7.1: Ranch property and reserves, middle Fraser River .......................................175 Figure 7.2: Ranch property and reserves, Nicola Valley .................................................176 Figure 7.3: Open Grassland .............................................................................................179 Figure 7.4: Bunchgrass ....................................................................................................181 Figure 7.5: Commonage, Indian Reserve Commission, 1878 .........................................184 Figure 7.6: Biogeography of an upland ranch .................................................................192  iv  Acknowledgements It gives me great pleasure to thank everyone who helped with this project. At the top of the list is my partner, Raquel Larson. I am deeply grateful for her love, patience, and unwavering support for this project. My name is on the title page, but this is her achievement too. I would also like to thank my parents, John and Sharon, as well as my brother Steve for their support over the years and for all the ways they helped me to complete this project. Brad, Tracy and Abbey Green are our best friends and I want to thank them as well for their support and encouragement. I would also like to thank my adviser Graeme Wynn. I can’t imagine a better adviser than Graeme, and I am very grateful for all the ways he encouraged this project and helped me to see it through to completion. I would also like to thank the members of my committee, Matthew Evenden, Doug Harris, and Joseph Taylor, for their excellent advice during the drafting of this dissertation, as well as cartographer Eric Leinberger who made several excellent maps. Cole Harris deserves special thanks. Cole was not part of my PhD committee but our many lunchtime conversations about British Columbia influenced my thinking about this project in ways too numerous to mention. I’d also like to thank the staff at the BC Archives and Geographic Information Centre, as well as a few friends and fellow grad students (past and present) for all their help along the way: Lynn Hilchie, Arn Keeling, Joanna Reid, Matt Schnurr, Helen Watkins, Bob Wilson and, finally, Albert Teng, who provided invaluable assistance with formatting at the submission stage.  v  Chapter 1: Introduction:  This is a study of animals, environments, and the human communities that interact with them. Its geographical focus is the ‘interior plateau’ of British Columbia (Figure 1.1) and the narrative revolves thematically around two closely related ‘wars’ waged by ranchers and provincial grazing officials against creatures that they considered to be pests. In the first part of the dissertation, I focus on the ecological problem of grasshopper ‘plagues’ and the ways in which a campaign to eradicate them worked to expose, even exacerbate, economic inequities among immigrant cattle ranchers. This done, I examine a war on ‘wild horses’ that also served to dispossess Native people and discredit their competing claims to land. Neither story has a happy ending and several disheartening subplots thread through the larger narrative: some people suffer from arsenic poisoning; others become embroiled in bitter, even violent local disputes; and numerous animals die. I am convinced that these are important stories to tell because of the unique perspective they provide on the history of human-environment relations in a large but little known part of the world. I am also convinced that these stories have something general to tell us about the utter futility and danger of trying to separate any ‘environmental’ problem from its intertwined social and ecological context. When some British Columbians attempted to do this in the past they not only left basic social and ecological issues unsolved but also created new ones (that no one anticipated) and made others much worse. What follows may not be a history of the present (in the Foucaultian sense), but it is a history to the  1  Figure 1.1 Study area (Source: Weir, 1956).  2  present. 1 Even though it only gestures toward very recent events and makes no policy recommendations, my hope is that this study will inform discussions about fairer and more sustainable futures for people and nonhuman natures alike; at least, and more assuredly, it will point to what has been unjust and unsustainable about humanenvironment relations in British Columbia grasslands in the recent past. My interest in these matters began with simple curiosity about an arresting and in many ways unusual provincial environment: the so-called interior plateau. As the designation “plateau” indicates, this is relatively level upland; average elevation in the study area is about 4000 feet above sea level. Wedged between the Coast and Cascade ranges on the west and the Cariboo and Monashee ranges on the east, the plateau is a relatively narrow landform. Moreover, it narrows north to south, from roughly 320 kilometers to a mere 64 kilometers near the Canada-US border. Yet, at just under 83,000 square kilometers, it comprises almost 11 percent of the total provincial land base. That is an area greater than the Canadian provinces of Prince Edward Island (5556 km2) and Nova Scotia (55,000 km2) combined, a region somewhat larger than New Brunswick (73,440 km2), and a territory larger than several western European countries: Belgium  1  On the other hand, as Gary Gutting observes, at some level all histories are. See, “Introduction: Michel Foucault: A User’s Manual” in Gary Gutting Ed. The Cambridge Companion to Foucault (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1994): 1-27. The phrase “history of the present” comes from Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Vintage Books 1977): 30-31. For an introduction to the themes and methods of this and other works by Foucault see, Paul Rabinow Ed., The Foucault Reader (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984). 3  (30,520 km2), Switzerland (41,290 km2), Ireland (70,280 km2), and Portugal (80,800 km2). 2 The plateau is far from a uniform landscape. 3 Recognizing as much, physical geographers usually divide it, at approximately the Bonaparte River, into two, smaller “tabular” uplands. The Chilcotin portion of the plateau is the larger of the two. Two distinct physical features define it. The first of these is a series of steep and in some places precipitous canyons. The middle Fraser River from Soda Creek to Lillooet, for example, flows some 900 to 2000 feet below the surface of the plateau. The Chilcotin River and its major tributary, the Chilko River, as well as Big Creek, Gaspard Creek and Churn Creek are also deeply incised. Along their main stems these watercourses are often several hundred feet below the plateau, but as the latter creeks in particular approach the Fraser River they plunge as much as 2500 feet to become rushing torrents of water. Figure 1.2, a photograph of the middle Fraser taken just south of Churn Creek in 2007, provides some visual perspective on the steepness of these canyons and suggests something of the surrounding environment. The other major physical feature of the Chilcotin plateau is the upland surface itself. British Columbia is a very mountainous province. Yet, from almost any vantage 2  Data on the area of Canadian provinces and western European countries comes from Quentin Stanford Ed. Oxford Atlas of the World (New York: Oxford University Press 2004). 3 Unless otherwise noted the following descriptions of the physical geography and geology of the interior plateau are drawn variously from Richard Hebda, “Postglacial History of the Grasslands of Southern British Columbia and Adjacent Regions,” in A.C Nicholson, A. McLean, and T.E. Baker Ed. Grassland Ecology and Classification Symposium Proceedings (Victoria: Ministry of Forests, 1982): 157-188; and Thomas Weir, Ranching in the Southern Interior of British Columbia (Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1955). For a detailed account of British Columbia’s physical geology, see Stuart Holland, Landforms of British Columbia: A Physiographic Outline (Victoria: British Columbia Department of Mines and Petroleum Resources, 1976). 4  Figure 1.2: Fraser River south of Churn Creek (photo taken by author, August 2007).  5  point the Chilcotin plateau appears as a rolling but relatively level, open plain, not unlike a large prairie in places. Local relief is less than 500 feet. In detail, of course, the surface of the plateau is quite diverse. Numerous ridges and water filled depressions mark the landscape – a result of uneven deposition of material during the last ice age – and countless small, slow moving streams zigzag their way to little lakes or ponds, or quietly disappear into seemingly stagnant marshes or swamp meadows. A physiographic map of the interior plateau (Figure 1.3), suggests something of the physical geography of the area as well as the recent glacial history of the broader Chilcotin plateau. South of the Bonaparte River the Chilcotin plateau becomes the Thompson plateau, a similar but much hillier physical landscape. Bounded by the east-west trending Thompson and Nicola River Valleys, and bisected by several smaller north-south trending valleys, the Thompson plateau ranges in elevation from 3500-4500 feet (about 1000 feet higher on average than the Chilcotin plateau). Three other physical geographic features distinguish the Thompson plateau from its northern counterpart. First, a far smaller proportion of upland is at summit height. Rather than rolling topography (the dominant physical feature of the Chilcotin plateau) the Thompson plateau is characterized by numerous, relatively steep slopes. Yet – and this is the second important difference between the two tabular uplands – there are no really narrow or precipitous canyons on the Thompson plateau. The area includes several broad (but still relatively deeply incised) river valleys (and numerous smaller, tributary valleys) that together account for as much a third of the total area. The remaining two-thirds of the Thompson plateau is relatively level upland, similar to that on the Chilcotin plateau. But it is actually  6  Figure 1.3 Physiographic map of the Interior Plateau (source, Weir, 1956).  7  quite different in detail. There are far fewer glacial ridges and depressions, and as a result, the land of the Thompson plateau is much better drained than that on the Chilcotin plateau. There are very few small ponds and slow moving streams, almost no pothole lakes, and marshes and swamp meadows are all but absent. Certain basic aspects of the physical geography and underlying glacial history of the broader Thompson plateau are suggested by the physiographic map identified above (figure 1.3). British Columbia may be best known for its wet and dense coastal rainforests, but the interior plateau is dry, with grasslands at lower elevations and relatively open pine and fir forest in the uplands, although less open now than 100 years ago for reasons discussed in chapter 5. In some places, such as the Similkameen Valley, the plateau is considered a desert. This relative aridity has everything to do with the rise of massive north-south trending mountains millions of years ago. The Coast and Cascade mountain ranges block the eastward movement of moist, maritime air, creating a large rainshadow over the interior of the province. Potential evaporation exceeds actual precipitation, which is everywhere relatively low, although totals vary with elevation and the center of the plateau is drier than its edges. In general the plateau is far drier than coastal British Columbia. The Chilcotin receives only 12 to 14 inches of precipitation each year; the Thompson is drier still, receiving just 8-12 inches annually. About half of this falls as snow. On both parts of the plateau, much of the precipitation comes during two annual maxima. The first occurs in early summer (usually mid-June), the other in mid-winter (usually December or January). Despite its relative proximity to the Pacific Ocean (the dominant climatic influence on coastal British Columbia), the interior plateau has a decidedly continental climate. Weather and climate vary with local differences in  8  altitude, exposure and latitude, but in general terms, winters are cold, summers hot, and the air dry. Warm winter winds, locally called Chinooks, sometimes sweep the plateau, leaving lower elevations bare of snow and ice and thus available for grazing for as long as two weeks at a time. Conversely, late spring and early fall frosts are a common and constant concern for ranchers and farmers alike. 4 Physical geography and climate together have marked effects on plateau plant life. At lower elevations aridity gives rise to open grasslands with sagebrush and several species of perennial bunchgrass, notably bluebunch wheatgrass, but also introduced species such as crested wheatgrass and Kentucky bluegrass. Although locally extensive, these open grasslands comprise a tiny portion of the provincial land base, less than one percent by one estimate. Some natural historians have noted that these areas – which are confined to the rainshadow river valleys and semi-arid uplands – look from afar like long, malformed fingers reaching into a largely forested landscape. 5 This is a conceit for two reasons. Human borders matter a great deal in environmental history, but if we ignore them for a moment and look at these grasslands the way a biogeographer (or transnational environmental historian) might, we quickly realize that they are part of a much larger intermountain ecosystem (Figure 1.5) that extends, albeit not unchanged, into the American states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. 6 It was by way of that larger semi-  4  Weir, Ranching on the Southern Plateau. Canning and Canning, “Grasslands,” 225. 6 On the importance of thinking about how borders matter in environmental history see: Dan Flores, “Place: An Argument for Bioregional History,” Environmental History Review, Winter (1994): 1-18; Joseph Taylor, “Boundary Terminology,” Environmental History 13, 3 (2008): 454-481; Ian Tyrell, True Gardens of the Gods: CaliforniaAustralian Environmental Reform, 1860-1930 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Richard White, “The Nationalization of Nature,” Journal of American History 86, 5  9  arid ecosystem that the first domestic grazing animals – horses, cattle and sheep – arrived on the plateau. Although I do not deal directly with this wider environment, it is worth remembering that the environmental history of grazing in British Columbia is connected to other places. 7 Second, and more important, is that dry forests and dry grasslands overlap ecologically and share elements of a common human and natural history. That intertwined story of people and environment is the subject of this study, but because deep time informs my analysis at several points, it is well to say something about the earlier environmental history of the plateau. What follows is far from encyclopedic, but it helps to situate this study in a longer story of social and ecological change. The ecological history of interior plateau, like that of northern North America in general, was reset during the last Pleistocene ice age. At its height, about 18000 years BP, a massive and more or less continuous blanket of ice covered present-day Canada and extended into what is now the northern United States. In some places the ice was at least 2 kilometers thick. By about 13,000 years BP, however, glaciers had begun to retreat and by 10,000 years ago the interior plateau was probably ice-free. Receding ice sheets revealed (and reshaped) a much-altered landscape. Ice ‘down-wasted’ first from the uplands, exposing numerous ‘trunk-valley glaciers.’ This process also left behind isolated blocks of stagnant ice and what physical geographers refer to as a ‘piedmont apron’ of ice  3 (1999): 976-986; Donald Worster, “World Without Borders: The Internationalizing of Environmental History,” Environmental History Review 7 (1982): 8-13. 7 For more details on the history, geography, and changing ecology of this environment see Nancy Langston, Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares: The Paradox of Old-Growth in the Inland West (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995); Nancy Langston, Where Land and Water Meet: A Western Landscape Transformed (Seattle: University of Seattle Press 2003): Donald Meinig, The Great Columbia Plain: A Historical Geography (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1968); and James Young and B. Abbott Sparkes, Cattle in the Cold Desert (Logan: Utah State University Press: 1985). 10  along the eastern and western edges of Coast and Cariboo mountains. As the ice melted it also created so-called “kettle” and “kame” topography, as well as countless coarsegrained melt water deposits and a thick and broad blanket of glacial “drift.” As one can readily imagine, water was a predominant (perhaps the predominant) feature of the postglacial landscape. Glacial lakes and ponds and numerous braided streams formed in front of the retreating ice sheets, while extensive ‘fluvial down-cutting’ (associated with large amounts of running water) ate away the plateau surface and considerably deepened its valleys. Another result was the distinctive terracing that one now finds along parts of the Thompson, Fraser and Chilcotin Rivers. Cross-sections of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers (Figures 1.4 and 1.5 respectively) show this terracing and suggest something of the work done by ice and water over centuries. 8  8  On the plateau in particular see Hebda, “Postglacial History;” and Weir, Ranching on the Southern Interior Plateau; on North America see E,C Pielou, After the Ice: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991); also see Graeme Wynn, Canada and Arctic North America: An Environmental History (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2007), 3-14. 11  Figure 1.4: Cross Fraser River at Pavillion. Note terracing and underlying geology (Source: Ryder, 1982)  12  Figure 1.5: Cross section of Thompson River Valley. Sketch of Kamloops area showing terracing and underlying geology. Note that the valley is much less precipitous than that of the Fraser (Source, Ryder, 1982).  13  Initially the surface of the plateau was far too unstable and the climate far too cold to support much plant life. But by 12000 to 13000 years BP a few sedges, grasses and forbs appear to have taken hold. By about 10,000 years BP the plateau had become stable enough, and the climate warm enough, to support pine forests in the uplands and more extensive stands of sagebrush, forbs and grasses in the valley bottoms. Pollen analyses indicate that grasslands were more extensive in the past than they are today, reaching a maximum area between 8000 and 10000 years BP, a sure sign that the climate was much warmer and drier than today. Grasslands contracted after 8000 years BP as the climate cooled, and by about 4500 years BP they had reached roughly their current size and distribution. Figures 1.6, 1.7, and 1.8 (all idealized cross sections adapted from recent biogeographical studies) suggest something of plateau ecology and physical geography on the eve of European resettlement in the 19th century. 9 Before the incursion of white immigrants – “resettlement” as it is now called – the plateau was Native space. 10 Archeological evidence, including the incomplete skeleton of a young man buried by a mudslide at modern day Gore Creek near the south Thompson river, indicates that humans were on the plateau as early as 8250 years BP. Numerous artifacts and especially an abundance of projectile spearheads – suggest the presence of nomadic deer and elk hunters by 7000 years BP.  9  See Hebda, “Postglacial History.” For an updated and more technical account of climate and vegetation change on the plateau see Richard Hebda, “British Columbia Vegetation and Climate History with Focus on 6 KA BP,” Geographie physique et Quaternaire 49, 1 (1995): 55-79. 10 On the peopling and early human occupation of northern North America, see Wynn, Canada and Arctic North America, 15-32. The term resettlement comes from Cole Harris, The Resettlement of British Columbia: Essays on Colonialism and Geographical Change (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997). 14  Figure 1.6: Cross-section of grasslands. Based on the Biogeoclimatic system of ecosystem classification (source: Meidinger and Pojar, 1991)  15  Figure 1.7: Cross-section of ponderosa pine. Based on the biogeoclimatic system of ecosystem classification. Ranchers often used these areas for summer grazing (Source: Meidinger and Pojar, 1991).  16  Figure 1.8: Cross-section of interior Douglas fir forest. Based on the biogeoclimatic system of ecosystem classification. This zone covers much of the northern portion of the plateau and could be used for summer grazing. Not shown in the diagram are the numerous open meadows in these uplands that ranchers and aboriginal people used for a variety of grazing and other purposes (Source: Meidinger and Pojar, 1991).  17  By 5000 years BP indigenous people had begun to harvest salmon. Larger winter villages soon followed. Circular “pithouses” ranging in size from 7.6 to 16 meters in diameter began to appear around 4500 years BP, and numerous artifacts such as harpoons, chisels, blades, bone bracelets, pendants, beads, artwork and eventually side-notched arrowheads, suggest the development of relatively sedentary and increasingly complex fishing societies over the next 2000 years. Elk, deer, caribou, and bighorn sheep hunting remained important and were greatly facilitated by the arrival of the horse sometime in the 18th century (probably through trade with Okanogan peoples in the present-day American state of Washington). 11 Native cultures were far from static during the precontact period. As one recent study of aboriginal settlements along the middle Fraser River concluded: “Rather than a static, timeless history…the history of these communities was undoubtedly marked by the founding of new villages; the rise and fall of powerful lineages and chiefs; the shifting of alliances between chiefs, lineages, villages and distant trading partners; the spread of new technologies and rituals; periods of strife and peace; and others of plenty and dearth.” 12 Similar conclusions can be drawn from the written historical record. Fur trade journals from the 19th century record shifting political alliances among aboriginal groups, as well as fluctuations in aboriginal salmon fisheries and the availability of important game animals.  11  On early human occupation on the interior plateau see Roy Carlson, “The Later Prehistory of British Columbia” in Roy Carlson and Luke Dalla Bona Ed. Early Human Occupation in British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press 1996): 215-226; for a more detailed overview see David Polotylo and Donald Mitchell, “Prehistory of the Northern Plateau,” In Handbook of North American Indians, Deward Walker ed. (Washington: Smithsonian Institute, 1998): 81-102. 12 See, for example, see Jesse Morin et al., “Late Prehistoric Settlement Patterns and Population Dynamics along the Mid-Fraser,” BC Studies 160 (2008/09): 9-34. 18  Far-reaching and even irrevocable changes occurred in quick succession in the 19th century. Participation in a continental fur trade connected the peoples, animals, and environs of the plateau to an industrial world system centered on Europe. 13 The fur trade placed new pressure on beaver and other fur bearing animals, but it also directly affected local plant life. The Hudson’s Bay Company, for example, apparently kept several thousand cattle and horses at Fort Kamloops from around 1830 until the late 19th century. Grazing and trampling by horses and cattle must have altered the areas around trading posts. The fur trade also modified Native land use practices, placing somewhat greater emphasis on trapping and European trade goods. But it did not fundamentally alter these practices. 14 Tsilhqot’in, Secwepemc, Stl’atl’imc, Nlakapamux, and Okanogan peoples continued to make extensive use of interior forest and grassland environments, hunting, gathering, fishing, and eventually grazing horses and a few cattle probably acquired from the Hudson’s Bay Company. 15 Except for the grazing of horses and cattle, both of which were relatively recent additions to aboriginal land-use practice, Native peoples continued  13  On the continental fur trade Harold Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1956); on British Columbia see, Robert Galois and Arthur Ray, “The Fur Trade in the Cordillera, to 1857” in R. Louis Gentilcore Ed. Historical Atlas of Canada Volume II: The Land Transformed (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993); Cole Harris, “Strategies of Power in the Cordilleran Fur Trade” in The Resettlement of British Columbia: Essays on Colonialism and Geographical Change (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997) 31-67; on the world system see Paul Knox and John Agnew, The Geography of the World Economy (New York: Edward Arnold, 1989); see also, Alf Horborg, John McNeill, and Juan Alier Martinez ed. Rethinking Environmental History: World System History and Global Environmental Change (Lanham: Altamira Press, 2007). 14 Duane Thomson and Margaret Ignace, “They made themselves our guests: Power relationships in the Interior plateau Region of the Cordillera in the Fur Trade Era,” BC Studies 146 (2005): 3-35. 15 For a detailed anthropological examination of one part of the interior plateau see: Brian Hayden Ed. A Complex Culture of the British Columbia Plateau: Traditional Stl’atl’imx Resource Use (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1992). 19  to interact with each other and with the wider plateau environment much as they had for many years. 16 In the second half of the nineteenth century, traditional aboriginal land practices were severely curtailed by the combined and closely related influences of disease and depopulation on the one hand, and colonization and creation of small Indian reserves on the other. In just a few years, the plateau became a crossroads for some of the most powerful and culturally corrosive currents of western modernity. A gold rush up the Fraser canyon brought tens of thousands of American miners to the plateau in 1858. 17 It also brought smallpox. Although many Fraser canyon Native peoples had been vaccinated by missionaries, an 1862 smallpox epidemic apparently “spread faster and farther” than any previous epidemic. 18 A decade later, George Grant, secretary to a transcontinental survey for the Canadian Pacific Railway, wrote from Fort Kamloops that smallpox had reduced the number of Native people “in this part of the country” to “the merest handful.” 19 Data on Native populations are sparse and incomplete, but recent  16  Carlson, “Later Prehistory.” “American” included American, British, French, Danish, African and Chinese individuals making their way from the United States to the Fraser goldfields. See Michael Kennedy, “Fraser River Placer Mining Landscapes,” BC Studies 160 (2008/09): 35-66. See also, Cole Harris and John Warkentin, Canada before Confederation: A Study in Historical Geography (Carlton University Press, 1991): 288-311; and Robert Galois and Cole Harris, “The Gold Rushes in British Columbia, 1858-1881,” in R. Louis Gentilcore Ed. Historical Atlas of Canada Volume II: The Land Transformed (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993): Plate 36 18 Deward E. Walker and Roderick Sprague, “History until 1846” in Deward Walker Ed. Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 12: Plateau (Washington: Smithsonian Institution: 1998): 142. 19 George M. Grant, Ocean to Ocean: Sanford Fleming’s Expedition through Canada in 1872: being a diary kept during a journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific with the expedition of the engineer-in-chief of the Canadian Pacific and Intercolonial Railways (Toronto: J, Campbell 1873): 288. 17  20  estimates suggest that the epidemic probably reduced their numbers by a third or more. 20 The Native population continued to decline thereafter, fueling settler notions that Native peoples would die out. 21 In 1881, according to historical geographers Cole Harris and Robert Galois, there were 5747 Native people in the study area (or about 20 percent of the total provincial Native population). 22 The pre-contact Native population of the plateau is impossible to determine but must have been much higher. Close on the heels of American miners were thousands of head of American cattle. Most came from ranches in Oregon and Washington, but a few originated on ranches as far away as northern California. Like the gold miners, most cattle drovers left British Columbia when the rush was over (it began to wane in the early 1860s). But some men stayed on to start ranches and many more came in the years after 1860. A Land Ordinance in that year enabled them to preempt 160 acres of land and an 1870 amendment increased the total to 320 acres.23 The later policy also provided for large pastoral leases, subject only to a minimum stocking rate set by the commissioner of lands and works for so many head of cattle per 100 acres within 6 months of obtaining the  20  The 1862 epidemic was just the latest in a series of epidemics in western North America going back the 18th century. See Robert Boyd, The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence: Introduced Infectious Diseases and Population Decline among Northwest Coast Indians, 1774-1874 (Seattle: University of Washington Press 1999); and Cole Harris, “Voices of Smallpox around Strait of Georgia” in Resettlement of British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997): 3-30; more generally see Karl Butzer, “The Americas before and after 1492,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 82, 3 (1992): 345-368; and Alfred Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press): 195-216. 21 Cole Harris, Making Native Space: Colonialism, Resistance and Reserves in British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press 2002). 22 Cole Harris and Robert Galois, “Recalibrating Society: The Population Geography of British Columbia in 1881,” Canadian Geographer 38, 1 (1994): 37-53. 23 Robert Cail, Land, Man, and the Law: the disposal of crown lands in British Columbia 1871-1913 (Vancouver: UBC Press 1974). 21  lease. In principle all rangelands were open to preemption or purchase, but the Stock Ranges Act of 1876 enabled two-thirds of the settlers in any electoral district to create commonage for the exclusive use of settler cattle, a preemptive act aimed at sheep raisers whom the ranchers considered detrimental to the range. 24 Pastoral leasing was abolished in 1884, but a provision in the amended Land Act allowed leaseholders to purchase the land at a dollar an acre. 25 Some of the largest and most influential landowners in the province at the time were involved in these acquisitions, including, Thaddeus Harper, a former American cattle drover who amassed over 50,000 acres of deeded land in the Chilcotin by 1883, Forbes Vernon, the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works for British Columbia and owner of thousands of acres of prime rangeland in the Okanagan, and Charles Semlin, another large Okanagan rancher and future premier of the province. A list of land purchases associated with the amendment is reproduced in appendix 2. Not included on the list, were numerous small-scale stock-raisers, most from Britain or eastern Canada, men simply looking to acquire land, start a family, and perhaps improve their lot in life. A transcontinental railway completed in 1884 connected both groups to  24  The cattle-sheep conflict has a long history in the North American West; see David Breen, Canadian Cattle Ranching Frontiers (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983); and Nancy Langston, Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares, 73-78. 25 On the development of colonial land law see Robert Cail, Land, Man, and the Law: The Disposal of Crown Lands in British Columbia, 1871-1913 (Vancouver: UBC Press 1974). On the central role of property law during the era of European imperialism see John Weaver, The Great Land Rush and the Making of the Modern World, 1650-1900 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003); on property and British imperialism in particular see John McLaren, A.R. Buck and Nancy Wright ed. Despotic Dominion: Property Rights in British Settler Societies (Vancouver: UBC Press 2005). 22  increasingly urban appetites in the province’s lower mainland and to the international commodity markets of the wider world system. 26 Native people adapted to these and numerous other intrusions as they could in the circumstances, resisting them in some cases and accommodating them in others. 27 But the outcome of this process was rarely, if ever, in doubt. Some newcomers questioned the scale and process of dispossession but few, if any, questioned the intent of dispossession or its underlying assumptions. 28 Native people were put on reserves that were a tiny fraction of their ancestral territories. The colonial state made the remainder available to settlers and to capital (Figure 1.9, a map of Indian Reserves in one part of the study area, suggests the scale of dispossession). 29  26  On urbanization in British Columbia’s lower mainland see Graeme Wynn, “The Rise of Vancouver,” in Graeme Wynn and Timothy Oke Ed. Vancouver and its Region (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1992): 69-148; on the world system see Immanuel Wallerstein, World Systems Analysis: An Introduction (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004). 27 For an overview, see Cole Harris, “How did Colonialism Dispossess? Comments from an Edge of Empire,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 91, 4 (2004): 165-182. 28 See, Harris, Making Native Space. 29 See Harris, Resettlement of British Columbia; Harris, Making Native Space; and Robin Fisher, Contact and Conflict: Indian-European Relations in British Columbia, 1774-1890 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1977); on the special relationship between fisheries and dispossession of Native people, see Douglas Harris, Fish, Law and Colonialism: the legal capture of salmon in British Columbia (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001); Douglas Harris, Landing Native Fisheries: Indian Reserves and Fishing Rights in British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press 2008); and Dianne Newell, Tangled Webs of History: Indians and the Law and Canada’s Pacific Coast (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993). 23  Figure 1.9 The Gang Ranch and Indian Reserves. Not shown are numerous smaller ranches in the area (Map by Eric Leinberger)  24  By 1893, according to the Provincial Department of Agriculture, there were 643 ranches on the plateau and 70,403 cattle (Figure 1.10). 30 Four years later the number of cattle and sheep had grown to 109,000, and by 1919 the herd had expanded to more than 131,000 head of cattle and 48,000 head of sheep. 31 A full economic history of ranching in British Columbia remains to be written, but the financial records of the Western Canadian Ranching Company (WCRC) from 1901 to 1930 provide some perspective on the rise of British Columbia’s range cattle industry in the early 20th century. By the early 1930s the WCRC was a large, vertically integrated cattle company with extensive rangelands in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region and butcher shops and rendering plants in the coastal cities of Victoria, Vancouver and New Westminster. Only the Douglas Lake Cattle Company rivaled the WCRC is size and scope of operations, and together these companies dominated British Columbia’s beef trade. According to manager A.E Brayne, the company obtained “fair profits” from 1901 to 1910, “very good profits” from 1911 to 1920, and a mix of profits and losses from 1921 to 1930. Prices fluctuated from one period to the next but the ratio between herd size and annual sales remained relatively constant throughout the period (although clearly the company sold fewer cattle in 1930 than it did in 1901).  30  These figures come from Gregory Thomas, The British Columbia Ranching Frontier, 1858-1896 (MA Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1976). 31 These figures are drawn from, British Columbia, Report of the Forest Branch for 1920 (Victoria: Kings Printer 1921) and reflect the number of livestock for which fees were collected by the state. The actual number of livestock was likely quite a bit higher than this because this was the first year for which fees were collected and the branch’s livestock counts were incomplete at the time the report was written. Moreover, a certain portion of the total herd was kept on private land and therefore not subject to a grazing fee. 25  District  Land Owners  Number of Cattle  Princeton Penticton Okanagan Vernon Spallumcheen Salmon Arm Sushwap Kamloops Nicola Lytton Spences Bridge Ashcroft Cache Creek Lillooet Pavillion Clinton Bridge Creek Chilcotin Cariboo  23 32 66 160 42 8 60 32 15 13 13 20 15 12 10 20 28 41  797 2557 5002 4100 3700 143 1465 5848 23206 191 748 1718 2062 556 1044 924 1812 5108 7931  Total  643  70403  Figure 1.10: Ranches and cattle, 1893 (Source: Second Report of the Department of Agriculture, 1894; and Thomas, British Columbia Ranching Frontier, 1976)  26  Period  Result  1901-1910 1911-1920 (‘boom and war’) 1921-1929  Fair Profits Very good profits  1930  Varied from loss of 6258 to profit of 29595 Loss of 4497  Average size of herd at start of year 6626 7119  Average number of cattle sold 1734 1280  Average Price obtained 8.69 17.49  6857  1175  13.33  8252  1503  12.97  Figure 1.11 Financial records, Western Canadian Ranching Company 1901-1930 (prices in British pounds).  Not all ranches did as well as the WCRC, of course. Indeed, many small ranches simply folded under the combined and sometimes closely related pressures of debt and range degradation. In outline, however, the fluctuating profits of this large, British-based ranching company tend to reflect economic conditions in the range cattle industry in the early 20th century leading up to the Great Depression. Before the 1920s, as the following chapters show, many ranchers enjoyed record profits as the demand for beef soared. Wartime prices for cattle hit record highs. By the early 1920s the boom was over, however, and stock-raisers were caught in a cost-price squeeze stemming from declining beef prices and deteriorating range conditions that increased production costs. Market conditions improved through the 1930s, but the cattle economy continued to struggle with range degradation as well as wartime regulations on beef production and pricing. Statistics from 1948 show that the interior cattle herd had declined to 98,000 and was  27  split almost evenly between the Cariboo-Chilcotin (48,300) and Thompson Nicola (48,700). After World War II, the very nature of ranching in British Columbia began to change. Before early 1950s almost all cattle in British Columbia were shipped to New Westminster and Vancouver for slaughter. In 1949 only 907 head were shipped to the United States and only 277 were shipped to Alberta. By the late 1950s, however, less than half of all cattle in British Columbia were shipped to the coast. Most were sent to Alberta and Montana to be fattened on grain before slaughter. The result of these changes was a different kind of cattle herd. Until the early 1950s, cattle in British Columbia were marketed as grass-fed 2- year olds. By the early 1960s, however, only 8 percent of British Columbia’s cattle ‘crop’ were grass-fed 2 year olds. Most ranchers now raised yearlings and calves for ‘finishing’ on feedlots in Alberta and Montana. Some ranchers resisted the change, but found it increasingly difficult to market their animals because butchers and chain-store operators said consumers preferred the bright white fat of grain fed cattle. 32 By the early 1960s, British Columbia rangelands were finally fully integrated into North America’s factory feedlot system. 33 Rapid expansion in the interior ranching economy paralleled that of the provincial resource economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There were fluctuations in this growth, of course, and not everyone enjoyed equally the spoils of resource exploitation. 34  32  Range-fed animals have yellowish fat because of the beta-carotene in grass. Ian MacLachlan, Kill and Chill: Restructuring Canada’s Beef Commodity Chain (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001). 34 As Harold Innis illustrated long ago, resource economies and the societies that depend on them are uniquely vulnerable to external shocks and wrenching fluctuations in growth and economic development. For an introduction to Innis’ writings see Daniel Drache ed. 33  28  But overall the trajectory of resource and economic development was markedly upwards. 35 Expanding economies generated wealth (for some) but also made deep, even detrimental inroads into regional ecologies.36 In the early 20th century such problems became a central concern for the provincial state. Building on a body of ideas, policies, and practices imported largely from the United States, British Columbia embarked on a program of formal, scientific conservation, creating a Fisheries Branch in 1902; a Forest Branch in 1912; and a Grazing Branch in 1919. 37 Conservation introduced some measure of restraint on business activity, but it was hardly inimical to resource development. Conservation was about use, not disuse. At the same time, an underlying commitment to utilitarian ideals meant that business activity should benefit society as a whole. The rhetoric always insisted that resources be exploited in a way that did not ruin them for  Staples, Markets and Culture Change: Selected Essays, Harold Innis (Montreal: McGillQueens University Press, 1995). 35 Alan Seager, “The Resource Economy” in The Pacific Province: A History of British Columbia, ed. Hugh Johnson (Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 1996): 205-252. 36 Wynn, “Shall we Linger.” 37 The literature on conservation is large. The classic account in the American context is Samuel Hays, Conservation and Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999); for a critique and recent overview of the literature see Richard Judd, Common Lands Common Peoples: The Origins of Conservation in Northern New England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). On early fisheries conservation in British Columbia see Matthew Evenden, “Locating science, locating salmon: institutions, linkages and spatial practices in early British Columbia fisheries science,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 22 (2004): 355-72; and on forestry see T.R. Roach, “Stewards of the People’s Wealth: The Founding of British Columbia’s Forest Branch,” Journal of Forest History 28, 1 (1984): 14-23; there no comprehensive studies of range conservation in British Columbia but see Edwin Tisdale et al., Range Resources and their Management in British Columbia,” Journal of Range Management 7, 1 (1954): 3-9; Edwin Tisdale, Grazing of Forest Land in Interior British Columbia,” Journal of Forestry (December 1950): 856860; on very recent developments see Joanna Reid, “The Grassland Debates: Conservationists, Ranchers, First Nations, and the Landscape of the Middle Fraser,” BC Studies 160 (2008/09): 93-118. A Provincial Water Branch and Game Branch were also created during this period. 29  future use. 38 But even before the era of conservation, as the following chapters show, laws were passed to protect and regulate resource use. As early as 1879 the province passed An Act for the Protection of Winter Ranges, and in a few places, such the Cariboo region, rangeland was regulated informally on the basis custom and local knowledge. This study examines these developments and assesses their impact on people and nature alike. Ranching in western North America in the 19th and 20th centuries was many things: a “modern capitalist institution,” a “cultural complex,” a political position, even a discourse. 39 Above all, it was a means of resettling and reorganizing space and environment on a massive scale. 40 Its roots were in the pastoral economies of Old World  38  The American forester Gifford Pinchot, for example, argued conservation was “the greatest good to the greatest number for longest time.” See Char Miller, Gifford Pinchot and the Making of Modern Environmentalism (Island Press, 2004); on utilitarianism in general see Richard T. Garner and Andrew Oldenquist ed. Society and the Individual: Readings in Political and Social Philosophy (Belmont: Wadsworth, 1990), 194-203. 39 For ranching as a “modern capitalist institution” see Donald Worster, “Cowboy Ecology” in Under Western Skies: Nature and History in the American West (New York: 1992): 40; as a “cultural” complex see Terry Jordan, North American Cattle Ranching Frontiers: Origins, Diffusion, and Differentiation (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1993); as a political position see Karen Merrill, Public Lands and Political Meaning: Ranchers, the Government, and the Property Between Them (Berekeley: University of California Press, 2002); as discourse, see Elizabeth Furniss, The Burden of History : Colonialism and the Frontier Myth in a Rural Canadian Community (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1999). 40 I do not address debates about spatiality directly, but the importance of a developing a spatial perspective is suggested by a large and theoretically diverse literature in geography as well as some work in environmental history. See: Trevor Barnes and Derek Gregory ed. Reading Human Geography: The Poetics and Politics of Inquiry (New York: Arnold, 1997); William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York: Norton, 1991); Cole Harris, The Reluctant Land: Society, Space and Environment in Canada before Confederation (Vancouver: UBC Press 2008) Phil Hubbard ed. Thinking Geographically: Space, Theory and Contemporary Human Geography (London: Continuum, 2002); Joseph Taylor III, Making Salmon: An Environmental History of the Northwest Fisheries Crisis (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 30  Iberia. Many ranches in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region were family-run for generations, but over time ranching became more industrialized and corporatized, while range management became more scientific and state controlled. 41 Yet long experience with stock raising and new and more intensive methods of land management were no guarantee that ranching would survive in New World environments like the interior plateau, which had evolved largely in the absence of large, herding herbivores and were therefore relatively unsuited to the sustained heavy grazing characteristic of capitalist ranching economies. 42 What follows is far from a simple tale of environmental determinism, however. Nature matters and just how it matters is a major theme of this study, but it is not the whole story. Ecological change on the interior plateau occurred not just because people put animals in grasslands, but because they did so “in a world where nature, culture, ideas and markets tangle[d] together in complex ways.” 43 In the pages  1999); and Graeme Wynn, People, Places, Pattern, Processes: Geographical Perspectives on the Canadian Past (Mississauga: Copp Clark Pittman, 1990). 41 On industrialization in ranching see William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis, 207-259; David Igler, Industrial Cowboys: Miller and Lux and the Transformation of the Far West, 1850-1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); and Ian McLachlan, Kill and Chill: Restructuring Canada’s Beef Commodity Chain (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001). On the rise of scientific range management see Langston, Forest Dreams, 201-246; William D. Rowley, U.S. Forest Service Grazing and Rangelands: A History (College Station: Texas A & M University 1985); and Maarten Heyboer, Grass Counters, Stock Feeders, and the Dual Orientation of Applied Science: The History of Range Science, 1895-1960 (PhD Dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute 1992). 42 See Richard Mack, “Invaders at Home on the Range,” Natural History (1984): 40-46. 43 Nancy Langston, Where Land and Water Meet: A Western Landscape Transformed (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003): 4; also see William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983); Cole Harris, The Reluctant Land: Society, Space and Environment in Canada before Confederation (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008) Arthur McEvoy, The Fisherman’s Problem: Ecology and Law in the California Fisheries, 1850-1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); and Richard White, Land Use, Environment and Social Change: The Shaping of Island County Washington (Seattle: 31  that follow I document and explain the important ways that grazing environments on the interior plateau changed in the 19th and 20th centuries. My primary concern is how historical actors understood these changes and, when deemed undesirable, how they responded. I am also interested in how attempts to address ecological change affected other people and the wider natural environments that were home and habitat. These were the concerns that led me to the intertwined social and ecological histories of animal extermination on the interior plateau and to British Columbia’s struggles with grasshoppers and wild horses. This brings me to the title of my dissertation: Range Wars. Historians, novelists and Hollywood filmmakers have long invoked the image of a range war to describe the violence and lawlessness that apparently defined large parts of the American West in the mid-to-late 19th century. 44 We must be mindful of our metaphors, especially those involving war. 45 As philosopher Ian Hacking reminds us in a recent reflection on the socalled science wars, “Metaphors influence the mind in many unnoticed ways. The willingness to describe fierce disagreement in terms of the metaphors of war makes the very existence of real wars seem more natural, more inevitable, more a part of the human condition. It also betrays us into an insensibility toward the very idea of war, so that we  University of Washington Press, 1980); and Graeme Wynn, Canada and Arctic North America: An Environmental History (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2007). 44 See, for example, Harry Sinclair Drago, The Great Range Wars: Violence on the Grasslands (New York: Dodd-Mead 1970); Samuel Hays, “Range Wars and Range Conservation,” in Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement 1890-1920 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press 1999): 49-65; Owen Wister, The Virginian (New York: Macmillan, 1955); and Open Range, starring Kevin Costner, Annette Bening and Robert Duvall (Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2004). 45 As Trevor Barnes and Derek Gregory write: “[A]lthough in literal terms they are nonsensical, metaphors take on persuasive force in influencing the direction and nature of discourse.” See Barnes and Gregory, Reading Human Geography, 142. 32  are less prone to be aware of how totally disgusting real wars are.” 46 My reference to war in the title of this study, and use of military metaphors throughout the narrative, is not an attempt to sensationalize history or desensitize readers to warfare, far from it. Rather, I am trying to reflect accurately historical usage and to emphasize how British Columbian’s thought about ‘pests.’ British Columbians regularly used words and images of war to describe plans for pest eradication, but the connections to war ran even deeper than this. Range experts working on pest problems interacted with militaries in Canada, Britain, the United States, and even the Soviet Union. The common connection and the point of killing animal pests such as grasshoppers, wild horses, coyotes, bears, cougars, and numerous other species was at least partly to claim territory – in this case land and resources – for the colonial state and for immigrant ranchers and their cattle. In this regard, British Columbia’s battles against nature had much in common with more familiar forms of armed conflict. The campaigns described in this study were not wars in the usual sense of human conflict, but they were wars. Moreover, both endeavors exposed the way societies have related to each other and the nonhuman world. 47  46  Ian Hacking, The Social Construction of What? (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999): vii. 47 I am not suggesting that war defined everything about human environmental relations on the plateau, of course. But the concept of war (as well as the means, methods, and institutions of war) is omnipresent in the historical record and suggested to me that it should be taken seriously. Others have noted similar connections. See Edmund Russell, War and Nature: Fighting humans and insects with chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001); and Clinton Evans, The War on Weeds in the Prairie West (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2002); and Laura Otis, Membranes: metaphors of invasion in nineteenth century literature, science and politics (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999); On the discourse of war in general (but with an emphasis on the history of European political theory) see, Michel Foucault, Society must be Defended: Lectures at the College de France, 1975-1976 (New York: Picador 2003). 33  Finally, a word on method: As an historical geographer of human-environment relations, I am interested in how societies and environments change together over time. 48 I approach scholarship from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining interpretative insights from history, geography, anthropology, ecology and allied sciences, as well as social theory. But my methodology is archival. Using old government records, provincial statutes, private correspondence, historical photographs, and unpublished transcripts from public meetings and royal commissions, I have assembled two historical narratives about the relationships among people, animals, and environment in a large and arresting part of British Columbia. Rather than focus on ranching, the study revolves around grasshoppers and horses. If this seems somewhat unconventional, it is also a powerful way of doing environmental history. 49 In this case a focus on nonhuman animals enables us to see that stories about range conservation and rational land use were also, perhaps even primarily, stories about dispossession and marginalization, and that these were not just social but deeply ecological conditions. The histories of grasshoppers and wild horses overlap in time, and many actors appear in both narratives. But rather than adopt a strict chronological approach I have found it necessary not only to work somewhat thematically but also to move between  48  On the development of environmental themes and emphases in history and historical geography see: J.R. McNeill, “Observations on the Nature and Culture of Environmental History,” History and Theory 42, 4 (2003): 44-59; Richard White, “American Environmental History: The Development of a New Historical Field,” Pacific Historical Review 54 (1985) 297-335; Donald Worster et al., Roundtable: Environmental History,” Journal of American History 76, 4 (1990): 1087- 1147; Michael Williams, “The Relations of Environmental History and Historical Geography,” Journal of Historical Geography 20 (1994):3-21; and Graeme Wynn, “Shall we Linger Along Ambitionless: Environmental Perspectives on British Columbia,” BC Studies 142/143 (2004): 5-68. 49 See, for example, Harriet Ritvo, “Animal Planet,” Environmental History 9, 2 (2004): 204-220. 34  time scales, placing early 20th century debates about overgrazing, for example, alongside earlier ideas as well as very recent understandings that are essentially evolutionary in nature. The point is not to suggest that more or better science would have solved or avoided environmental problems. I am convinced that it would not for the simple, but consequential, reason that environmental problems are as much social as ecological and the solutions as much social as instrumental. Emphasizing the social nature of environmental problems does not amount to an argument against science, however. On the contrary, it helps us to understand not only the natural world but also human history. 50 Certain parts of the present study would have been impossible to write without science, yet the juxtaposition of new and old science also reminds that our understanding of human-environment relations is always inevitably partial and therefore open and indeed likely to change.  50  Others have argued as much many times before but there is still some uncertainty and debate about how best to do it and what the theoretical implications of using science to do history and historical geography might be. This is particularly so among scholars who, like myself, are interested not only in using science to document ecological change, but in examining the history and geography of scientific ideas and practices as well. On the peril and promise of using science in environmental history and historical geography, see William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England (New York: Hill and Wang 1981): 3-15; David Demeritt, “Ecology, Objectivity and Critique in Writings on Nature and Human Societies,” Journal of Historical Geography 20 (1994): 22-37 (also see the response to Demeritt’s article written by William Cronon in the same volume); Richard White, “Preface to the 1992 Edition” in Land Use, Environment and Social Change: The Shaping of Island County Washington (Seattle University of Washington Press) xvii-xix; Donald Worster, “Restoring a Natural Order” in The Wealth of Nature: Environmental History and the Ecological Imagination (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). 171-183. In the background of these debates are basic questions about the nature of knowledge. For an overview of these issues in the history of science, see: Jan Golinski, Making Natural Knowledge: Constructivism and the History of Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1999). More generally, see Richard Tarnas, “The Crisis of Modern Science” in The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View (New York: Ballentine Books, 1991): 355-365. 35  Part I: Grasshoppers  Cattle ranching came to British Columbia grasslands in the 1860s with the Fraser Canyon and Cariboo gold rushes. An extension of the American range cattle frontier (of Hispanic origin), it arrived, geographers Cole Harris and David Demeritt observe, “just after Native populations had been decimated by smallpox and at a time when the government of British Columbia offered land for purchase or lease for next to nothing.” 1 Ranches and cattle quickly took over the grasslands and cattle competed there with other creatures that the ranchers soon considered pests. Among the creatures that ranchers attempted to eradicate were grasshoppers. Working closely with federal entomologists, provincial grazing experts organized a poisoning campaign that failed to eradicate grasshoppers but wrought havoc on rangelands. Killing insects exposed unwieldy (and in many ways impossibly intertwined) social and ecological realities that considerably complicated and even undermined their efforts.  1  Cole Harris (with David Demerit), “Farming and Rural Life,” in The Resettlement of British Columbia: Essays on Colonialism and Geographical Change (Vancouver: UBC Press 1997): 236. 36  Chapter 2: Grappling with Grasshoppers  Grasshopper irruptions are a part of grassland ecology. Faint traces can be found in plateau Native tradition, but in the 19th century ‘hoppers’ rarely posed a problem to settlers. 1 After 1890, however, settlers worried that the scale and frequency of irruptions had increased significantly, and in the 1920s scarcely a summer went by without a “locust plague” (or specter of a locust plague) somewhere in British Columbia’s semiarid interior. The first of these plagues occurred in 1890 when large numbers of hoppers in the Nicola Valley began “doing considerable injury to pasture.” 2 “From the descriptions given I do not believe it was the Rocky Mountain or Hateful Locust,” reported agricultural official James Anderson in reference to the insect that began harassing Great Plains ranchers and farmers in the 1870s. 3 The Rocky Mountain Locust was relatively large and known to migrate long distances, he noted, whereas the insects involved in the British Columbia plague were small and remained more or less in place. Moreover, the Rocky Mountain Locust was commonly confused with the common red-legged locust (Melanoplus femurrubrum), which was at the time considered a different species. Nevertheless, and no doubt in light of lingering uncertainty surrounding the insect’s true  1  See David Madeson, “A Grasshopper in Every Pot” Natural History 98, 7 (July 1989): 22-25. 2 First Report of the Department of Agriculture of the Province of British Columbia, 1891 (Victoria: Richard Wolfden,1892), 733. 3 Ibid. On the Rocky Mountain Locust see Annette Atkins, Harvest of Grief: Grasshopper Plagues and Public Assistance in Minnesota, 1873-1878 (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1984); Jeffery A. Lockwood, Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of an Insect that Shaped the American Frontier (New York: Basic Books, 2004). 37  identity, Anderson echoed Canadian and American entomologists working on the Rocky Mountain Locust, urging “every farmer to be on his guard and at once report any unusual number of ‘grasshoppers’ and send specimens for identification.” 4 But just as the Rocky Mountain Locust plagues dissipated each autumn, so too the grasshoppers that appeared in such great numbers in the summer of 1890 seemed to disappear suddenly. Ranchers already discouraged from the dry summer of 1889 and the following harsh winter that killed many cattle and horses for want of winter pasture now had an insect problem as well. The situation was especially dire on Native reserves, where, according to British Columbia’s Chief inspector of Indian Agencies, “the grasshoppers and drought destroyed most of their grain and the intense cold coupled with insufficiency of fodder killed very many of their cattle.” 5 Something of the concern elicited by the 1890 outbreak is also captured in comments made by ranchers the following year. William McLeod of Anderson Creek remarked that, “Grasshoppers were the worst pest we have had; not many this year.” 6 Similarly, W.H. Jones of Grand Prairie reported that “with regard to insects, the grasshopper is about our only trouble, and although not so bad this year as last, they cause a great deal of annoyance and damage to the crops.” 7 John Clapperton, from Meritt, noted sharp declines not only in the number of grasshoppers but in several other insect populations as well: “Since the locust plague insects not noticeable.” 8 As the  4  Ibid., 827. Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs for 1890 (Ottawa: Kings Printer, 1891), 54. 6 British Columbia, First Report of the Department of Agriculture., 753. 7 Ibid., 752. 8 Ibid., 758. 5  38  summer of 1892 passed, it seemed that the grasshoppers, which had wrought such devastation in 1890, were all but gone. But they were not gone for long. In the summer of 1898, grasshoppers reappeared in large numbers in the Nicola Valley and also near Lillooet where, according to one resident, ranchers had “to feed out a lot of hay on account of the grasshoppers leaving pasture short.” 9 “This is the second time the grasshoppers have appeared in our valley,” reported one Nicola rancher. “The first time, which was 1890, they made complete havoc and unless something happens to destroy the egg before hatching it will be very little use putting in a [hay] crop next spring. The eggs are deposited on sandy and gravelly hills, about an inch from the surface. Some of the eggs seem to have become dried but the majority are quite fertile. ” 10 Another rancher from the Nicola lamented in 1899: “I could not grow enough feed to keep any quantity of hogs. The grasshoppers were very bad last summer and laid their eggs, so that we are expecting our crops will be all eaten by them next year. I shall put in very little wheat or oats, but principally peas and potatoes, as they do not bother these crops so much.” 11 Once again the plague ended in late summer. As one rancher reported, no doubt with some relief, “nearly all the grasshoppers have disappeared and a great many have died.” 12 Whatever solace ranchers took was tempered by lingering questions about where the insects had gone and, perhaps more importantly, why they had returned. Settlers  9  Jackson to Ellis, 6 April 1900, BCA, BC Cattle Company Records, MS 2882, Box 254, File 14. 10 Cited in E.R. Buckell, “The Locusts of British Columbia” paper read before the British Columbia Entomological Society, March 1919, in Proceedings of the Entomological Society of British Columbia (Victoria: Kings Printer, 1921): 114. 11 Ibid., 115. 12 Ibid. 39  frequently used the phrase ‘locust plague’ to describe the grasshopper irruptions. As the scientist and historian of entomology Jeffery Lockwood has noted, this terminology invoked “the same terror used by God to punish the Egyptians,” and its use might suggest some people regarded the irruptions as the work of an angry deity. 13 Most ranchers and local observers, however, simply assumed it was the nature of the insect to appear occasionally in large numbers, to ‘do injury’ to crops and pasture and then to all but disappear. Writing in 1902 rancher William Pinchbeck reported that on the basis of his experience raising stock at Williams Lake, that grasshoppers “only do damage two years in thirty.” 14 Others saw the ‘natural’ ecological determinants of the irruptions even more clearly. Recently hired by the Dominion Entomology Laboratory at Vernon to work on insect pests in fruit crops, E.P. Venables reflected toward the close of 1901 that “Grasshoppers were numerous at some places, and although no damage was done, some people are anxious lest there be a repetition of the plague of three years ago. Some of their enemies, however, were in evidence to an equal extent with the grasshoppers. Among these the Spotted Gray Blister Beetle was very abundant [and] it is hoped that their larvae will help, if they keep up their good name for destroying the eggs of grasshoppers.” 15  13  Lockwood, Locust: xix. British Columbia, First Report of the Department of Agriculture, 827. 15 Canada, Annual Report of the Dominion Entomologist for 1903 (Ottawa: Kings Printer 1904): 176. 14  40  This was, in essence, the prevailing scientific explanation of insect irruptions. 16 Thus the accountant, naturalist and newly appointed Dominion entomologist James Fletcher attributed the 1898 plague – which he considered comprised mainly clearwinged grasshoppers (Camnula Pellucida Scudder) – to a temporary absence of parasites and disease-bearing fungi that together usually tempered the insect’s reproductive ability. 17 By this speculative account, the 1898 plague had been nothing more than minor blip in the balance of nature. Whatever the precise ecological mechanism at work – and it would be a number of years before entomologists would offer a fuller explanation – the grasshoppers clearly posed a problem to agricultural production. They returned again in 1907 and 1914. According to Dominion Inspector of Indian Orchards Tom Wilson, the insects “were so numerous [in the Nicola district] that their flight resembled a snowstorm.” Their impact was considerable. “We found that crops of clover, alfalfa, and ordinary hay crops had been much injured so much so as to bring about an appreciable shortage in weight per acre, while the cattle grazing-grounds had been rendered bare.” Meanwhile, and moving northeast into the heart of the Nicola Valley, he reported that, “the grazing-grounds in the vicinity of Nicola Lake were also severely attacked and many  16  On the origins of American entomology see W. Conner Sorenson, Brethren of the Net: American Entomology, 1840-1880 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995); On early Canadian entomology see Stephan Castonguey, “Naturalizing Federalism: Insect Outbreaks and the Centralization of Entomological Research in Canada, 1884-1914,” The Canadian Historical Review 85, 1 (March 2004): 1-34. 17 Canada, Report of the Dominion Entomologist for 1900 (Ottawa Kings Printer 1901). For more on Fletcher see Paul Riegart From Arsenic to DDT: A History of Entomology in Western Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980), 59-80. 41  thousands of acres were rendered useless.” 18 According to a later report “close upon 200,000 acres of bunch grass had been laid waste” in that area alone. 19 Late nineteenth century entomologists advocated a number of ‘natural’ controls of pestiferous insect populations. 20 “Black birds, meadow larks and particularly the several species of grouse” one report indicated, ate large numbers of grasshoppers “and should be jealously protected.” 21 In some parts of Canada and the United States game laws had been revised for just this reason, but not in British Columbia, where ranchers and agricultural officials were more interested in using birds that might also be eaten or sold. For the “common red-legged locust” and for other species, wrote James Fletcher in one report, “large broods of poultry are particularly useful in keeping down the numbers and should form a part of the equipment of every prairie farmer.”22 In a similar vein, an 1893 report from the British Columbia Department of Agriculture suggested that “the high bench lands in this part of the country are conveniently suited to the raising of poultry, especially turkeys, which, besides being a source of profit, are most useful in keeping down such pests as grasshoppers.” 23 Another report argued that “turkey’s would be immensely profitable on the high lands of the interior. Where grasshoppers are numerous  18  Tom Wilson, “The Outbreak of Locusts of 1914,” Proceedings of the Entomological Society of British Columbia (Victoria: Kings Printer, 1915): 41-42. 19 British Columbia, Proceedings of the Entomological Society of British Columbia (Victoria: Kings Printer, 1921): 116. 20 On the role of birds in the history of insect control see Matthew Evenden, “The Laborers of Nature: Economic Ornithology and the Role of Birds as Agents of Pest Control in North American Agriculture, 1880-1930,” Forest and Conservation History 39, 4 (1995): 172-183. 21 Reprinted in British Columbia, First Report of the Department of Agriculture, 827. 22 Ibid. 23 British Columbia, Third Report of the Department of Agriculture of the Province of British Columbia, 1893 (Victoria: Richard Wolfden, 1894): 742. 42  also, fowls have been found to be of great service in reducing their numbers.” 24 Poultry numbers did increase after 1890, but this may have been a simple correlate of settlement and agricultural development. What Fletcher and the BCDA did not mention – or did not know – was that a locust rich diet rendered bird flesh and eggs inedible. 25 Even so, blackbirds and turkeys could eat only so many grasshoppers, and by the end of the nineteenth century entomologists were advocating more direct means of insect control. One tactic involved use of hand and horse drawn traps called hopper-dozers (figure 2.1). According to one report “Catching grasshoppers alive in a machine or trap which is drawn over infested fields” was a “popular and effective” method of insect control that had the added benefit of providing farmers with “valuable winter feed for poultry.” 26 But like blackbirds and turkeys, hopper dozers could only remove so many insects from the range. A second, more direct and much less laborious approach to insect control was the use of poison bait, usually some combination of arsenic, manure (or bran) and molasses (or sugar). 27 Compounds of arsenic had a long history as domestic pesticides.  24  British Columbia, Fourth Report of the Department of Agriculture of the Province of British Columbia, 1894 (Victoria: Richard Wolfden, 1895). 25 Lockwood, Locust, 3-4. 26 “Locust Control,” British Columbia Department of Agriculture Circular (Victoria: 1921) 4. 27 The bran-sugar-arsenic mixture was recommended for use in British Columbia as early as 1895. See the Fourth Report of the Department of Agriculture of the Province of British Columbia, 1902 (Victoria, Richard Wolfden, 1903): 912. For early poison control methods see Reigart, Arsenic to DDT; James Whorton, Before Silent Spring: Pesticides and Public Health in Pre-DDT America (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1974). 43  Figure 2.1: Sketch of a ‘hopper dozer’ (Source: BC Department of Agriculture, 1921)  44  According to historian James Whorton they had been used “since at least the beginning of the Christian era, and were still being recommended, on a small scale, in the mid1800s.” 28 Their use in agriculture dated to 18th century France, but arsenics did not appear in North America until the 1860s, when they were used to combat potato beetles. Before long, arsenics were employed against other insect pests, and by the turn of the 20th century they were directed at grasshoppers and locusts as well. By all accounts arsenic bait did control grasshopper populations. According to the entomologist Charles Lounsbery, “the various arsenicals” were used to great effect in South Africa. In the late 1910s and early 1920s, Lounsbery recommended arsenic to British Columbia’s first grazing Commissioner, Thomas Mackenzie. Other entomologists concurred. But Mackenzie found that British Columbia presented particular difficulties to insect control. Initial experiments indicated that only two of the forty or so species of grasshoppers found between Merritt and Riske Creek would take the poison bait, and, as it turned out, not the right two. 29 The culprits, the insects whose population irruptions were devastating rangelands, were Camnula pellucida and Melanoplus atlantis. Both refused the bait. Perhaps more molasses was in order, or maybe a little lemon, as was called for in the ‘Kansas Mixture.’ Even if they got the recipe right, however, there was the problem of distribution. Spreading arsenic bait over relatively small parcels of cultivated land, as was being done by farmers in South Africa and North America east of the Rocky Mountains, was one thing: applying it to extensive and sparsely settled rangeland was quite another.  28  Whorton, Before Silent Spring, 17. Thomas Mackenzie to Ernest Simms, 19 April 1921, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8657. 29  45  The experience of World War One suggested another line of attack. In August 1919, amid reports that grasshoppers were laying bare “an area of several hundred square miles” in the Chilcotin, Grazing Commissioner Mackenzie, asked the military whether there “is anyone in British Columbia who has made a study of and is familiar with the use of various gases used in warfare in France.” He wanted to gas grasshoppers. “I have noticed,” Mackenzie continued, “that at certain periods of the summer [grasshoppers] congregate in the shallow swales of the open range where the grass is greener than in other places and it would appear that at that time gas could be used with good effect.” 30 Gassing insect pests may have been new to Mackenzie but it was far from visionary. American entomologists had been doing this for several years. 31 In any case the military was open to his idea. In September, a lieutenant colonel in the Canadian army replied that, “the information…which you require could be obtained from J.A Hall who was one of the senior officers employed by the Imperial Authorities on munitions work and it is understood that his duties pertained almost entirely to poisonous gases.” 32 It is not clear whether Mackenzie followed through with his experiments, but his appeal to the army is a Canadian reminder that the means, methods, and metaphors of war permeated North American understandings of and approaches to insect control in the 19th and 20th centuries. 33 Entomologists especially tended to see themselves as being at  30  Thomas Mackenzie to The Department of Militia and Defense, 6 August 1919, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8657. 31 Ibid. In fact, American entomologists had already conducted similar experiments. See Edmund Russell, “Speaking of Annihilation: Mobilizing for War against Human and Insect Enemies, 1914-1945,” Journal of American History 82 (4) 1996: 1505- 1529. 32 Lt. Colonel [name illegible] to Thomas Mackenzie, 12 August 1919, BCA, GR 1441 Lands and Works, Reel 108, File 8657. 33 Edmund Russell, War and Nature Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from the First World War to Silent Spring (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001); 46  war. They viewed themselves as the last and perhaps only line of defense against a rapidly advancing and recalcitrant enemy. Of course there was considerable practical utility in depicting entomology and pest control this way. As Edmund Russell writes, “describing pest control as war helped entomologists portray nature as a battlefield, elevate the status of their profession, and mobilize resources.” 34 So too in British Columbia, metaphors of war surrounded the grasshopper problem and suggested ways of solving it. Newspapers regularly described how “armies of grasshoppers” swept the landscape, “wasting” open range and field crops alike. Military imagery also shaped scientific descriptions of outbreaks. The cover page of an important 1924 report, coauthored by Dominion entomologist R.C. Treherne and his assistant E.R Buckell, depicted grasshoppers advancing across open, undefended, and obviously pristine bunchgrass pasture (Figure 2.2). And plans to control outbreaks – itself a word that by the early 20th century had taken on military connotations – frequently turned on those metaphors. Faced with the overwhelming task of spreading arsenic bait on British Columbia’s open rangelands, entomologists noted the importance of “narrowing the frontline” before beginning “operations” or initiating a “campaign.” 35  Joseph Blu Buhs, The Fire Ant Wars: Nature Science and Public Policy in Twentieth Century America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004). 34 Russell, “Speaking of Annihilation,” 1509. 35 E.R. Buckell, “The Grasshopper Problem in Canada” in Proceedings of the Fourth International Locust Conference, Cairo, Egypt, April 22, 1936 Appendix 42 (Cairo: Government Press, 1937). 47  Figure 2.2: Grasshoppers of British Columbia. This cover page of a 1924 publication by Treherne and Buckell shows grasshoppers about to advance onto open and obviously pristine bunchgrass range (source: UBC Special Collections).  48  Science, however, spoke with many voices. Entomologists promoted better land use and carried out basic taxonomic and habitat studies even as they experimented with arsenic, organized poison control “campaigns,” and considered gassing the grasslands. Indeed, a central conclusion of early entomological research was that, in a sense, poor land use practices had caused the irruptions. Reporting the preliminary results of studies initiated by Dominion entomologist R.C. Treherne in the summer of 1919, Grazing Commissioner Mackenzie explained “that owing to heavy grazing the growth of forage is so sparse that grasshoppers are forced to travel far for food. Under such conditions it is not possible for their ordinary enemies to keep them down to normal numbers. In consequence they have rapidly increased.” 36 This was also Treherne’s message to the British Columbia Entomological Society (BCES) in the spring of 1919, even as Buckell prepared for a summer of fieldwork on the remote Riske Creek range. “Of course,” the Dominion entomologist elaborated, “it would be contrary to reason to imagine that the [grasshopper’s ‘ordinary enemies’] would cause complete extermination of the grasshopper, otherwise on what would they themselves feed?” Moreover, even under what he called “strict natural conditions,” climatic and other factors “could prove more fatal to the parasites than to grasshoppers,” thereby enabling the latter to expand beyond expectations in a “normal” year. By the same token “a certain scarcity of grasshoppers in some years could cause a certain number of the parasites to die without performing their special function in life.” Such were some of the vagaries of nature, the entomologist elaborated, and some of the situations in which a 36  Thomas Mackenzie, “Report of the Grazing Commissioner,” in Report of the Forest Branch for 1921 (Victoria: Government Printer, 1921): 54. 49  given population of grasshoppers could quickly add to its numbers. But such perturbations meant little in the larger scheme of things. As conditions returned to ‘normal,’ ecological stability would be restored. The only thing that would upset this natural tendency to balance, according to Treherne, was “the unnatural interference of man,” including poor grazing practices that forced grasshoppers to migrate away from their natural controls in search of food. Indeed, the entomologist averred, “Almost invariably do we find the host insect more active on the wing than the native parasites. What chance do you suppose a bacterial or fungous disease, whose only hope of proving effective is under congested conditions, has of becoming established when the host insect is scattered broadcast in all directions over an open range? What chance has a predatory beetle, whose larvae actively move through the soil, feeding upon egg-cluster after egg-cluster, to reduce the numbers of the host insect?” The answer, of course, was no chance at all. This explained why, when one considered the historical record of outbreaks in the province alongside the ecological record of ranching (evident, Treherne said, in increasingly overgrazed range), it was possible to discern a pattern of increasingly widespread and severe grasshopper outbreaks. Viewed in this light, the solution was clear: land use practices that would “reestablish the natural order of things.” According to Treherne “it should be the aim of all interested in range conservation to attempt to reestablish the range grasses in such a manner and in sufficient quantity to enable the grasshoppers to remain more or less localized, and thus give the beneficial insects a chance to accomplish what they were placed in the world for.” 37 The discourse of war was pervasive in entomological circles, but science suggested less 37  R.C Treherne, “The Grasshopper and the Range,” (no date but almost certainly spring 1919), BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8657. 50  aggressive and arguably more robust approaches to environmental problems as well, amounting, in a sense, to a strategy of ecological containment. Much had changed in entomology since James Fletcher speculated in the late 19th century about the roles of parasites and disease-bearing fungi in regulating grasshopper populations. As historian of science Stephane Castonguay explains, Fletcher’s entomology “fitted within a tradition of inventory science” that sought to count and classify species. By the turn of the century, however, entomologists had begun to build on Darwin’s ideas to think historically about the relationship between insects and their environments. “Their post-Darwinian understanding of the natural world still relied on a teleological metaphor – the balance of nature – to explain the regulation of animal populations,” but as Castonguay notes, “they applied experimental and quantitative methods in their studies of the relationships between organisms and their environment and provided a dynamic and evolutionary interpretation of the balance of nature.” 38 New ideas yielded new methods as well as new and deeper understandings of relationships between insect populations and their particular environments. 39 The analysis of grasshopper outbreaks that Treherne offered to the BCES exemplified this shift. “It must be realized,” the entomologist insisted, “that just as in the same way as man, animals, and plants have developed definite traits and characters in  38  Castonguay, “Naturalizing Federalism,” 19. The classic work on the inventory sciences in Canada is Suzanne Zeller, Inventing Canada: Early Victorian Science and the Idea of a Transcontinental Nation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987). For a Foucaultian-inspired analysis of early geology in Canada see Bruce Braun, “Producing Vertical Territory: Geology and Governmentality in late Victorian Canada,” Ecumene, 7, 1 (2000): 7-46. 39 On the influence of Darwinian thinking in the life and environmental sciences, see Peter J. Bowler, The Norton History of the Environmental Sciences (New York: W.W. Norton 1992), especially 428-502. 51  accordance with their surroundings and environments, so grasshoppers separate into species as regards their habitats. The first object, therefore, in undertaking an investigation of the range and the nature of the grasshoppers that frequent it, is to segregate and to classify the various types of country that may be found. The next consideration is the determination of the various species in order to find out if there is any relationship between the insect and its environment.” 40 These words did not necessarily mark a “scientific revolution.” 41 After all, elements of the older entomology – a strong emphasis on taxonomy and belief in the balance of nature for instance – still shaped research. Yet new emphases in evolutionary theory and their diffusion throughout the sciences sent entomological research in new theoretical as well as empirical directions. Early 20th century entomology was a kind of historical biogeography and entomologists such as Treherne and Buckell operated as interpreters of nature’s insect archive. In recent years as new ecological ‘boxes’ have been opened like so many archival fonds, older assumptions have been abandoned. This has enabled entomologists to produce more complicated and, ultimately, more accurate accounts of grasshopper “population dynamics.” 42 Clear-winged grasshoppers, for instance, are now known to “exhibit extremes of abundance and distribution” reflecting a range of variables including  40  Treherne, “The Grasshopper and the Range.” Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1970). The literature addressing Kuhn’s work is large. For a recent overview see Jan Golinski, Making Natural Knowledge: Constructivism and the History of Science (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), especially 13-27. 42 For new entomological understandings see, Dennis Fielding and Merlyn Brusven, “Livestock Grazing and Grasshopper: An Interregional Perspective,” University of Idaho College of Agriculture Bulletin 786 (1996): 1-12. 41  52  weather, grazing, predation, parasitism, and disease. 43 Elements of this much more nuanced account were anticipated, if not clearly understood, as early as the 1890s. In the 1920s plans to address them comprised a sort of scientific to-do list. Thus Buckell, now leading the British Columbia investigation, reported to the Ontario Entomological Society in 1922 that “sufficient data have not been gathered at present to give any definite statement as to the effect of the natural control agencies, such as parasites and weather conditions, upon a locust outbreak under range conditions.” Buckell assumed that weather conditions when nymphs emerged from their eggs were “the chief controlling agent.” But the extent to which disease, parasites and predation controlled grasshopper populations needed “further study.” Birds undoubtedly destroyed “large numbers.” 44 Widespread evidence of overgrazing and, more importantly, increasing indications that certain species of grasshopper – including those doing most of the damage in the interior – actually strongly preferred closely cropped grasses to un-cropped ones, tended to overwhelm other lines of inquiry and focus attention on the ecological effects of grazing. So did funding problems. Money and manpower were constant concerns among entomologists in British Columbia. As Treherne explained in a 1919 letter to Mackenzie, “we have such tremendous locust areas on the prairies to tackle this year that every available man is more than employed and it is impossible at this date to arrange for men to take up [British Columbia] work by relief from the prairie.” 45 Ultimately the work was left for Buckell. It was a daunting task and ranchers complained 43  Robert E. Pfadt, Field Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers (Wyoming: Agricultural Experiment Station, 2002). 44 Cited in Ontario, Proceedings of the Ontario Entomological Society, 1921 (Toronto: Clarkson James, 1922), 28. 45 R.C. Treherne to Thomas Mackenzie, 6 August 1919, BCA, GR1441, Reel 3279, File 8657a. 53  vigorously about what they understood to be an unfair allocation of national resources. Such was the political economy of entomology in the early 20th century. Prairie locusts were more important because of their greater impact on the Canadian economy. In this context easy (if not inaccurate) connections between grazing and grasshopper abundance tended to obviate a deeper analysis. 46 Still, considerable light had been cast on the different ways that grazing shaped grasshopper biology and abundance as well as the ecological history of ranching in the region. Given the importance of these findings and their subsequent influence on grasshopper control, it would be well to consider them more closely. Much of the emerging analysis and interpretation of grasshopper outbreaks in British Columbia grasslands followed from fieldwork by Buckell on the Riske Creek range (figure 1.1). 47 Located at the junction of the Fraser and Chilcotin Rivers, the Riske Creek range is a broad, undulating plateau bounded by two steep, deeply incised river valleys. Before European resettlement, Shuswap and possibly Chilcotin people made 46  For an analysis of similar influences in the history of fishery science see Joseph Taylor, “The Political Economy of Fishery Science and the Road Not Taken,” Journal of the History of Biology 31 (1998): 33-59. 47 My analysis draws from recent scholarly emphasis on situating science in spatial as well as historical context. See Matthew Evenden, “Locating Science, locating salmon: institutions, linkages, and spatial practices in early British Columbia fisheries science,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 22 (2004): 355-372; Arn M. Keeling, “Charting Marine Pollution Science: Oceanography on Canada’s West Coast, 19381970,” Journal of Historical Geography, 33 (2007): 403-428; Robert Kohler, “Place and Practice in Field Biology,” History of Science, 11 (2002): 189-210; David Livingston, Putting Science in its Place: Geographies of Scientific Knowledge (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003); David Livingstone, “The Spaces of Knowledge: Contributions Toward an Historical Geography of Science,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 13 (1995): 5-34; Simon Naylor, “Introduction: historical geographies of science: places, contexts, cartographies,” British Journal for the History of Science, 38 ((2005): 112; Steven Shapin, “Placing the View from Nowhere: Historical and Sociological Problems in the Location of Science,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, 23 (1998): 5-12. 54  wide use of resources in the area, hunting, fishing, gathering and eventually grazing horses across a wide ecological and geographical domain. 48 The precise nature and scale of these activities, which were far from static, is exceedingly difficult – maybe impossible – to determine. Written records are nonexistent for this period, and 19th century accounts are sparse and difficult to interpret. All of them were written after Native populations had been devastated by European disease and at a time when Native lives and land use practices were being curtailed and confined to tiny reserves. In consequence they probably tell us more about Native peoples’ attempts to adapt to changing circumstances (to say nothing of the cultural assumptions of those who wrote the accounts) than about aboriginal land use practices. This much is clear: the Native population in the territory that became Riske Creek, like Native populations throughout North America, was probably far larger before resettlement. 49 This, combined with what is known of pre-contact land use practice in the surrounding area, strongly suggests that when Whites arrived in the nineteenth century they found not some unsullied “wilderness” but rather a partially humanized landscape, a subtle hybrid of history, ecology and changing human geographies. 50  48  These reflections are based on Roy L.Carlson and Luke Dalla Bona Eds. Early Human Occupation in British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press 1996); David L. Pokotylo and Donald Mitchell, “Prehistory of the Northern Plateau,” in Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1998) 81-102. 49 This is suggested by Robert Boyd, The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence: Introduced Diseases and Population Decline among Northwest Coast Indians, 1774-1874 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999); Cole Harris, “Voices of Smallpox around the Strait of Georgia” In The Resettlement of British Columbia: Essays on Colonialism and Geographical Change (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997): 3-30. 50 Historians and geographers have done much to deconstruct western (particularly North American) notions of wilderness. There are numerous entries into this literature but the classic recent account is William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness, or Getting Back 55  Beginning in the late 1860s, a new human geography was imposed and a new environmental history emerged. 51 In the process Native people were confined to reserves and ranchers with property rights backed by the administrative power of the state erected fences and spread livestock across grasslands they increasingly called their own. The resulting geography of small Indian reserves and relatively large settler cattle ranches prevailed throughout the grasslands in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Figure 2.3 showing Indian Reserves and several settler ranch properties along the middle Fraser River suggests something of the scale of Native dispossession in the area.  to the Wrong Nature,” in Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, ed. William Cronon, 69-90, (New York: Norton, 1995). 51 For a detailed discussion of resettlement and reserves, see Cole Harris, Making Native Space: Colonialism, Resistance, and Reserves in British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2002). 56  Figure 2.3 Ranch and reserves, middle Fraser River (Map by Eric Leinberger)  57  Cattle, to borrow historian Virginia Anderson’s apt phrase, were clearly “creatures of empire,” but they were also creatures of capitalism. 52 By early 1870s remote Riske Creek had become a resource-producing periphery, a place where domestic animals commoditized grass by converting it to meat. By North American standards most of the ranches were relatively small, but one was enormous. Indeed, at almost 40,000 combined acres in 1915, the Gang Ranch dwarfed every operation in the region. Unlike most, which relied largely on family labor, the Gang Ranch was industrial to the core. Run by managers, overseen by foremen, and worked by wage laborers, the “home ranch” was a 16,000-acre tract located on the west side of the Fraser River north of Churn Creek. The company owned another 5500 acres at Big Bar and 14,000 acres on Riske Creek range, all of which was kept in reserve for winter pasture (figure 2.4). The remainder of the Riske Creek range was grazed in common the rest of the year by some 6000 head from surrounding ranches, including the Gang Ranch. 53 The rise of ranching at Riske Creek changed the indigenous grasslands there in many ways. By the time Buckell arrived in the early 1920s, elements of this new ecology and the intertwined environmental effects of colonialism and capitalism were everywhere apparent. “The open range” that Buckell believed had originally been “covered with a fine stand of Bunch-grass (Agropyron spp.), often from two or three feet in height” had been “practically destroyed” by overgrazing. In contrast, “those bunchgrass slopes that  52  Virginia DeJohn Anderson, Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). 53 These details are drawn from various files in BCA, MS2881 Western Canadian Ranching Company Papers, 1884-1952. 58  Figure 2.4: Gang Ranch Properties on the Interior Plateau. All of these properties (amounting to about 50,000 acres) would be considered winter range and the company owned them outright (map made Eric Leinberger)  59  form the winter ranges…having been fenced many years ago, and all cattle kept off them except in winter, still produce a fair stand of bunchgrass.” 54 Like much of the rest of agricultural North America, Riske Creek had become “a world of fields and fences.” 55 New environmental interactions set in motion significant ecological modifications. In Buckell’s assessment the geography of fields and fences and the population geography of grasshoppers were closely connected. On the open range where bunchgrass was heavily grazed, he found innumerable grasshoppers grazing shoots of new grass (not usually bunchgrass). In contrast, in areas where tall stands of bunchgrass still grew “in profusion,” grasshoppers were relatively hard to find, except for the odd few always found lurking along cattle trails and fence-lines. “There is little doubt,” Buckell concluded, “that the main injurious species of grasshoppers found on the British Columbia ranges are insects whose natural habitat is a dry, bare, closely grazed range, their food consisting of the small tender grass shoots which continue to come up although the grass is persistently eaten down by stock.” Indeed, the entomologist continued, “the feeding of the cattle and horses, by killing out the Bunch-grass and causing the range to be thinly clothed by low growing grasses, opens the range to the full glare of the sun and creates an ideal habitat for the species which are most injurious to British Columbia. With the disappearance of the Bunch-grass, these injurious species, probably rare hitherto, doubtless increased rapidly in numbers while the species adapted to the Bunchgrass type of land are to-day practically extinct on the upper ranges, and are only met  54  E.R. Buckell, “The Influence of Locusts on the Ranges of British Columbia,” in Fiftyfirst Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario 1920, (Toronto, Printed by Clarkson James, 1921) 24-25. 55 William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians and Colonists, and The Ecology of New England (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983), especially 127-156. 60  with among the Bunch-grass of the winter range.” 56 Buckell’s conclusion echoed that of his supervisor, as did his conclusion that better land use was in order. But the details of Buckell’s analysis differed significantly. The recent severe grasshopper outbreaks in British Columbia were caused less by habitat loss (forcing grasshopper abroad in search of food, there free to reproduce at will) than by habitat creation. The analysis went deeper. It appeared that fluctuations in grasshopper populations in British Columbia were cyclical, occurring roughly every 7 years. Similar periodicities in locust and grasshopper populations had been recorded elsewhere, particularly in Egypt. 57 By the early 20th century the study of natural fluctuations in animal populations was becoming an important part of environmental science. Charles Elton was doing important work along these lines in the Canadian arctic at about the time Buckell began his own research, and it was Elton who famously insisted that “the balance of nature does not exist, and perhaps never has existed. The number of wild animals are constantly varying to a greater or lesser extent, and the variations are usually irregular in period and always irregular in amplitude.” 58 This was an important moment in the history of ecology. 59 But the basis of for Elton’s argument had been laid much earlier by oceanographers working on fishery problems in the North Sea. Working with statistics  56  Buckell, “The Influence of Locusts,” 26. R.C. Treherne and E.R. Buckell, The Grasshoppers of British Columbia with particular reference to the influence of injurious species on the range lands of the province, Entomological Branch Circular No. 25 (Ottawa: Kings Printer 1924), 2-3. 58 On the history of animal ecology see Sharon Kingsland, Modeling Nature: Episodes in the History of Population Ecology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995; Quoted in Bowler, Norton History, 530. 59 Daniel Botkin, Discordant Harmonies, A New Ecology for the 21st Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Bowler, Norton History, 529-30; Peter Crowcroft, Elton’s Ecologists: A History of the Bureau of Animal Population (Chicago: University of Chicago Press). 57  61  from Norwegian herring fisheries, for example, in 1918 scientist Johan Hjort was able to show that more than half of the herring harvested between 1907 and 1913 came from an unusually large cohort born in 1904. He suspected that similar natural fluctuations occurred in salmon, cod and haddock stocks. 60 What set Buckell’s work apart from Hjort’s, and to a lesser extent Elton’s, was its central conclusion that natural fluctuations in animal populations were significantly shaped by human factors. 61 The core of his analysis focused on the ways that ranching had remade the grasslands. Overgrazing did not so much cause as dramatically amplify grasshopper irruptions. It did so by creating favorable breeding areas across a wide ecological and geographical area. Unlike the histories of ecological variability uncovered by Hjort and Elton, the changes Buckell described were as much social as natural. But the relationship apparently ran even deeper. “Not only does the overgrazing of a large area favour the increase of some species,” Buckell noted, “but it may even change the habits of oviposition and feeding of some of those species.” Consider, he said, what was known about the feeding and breeding habits of Camnula pellucida, “one of the main injurious species.” By all accounts it had a “habit of remaining together in swarms and of migrating over the country in summer, often entering the long grass and grain fields which are quite unsuitable for oviposition.” There females would feed until ready to lay eggs and then leave the swarm for “special egg laying grounds situated on flat, dry, 60  On oceanographic approaches to fisheries science see Tim Smith, Scaling Fisheries: The Science of Measuring the Effects of Fishing, 1855-1955 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 61 Their differences were probably more a matter of emphasis since Elton understood that hunting affected the animal populations he studied. On the other hand Elton’s research interest was clearly directed toward natural (as distinct from ‘social’) determinants of fluctuations. See, C.S. Elton, “Periodic Fluctuations in the Numbers of Animals: Their Causes and Effects,” Journal of Experimental Biology 2 (1924): 119-163. 62  alkaline pieces of ground covered with close cropped grass, or on dry gravelly knolls.” Indeed, observed Buckell, “although distributed over hundreds of square miles while feeding,” the species found “comparatively few acres of ground suitable for oviposition.” Such habits were well known and had been observed many times before. At Riske Creek, however, Camnula “did not keep at all rigidly to the so-called typical habits mentioned above. It did not migrate in dense swarms, but spread out from innumerable small eggbeds scattered all over the range. It was often, also, more common in some places than in others, but was never observed exhibiting the typical migratory habits in swarms.” 62 Much of what Buckell observed at Riske Creek went against the grain of entomological knowledge. 63 It seemed that habit and habitat were being reworked there to form new ecological relationships.  62  Ontario, Proceedings of the Ontario Entomological Society 1921 (Toronto: 1922), emphasis added. 63 Whether similar relationships had been observed outside British Columbia is unclear. 63  Chapter 3: What is Overgrazing?  For Thomas Mackenzie, the story of ranching in British Columbia was one of unregulated grazing run amok. Framed thus the grasshopper problem came to stand for much of what entomologists and grazing officials considered wrong with the province’s range cattle industry in the early 1920s. “I would like the stockmen to understand clearly that a great deal of the destruction wrought to the ranges is due entirely to their inactivity in keeping the stock distributed over the various types of range during suitable periods of the season,” Mackenzie emphasized in a 1922 letter to Buckell about what to include in a report for a popular trade magazine published by the provincial government. “In the course of time they will probably realize this but it is a difficult matter to educate them,” he wrote with considerable condescension, “and I feel that no opportunity should be lost to impress these facts upon them. They have lost sight of the fact that all the most important operations of their business take place on the open range and that these operations go on each year without any attention on their part.” 1 A report about unregulated grazing gone awry would hold out hope of redemption in the form of conservation practices that would restore the grasslands. 2 Given the importance of this  1  Thomas Mackenzie to E.R. Buckell, 22 December 1922, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8657. 2 For early 20th century range conservation practices see Arthur Sampson, Range and Pasture Management (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1923). On the history of range science and management in the American context see: Thomas G. Alexander, “From Rule of Thumb to Scientific Range Management: The Case of the Intermountain Region of the Forest Service,” The Western Historical Quarterly, 18, 4 (1987): 409-428; William D. Rowley, U.S. Forest Service Grazing and Rangelands: A History (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985); Nathan Sayre, “The Genesis, History and Limits of Carrying Capacity,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 98, 1 (2008): 64  interpretation of the past and its lasting effect on provincial range management, it would be well to consider the environmental history of cattle ranching more closely. When exactly did concerns about overgrazing first surface in British Columbia and what was done about them in the period before 1919, when legal arrangements made range regulation a responsibility of the provincial state? At a very early date, government officials were aware of the environmental inroads made by cattle. As early as 1867 Arthur Birch, colonial secretary under Governor Seymour, recommended that the colonial land law be changed to allow preemptions of 320 acres, or twice the amount already allowed, “in the district east of the Cascades [and Coast Mountains] where overstocking soon destroys the pasturage.” 3 This ecologically telling suggestion must be interpreted carefully. It may well be that Birch was reflecting not so much on British Columbia as other parts of the North American West, where settlement problems had a longer history. 4 Assuming, however, that Birch did have British Columbia in mind it is important to put his observations in context. One strongly suspects that any damage to grasslands at this point had less to do with ranching, which had barely begun in most parts of the interior, than with the completely unregulated gold rush years (1858-1865) when countless head of cattle were driven into the interior from  120-134; Christian C. Young “Defining the Range: The Development of Carrying Capacity in Management Practice,” Journal of the History of Biology 31 (1998): 61-83. 3 Colonial Secretary to Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works 22 November 1867, UBC Library, Colonial Correspondence CO 60/29 Reel 21. 4 See Geoff Cunfer, On the Great Plains: Agriculture and Environment (College Station: Texas A&M University Press (2005); James Malin, The Grasslands of North America: Prolegomena to its History (Gloucester, P.Smith: 1967); Donald Worster, Dustbowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s (New York: Oxford, 1979). On the Canadian portion of the plains see, J.G Nelson, The Last Refuge (Montreal: Harvest House, 1973); J.G. Nelson, Man’s Impact on the Western Canadian Landscape (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976). 65  the from United States to feed hungry miners making their way up the Fraser River. Although impossible to describe in any detail, most of the damage done to bunchgrass probably closely mapped the movement of cattle from Rock Creek near the international border north to the Cariboo gold mines (figure 3.1). By the 1870s ranches were established throughout the interior, but the mining demand had largely evaporated. Ranchers drove some cattle to the coast, but a lack of markets left large numbers to graze all year on the grasslands. The result was increasingly overgrazed range, which ranchers initially tried to compensate by regulating the grazing habits of sheep. Many ranchers believed that sheep ruined rangelands and that they should be barred from the best cattle grazing grounds. The ranchers had considerable political influence in Victoria (several were prominent politicians) and in 1876 an Act to provide for the better protection of Cattle Ranges enabled 2/3rd of the settlers in any ranching district to create a common in which “no sheep shall be allowed to pasture…except while being driven from one district to another.” 5 Despite its narrow scope, this was an important benchmark as British Columbia’s first formal attempt to regulate grazing on provincial rangelands. It was followed in 1879 by An Act to protect Winter Stock Ranges, a far more comprehensive piece of legislation that enabled the election of a “board of overseers” in any polling district with the power “to make by-laws for the regulating  5  British Columbia, “An Act to provide for the better protection of Cattle Ranges” Statutes of the Province of British Columbia (Victoria: W.H. Cullen, 1876): 55. 66  Figure 3.1: Gold rush cattle trails. These areas were badly degraded by the early 1870s (source: Thomas Weir, 1956).  67  of the depasturing of cattle, sheep and swine on land unenclosed by a lawful fence” 6 Both Acts reflected the interest of ranchers and government officials in conserving rangelands for cattle. Neither did much to prevent overgrazing. The arrival of the CPR in 1884 helped improved ranchers’ access to urban consumers in Vancouver and New Westminster, but it also ensured that basic ecological problems persisted. In 1892 a Keremeos rancher reported that “Bunch grass is the principle forage but in the immediate vicinity of settlements is eaten down very closely and in the more arid portions the cactus grows profusely.” 7 Two years later rancher Andrew Postill of Okanagan Lake complained that “The pasturage is not so good as in former years. The country having been overstocked, the original grass has in many places disappeared. Bunch grass and Rye Grass are the principle grasses and where they have been eaten out an early maturing grass known as ‘june grass’ has taken possession of the range. This affords good feed for stock until about the 1st of July when the cattle move on the higher ground, where the bunchgrass is still to be found in profusion.” 8 In much the same vein, Ashcroft rancher T.G. Kirkpatrick observed that, “Before the country was overstocked it was good pasturage land. In the open land bunch-grass dominated, with here and there patches of white sage, otherwise called wormwood, neither of which I think is its proper name.” 9  6  British Columbia, “An Act to Protect Winter Stock Ranges” Statutes of the Province of British Columbia (Victoria: W.H. Cullen, 1879): 7-8. 7 British Columbia, Second Report of the Department of Agriculture, 1892 (Victoria: Richard Wolfden, 1893): 756. 8 British Columbia, Fourth Report of the Department of Agriculture, 1894 (Victoria: Queen’s Printer, 1895): 851. 9 Ibid., 895. 68  Less clear was what to do about these problems. According to Clement Cornwall, who was a judge and prominent cattle rancher from Ashcroft, the commons had to be enclosed: “Government should do all in its power to induce private interests to purchase the hill pastures,” he said. “Then they will be protected instead of ruined as at present by overstocking.” 10 On the other hand, smaller ranchers like Thomas Bulman of Stump Lake considered the “fencing of large tracts of government land by private individuals a great evil” and called for the creation of commonages with elected boards of overseers as allowed by law under the 1876 and 1879 range legislation. In general ranchers tended as before to focus on restricting the grazing habits of other people’s animals, especially what rancher J.E. Smith of Clinton once called the “wild horses and poor worthless horses owned by the Indians and others.” 11 A few ranchers did try to regulate cattle. Boards of overseers were created in some parts of the southern interior, but in the Cariboo region rangelands more often were regulated on the basis of custom and experience. As one grazing official explained in late 1914, “Except for the stock of a very few isolated stockmen, these stock use the range in common.” The result was far from a free-for-all: “In some cases a stockman has by long continued exclusive use obtained what is recognized by his neighbours as a superior right to certain ranges.” Ranchers also sought to balance stocking rates and grazing capacity: “The time or period during which stock shall be grazed on certain ranges, and the number of stock which the ranges will carry, has come to be agreed upon by the stockmen.” “In  10  British Columbia, Fourth Report of the Department of Agriculture, 895. British Columbia, Third Report of the Department of Agriculture, 1893, (Victoria: Richard Wolfden, 1894): 888.  11  69  other words” the official concluded, “there has grown up a system of, very imperfect to be sure, of range rights and control.” 12 Contrary to the Garrett Hardin’s “tragedy of the commons” (and a considerable body of economic theory on the relationship between property rights and problems of environment), some cattle ranchers in early British Columbia managed open rangelands. 13 They did so on the basis of custom and local ecological knowledge, but this was also its limiting factor. Nothing like the Cariboo common grazing arrangement prevailed anywhere else in the interior. 14 The regulatory landscape was thus uneven, and this bore consequences for people and nature alike. Thus it is important not to  12  “Report on Lease Question in the Cariboo Land District,” (no date, but probably July 1915), GR 1441, Reel 44, File 2824. 13 Simply stated, Hardin held that resources held in common were doomed to degradation because it was in each users individual interest to take as much of the resource as possible before someone else did so. See Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, 3859 (1968): 1243-1248. This is the classic statement of the problem but in truth Hardin had only popularized a view already held by others and with a long lineage in classical economics: See H. Scott Gordon, “The Economic Theory of a Common Property Resource,” Journal of Political Economy 62 (1954): 124-142; The literature critiquing this formulation of people, property and environment (and especially the tendency in classical economics to conflate common property with open access) is large. For an overview see Bonnie McCay and James Acheson ed. Question of the Commons: The Culture and Ecology of Communal Resources (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1987), but start with S.V. Ciriacy-Wantrup and Richard Bishop, “Common Property as a Concept in Natural Resources Policy,” Natural Resources Journal 713 (1975): 713-727. 14 On customary and informal regulation among ranchers and mixed farmers see: R. August, “Cowboys versus Rancheros: The Origins of Western Livestock Law,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 96, 4 (1993): 457-488; Robert C. Ellickson, Order without Law: How Neighbors settle Disputes (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991); Peter Karsten, “Cows in the Corn and the Problem of Social Costs: ‘High’ and ‘Low’ Legal Cultures of the British Diaspora Lands in the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries,” Law and Society Review, 32, 1 (1998): 63-92; Andrew Morris, “Miners, Vigilantes, and Cattlemen,” Overcoming Free Rider Problems in Private Provision of Law,” Land and Water Law Review, 581 (1998); The roots of informal regulation among North American immigrant groups and common resource users run deep into the European past. See E.P Thompson, Customs in Common (New York: W.W. Norton, 1993). 70  romanticize such informal regulation. 15 In British Columbia, as elsewhere, informal regulation of rangelands depended on ranchers’ ability to produce and tightly regulate a particular kind of pastoral space. This they did in the 1870s when sheepherders were limited to alpine rangelands that, for the most part, ranchers did not want. Moreover and more importantly, regulating rangelands was premised on the dispossession of Native people and their competing claims to land. As we will see, ranchers wanted no part of common grazing arrangements with Natives. Informal regulation of rangeland by ranchers was thus intimately bound up with the structural violence of colonialism. Informal regulation of rangelands did not, however, achieve its most basic goal of sustainable resource use, to borrow contemporary terminology. By the early 20th century, grasslands were badly overgrazed with weeds and woody shrubs widespread, particularly in the southern interior where informal regulation by ranchers was undeveloped but also in the Cariboo where informal regulation had a relatively long history. This was the ecological context of the Grazing Act and creation of a Grazing Commissioner in 1918 and 1919, yet the story of ranching is more complicated than unregulated grazing run amok as Mackenzie and Hardin and many others would have us believe. As historical geographers Cole Harris and David Demeritt observe, “In general the rangelands of British Columbia had been incorporated within a modified British system of property law. The rights of private property, the ambitions of immigrant families, and the specializing tendencies of the international economy dominated land use.” The central  15  A tendency to which some scholarship calling for a return to common property management of natural resources inclines. For an overview of recent debates around and divisions within the common property literature, see Craig Johnson, Uncommon Ground: The ‘Poverty of History’ in Common Property Discourse,” Development and Change 35, 3 (2004): 407-433. 71  engines of degradation were not some inherent drive for acquisition, but a virulent and often intractable combination of “ignorance... debt…family needs, [and] simple shortterm profit taking.” 16 Property rights alone cannot account for the complicated and messy reality of range use, but neither can economy, ignorance, ambition and greed. The problems of overgrazing were even more intractable. Some of the ecological problems of ranching in western North America have only become apparent in recent decades. Current science tells us that so-called “intermountain” grasslands (of which British Columbia’s grasslands are a northern, post-glacial appendage) are not well suited to sustained heavy grazing. The reasons are essentially evolutionary in nature. 17 Intermountain grasslands are relatively young. They began to emerge about 6 million years ago when the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains began impeding the inland flow of moist maritime air. The result was a long rainshadow on the leeward side of those mountains in which only dry forests and grasslands would grow. The rise of the Rocky Mountains millions of years earlier had much the same effect further inland, helping to create the various grassland communities of the Great Plains. But marked differences in the annual distribution of rainfall encouraged very different plant communities east and west of the Rocky Mountains. In the Great Plains the prominent grasses are rhizomatous: reproduction occurs underground by way of dense mat of roots and stems because the growing season extends well into summer. Most rain falls in spring and is characterized by a “June 16  Cole Harris (with David Demeritt), “Farming and Rural Life,” In The Resettlement of British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997) 240. 17 The following account is drawn from Richard Mack, “Invader at Home on the Range,” Natural History, 2 (1984): 40-47. For a more detailed and technical examination see Richard Mack and John N. Thompson, “Evolution in Steppe with Few Large, Hooved Animals,” American Naturalist, 119, 6 (June, 1982): 757-773. 72  bulge.” In the intermountain west moisture comes mainly in the form of winter rain and snow but there is still not enough to support extensive underground root systems. Several species of bunchgrass dominated instead, at least on south facing slopes and the dry valley bottoms below them. Unlike their rhizomatous relatives, bunchgrasses grow in tufts, are surrounded by a delicate crust of nitrogen fixing lichens and mosses, reproduce with seed, and go dormant during summer drought. Moreover, aside from a few deer, elk and bighorn sheep, the grasslands of the inter-mountain west evolved in the absence of large herbivores. Not so the rhizomatous grasslands of the Great Plains which were grazed and trampled by bison for millennia. 18 As ecologist Richard Mack writes, “on the Great Plains bison have long been agents of natural selection, encouraging evolution of plant features that enable the grasses to tolerate the animal’s activities.” 19 In short, and for a variety of reasons, bunchgrass ecosystems were relatively susceptible to trampling and overgrazing, especially in spring before individual plants had an opportunity to seed. Owen Sanger of the British Columbia Forest Branch anticipated as much in 1914 when he reported that “in this district the Bunch grass is unable to survive very much heavy grazing and trampling and this is one of the main causes of the rapid deterioration of many ranges.” 20 Mack’s analysis provides a deeply historical perspective of the decline of bunchgrass throughout the American intermountain West and British Columbia in the  18  For a detailed discussion of the of the bison see Andrew Isenberg, The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History 1750-1920 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Geographer Gordon Nelson also addresses the decline of bison in The Last Refuge (Montreal: Harvest House, 1973). 19 Mack, “Invaders,” 42. 20 “Grazing Reconnaissance: Chilcotin Division, Lillooet District,” 21 December 1914BCA GR1441, Reel 44, File 2822,. 73  late 19th and early 20th centuries. 21 But even this cannot account fully for the resulting changes. Careful management of releasing penned cattle onto bunchgrass ranges was crucial to minimize the ecological impact of grazing because it afforded individual plants an opportunity to seed. Ranchers understood this and in some places attempted to act cooperatively, setting turnout times for common grazing on crown land. In principle this was sound land-use strategy, but in practice it proved exceedingly difficult to follow. Weather and markets – the great, unacknowledged force in Hardin’s analysis – could conspire to undermine otherwise good practices. Low prices in the fall, when most of the cattle were sold, sometimes led ranchers to hold stock in hopes of better prices the following year. This was somewhat risky because the ability to carry cattle through winter depended on sufficient winter pasture and that depended in part on the weather. A long hard winter followed by a cold wet spring could be disastrous. With hay supplies running short ranchers had to sell off surplus stock at much-reduced prices or turn animals onto open ranges before the grasses had had a chance to seed. This worst-case scenario – low prices in fall followed by a long icy winter and a cold wet spring – rarely materialized in full-blown form, nor did it affect all ranchers and rangelands equally, but micro-scenarios affected individual ranchers annually throughout the grasslands. Although impossible to quantify, the cumulative effect was probably considerable. 22 Another subtle but critical factor in the ecological history of bunchgrass was the decline, and in some places near disappearance, of forest and grassland burning in the  21  For more on the American context, see James Young and B. Abbott Sparkes, Cattle in the Cold Desert (Utah: Utah State University 1986). 22 These reflections are drawn variously from a range of archival records, but ranchers and range managers continued to wrestle with these problems well into the twentieth century. See BCA, GR1238 Kamloops Forest District Grazing Reports, 1951-1955. 74  19th and early 20th centuries. Here, too, we must take a long-range view, for the story of fire and its connection to overgrazing was essentially evolutionary in nature. On the basis of burn marks or “fire scars” found in cross-sections of Douglas fir and other long-lived tree species, biogeographers know that fire has been a prominent part of forest and grassland ecology for a very long time. 23 Tree rings date from British Columbia back to the 16th century, hundreds of years before the first Europeans arrived in the region. Charcoal deposits in ancient soil profiles and the historic dominance of arid and semi-arid ecosystems by ‘fire adapted’ and ‘fire resistant’ plants and trees suggests a much longer tenure. 24 Indeed, as the British Columbia-based ecologist and nature writer Dan Gayton remarked, “we are slowly coming to the realization that the dryer landscapes of North America – forests, grasslands, shrublands, even deserts – evolved in the presence of periodic fires.” 25 Given its apparent prevalence in ecological history, it should come as no surprise that the written historical record relating to semi-arid British Columbia is full of references to forest and grassland fire. The earliest and in many ways most vivid accounts come from the interior fur trade in the first half of the nineteenth century. A 26 August 1841 entry by Hudson’s Bay Company Chief Trader John Tod was typical: A “great part of the woods in our neighbourhood are on fire and have been for a long time past, A thick cloud of Smoke is therefore continually hanging over us, and so oppressive at times as to affect the eyes.” The following spring Todd wrote that the “Weather continues 23  See Stephen Pyne, Awful Splendor: A Fire History of Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2007). 24 Fire adapted plants include ponderosa pine, lodepole pine, western larch, ceaonthus, saskatoon, and bluebunch wheatgrass. 25 Dan Gayton, Landscapes of the Interior: Re-explorations of the Nature and the Human Spirit (Gabriola BC: New Society Publishers, 1996). 75  excessively warm and dry, and in consequence of the country being on fire in the vicinity, the Smoke very thick.” Another fire burned in August of 1842. “The neighbouring hills are all on fire,” Todd wrote with awe, “which have a splendid appearance during the darkness of night.” And almost a year later to the day, on 17 August 1843, Tod reported that the “atmosphere is surcharged with a dense smoke proceeding most likely from fires in the neighbourhood.” 26 Tod’s journal entries provide a tantalizing glimpse of interior fire before European resettlement and the inauguration of fire prevention policies in the late 19th century, but they tell us nothing about its source. Recent scientific analyses of past fire patterns in similar environments point to lightning and fuel factors as the most common cause of conflagration over the long course of ecological history on British Columbia’s interior plateau. 27 Since the early 1950s, however, considerable attention has also been paid to anthropogenic sources of ignition and strong possibility that North American aboriginal peoples, particularly those whose territories encompassed semi-arid settings like those found in the British Columbia interior, used fire, potentially on a very large scale to promote production of plant and wildlife resources. 28 Scholars debate the details, but  26  All quotes come from “Records of the Hudson’s Bay Company relative to the Thompson’s River Post (Kamloops BC) 1821-1865,” and can be accessed online at www.livinglandscapes.bc.ca. These records are also available at: BCA, Fort Kamloops Records, A/B/20/K12; A/C/20/K12. 27 Thomas R. Vale, ed., Fire, Native Peoples and the Natural Landscape (Washington: Island Press, 2002). 28 The literature on aboriginal burning in forest and grasslands has grown considerably in recent years. Useful overviews include: Robert Boyd ed., Indians, fire and the land in Pacific Northwest (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1999); Shepard Krech, The Ecological Indian: Myth and History (New York: W.W Norton, 1999) 101-122; Stephen Pyne, Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1982) 71-99; Pyne, Awful Splendour; Vale, Fire, Native Peoples, and the Natural Landscape. 76  both aboriginal burning and its ecological logic are beyond doubt. According to one recent summary, “Like the rest of the Americas, the environment of the Pacific Northwest was not pristine when Europeans arrived. It was actively managed and shaped by the hand of its native inhabitants. The primary tool of this indigenous, non-agricultural environmental management was fire. Native [North] Americans used fire purposefully and in patterns that reflected a traditional ecological knowledge that was both broad and deep.” 29 The realization that Native people actively shaped ecosystems with fire raises a critical question for historical scrutiny: simply stated, how much of the smoke that hung over interior forests and grasslands in the 1840s, when Tod wrote his journal entries, had human origins? The question is difficult to answer. Historical sources documenting the burning practices of Native people are sparse and difficult to interpret. Most were written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, long after smallpox had passed through the interior in 1862 and at time when native land use practices were being curtailed and confined to small reserves. Still, Native burning did not disappear. In 1902, for example, Casper Phair, Government Agent at Lillooet reported that “Two fires at Seton Lake swept over about 40 acres. These fires were no doubt caused by the Indians who set fire to the berry bushes after they gathered the berries to ensure a good crop the following year. Indians have told me that they have always done so.” 30 If some places continued to burn as before, many others did not and in those areas the ecological effects were most apparent  29  Boyd, Indians, Fire, and the Land, 292. This collection includes an essay by ethnobotanist Nancy Turner exploring aboriginal burning practices in British Columbia on the basis of earlier oral histories and recent interviews with First Nations elders. 30 British Columbia, Seventh Report of the Department of Agriculture, 1902 (Victoria: 1903): 48. 77  to local observers. As Stephen Pyne reminds us, “dying fires can speak as trenchantly as the living one. Some of the most profound ecological measures of anthropogenic fire have come from observing the consequences of removing it, for the fire regimes aboriginal peoples laid down were as fundamental to landscapes as the rhythm of the rains and the cycle of green-up and curing.” 31 Data are sparse for British Columbia, but the decline of Native burning appeared to set important ecological changes in train. As one particularly observant rancher reported in 1902 of the Lillooet District, traditionally the territory of Stl’atl’imx people, “No fires in this district such as there used to be in earlier times. Then they were, undoubtedly, purposely caused by the natives, with the object of burning off the grass, which otherwise was not touched from years end to years end. In consequence cottonwood and other deciduous trees have sprung up in many places where formerly there was nothing of the sort, so continuously was the ground burnt over.” 32 To what extent this applied to other parts of the grasslands is unclear, but the disappearance of Native burning triggered a new process whereby the grasslands began to be replaced by pioneer tree species. In fact, forest encroachment onto grasslands could be seen throughout the semiarid interior in the early 20th century. In their important 1918 report to the Commission of Conservation, for example, H.N Whitford and R.D Craig observed that “fire made grass lands occur throughout the drier portions of the forested districts.” In the Peace River district these areas were “extensive,” but in other regions, “their areas cannot even be approximated.” In any event, there was “no doubt” that the grasslands had been “much 31  Stephen Pyne, Fire: A Brief History (Seattle: University of Washington Press 2001), 57. 32 British Columbia, Seventh Report of the Department of Agriculture, 1902 (Victoria: 1903), 48. 78  extended through the complete destruction of forest by fire,” and that where the fires had ceased the forest was “again invading the places it once covered, especially on northern slopes.” 33 To understand these changes and assess their implications, we need to understand how the pattern of forest and grassland burning changed over time and with what effect. Historically grasslands and adjacent dry forests experienced light burning every 5 to 20 years. 34 A now indecipherable mix of natural and strategic aboriginal burning, such fires probably performed a number of ecological functions. Not the least of these was to accelerate periodically the rate at which key nutrients were returned to local soils. This gave nitrogen fixers such as ceanothus and saskatoon a sudden boost and short-term edge in region’s evolving plant ecology. Fire influenced the distribution of animal, insect, and parasite populations, and because fire altered soil chemistry, it also affected the distribution of soil organisms. At the landscape level, the principle effect of fire was to limit tree and woody shrub regeneration, producing park-like landscapes dominated at lower elevations by several species of bunchgrass, and open stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir in the uplands, although as ecologists observe, this resulted in a more complicated patchwork of plant types and densities depending on fire history and patterns of succession at particular sites. 35  33  H.N Whitford and R.D Craig, The Forests of British Columbia (Ottawa: Commission of Conservation, 1918): 64. 34 Patrick Daigle, Fire in the Dry Forests of Interior British, Extension Note 08, (Victoria: BC Ministry of Forests Research Branch, 1996). 35 The literature on fire in the North American west effects is large. The standard reference is James Agee, Fire Ecology of Pacific Northwest Forests (Washington: Island Press, 1993). 79  Colonial administrators, surveyors, and naturalists frequently noted the open or “park-like” nature of grasslands and adjacent dry forests. Former fur trader and governor of the new Colony of British Columbia, James Douglas, wrote in 1860 that “the hillsides were mostly covered with trees formed into groups, or growing with park-like regularity, widely apart, and free from brush or underwood. The peculiar feature of the country is the profusion of grass that covers both woodlands and meadow, affording rich pastures for domestic animals.” 36 George Grant, secretary to Sanford Fleming’s 1872 survey of Canada for the Canadian Pacific Railway, similarly wrote of the country around Fort Kamloops, “the only timber in the district is a knotty red pine, and as the trees grow widely apart, and the bunchgrass underneath is clean, unmixed with weeds and shrubs, and uniform in colour, the country has a well-kept park-like appearance.” 37 Geologist and naturalist George Dawson also noted the open, park-like nature of interior landscapes. “All the lower and larger valleys are either free from forest or dotted over with irregular groups of open wood or individual trees,” he observed in 1895. “With increasing elevation,” however, “the nearly treeless slopes are exchanged …for open woods, consisting of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga douglasii) or yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa).” 38 By far the ablest ecological interpreter in the group, but still a man of his times, Dawson did not know what caused the “sparsely wooded condition of the lower valleys,” only that “a limited number of trees with their widely spaced roots practically absorb all  36  James Douglas to The Duke of Newcastle, 25 October, 1860, Colonial Correspondence, CO60, Reel 1. 37 George Grant, Ocean to Ocean, Sanford Fleming’s Expedition through Canada in 1872: being a diary kept during a journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific with the Expedition of the Engineer-in-Chief of the Canadian Pacific Railway (Toronto: J. Campbell, 1873), available online at: www.canadiana.org. 38 George M. Dawson, Report on the Area of the Kamloops Map Sheet (Ottawa: 1895): 7. 80  the moisture which the soil is capable of yielding, and, so long as they exist, prevent the establishment of any new arboreal growth.” 39 Water and soil in this case were important but not determinative. The most important ecological factor was probably fire. Frequent light fires kept low elevation forests relatively open and prevented seedlings of pine, fir, and woody shrubs such as sage and antelope brush from colonizing nearby grasslands. When the long pattern of natural and Native burning that had helped to create and maintain such landscapes ended, the landscape rapidly changed. Not only did forests become denser but woody shrubs became more prevalent and open slopes soon had “scrub timber.” 40 The process was pervasive but incremental and did not affect all areas equally. Along the forest-grassland border, however, it was critical. Ranchers complained endlessly about forest incursions to forest and range officials. A large majority of early 20th century ranchers said that the only way to address the problem was to reintroduce fire to forest and grassland ecosystems. As one rancher put it in 1922, “thousands of acres of what was open range is now grown up with scrub willow and lodgepole pine. The only remedy is to burn, burn, burn, and then burn again.” 41 Provincial forest policy was premised on fire suppression, however. Some administrators saw grazing as part of that policy. Minister of Lands William Ross noted in 1912 that “grazing in mountain forests prevents the accumulation of grass and leaves, increases the rapidity of decomposition of dead material, and also makes trails, all of  39  Ibid., 9. A common phrase among ranchers, scrub timber referred to a variety tree types that slowly took hold of grasslands in the late 19th and 20th centuries. 41 “C.E. Lawrence’s Address Before the Dry-Belt Commission,” Kamloops Standard Sentinel, 25 July 1922 40  81  which decreases the fire hazard.” 42 Like others of his generation Ross did not realize that fire suppression also unleashed undesirable environmental changes. Grazing did help to decrease the frequency of low intensity fires but over time, and in combination with other fire suppression techniques, they altered the structure and function of semi-arid forests. Many ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests in the intermountain west underwent considerable changes with resettlement. These forests were previously widely spaced with fire-tolerant pines underlain by various grasses and forbs. Today, however, there are dense stands of fire sensitive and disease susceptible species of fir. The reasons for the change are complex, including not only fire suppression and forestry practices but also novel grazing practices. 43 According to scientists Joy Belsky and Dana Blumenthal, cattle and sheep apparently altered forest dynamics by reducing the understory of sedges and grasses that had in the past carried frequent, low-intensity fires. 44 In the first half of the 20th century fire suppression could easily be justified on ecological grounds. Prevailing scientific theories held that any burning was an “unnatural” disturbance that prevented grassland ecosystems from achieving their ultimate or “climax” form, which was usually a forest. 45 On this view forest  42  Quoted in British Columbia, Report of the British Columbia Forest Branch for 1913 (Victoria: 1914): 23. 43 Nancy Langston, Forest Dreams Forest Nightmares: the Paradox of Old Growth in the Inland West (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995). 44 Joy Belsky and Dana Blumenthal, “Effect of Livestock Grazing on Stand Dynamics and Soils in Upland Forests of the Interior West,” Conservation Biology 11, 2 (1997): 315-327. 45 Langston, Forest Dreams; on the history of ecology and its influence in resource management more generally see Donald Worster, Nature’s Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Sharon Kingsland: Evolution of American Ecology, 1890-2000 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005); Joel B. Hagen, An Entangled Bank: the origins of ecosystem ecology (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1992). 82  encroachment reflected “natural” processes of plant succession. Fire-free grasslands became forests because that was what nature intended. Even without science, however, fire suppression could be justified on economic grounds. As Stephen Pyne observes, “Fire competed openly with the axe.” 46 Forests were making British Columbia a wealthy province. Private investments should be protected, provincial wealth husbanded, and the principle of public ownership of forests nurtured. In short, fire protection was a moral responsibility of the state. 47 Economics was reason enough to prevent and extinguish fires. Fires continued to burn, of course, but on balance they became less frequent with the decline of aboriginal burning and the rise of state fire protection. These changes had profound consequences for people and nonhuman nature alike, one of which, paradoxically, was more destructive fires in the future. 48 From a strictly grazing perspective, however, the new fire regime of larger burns occurring at greater intervals resulted in a slow, steady reduction of rangeland. On north facing slopes and sites with ample water, fire suppression allowed pine and fir seedlings to take root, while on drier sites fire intolerant shrubs such as sage and antelope brush expanded greatly. 49 Although  46  Pyne, Awful Splendour: 315. Ibid. On the early history of forestry and forest policy in British Columbia see: R. Peter Gillis and Thomas Roach, “A Touch of Pinchotism: Forestry in British Columbia, 19121939,” in A History of British Columbia: Selected Readings ed. Patricia Roy, 73-107 (Toronto: Copp Clark Pittman Ltd., 1989); Stephen Gray, “The Government’s Timber Business: Forest Policy and Administration in British Columbia, 1912-1928,” BC Studies 81 (Spring 1989): 24-49. 48 Dan Gayton, British Columbia Grasslands: Monitoring Vegetation Change (Kamloops: Forexx-Forest Research Extension Partnership, 2003); 8. 49 Gayton, British Columbia Grasslands; there is some debate about the dramatic increase in woody shrub density on grasslands in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. See K.B. Kawker, “Fire History and Grassland Vegetation Change: 3 Pollen Diagrams from Southern British Columbia,” Canadian Journal of Botany 61, 4 (1983): 1126-1139. 47  83  impossible to quantify, this process placed additional pressure on an already strained bunchgrass ecosystem. 50 All of this is to say that ‘overgrazing’ was not an event that occurred inevitably when ranchers used range in common, as Hardin and others would have it, or when so many cattle ate so much grass, although eventually it could be calculated in those terms. Rather, it was a cumulative, uneven, and context dependent process, reflecting the subtle interplay of economy, ecology, and history. 51 Ranchers and government grazing officials struggled to understand and adapt to these interactions, some of which, although anticipated very early on, would not come into focus for many decades. The result was a much-altered grasslands environment and, apparently, widespread and increasingly severe grasshopper irruptions that further depleted the range.  50  By the early 1950s forest encroachment had become a focus for research in British Columbia but it had been a concern since the early 20th century. See BCA GR1379, British Columbia Forest Service, Forest Briefs to the Commission on Forest Resources, Box 1, File 4, “Report to the Royal Commission on Forests and Forestry, British Columbia by W.C Pendray, Forest Agrologist.” 51 My understanding of overgrazing as process draws heavily from historian Joseph Taylor’s important analysis of overfishing in the context of Pacific salmon fisheries. See Joseph Taylor, Making Salmon: An Environmental History of the Pacific Salmon Crisis (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999): Chapter 2. 84  Chapter 4: The War with Insects  Even though better land use seemed to be the solution to their problems, ultimately ranchers and range managers opted for poison. They chose this strategy for several reasons, one of which was time. It would take decades to complete a close survey of provincial grazing resources and to acquire the expertise, experience, and empirical data necessary to calculate carrying capacities for each range. Poison was quicker. Changes in ranching economics also favored poison control. In the years after 1915, many ranchers enjoyed record profits as demand soared. Wartime prices for cattle hit record highs. By the early 1920s the boom was over, however, and stock-raisers were caught in a costprice squeeze stemming from declining beef prices and deteriorating environmental conditions that increased production costs. 1 Financial records are sparse and incomplete but those for Douglas Lake Cattle Company underscore the severity of the situation and the changing economic and ecological context that confronted stock-raisers in the 1920s. Established in 1886 when a handful of wealthy and politically influential settlers including Peter O’Reilly, Joseph Greaves, John Pemberton, and Charles Beak combined to control the sale of beef to railway construction crews, by the early 20th century the Douglas Lake ranch was among the largest of its kind in the province. The scale of operations was impressive. The ranch itself was a block of about 50,000 acres of prime bunchgrass pasture, but it controlled hundreds of thousands of additional acres by way of leases and grazing permits (Figure 4.1). Like the Gang Ranch, its closest competitor, the  1  For similar problems in the Alberta range cattle industry see Max Foran, Trails and Trials: Markets and Land Use in the Alberta Cattle Industry (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2003). 85  Figure 4.1 Ranches and Reserves, Nicola Valley. Map shows part of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, public commonage, and small Indian Reserves (Map by Eric Leinberger).  86  Douglas Lake Ranch was a corporate operation. It had a manager, several working foremen, numerous cowboys, a support staff of cooks, blacksmiths, and sawmill operators for its onsite sawmill, and a small army of seasonal of laborers. Beyond attending to the herds, the most crucial job was putting up the thousands of tons of hay the ranch needed to feed its ten to twelve thousand head of cattle each winter. Douglas Lake dwarfed every other operation in the region, and along with the Gang Ranch, dominated the beef trade in British Columbia during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 2 In Industrial Cowboys, environmental historian David Igler shows how Miller & Lux, a large, California-based, cattle company was able to guard against certain kinds of environmental problems by engaging in what he calls “horizontal accumulation” of land and water resources. 3 “For enterprises like Miller & Lux,” he argues, “monopolizing land and water resources provided an insurance policy against the West’s drought and flood cycles and its complex natural environment.” This was the Douglas Lake Cattle Company’s strategy as well and it usually enabled the ranch to absorb economic losses associated with fluctuating markets and changing environmental conditions. Yet, in his April 1925 Report to Shareholders, ranch manager Frank Ward struggled to put a positive spin on the company’s financial situation, lamenting at the outset that “operations resulted in a net loss of $11,520.91.” Prices were, in Ward’s words, “the lowest on  2  These reflections are drawn from BCA, MS1083, Douglas Lake Cattle Company Records, 1880-1979; see also Nina Wooliams, Cattle Ranch: The Story of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company (Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre 1979). 3 David Igler, Industrial Cowboys: Miller and Lux and the Transformation of the Far West, 1850-1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001). 87  record” (averaging $56.18 per head as compared with $113.79 per head just seven years earlier in 1918). Moreover, and more importantly, the number of cattle available for sale had been simply “too small to realize a sum of money sufficient to cover the company’s operating costs.” This, said Ward, was “due to the cutting down of the herds in 1918, which was done owing to the run-down condition of the range at that time,” the combined result of drought, overgrazing, and grasshoppers. 4 Indeed, “the grasshopper pest shows no signs of abatement and conditions have become so bad that experiments are being carried out [by] the Provincial government throughout the affected districts in British Columbia to endeavor to exterminate the pest.” Meanwhile, he would attempt to rebuild the herd to about 10,000 head. Doing so would enable a yearly brand of 2400-2500, and “even at present prices, this would mean an increased revenue of from 50,000 to 60,000 without material increase in operating expenses, except perhaps for feed.” He could not declare a dividend, however, and he doubted very much whether the next year would be different, despite expectations of a small profit. Ward may have been somewhat duplicitously blaming nature for some of his own bad decisions, but his comments still provide an economic and ecological perspective on cattle ranching in the early 1920s. In this context, the politically powerful Nicola Stock Breeders Association, of which Ward was an influential member, urged government to provide relief. “We would like to point out the serious nature of the grasshopper situation,” wrote the Association president to Deputy Minister of Lands George Naden. “The ranges have in great measure been eaten off by this pest chiefly on the early spring and fall ranges which has necessitated a much longer feeding season. We realize that range conservation is a means 4  Frank Ward, “Report to the Shareholders for the Year Ending April 30, 1925,” BCA, MS1082 Box 3, File 1. 88  of controlling the grasshopper but with the scarcity of grass caused by this pest on all ranges, this work is practically impossible unless we greatly reduce our herds, which at present prices would spell ruin to the industry.” 5 Sympathetic government officials were thus reluctant to impose new land-use practices. It was simpler and far more acceptable politically, to kill insects. The acute nature of grasshopper outbreaks also powerfully influenced policy. An account written by E.R. Buckell from the Nicola Valley suggests something of the scale and severity of irruptions and why government ultimately embraced poison control. In the summer of 1922, Buckell reported that “migrating swarms” of grasshoppers were seen moving off the open range in “countless numbers.” In many cases “separate swarms covering an area of a quarter of a mile in width” were seen “crossing roads from 8 am until 6 pm for a week at a time.” Even the flow of water across the landscape slowed as irrigation ditches piled up with dead and drowning bodies of grasshoppers too young to fly. “Their numbers were beyond estimation,” the entomologist wrote with awe. They resembled a “thick snowstorm,” individual insects appearing as “minute shinning specks” against an otherwise bright blue sky. 6 The persistent specter of such outbreaks and the periodic, often chaotic arrival of grasshoppers tended to suggest short-term measures. At one point the Department of Agriculture considered introducing thousands of turkeys, rushing them as needed from one part of the grassland to another. The plan was found “too expensive, and thousands of turkeys gobbling and trotting all over the country, 5  Nicola Stock Breeders Association to Deputy Minister of Lands, 5 March 1925, BCA GR1441 Reel 108, File 8657. 6 Buckell’s account comes from R.C Treherne and E.R. Buckell, “The Grasshoppers of British Columbia, with particular reference to the influence of injurious species on the range lands of the province,” Dominion Department of Agriculture Bulletin No. 39 (Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1924) 20. 89  blocking country roads as they moved from district to district, would prove a nuisance,” but it suggests the anxiety that surrounded grasshopper outbreaks in the 1920s.” 7 In this context, more benign approaches, such as range restoration, failed before outbreaks that impelled citizens to “emergency measures.” New land-use practices were introduced after 1919, but only slowly and usually subsidiary to more invasive measures such as poison. Meanwhile, life history and habitat studies undertaken in the early 1920s convinced entomologists that there were “primary grasshopper breeding areas” throughout the interior, essentially large egg-bed base-camps from which “outbreaks” originated. 8 At this point, Buckell later recalled, “the whole policy of attack on the problem changed.” 9 Entomologists could now organize preemptive strikes, to push the military metaphor a little further, the purpose of which would be to pepper grasshopper egg-beds with arsenic bait at hatching time. Indeed, initial experiments on egg-beds at Minnie Lake proved very promising, and range managers readied themselves and ranchers for a war with insects. According to grazing official W.H Browne, as many as “18 men will have to be ready at a moments notice to perform this duty and be able to mix the materials in their proper proportions…definite areas will have to be decided on over which the ranchers will be responsible to spread the bait…and this broadcasting of bait will not be done until Vroom [Browne’s assistant] or myself sanction same, for as the grasshopper…stays on the egg-bed for 24 hours and then approximately seven days elapse before they will tackle the bait, there is ample time in which to issue orders to start  7  “Turkeys will halt hopper pest” Daily Province, 27 May 1926. Treherne and Buckell, “Grasshoppers of British Columbia,” 19. 9 E.R. Buckell, “The Grasshopper Problem in Canada” in Proceedings of the Fourth International Locust Conference, Cairo, Egypt, April 22, 1936 Appendix 42 (Cairo: Government Press, 1937): 4. 8  90  using the poisoned bait.” 10 In 1924, newspapers also picked up on the rhetoric of war, if not always the actual plan of attack. “British Columbia will fire the opening gun of a war against grasshoppers and locusts this week,” reported the Victoria Daily Times. “An invading army numbered in the billions will soon sweep down upon the Okanagan and other interior districts eating every blade of grass and other vegetation as it goes, but farmers are preparing desperately to meet it…. [T]he provincial government is providing enormous quantities of poison to be strewn in the path of the insect hordes. In this way literally tons of them will be destroyed before they reach cultivated areas.” 11 Egg-beds became the frontline in British Columbia’s battle with grasshoppers, but mobilizing a poison control campaign proved much more difficult than officials expected. The first challenges lay in the Indian reserves of the Nicola Valley. Provincial grazing officials had identified overgrazed Reserves as source areas for outbreaks, and they pressed local Indian Agents to secure Native cooperation for the coming poison control campaign. As W.H Brown put it: “I explained to [an Indian Agent] the absolute necessity of cooperation with the Douglas Lake Indians and…that this I thought could be accomplished because there was ample time before next spring to thoroughly canvas and explain to them that only with their cooperation could we possibly hope to finally exterminate the grasshopper and restore the depleted ranges to their ‘old time’ carrying capacity.” 12 But when Native people from the Nicola refused to poison their reserves and blocked others from doing so as well, grazing officials realized that matters were more  10  W.H. Brown to Thomas Mackenzie, 11 September 1924, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8567. 11 “Farmers Prepare to Halt Insect Armies,” Victoria Daily Times, 13 May 1924. 12 W.H. Brown to Thomas Mackenzie, 11 September 1924, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8675a. 91  complicated than anticipated. So far as can be ascertained, members of the Douglas Lake Band were concerned about human illness and the loss of livestock, as well as rights of access to land. A decade before the government’s poisoning campaign, an Indian Agent in the area had “obtained poison…for the purpose of exterminating grasshoppers on…[a] Reserve, with very poor results, as the death of a few chickens and cattle and sickness of the children caused the Indians to look with great disfavor on any more poisoned bait being placed upon their lands, so that the matter had to be dropped.” 13 Grasshoppers moved amid a complicated and much-contested human geography. By August 1924, the campaign to exterminate insects was also inspiring rancher resistance. “We are doing all we can, including baiting,” Buckell explained to Mackenzie, “but very little cooperation has been received from the ranchers themselves, each man appearing to think that the work should be taken over by the government entirely loosing sight of the fact that with its limited forces in the field, it can do little more than furnish the poison, and assist in every way to organize and advise the stockmen.” 14 Perhaps some ranchers did want the government to do the work, but small ranchers sometimes running fewer than 50 head, often on marginal rangeland, argued that if overgrazing was causing the outbreaks then the burden of control should fall to those who had done the damage, namely the large ranchers. This critique meshed neatly with preexisting community fault lines in the Nicola Valley, where Frank Ward and Lawrence Guichon were among the most powerful grazers. Small ranchers had for decades disputed access to winter pasture  13  Ibid. Thomas Mackenzie, “Memorandum for the Honorable Minister of Lands,” 6 August 1924, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8657.  14  92  and water rights. The war on insects was thus folded into a longer, a class-based confrontation among ranchers over who controlled resources. As environmental conflicts often do, the Nicola District dispute drew heavily from its own history. In 1886, just a year after the Douglas Lake Cattle Company was incorporated, the region’s smaller ranchers protested the company’s seemingly insatiable appetite for rangeland. In just a few short years its owners had amassed more than 35 square miles of prime bunchgrass range with plenty of water and winter pasture, and the valley rumor mill suggested that they were about to acquire more. In May 1887 the smaller ranchers resorted to the law to protect their interests. Fifty-three locals petitioned the provincial government to set aside a 25 square mile block of bunchgrass range as commonage under the Stock Ranges Act (1878). The government granted this request, and by 1889 a second commonage of similar size had been established as well. These reserves did little to ease tensions. Under provincial land law, commonages were inalienable but also not off limits to any rancher. Although a board of overseers was elected to manage the land, Douglas Lake cattle ranged more or less at will across the region. Nor did the cattle company quit acquiring land in the area. Less than a decade after incorporation, it had doubled in size from 22,765 deeded acres in 1886 to more than 47,000 acres in 1892. To the undoubted chagrin of some small-scale ranchers, Douglas Lake raised more than one third of all cattle in the Nicola. A few other large ranchers, including Joseph Guichon whose large land holdings were also a source of tension, raised most of the remainder. 15  15  These data about the Douglas Lake ranch are drawn variously from Nina Wooliams, Cattle Ranch: The Story of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company (Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre 1979) and from BCA, MS1082, Douglas Lake Cattle Company Records. 93  By the early twentieth century a few within government began to look askance at the Douglas Lake Cattle Company and other large cattle operations. Their massive accumulation of land and water resources challenged an idealized, even romantic vision of agriculture in which numerous smallholder ranches and mixed-farms spread across a pastoral landscape. The roots of this vision ran to the earliest days of European resettlement and reflected the cultural preoccupations of an industrializing, staplesoriented society still committed to the social and moral virtues of agrarian life. 16 A 1913 report on ranching and agriculture nicely encapsulated this view when it remarked that agricultural resettlement would cultivate in British Columbia “the very best kind of population.” 17 Pastoralism was old, but this emphasis on preserving smallholdings in the face of corporate concentration was very much a modern problem. To understand this development, we must situate ranching and agriculture in the larger story of European resettlement. It was axiomatic among colonial theorists, even among authorities in British Columbia when their coffers were full of mining taxes from the gold rush, that agriculture was the proper basis of wealth and social order. 18 But in colonial settings  16  On the importance of staples production in British Columbia, see Cole Harris, “Industry and the Good Life around Idaho Peak,” Canadian Historical Review 66, 3 (1985): 325-343; Roger Hayter, Flexible Crossroads: The Restructuring of British Columbia’s Forest Economy (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2000); Dianne Newell, “Dispersal and Concentration: The Slowly Changing Spatial Pattern of the British Columbia Salmon Canning Industry,” Journal of Historical Geography, 14, 1 (1988): 22-36. On the staples production more generally see Daniel Drache ed. Staples, Markets, and Cultural Change: Harold Innis, Selected Essays (McGill-Queen’s University Press 1995). 17 “British Columbia and the Livestock Industry,” 9 September 1913, BCA, GR1441, File 2733. 18 On the gold rush see Cole Harris and John Warkentin, Canada Before Confederation: A Study in Historical Geography 2nd Edition (Ottawa: Carlton University Press, 1991): 289-311; Cole Harris, The Reluctant Land: Society, Space and Environment in Canada 94  especially, it was much more than this. Land remade in the image of agriculture, land “improved” or reclaimed from what the British political theorist John Locke and others referred to as “wilde nature,” was land relocated squarely within the sphere “civilization.” 19 It was equally assumed that Native people were ‘uncivilized’ precisely because they did not practice agriculture.20 By this exceedingly convenient cultural logic it followed that Native people were an anachronism that had to be removed lest they impede European progress. 21 In these ways, as geographers Harris and Demeritt observe, agriculture in early modern British Columbia, as elsewhere in the age of European  before Confederation (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2008): 416447On the importance of agriculture in colonial thinking about resettlement and in specific settings see David Demeritt, “Visions of Agriculture in British Columbia,” BC Studies No. 108 (1995-96): 29-59; Cole Harris and David Demeritt, “Farming and Rural Life” in Cole Harris, The Resettlement of British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press 1997); James Murton, Creating a Modern Countryside: Liberalism and Land Resettlement in British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press 2007); John Weaver, The Great Land Rush and the Making of the Modern World, 1650-1900 (McGill-Queen’s University Press 2003). 19 John Locke, “The Second Treatise of Government; An Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent and End of Government” in Society and the Individual: Readings in Political and Social Philosophy Richard T. Garner and Andrew Oldenquist ed. 126-140 (Belmont: Wadsworth 1989); For a critical assessment of Locke see Peter Hulme, “The Spontaneous Hand of Nature: Nature, Savagery, Colonialism and the Enlightenment” in Peter Hulme and L.J. Jordanova ed. The Enlightenment and its Shadows (London: Routledge, 1990): 16-34. 20 At least not a pattern of agriculture people accustomed to fenced pastures and field crops were capable of recognizing. On signs and markers of European (property and) agriculture see Patricia Seed, Ceremonies of Possession in Europe’s Conquest of the New World 1492-1640 (New York: Cambridge University Press 1995): 16-40; On aboriginal cultivation in British Columbia see Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner, ed. Keeping it Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America (Seattle: University of Washington Press: 2005); see also Nancy J. Turner, “Burning Mountainsides for Better Crops: Aboriginal Burning Practices in British Columbia,” Archaeology in Montana 32, 2 (1991): 57-73. 21 Colonialism is more complicated than this, of course, and dispossession could be justified on numerous other grounds. For an overview see, Cole Harris, “How did Colonialism Dispossess? Comments from an Edge of Empire,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 94 (2004): 165-182. 95  imperial expansion, was “a complex social and ecological introduction with subtexts tied to colonialism and the creation of an immigrant society.” 22 These sub-texts were pervasive in colonial society. They imparted to settlers a moral justification for taking land from Native people and putting it to other purposes. Ideas linking agriculture and settlement were particularly potent in the dry valleys and plateaus of the interior where the land itself seemed to suggest the presence of English peasantry. As Matthew Begbie, British Columbia’s first judge, wrote imaginatively and somewhat misleadingly about junction of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers:  “The face of the country is not unlike the Downs near Brighton with rich bunchgrass however and dotted with timber... Throughout this country… there is but one tree, the Columbia Pine; but one herb, the bunchgrass. On the banks of streams and lakes, there are cottonwoods, willows and alders. The beauty and cultivated aspect of many parts this country, which have the appearance of being tended with as much care and taste and labour as any part Kent or Surrey is scarcely to be believed… I could not believe that instead of snug farm houses and cottages with a numerous peasantry…there was probably not a human being of any description within many days journey.” 23  Begbie’s “landscape” can be read in many ways, of course. 24 As “visual ideology” it bears the class-based assumptions of British colonists. As a “way of seeing” it anticipates  22  Cole Harris (with David Demeritt), “Farming and Rural Life,” The Resettlement of British Columbia: Essays on Colonialism and Geographical Change (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997), 220. 23 “Report of Mr. B. Begbie on Captain Clarke’s Land Scheme (No date but attached documents indicate it was likely written in late July or early August 1860), Colonial Correspondence CO60/8, Reel 10. 24 There literature on “landscape” in human geography is large. For a useful overview see Don Mitchell, Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction (Malden: Blackwell Publishers). 96  the arrival of European science and standards of law. As an act of “colonial erasure” it assumes that North America was terra nullius when Europeans arrived. 25 Thus Begbie’s landscape is a “text” like any other: built on assumption, layered with meaning, and marked by culture. But there is more than this embedded in his observations. Read ecologically (also, of course, a cultured way of seeing) Begbie’s account suggests, albeit faintly, elements of a material landscape shaped not just by the labor of Native people (whose presence Begbie ignored) but by the labor of nature as well. 26 His pastoral vision hinged on the presence of extensive bunchgrasses born of semi-aridity and encouraged by periodic burns both of natural and cultural origin. Cottonwoods, willows and alders bounded the wetter, infrequently burned areas around lakes, rivers and creeks, while ponderosa (or “Columbia”) pine defined the bordering forested uplands. Admittedly, the area’s ecological history was much more complicated, yet even a quick sketch serves to underscore the ways Begbie was unintentionally correct when he described some parts of the ‘country’ as ‘tended with as much care and taste and labour as any part Kent or Surrey.’ Stretched out over many centuries, human labor and nonhuman process had produced Begbie’s pastoral landscape as a dynamic, hybrid environment. 27  25  Landscape as both “visual ideology” and “a way of seeing” comes from Denis Cosgrove, “Prospect, Perspective and the Evolution of the Landscape Idea,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 10 (1985): 45-62; the notion of landscape as an act of ‘colonial erasure’ is suggested by recent work in postcolonial geography; for an overview see J.C Young, Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001). 26 This discussion of human and natural nonhuman labor draws from Richard White, The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River (New York: Hill and Wang, 1995). 27 My use of the phrase ‘hybrid landscape’ borrows from Mark Fiege, Irrigated Eden: The Making of an Agricultural Landscape in the American West (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999). 97  Begbie’s imagined agricultural geography never developed to the extent that he and later officials hoped. Rather than giving rise to a rural peasantry, the grasslands became home to a few cattle barons and then large, family-owned and corporate-owned cattle ranches. 28 A 1915 report written by Forest Branch official Percy LeMare noted that in the early 20th century there were few ranches across an enormous span of the British Columbia interior, no more 100 ranches and 30,000 head of cattle in the CaribooChilcotin district. 29 The Gang Ranch owned fully one-quarter (or 7800) of the cattle and three ranches – the Gang Ranch, the BC Cattle Company (2000), and the Alkali Lake Ranch (2000) – accounted for over one-third. The rest were distributed among about 97 ranchers. Roughly the same pattern marked the southern interior rangelands where the Douglas Lake Cattle Company (12,000) and the Guichon Ranch (perhaps 2500) accounted for more than a quarter of all cattle, the rest distributed unevenly among an unknown number of far smaller ranches. Figure 4.2 showing grazing fees owed by Nicola Valley ranchers in one year for which there are data, suggests something of the scale of ranches in the region. 30 What the list does not indicate was how marginal the smaller ranches and their rangelands usually were relative to the larger, resource-rich ranches. It was this decidedly lopsided distribution of cattle and range, and the way it impeded the development of numerous family farms, that concerned many ranchers and government officials, and which set in motion land policies aimed at fostering the development of an alternative agricultural modernity based on numerous small ranches and mixed farms.  28  In the Okanagan many cattle ranches were converted to orchards but cattle ranching persisted throughout much of the grasslands. 29 Percy LeMare, “Report on Grazing in the Lillooet-Cariboo District,” 13 July 1915, BCA, GR1441, Reel 44, File 2824. 30 The records appear to be incomplete. 98  Name J.H Webster Martin Olson Mrs. A. Patten T. Bradshaw R Steffens W. Howarth J.W. Whiteford W. Cameron Guichon Ranch Nicola Lake Farm Thom. Anderson F.T. Felps J Wilson G. McKay W. Lauder F. Wood P. Marquart A. Keyon G. Allison J. Collett J Morgan T. Daly A. Oelrieh G. Monford J. Jameson J. Carney F. Hoelzel H. Abbott R. Sutherland F. Sutherland R. Roberston D. McLachlan W. Laabs H. Pleticha H. Barr H. Cossentine W. Hanks Douglas Lake Cattle Co. W.K Evans  Cattle  Amount Due  Horses  4 5 82 20 120 50 560 25 2000 300 38 90 7 25 250 4 6 5 158 100 100 38 27 20 40 10 60  0 1 3 15  50 12 1 4 4 4 1 12 7 5 3 4 4 10 3 400  10 60  20 2 10  12  6  2100 12  1.3 1.75 29.14 9.5 48.56 17.5 193.9 6.25 500 90.63 2.85 23.44 0.8 5.75 87.5 3.15 0.7 0.7 2.63 45.86 26.95 40 5 7.69 4.9 11.25 2.44 15 5 1.5 25 1.63 4.08 0.8 9.96 4.8 6.35 525 3.25  Amount Paid 1.3 29.14 9.5 48.56 17.5 193.9 6.25 500 90.63 2.85 23.44 5.75 87.5 3.15 0.7 0.7  40 5 7.69 4.9 11.25 2.44 15 1.5 25 1.63 0.8 9.96 4.8 6.35 525  99  O. Machlin J. Aye P. Betina W. Bardgett R. Crow B. Singh C. Pechetel J. Desrosiere G. Hansen R. Cameron Cameron Bros. P. Woods T.P White W. Manion G. Masey F Thompson H. Kirkland J. Fornelli J. Hood A. Rault H. Kirkland J. Smith C. Campbell Dodding and Sons M. Lukashwich A. Anderson A. Carmicheal V. Haynes J. kenyon C. Howell R. Atkinson J. Menzies I. Richardson W. Butler J . Trembley C. Dillard G. Francis A. Plath H. Guernsey J. Danwaters A. Lendeck H. Kinghorn I. Lewis J. Davis  30 3 6 9 18 16 12 45 15 6 40 13 50 9 40 100 5 10 8 200 8 2 3 10 10 1 25 18 5 20 90 35 2 87 37  1 10 3 7 8 7 10 3 6 3 21 3 7 7 1 4 2 4 1 2 5 6 6 3 1 2  5 4 12 2 5 6 7  0.4 13.83 0.62 0.33 1.3 2.93 1.22 3.17 3.21 1.63 2.56 21.84 1.4 1.14 8.25 0.4 0.83 2.9 16.25 1 0.4 12.25 2.5 22.5 2.38 3.25 4 60 1.95 0.33 1.3 1.4 4 0.5 8.13 3.29 1.3 3.25 22 20 0.35 2.04 33.6 1.4  0.4 0.62 0.33 2.93 1.22 3.17 3.21 1.63 2.56 21.84 1.4 1.14 8.25 0.83 16.25 1 0.4 2.5 22.5 2.38 4 60 1.95 0.33 1.3 1.4 4 0.5 1.3 3.25 22 20 33.6 10.4  100  H. Tweedle E. S. Saunders M. Walker W. Glover H. Fremb Floyd Bros. J. Budd Auger Bros. L. Sowerby B. Bulkot J. Graham J. Neale A. Homuth J. Madge S. Thompson F. Hurry G. Myren L. Neimi J. Frisken F. Caserso M. Brown J. Patton D. Hannant J. Stephens F. Bassett A. Lindgren Totals  275  63.37  9  6 4  69.37 0.4 9 4.88 1.05 4.5 7.09 3.25 5.7 4.88 2 12.25 4.75 3.25 3.75 9.1 9.75 0.5 12.5 22.26 3.5 2.5 4.08 0.85 1.5 0.73  8472  908  2273.23  2135.22  50 30 3 30 15 20 14 22 9 35 20 40 52 36 110 11 100 200 14 20 11 20  25 1  30 24 3 2 3 18 2 5 2 18 10  9 4.88 4.5 7.09 3.25 5.7 4.88 2 12.25 4.75 3.25 3.75 9.1 9.75 0.5 12.5 22.26 3.5 2.5 4.08 0.85 0.73  Figure 4.2: Grazing Fees. Accounts from the Nicola Valley created in the early 1920s suggest something of the size of ranches and distribution of cattle in the area (source: BCA, GR1441)  101  According to Forest Branch official R.R. Benedict, provincial land policy, historically based on a mix of preemptions, purchases and leases, was very much to blame for the monopolization of range resources by a few large corporate and family-run ranches. These policies had the considerable disadvantage, he argued in a 1911 report on grazing rights, “of making it possible for the individual to acquire large tracts of land and consequently to monopolize the resources of the province.” In Benedict’s view this had already happened in the Nicola and Chilcotin. This especially applied “in the cases of the Douglas Lake Cattle Co., and the Guichons in the former, and the Gang Ranch in the latter.” Indeed, the Douglas Lake Cattle Company offered a “prime example” of “the injurious effect on community of large holdings. If divided into small holdings,” he suggested, the ranch “would support 60 stockmen with 200 cattle each.” Benedict’s arithmetic was full of practical problems, not the least of which were how to provide winter pasture and water for sixty separate ranches. Resources at Douglas Lake were widely dispersed, so the company’s 12,000 head of cattle were constantly on the move. Open grasslands at lower elevations provided winter, spring and fall range, but cattle spent the summer grazing (and getting lost) in forested uplands where a mix of forbs and grasses grew in the under-story of relatively open stands of Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. All this movement required considerable infrastructure and labor. In 1911, the home ranch comprised as many as 35 buildings, including two large barns with haylofts, a piggery, a company store, homes for company foreman and their families, bunkhouses for cowboys and seasonal hands, and a sawmill. There were also separate, fenced pastures for beef steers, breeding stock, and sick animals. A vast network of dams,  102  canals, and ditches channeled water to the company’s extensive alfalfa fields. Perhaps ninety people worked on the ranch year round. Many more were hired during the allimportant haying season. Animal labor was also critical, including as many as 400 riding horses and an unknown number of heavy horses for hauling ploughs and hay cutters. In short, and contrary to Benedict’s assessment, the Douglas Lake ranch had an ecology and corresponding economic geography of production that did not divide neatly into 60 separate parts. Conversely, Benedict was correct that agricultural lands were not being placed under cultivation. Population was at a standstill and schools were lacking. Indeed, he continued, “all evidence of what is understood to be normal farming community” was wanting. “The wealth and the social life of the district” were severely restricted, and much the same was “bound to occur in the Chilcotin if the Gang Ranch is allowed to increase their holdings of the bunchgrass range and hay producing lands.” 31 Other government officials shared Benedict’s views and vision of agricultural development for the grasslands and made efforts to express it in policy. In his annual report for 1912, the Minister of Lands, William R. Ross, insisted that the province’s first priority was “to render [the rangelands of the province] available to the settler who is without capital to buy large tracts of land outright.” To that end he instituted a permit system whereby ranchers paid per head of cattle or sheep rather than per acre of land. “By this system,” wrote Ross, “the rancher is able to start his business with a minimum of capital, while the government receives a fair revenue, and by limiting the number of stock grazed to the actual carrying capacity of the land,” in his estimation 1,000,000 cattle or  31  R.R. Benedict, “Report on Grazing of Livestock on Crown Lands,” (no date, probably 1911-12) BCA, GR0948, BC Forest Branch, Box 1, File 10. 103  5,000,000 sheep, the province would preserve forests and land “from the serious and lasting results of overgrazing.” 32 Here were key elements of what historian Barry Ferguson and others have called “new liberalism.” 33 According to Ferguson, the new liberalism of the early 20th century differed fundamentally from “classical liberalism,” which promoted the primacy of the individual and the principle of laissez-faire, by expanding the role of the state to regulate social and economic development. This demanded not just a more active and interventionist government but also the technical means to accomplish social goals. For many new liberals it was science and other closely related forms of formal expertise that facilitated responsible regulation of people and nature. Indeed, as historian James Murton writes in a recent book on agriculture and liberalism in British Columbia, “New liberals’ belief in the ability of scientific experts to understand and manage nature and society gave them the confidence that they could create a better model of the sorts of (social and natural) systems they believed composed the world.” 34 Ross’s approach to range allocation and management rested on many of these ideas. His appeal to range science fit well with a broader faith in formal expertise. And it was Ross’s intent to distribute rangeland to smaller ranchers and mixed farmers lacking capital to buy land outright. 35  32  British Columbia, Report of Forest Branch of the Department of Lands for the Year Ending December 31st 1912 (Victoria: 1913): 23. 33 Barry Ferguson, Remaking Liberalism: The Intellectual Legacy of Adam Shortt. O.D. Skelton, W.C. Clark and W.A Mackintosh (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press 1993). 34 James Murton, Creating a Modern Countryside: Liberalism and Land Resettlement in British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2007): 16. 35 On the connection between science and conservation in the context of American Progressivism see Samuel P. Hays, Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890-1920 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959); For a critique, see Richard Judd, Common Lands, Common People: The origins of 104  From the perspective of prospective settlers and government authorities concerned with the broader project of colonization, this was a marked improvement over previous, classical liberal, approaches to allocating rangeland. As one government paper promoting Ross’s “new and progressive policy of grazing” explained, the old order had tended very strongly toward “range monopoly” and social stagnation. 36 It is important to keep in mind that Ross was at heart a moralist. He knew very little about ranching and even less about science and the carrying capacity of rangelands. Evidence of overgrazing was already apparent and widely acknowledged in the interior, so some grazing officials were less sanguine about the prospect of expansion. The idea that, according to one report, the herd could be increased from 80,000 to 280,000 head left many unconvinced, even with the implementation of judicious grazing practices and extensive use of forested uplands for summer grazing. Ross also misunderstood the nature of range science. It would take decades to acquire the expertise and experience to estimate the carrying capacities of rangelands.37 Moreover, and more importantly, ranchers required much more than cheap, ecologically undifferentiated acreage to raise livestock. Above all they needed lowland winter ranges where snowfall was usually light. Ideally, they would also include rivers and creeks for drinking and irrigation. Stocking  conservation in Northern New England (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1997): 229-262; On science and new liberalism in Canada see, Murton, Creating a Modern Countryside; 47-69; on science and modern state formation more generally see James Scott, Seeing like a State: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed (New Haven: Yale University Press 1998). 36 H.R. Christie, “British Columbia and the Livestock Industry,” 9 September 1913,BCA, GR 1441, File 2733. 37 On the history of range science in the intermountain west see Nancy Langston, Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares: the Paradox of Old Growth in the Inland West (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995): 200-246; and William D. Rowley, U.S Forest Service Grazing and Rangelands: A History (College Station: Texas A&M University 1985). 105  strategies varied, but in general ranchers practiced a kind of transhumance, moving cattle with the seasons between bunchgrass lowlands (winter ranges) and open meadows in the uplands (summer ranges). The ranching economy depended on lowlands because without them, and the water resources they usually afforded, the uplands were worthless for cattle. But the best winter ranges (and water rights) had already been alienated (largely to big family-owned and corporate cattle ranches) when Ross instituted his policy. This is why smaller ranchers turned to the principle of commonage, but with a legal twist. Early in 1914, thirty-five ranchers from Aspen Grove appealed to their member of parliament with a list of grievances against Ward and Guichon. “There are two large cattle syndicates to the east of us, the Douglas Lake Cattle Co. and the Guichon Estate, who habitually drive thousands of their cattle on our range, with the result that outside of fenced land, there is hardly a blade of grass to be seen.” They complained that “fences are even no protection as they are being broken down all the time, and in several cases our hay stacks have been eaten and we can ill afford to lose any hay on account of our long winter.” 38 Their legal problem was that because commonage was inalienable, it could also not be withdrawn from any particular cattle rancher. The only way to prevent Ward and Guichon from encroaching on local rangelands was thus to create what the Aspen Grove settlers called “community” pasture, essentially a kind of commonage from which Ward’s and Guichon’ cattle would be legally, and with proper fencing, physically excluded. Grazing Commissioner Mackenzie used the Nicola Valley dispute to illustrate the wider problem of range concentration in a few large ranches. “In many localities large 38  “Petition from the Ranchers and Cattlemen of Aspen Grove,” February 1914, GR1441, File 2733, Reel 44. 106  herds of cattle like those of the Douglas Lake Cattle Co. roam over the summer grazing lands and eat out range in the vicinity of the small ranches,” he wrote in 1918. Cattle were “then taken away in the fall to the large winter pastures, which are owned and are fenced in by these individuals and Companies.” This bore serious consequences for smaller ranches. As Mackenzie put it, “The small settler, who should have range protected alongside of his ranch, is usually required to feed out the hay he has put up for winter use much earlier than he would be if he had good range to carry his stock well along into the winter months and these men should be given preference in securing small leases of land adjoining their ranches.” 39 Still, there needed to be a balance. “The plan the settlers wish this office to carry out would give everything to them but would give no consideration to the rights of the Ward and Guichon interests.” 40 Thus the commissioner rejected the request for community pasture. “The settlers [of Aspen Grove] claim that Ward and Guichon have no right to graze cattle in that locality but the latter showed leases to about forty thousand acres of private land and also long years of use on the crown range,” Mackenzie later explained. 41 Instead he ordered several fences be built in the area to keep Douglas Lake and Guichon cattle off of crown range allocated to other ranchers. The fences did not to resolve the situation. As rancher Richard Guildford complained in August 1921, “Ward’s cattle are in there by the hundreds and have it eaten off…We think it is not right to pay the government for range only to have his cattle eat it  39  Thomas Mackenzie to the Deputy Minister of Lands (no date but most likely summer 1918), BCA GR1441, Reel B3279, File 8550. 40 GR1441 File 7682, Reel 93, Mackenzie to the Minister of Lands 24 August 1920. 41 Thomas Mackenzie, “Memorandum for the Honorable Minister of Lands,” 24 August 1920, BCA, GR1441, File 7682, Reel 93. 107  off.” 42 At this point, and several times later, the ranchers simply stopped paying grazing fees. When small-scale ranchers balked at grazing fees or poison control campaigns, scientists accused them of being irresponsible and unprogressive. “I am sure” Buckell complained, “that if [smaller ranchers] had done their share the infestation would have been practically controlled.” 43 Grazing Branch officials held similar views. Even Mackenzie, who understood the situation in the Nicola Valley, complained that, “the emergency [last summer] developed when it became apparent that Ward and Guichon could not control the main infestation and the flights were getting away from the territory tributary to their mixing stations. This emergency arose because of the neglect of the other stockmen to render assistance at the time the hoppers were hatching.” 44 For the smallholders, however, insects were less important than equity and responsibility in the use of grazing resources. Rather than address the social and economic inequities raised by the grasshopper problem, Mackenzie opted for legislation that would compel ranchers to use poison. His familiarity with the range and the events of the previous season had convinced him that grasshopper infestations could be “practically eliminated” if all stockmen did their part in poisoning efforts. He told both the Minister of Lands and the Dominion entomologist Gordon Hewitt that “some action must be taken to require those who should be interested and whose welfare is dependent upon the control of the grasshoppers to contribute 42  Richard Guilford to Thomas Mackenzie, 20 August 1920, BCA, GR1441, File 7682 Reel 93. 43 E.R. Buckell to Thomas Mackenzie, 14 July 1925, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8567a. 44 Thomas Mackenzie to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, 14 November 1925, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8567. 108  assistance in some way.” 45 Nothing in Canadian or Provincial law could compel ranchers to use poison, so Mackenzie and others favored legislation enacted by South Africa in 1911 by which, Mackenzie claimed, the swarming of locusts had been “rendered impossible.” 46 The South African Locust Destruction Act required settlers and Native people on and off reserves to take part in poison control, and it spelled out penalties for resistance. The Act was tantamount to a Union-wide draft. Everyone was required to serve in the war with locusts. 47 Mackenzie wanted to adopt similar measures in British Columbia, so he worked with legislators to craft a Grasshopper Control Act under which ranchers would spread poison provided by the province. Still there were problems, not the least related to human health. Some grazing officials were aware that “men have suffered arsenical poisoning through working with the powder.” Coverage of ranch hands under the Workman’s Compensation Act was optional. Claims would be heard if the government paid the wages of those distributing the poison, but making such payments could set a “bad precedent.” 48 Nearly all the expenses associated with insect control had heretofore been borne by landowners. In the government’s calculation, ranch owners should pay the wages of workers distributing poison and provide compensation for any associated injuries or illnesses because the ranchers ultimately benefited from the poison control program.  45  Thomas Mackenzie to E.R. Buckell, 15 September 1925, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8657a. 46 Thomas McKenzie to E.R. Buckell, 12 January 1923, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8657. 47 Ibid. 48 Thomas Mackenzie to the District Forester (at Vernon), 27 January 1925, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8567a. 109  When large ranchers also withdrew support for a Grasshopper Control Act, the government tried to demonstrate the program’s effectiveness with a test project at Minnie Lake. By the late 1920s, experiments seemed highly successful. Grazing official W. H. Browne thought “the scepter of power” was in their hands, especially when the more powerful ranchers began to support a Grasshopper Control Act. 49 Officials in the Grazing Branch drafted legislation that envisaged an annual tax proportionate to total deeded acres. This would cover the costs of poison control, but also place a significant share of the tax burden on large ranchers. Several smaller ranchers still argued that they should be taxed at a lesser rate, as their rangeland was less valuable than that of the larger ranchers. Others argued that many outbreaks began on overgrazed and weedy Indian reserves and that Indian Affairs should pay part of the bill or that the federal government should pay because the largest egg beds were in the Dominion Railway Belt. Consensus had eluded the Grazing Branch, so the province passed legislation enabling creation of grasshopper control zones and let communities decide for themselves whether they wished to create a control zone and participate in poison control. 50 This strategy seemed more democratic, but in practice the wishes of large landowners still carried the day. Mackenzie concluded after a meeting with ranchers in early 1930 that because “there seemed to be antagonism at the Nicola meeting between the large and small owners of land…the establishment of a grasshopper control district [should] be based upon the wishes of the owners of at least  49  W.H. Browne to Thomas Mackenzie, 25 July 1925, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8567a. 50 For a similar spatial approach to weed control in the American west, see Mark Fiege, The Weedy West: Mobile Nature, Boundaries, and Common Space in the Montana Landscape,” The Western Historical Quarterly. 35 (1) 2005: 22-48. 110  60% of the acreage to be included…rather than upon a 60% vote of the number of landowners in such district.” 51 As such the Act strongly favored large landowners, thereby ensuring that the Nicola District would become a grasshopper control zone. Mackenzie lamented that the new law would not apply to Native reserves, a federal responsibility under the Indian Act, but William Ditchburn of Indian Affairs assured provincial officials that his department would lobby Native people to participate in poison control. 52 Elsewhere within control zones the Act enabled public officials in search of egg-beds “to enter upon lands within the control area or lands adjacent thereto, without consent of the owner or of any person having any estate or interest in the land.” 53 Ranchers in control zones did not have to apply poison to their properties, but they could not stop others from doing so. Moreover, according to Section 8 of the Act: “No action shall be brought against the committee in its corporate capacity, or against any member of the committee, or against any servant or workman of the committee for damages occasioned by an act or thing done by it or him in good faith in pursuance of this Act and its regulations.” 54 By the end of 1930, the administrative power of the state and the economic power and political influence of the large ranchers had created a legal space, the Nicola Control Zone comprising 1,163,595 acres, within which it was illegal to refuse to cooperate with poison control. 55  51  Thomas Mackenzie, “Minutes of the Grasshopper Control Committee, 16 January 1930,” BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8567. 52 Ibid. 53 “Grasshopper Control Act, 1930,” BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8567. 54 Ibid. 55 On the intersection of power, law and space more generally see Nicholas Blomley, Law, Space and the Geographies of Power (New York: Guilford Press, 1994). 111  Chapter 5: Enduring Problems  Insect poisoning began, and as the decade wore on and grasshopper plagues subsided, entomologists and grazing officials cautiously declared victory over their enemies. Even Buckell was impressed by the apparent success of poison control, although better range practice was still in order. “Spreading of bait should be only one phase of the problem,” he told the Province’s Chief Forester, and much more could be done to “prevent the occurrence of outbreaks by certain practices in range management provided that such management was not detrimental to the cattle industry.” 1 On the other hand the control zone concept appeared to work, so well in fact that ranchers created four more – at Riske Creek, Clinton, Midway, and Osoyoos – covering most of the open rangeland left in the province. Indeed, according to a 1936 story in the Province newspaper, British Columbia-style control zones were even being created in Africa: “Africa, which has been plagued since biblical times by swarms of locusts has come to British Columbia for a method of controlling the ancient pest,” the report boasted. “At a conference of the world’s leading entomologists in Cairo, the method of grasshopper control developed in the Nicola Valley was adopted as the most efficient ever discovered according to advices received by the department of agriculture here.” 2 This was partially true. Buckell had presented a number of papers at the Cairo conference, one of which dealt with methods for controlling “non-gregarious” grasshopper populations. In it Buckell briefly explained the control zone concept and its underlying biological logic, that poisoning grasshopper  1  E.R. Buckell to P.Z. Caverhill, 7 February 1935, BCA, GR1441, Reel 108, File 8567. “Egypt Adopts Nicola Valley Plan to Rid Land of Age-Old Scourge of Grasshoppers,” Vancouver Province, 13 June 1936. 2  112  egg-beds before they hatched was essential to grasshopper control. According to Buckell the success of this strategy in British Columbia confirmed Russian entomologist Boris Uvarov’s ideas about solitary and gregarious “phases” in locust populations and the fact that it was easier and more effective to poison solitary populations in their breeding areas before swarming occurred. Although British Columbia’s rangelands were relatively large, concentrating on the breeding ground meant attending to fewer than 2000 acres. 3 And it seemed to be work. “The freedom from a grasshopper outbreak on the Nicola range during 1933, 1934, and 1935,” Buckell noted, “is striking owing to the fact that throughout the rest of the province a definite grasshopper outbreak was present during each of these three years.” 4 Other assessments of grasshopper control in British Columbia were less judicious than Buckell’s. In 1938 agricultural official W.L. Talbot described how a “dramatic battle for control of the Nicola Valley ended in triumph within a few yards of defeat.” Like an insect Fields of Flanders, “On some battlefields the dead lay as thick as four hundred and better to the square yard over large areas.” Although it seemed the battle might be lost, entomologists ultimately took back the interior. Armed with poison bait and simple maps showing the location of egg-beds they set out to subdue their insect enemy and, by August 1938, a once “vast” grasshopper “army,” a “huge” airborne “armada,” had been  3  E.R. Buckell “Regional Problems: The Problem of non-gregarious grasshoppers, Draft Resolution,” in Proceedings of the Fourth International Locust Conference, Cairo, Egypt, April 22, 1936 Appendix 43 (Cairo: Government Press, 1937). 4 E.R. Buckell, “The Grasshopper Problem in Canada” in Proceedings of the Fourth International Locust Conference, Cairo, Egypt, April 22, 1936 Appendix 42 (Cairo: Government Press, 1937). 4. 113  “reduced to a skeleton force.” 5 Talbot’s bellicose rhetoric and rampant exaggeration aside, the moral was clear enough: “man” had waged war with insects and won. What Talbot did not mention, or perhaps did not know, was that there had been collateral damage along the way. Every year arsenic poisoning killed a few cattle and chickens. Many naturalists suspected that grasshopper baiting also killed honeybees and “musical birds,” producing an early twentieth century silent spring. 6 To what extent other wildlife were affected is unclear. In 1933 Buckell noted that “the Consolidated Company of Trail were anxious to get into the grasshopper control business and were conducting experiments with a lead poison that would be just as deadly [as arsenic] but less harmful to animals.” 7 Grasshoppers appeared to be under control, but range quality had not improved since the passage of the Grazing Act in 1919. There was still the old problem of spring turn out times. In 1932 grazing official George Melrose worried that stockmen were placing herds on the range “before the period allowed in their permits and…before it is in proper condition from the standpoint of plant growth, thus injuring the forage and reducing the grazing capacity.” 8 Recent research from the American West, a 1935 Grazing Manual from British Columbia observed, indicated that grazing too early in  5  “Scourge of the Range: BC Grasshopper Plague Beaten,” Vancouver Province, 13 October 1938. 6 “Grasshopper War Blamed,” Victoria Daily Times, 26 June 1936. The phrase “silent spring” comes from Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (Greenwich: Fawcett Publications, 1962), probably the best-known book on the problem of pesticides in the environment published in the 20th century. 7 “Grasshopper Control,” Merritt Herald, 24 November 1933. There are no data on arsenic poisoning in animal populations that could be used to give this statement environmental-historical substance. 8 George Melrose to Supervisors and Rangers, 21 April 1932, BCA, GR1453, Kamloops Forest District, Box 4, File 47. 114  spring bore serious long-term consequences for range condition. For one thing, it tended to shorten the root system of individual plants, rendering them “unable to obtain sufficient moisture after the main run off is gone.” Thus damaged, plants were more likely to die during the dry summer months. 9 Grazing too early also prevented plants from storing sufficient energy for future growth, which meant that valuable perennial and herbaceous plants were replaced by “inferior annual plants that are of lower nutritional value or unpalatable due to their downy or hairy nature.” 10 In short, and in ways that only became apparent over time, ranching was remaking rangelands, making them decreasingly useful for cattle. This was perhaps most evident on the Riske Creek range that Buckell observed in the early 1920s. In 1936, the province commissioned rancher Lawrence Guichon and two federal range ecologists, L.B. Thomson and Edwin Tisdale to study range conditions. The results were discouraging. About 20 percent of the 20,000 acre “prairie” had “been reduced to the weed stage,” producing “very little palatable fodder.” Indeed, the area was “so badly depleted that recovery through protection and natural reseeding was bound to be very slow, requiring 10 to 15 years at least.” The only way to accelerate range recovery was “by artificial reseeding to some hardy grass such as Crested Wheat.” The remaining 80 percent of Riske Creek was in much better condition, but there was “very little true bunchgrass (Agropyron)” left in the area. Most of the plants were “perennial grasses…such as June grass (Koeleria) and certain of the spear grasses (Stipa).” This was good feed for cattle, but it would not last under current grazing practices. Specifically the 9  British Columbia, Grazing Manual for the General Information and Guidance of Forest Officers, (Victoria: Forest Service, 1935), 19. Copy held by Ministry of Forests Library, Victoria, British Columbia. 10 Ibid. 115  range should be “so regulated that the grass has a chance to make a fairly normal development and produce seed in the wetter seasons,” and that “at the end of the fall grazing period a carry-over of at least 25% of the year’s growth in order that the grass plants may have some protection during the next spring and also that they may furnish a more balanced feed for early grazing.” How to regulate for grazing capacity, estimated at 2700 head, was a different challenge since there were about 6000 head of cattle in the area. Managers had to adopt “either a shorter grazing season or else keep some of the cattle off the open area entirely.” Both solutions would force ranchers to find other places for their animals and absorb the added expenses that the more frequent (and distant) moving of animals inevitably entailed. Over time and “under improved proper methods of handling,” however, “the improved condition of the cattle, earlier and larger calf crop should pay for the additional expenses involved.” For Thomson, Tisdale and Guichon, it was imperative that these issues be addressed before additional degradation occurred. “The depletion and mismanagement of this range,” they wrote, “has reached a point where a definite grazing program, backed by strong administration, is necessary if the area is to retain its value among grazing lands in the Province.” 11 This, of course, was Thomas Mackenzie’s argument more than a decade earlier. Photos of Riske Creek taken from the 1920s to the 1940s provide additional perspective on these changes. One photo, taken in 1941, depicts “Badly Depleted Range Riske Creek Area” (figure 5.1). A close-up puts a finer point on the problem by including  11  L.B. Thomson, E.W. Tisdale, and L.P Guichon, Report of the Committee to Investigate Range Matters in the Riske Creek Area, August 1938. (Copy of unpublished report held by Ministry of Forests Library, Victoria, British Columbia) 116  a small ruler that emphasizes the scale of depletion (figure 5.2). The ruler on bare ground shows how important photos were for documenting abstract ideas like succession and depletion. Pencils, rulers, people, and animals were commonly used by scientists and grazing officials to give readers a better sense of ecological conditions at particular sites. Hats also worked, as shown in another photo depicting “Heavily Grazed Rangeland, Riske Creek” (figure 5.3). Perhaps the most important measures of range degradation at Riske Creek, however, were the two or three “exclosures” created there by range officials in the early 1920s. As the name suggests, an exclosure was fenced to prevent cattle and other large herbivores from grazing. 12 Exclosures were also kept free of the effects of fire, which, contrary to rancher opinion, range managers usually considered a detriment to range restoration. Some denuded places were hard pressed to carry fire in any case; fence posts were often the most flammable features of the landscape. Small herbivores such as grasshoppers could enter exclosures at will, although research by Buckell and others showed that they tended not to, preferring closely cropped, or overgrazed, grasslands instead. Such evidence was one of the keys to the argument that overgrazing caused outbreaks. Exclosures were not treated as wild analogues, however. Wind-born seeds were free to take hold there, but if the plant was considered a weed it was removed. Sagebrush, for example, was a “pasture” weed usually removed before the fence went up, often by intentional burning.  12  I say usually because it is possible for horses and cattle to graze through the fence line and there are numerous stories of people putting their animal inside exclosures when grazing officials were out of the area 117  Figure 5.1: Depleted grassland, Riske Creek. There is no date on the photo but it was probably taken sometime in the 1920s (Source: BC Archives)  118  Figure 5.2: Range degradation, Riske Creek. A small ruler is used for scale (Source: BC Archives)  119  Figure 5.3: Overgrazed range, Riske Creek. This is outside an exclosure with a hat for scale (source: BC Archives)  120  The plants that grew inside an exclosure varied from site to site. Some areas were reseeded with introduced species, such as Crested wheatgrass or Kentucky bluegrass. Others were left more or less alone to see whether, and at what rate, bunchgrasses would reestablish themselves when freed from grazing pressure and the effects of fire. In some cases the results were quite remarkable, as the following photos illustrate. The first, taken sometime in the mid-to-late 1930s, shows an impressive stand of Crested wheatgrass inside an exclosure, the second, a lush growth of Kentucky blue grass (figures 5.4 and 5.5 respectively). The most impressive image came from the Nicola Valley. Taken sometime in the mid-to-late 1930s, it shows the remarkable recovery of a small patch of bluebunch bunchgrass in just four years (figure 5.6). Or so the caption would have us believe. Recent work in range science, and much historical experience, suggests that plant recovery inside exclosures takes a very long time, even several decades. Some sites do not recover, but instead are colonized by sagebrush and other woody shrubs with just a few forage plants, but rarely bunchgrass. The reasons are complicated, but recent range science offers some insights. According to the so-called “state and transition” model, multiple, stable vegetation states are possible on rangelands and may persist for long periods. On the other hand there may be “transient states in which a rangeland does not persist indefinitely, but rather changes into one or other persisting states, depending on events while it is in the transient state.” Transitions occur when grazing or environmental “thresholds” are exceeded and plant communities begin to move toward some new vegetation state. A simple diagram shows how this can happen (figure 5.7). If grazing pressure at a site is reduced before some critical threshold is reached, the area may revert to grassland by way of “graminiod-  121  Figure 5.4: Crested wheatgrass. Ecologist Edwin Tisdale took this photo in the late 1930s (Source Tisdale, Summary Report, 1940).  122  Figure 5.5: Dense growth of Kentucky bluegrass. Ecologist Edwin Tisdale took this photo in the late 1930s (source Tisdale, Summary Report, 1940).  123  Figure 5.6: Exclosure, Nicola Valley. Photo allegedly shows the results of just 4 years of growth under protection from grazing. Such photos were widely distributed among ranchers and livestock associations during the 20th century.  124  driven succession.” But it might not, especially if the previous grass cover had been established under different climatic conditions or if the local fire regime has changed. In this context “shrub-driven succession” may begin to predominate and push the site toward some new, relatively stable association featuring mostly woody, and usually unpalatable, plant species. 13 Conditions varied, of course, yet something like the pattern of plant succession depicted in figure 5.7 probably unfolded on some grazing sites in British Columbia grasslands in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This perhaps helps to explain why some rangeland did not revert to bunchgrass when grazing pressure was removed.  Figure 5.7: State and transition model. Shows recent scientific ideas about change on rangelands (Source: Noss and Cooperider, 1994).  13  Mark Westoby, Brian Walker, and Imanuel Noy-Meir, “Opportunistic Management for Rangelands not at Equilibrium,” Journal of Range Management 1989 42, 4 (1989): 266274. Also see: M.H. Friedel, “Range Condition Assessment and the Concept of Thresholds,” Journal of Range Management 44, 5 (1991): 422-426; W.A. Laycock, “Stable States and Thresholds of Range Condition on North American Rangelands: A Viewpoint,” Journal of Range Management 44, 5 (1991): 427-433. 125  What to make then of the remarkable Nicola Valley exclosure showing the growth of waist-high bluebunch wheatgrass in just four years? Several explanations come to mind, one of which is simply that the caption on the photo was incorrect. Because nothing in the associated report suggests it was inaccurate, there is a distinct possibility that the area had been heavily fertilized as others certainly were. In any event, something about the Nicola exclosure photo is amiss. Range results inside exclosures, just like results outside them, were usually modest and mixed, as the State and Transition Model and experience elsewhere would suggest. Although a few areas showed impressive regrowth, others showed very little or none, even after many years of rest from grazing. This suggested that range recovery would take some time if it happened at all. Photos of an exclosure at Riske Creek provide a case in point (figures 5.8-5.12). Taken between 1921 and 1941, they chronicle the slow recovery of a patch of bluebunch bunchgrass and other species.  126  Error!  Figure 5.8: Overgrazed range and exclosure. From the Riske Creek range, 1921 (Source: BC Archives)  127  Error!  Figure 5.9: Overgrazed range and exclosure. Same exclosure as above but different view, 1925  128  Figure 5.10: Overgrazed range and exclosure. View from inside same exclosure in 1925  129  Error!  Figure 5.11: Overgrazed range and exclosure. Photo taken in 1931. Note the growth of grass inside the fence and the degraded range outside. It is unclear what plants were growing inside but most likely it is crested wheatgrass.  130  Figure 5.12: Overgrazed range and exclosure. Same as above but a different view, 1931.  131  These photographs of Riske Creek graphically depict the ecological changes wrought by resettlement and grazing yet as historical geographer Joan Schwartz reminds us, photographs are not transparent windows onto past reality. They are instead “social constructs capable of doing ideological work” and should be studied, therefore, as having done so. 14 Geographer Gillian Rose also reminds us that “the meanings of a photograph are established by its uses,” while Donna Haraway cautions that “there is no unmediated photograph or passive camera obscura in scientific accounts…. [Rather] there are only specific visual possibilities, each with a wonderfully detailed, active, partial, way of organizing worlds.” 15 Indeed photos of exclosures and overgrazed range were put to many “uses” and did a great deal of “ideological” work. They were “active” and “partial” ways of reorganizing social and ecological worlds. Reproduced time after time in official reports, scientific papers, popular trade journals, and at meetings with ranchers, they depicted not just the wisdom and benefits of good fencing practices, but the omniscience of state-based rangeland management. Note the way in which photographs of exclosures (figures 5.8- 5.12) work to conjure contrasting images of an irrational and unregulated past (the area outside the fence) against a rational and regulated future (the area inside the fence). 16  14  Joan M. Schwartz, “The Geography Lesson: Photographs and the construction of imaginative geographies,” Journal of Historical Geography 22, 2 (1996): 16-45. 15 Gillian Rose, “Practicing photography: an archive, a study, some photographs and a researcher,” Journal of Historical Geography 26, 4 (2000): 555-571; Donna Haraway is cited in Joan Schwartz and James Ryan ed. Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination (New York: I.B Tauris, 2003): 5. 16 My understanding of exclosures echoes philosopher Michel Foucault’s analysis of “governmentality,” by which (as I read him) he meant a very specific form of political rationality that gained currency in Europe from the 17th century and that took as a starting point the concern to manage not just territory (the work of the principle purpose of the state before the 17th century) but also relations between (as he put it) “men and things.” In 132  Conditions varied throughout the grasslands, of course, and not all areas were as “deplorable” as the worst parts of Riske Creek. 17 Still, many ranchers and range managers felt that the problems identified there fairly represented problems elsewhere in the interior, even in the Nicola Valley where grasshopper problems had become less severe. Even Lawrence Guichon and Frank Ward, with all their water and range, were concerned about the future. For his part, Ward felt that the future of range management might be in reseeding programs using introduced species. In 1930, he started two experimental plots at the ranch, one seeded with crested wheatgrass, the other with western rye grass. As grazing official George Copley later explained, the results were promising. The Crested wheatgrass plot was originally good bunch grass range but was “eaten out by moles which…turned over the soil until it was in a highly cultivated condition.” Before the moles came, though, the Crested wheatgrass had averaged 18 inches in height and was in “a very healthy condition” with blossom heads of 2.5 inches long, what many ranchers would consider a good hay crop. The Western ryegrass results were even more encouraging. Although the plants averaged only 16 inches in height, they produced “almost twice as much leafage as the Crested Wheat” and provided “a much  Foucault’s words: “Government is the right disposition of things…I do not think this is a matter of opposing things to men, but rather showing that what government has to do with is…a sort of complex of men and things. The things with which in this sense government is to be concerned are in fact men, but men in their relations, their links, their imbrication with those other things which are wealth, resources, means of subsistence, the territory with its specific qualities, climate, irrigation, fertility, etc., men in relation to that other kind of things, customs habits, ways of acting and thinking, etc., lastly men in their relation…to accidents and misfortunes such as famine, epidemics, death etc.” See G. Burchell ed. The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991). 17 Thomson et al., Report to the Committee. 133  better forage grass.” 18 Despite these promising results Ward felt that it would be years before ranchers benefited from such work, even if ranchers and government took up the task on large scale. One of the obstacles were weeds, which had become widespread. Cheatgrass and Canadian thistles were probably the most common “noxious” plants, Ward reported, but “pasture weeds” such as sagebrush and other woody shrubs were expanding as well. Two photos from the mid-to-late 1930s, both taken by range ecologist Edwin Tisdale, illustrate the specific changes Ward had in mind in his report. The first (figure 5.13) shows “depleted lower grassland, Tranquille Range” (outside Kamloops) and asks readers to “note the abundance of sagebrush and sparseness of bunchgrass vegetation,” both signs of overgrazing. The other photo (figure 5.14), shows “heavily grazed bunchgrass range” in the background and a thick growth of cheatgrass (bromus tectorum) in the foreground. 19  18  George Copley to the District Forester, 19 July 1932, BCA, MS1082, Douglas Lake Cattle Company Records, Box 5, File 7. 19 On the spread of cheatgrass in the west, see: Richard Mack, “Alien Plan Invasion in the Intermountain West: A Case History,” in Ecology of Biological Invasions in North America and Hawaii, Harold Mooney and James Drake ed. (New York: Springer 1984); Richard Mack, “Invasion of Bromus Tectorum omtp Western North America: An Ecological Chronicle,” Agro-Ecosystems 7 (1981): 146-165; and James Young, “Cheatgrass” in Noxious Range Weeds Lynn James ed. (Boulder: Westview Press 1991). 134  Figure 5.13: Depleted lower grassland. Photo taken near Kamloops. Note abundance of sagebrush. Ecologist Edwin Tisdale took this photo in the late 1930s.  135  Figure 5.14: Cheatgrass. Dense growth of cheat in the foreground with ecologist Edwin Tisdale and open rangeland in the background (Source: Tisdale, Summary Report, 1940).  136  The photos were more evidence that open rangelands were becoming increasingly degraded and there were problems in forested uplands where ranchers increasingly ranged their cattle in summer. There, “beetle killed trees” were falling down by the “thousands,” crashing down on and across fences and stock trails. Bark beetles (Dentroctonus genus) were as much a part of interior forest ecology as the forests themselves, but the tiny black insects had remained invisible to ranchers and range officials, much as grasshoppers did until they became a problem. The first signs of infestation emerged around the ranching community of Princeton. By the early 1930s “clumps” of dead and dying ponderosa pine trees called “red-tops” could be seen throughout the southern interior of the province. Though difficult to tally precisely, their impact appeared considerable. Entomologist Ralph Hopping estimated that about 150 million board feet of pine had been “killed” at Princeton alone. In the early 1930s he warned that as many or more were about to be lost in the Coldwater Valley, near Merritt, where a “very active infestation is now in progress.” He argued that it was “evident that the yellow pine in this whole forest between Princeton and Kamloops is threatened with ruin by these outbreaks and that control operations [directed by Dominion government officials] offer the only hope of saving it.” 20 Hopping’s understanding of bark beetle “outbreaks” and how to control them strongly paralleled the account of grasshopper problems by Buckell and Treherne. His starting point was the then-centuries old assumption that nature in the absence of human  20  Ralph Hopping, “Depreciation by Forest Insects” Paper presented to the British Columbia Forest Convention 1931 (copy held by Ministry of Forests Library). 137  interference tended toward stability and balance. 21 Simple and confined “sporadic outbreaks” were part of forest history, yet the amount of “timber” lost to them was considerable when added to what Hopping referred to as the “endemic or ‘normal’ level of infestation that existed in all forests.” Under certain conditions these events could develop into “epidemic outbreaks” comprising a single or “primary” species as well as several “secondary” species that could “devastate a whole countryside.” Weather was also critical. Warm, dry breeding seasons, for example, favored bark beetle development; wet and cold did not. The “natural enemies” at work in a forest also mattered for beetle populations. The number of parasites, disease-bearing fungi, predaceous insects, and several insectivorous bird species, in other words the usual suspects of economic entomology, had direct impacts on maintaining smaller and more stable bark beetle populations. Hopping argued, however, that epidemic outbreaks followed not from seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation or from “minor” perturbations in enemy insect, parasite and bird populations, but from those disturbances that upset the “natural order” over large areas and for extended periods of time: namely fires, windstorms, and forestry. In several papers presented to British Columbia forestry officials in the 1920s and 1930s, Hopping emphasized that each disturbance, but especially the latter, created ideal bark-beetle breeding habitat for an epidemic outbreak. “In windfalls and fires we have conditions produced in which the bark beetles are not hampered by the resistance of healthy trees.” But in logging operations, he insisted, “we have a much more prevalent cause of epidemics. The immense amount of fresh slash, in the form of tops and cull logs, 21  Frank Egerton, “Changing Concepts of the Balance of Nature,” Quarterly Review of Biology, 48 (1973): 322-50. 138  affords an ideal breeding ground for the most destructive beetles.” Winter forestry – the only kind of forestry possible in interior British Columbia at the time given the difficulties of moving wood to railway at any other time of year – was “especially favourable to attack upon the standing timber.” Hopping explained that the “beetles, completing their life-cycle in the freshly cut material, emerge, and, having no new supply of cut material to enter, for they will not breed in dry logs, enter the living standing trees and kill them within a year. They then spread from year to year throughout the timber stand leaving devastation in their wake.” Viewed in this light, the clear solution was to establish forest practices that restored the natural balance. The most important, Hopping suggested, were forest fire suppression, the spring burning of timber slash, and thus any bark beetle eggs that the slash might contain, and systematic removal of “over-mature” pine and fir trees, which entomologists and forestry officials considered weak and prone to infestation. 22 Meanwhile and for many years to come, ranchers had to deal with deadfall. Photos by Tisdale of deadfall in beetle-infested pine and fir forests from the early 1930s provided visual perspective on the problem (figures 5.15 and 5.16). They documented ecological change believed to be associated with human activity and an ideology of state regulation that sought to manage people and nature. By the early 1930s, the grazing situation seemed dire. According to Frank Ward there was no gainsaying “the seriousness of our grazing problems… for the writing is on the wall… To those of us with very heavy investments in the stock business our position becomes more critical as time goes on. We see the range slipping, forcing us to reduce 22  Ibid. Also see Ralph Hopping and M. Prebble, “The Principle Forest Insects,” BCA GR0520 Commission on Forests Resources, Box 10, File 15; and R. and C.S. Wood and L. Unger, Mountain Pine Beetle: A History of Outbreaks in Pine Forests in British Columbia, 1910-1995 (Victoria: Canadian Forest Service, 1996). 139  Figure 5.15: Bark-beetle problems. Photo from the uplands with ecologist Edwin Tisdale standing amid the downfall. Areas like this became increasingly useless for summer grazing.  140  Figure 5.16: Bark-beetle problems. Another view of bark beetle problems in the uplands where downfall made grazing all but impossible.  141  our herds, while [competitors outside the province] are increasing theirs.” 23 The only solace offered by this strongly and ominously worded warning from the manager of one of the largest cattle ranches in western North America was that the grasshopper outbreaks that plagued provincial rangelands in the 1910s and early 1920s were quickly becoming a thing of the past. He was wrong. The entomologists’ hold on the grasslands was far more tenuous than Ward realized. Plagues approaching “biblical” proportions descended on interior rangelands during the summers of 1943-46. 24 The timing could not have been worse. Ranchers were reeling from the long cold winter of 1942-3 and one of the latest springs in recent memory. Thousands of tons of hay were used that winter, and many ranchers ran short. The Douglas Lake Ranch fed out fully 10,500 tons, far more than any other ranch, but its extensive hay reserves enabled Ward to keep the company’s cattle off the open range until conditions improved. 25 Most other ranchers could not wait, and many cattle were turned out to feed on and trample the stunted new growth. According to Ward the late spring lowered the average weight of cattle and meant smaller profits for ranchers contending with wartime regulations on food production, including an embargo on the export of cattle to the United States. This deprived ranchers of much bargaining power. Moreover, the purchase of cattle for slaughter in Canada had been confined to “certain interests.” Dressed beef was now subject to government grading with prices pegged to grade. At the same time beef rationing reduced  23  Frank Ward, “Report to the Nicola Stockbreeders Association, November 1936,” BCA, MS1082, Douglas Lake Cattle Company Records, Box 1, File 6. 24 “Worst Grasshopper Plague Hits the Interior,” Vancouver Province, 3 Oct 1943. 25 “Douglas Lake Cattle Company Annual Report, 1942-43,” BCA, MS1082, Douglas Lake Cattle Company Records, Box 1, File 1. 142  consumption by a quarter, while increased labor costs associated with the war and an “exodus of Indians to the orchards and berry fields of Washington” only made problems worse.” 26 All of these changes affected the cattle company’s bottom line, but what happened at the Douglas Lake Ranch affected smaller ranches as well. Ward frequently purchased surplus cattle from other ranchers while selling them surplus hay, but now he was reluctant to do either of these things because of his own shrinking margins. In this context a bad grasshopper outbreak could have serious consequences for big and small ranchers alike. According to local newspapers the 1944 irruption was the “worst plague” yet. 27 No range was left untouched. Grasshoppers ravaged even the famous Nicola Control Zone. According to Frank Ward, “Conditions were such that some hundreds of beef cattle which ordinarily would have been shipped off grass were carried into winter and placed in the feed lots to be marketed off grain, all of which had to be purchased.” 28 Joe Coutlee had “seen nothing like it in sixty years riding the range.” 29 Even Buckell appeared ready to bow before the power of nature. “Never before” had “an outbreak quite like the present one been encountered,” he observed in The Canadian Entomologist and local newspapers. Outbreaks in British Columbia usually involved several species of grasshopper, albeit with Camnula pellucida usually predominating, but the 1943-44 “plague” comprised just the Lesser Migratory grasshopper. Nothing stopped them, not even in the Nicola Valley where public officials had been dumping poison on  26  “Douglas Lake Cattle Company Annual Report, 1943-44,” BCA MS1082, Douglas Lake Cattle Company Records, Box 1, File 1. 27 “Worst Grasshopper Plague,” Vancouver Province 3 Oct 1943. 28 “Douglas Lake Ranch Annual Report for 1944-45.” BCA, MS1082, Douglas Lake Cattle Company Records. 29 “Joe Coutlee, who has Ridden Ranges for Sixty Years, has Never Seen Red-Legged Grasshoppers so Bad,” The Merritt Herald, 13 August 1944. 143  egg-beds since the late 1920s. It was “a new enemy,” wrote Buckell, with “new habits” and a history of devastation. “This species is known to be the most injurious species in the northern United States and Canada, and the great outbreaks of 1874 when the Rocky Mountain Locust devastated the Northwestern United States from Montana through the Dakotas to Minnesota and thence into the Canadian prairie, is still one of the landmarks of North American history.” 30 Buckell was right about having to confront a ‘new enemy’ with ‘new habits,’ but the insect in question was not western North America’s old adversary, the Rocky Mountain Locust. 31 The roots of taxonomic confusion lay in a paper written by South African entomologist Jacobus Faure and published in the Journal of Economic Entomology in 1933. 32 According to Faure, the now infamous Rocky Mountain Locust, which many entomologists believed had gone extinct, was alive and well after all, but incognito. Faure based his argument on Russian entomologist Boris Uvarov’s influential “phase theory ” of 1927, which held that locusts had a remarkable capacity for physiological change. 33 Working on the semi-arid Russian steppe, Uvarov had observed locusts changing in physical form as they transitioned between “solitary” and “gregarious” phases. When this  30  E.R. Buckell, “The Grasshopper Outbreak of 1944 in British Columbia” The Canadian Entomologist, LXVII (1944): 115-116. 31 On the history of the Rocky Mountain Locust see, Annette Atkins, Harvest of Grief: Grasshopper Plagues and Public Assistance in Minnesota, 1873-1878 (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1984); Jeffery Lockwood, Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that shaped the American Frontier (New York: Basic Books, 2004); W. Conner Sorrenson, Brethren of the Net: American Entomology, 1840-1880 (University of Alabama Press, 1995): 127-149. 32 Jacobus Faure, “The Phases of the Rocky Mountain Locust Melanoplus mexicanus” Journal of Economic Entomology 26 (1933): 706-718. 33 See B.P Uvarov, Locusts and Grasshoppers: A Handbook for their Study and Control (London: The Imperial Bureau of Entomology, 1928). For a general overview phase theory see Lockwood, Locust, 125-158. 144  happened the insects changed color, grew longer wings and exhibited various behavioral differences. Uvarov’s colleague, entomologist V.I Plontnikov, had recorded similar changes in a study of central Asian locust populations, and Faure noted these as well while working on locust problems in South Africa. Neither entomologist, or any other working at the time knew precisely what prompted the changes, although environmental factors and population density seemed critical. In many ways the direction of this early theorization was basically correct. Locusts did change form in certain circumstances, and both environmental change and “crowding” associated with population increase were critical factors, although the exact mix of mechanisms at work differed according to context. 34 According to Faure, phase theory explained the sudden disappearance of the Rocky Mountain Locust early in the late 19th century: it was merely the gregarious phase of another insect, most likely Melanoplus mexicanus or Lesser Migratory grasshopper, which was still common on western grasslands. 35 Understood thus, the devastating locust did not so much disappear from North America as disguise itself. The evidence for a spretus/mexicannus split personality was far from convincing, however. Faure did not observe these changes in the field and never succeeded in inducing phase transformation in migratory grasshoppers in the laboratory, yet in his view enough work had been done “to warrant the conclusion that…Melanoplus spretus (Walsh) was the phase gregaria of Melanoplus mexicanus (Saussure).” Entomologists generally accepted Faure’s assertion, although as scientist and historian Jeffery Lockwood points out, usually with 34  For contemporary understandings of locust and grasshopper biology (and control) see: S.K Gangwere, M.C Muralirangan and M. Muralinrangan Eds. Bionomics of Grasshoppers, Katydids, and their Kin (Oxford: CAB International 1997). 35 Lockwood, Locust, 154. 145  considerable caution, qualifying claims with statements such as “believed to be the migratory phase” in the case of spretus, or “thought to be similar or perhaps identical to the Rocky Mountain locust” in the case of mexicannus. 36 This was wise. Subsequent taxonomic comparisons of spretus and mexicannus genitalia and, later, their DNA revealed that Faure had been wrong about the reappearance of spretus in mexicanus form. Spretus and mexicanus (renamed sanguinipes in 1967) were different species. 37 The tests also revealed once and for all that the Rocky Mountain locust had gone extinct sometime very early in the 20th century, perhaps because of irrevocable alteration of key breeding areas and refuges by ranchers and farmers in the 1880s and 1890s. 38 The Canadian entomologist Norman Criddle unknowingly collected the last living specimens, a male and a female, in the grasslands of Manitoba in 1902. Mexicannus was not spretus, but believing that it was surely helped Buckell to explain the 1944 outbreak to ranchers and renew their commitment to the control zone concept, which, he worried, might be waning. He conceded that from “the enormous numbers of grasshoppers present over the entire range in the Nicola it is possible that some of you may think that your control zone operations, which you have carried on so faithfully for a long period of years with such gratifying success are, after all, a failure,” but this was “definitely not the case in spite of the fact that in 1944 you experienced one of the worst outbreaks of grasshoppers in the history of your rangelands and may be quite  36  Ibid. Jeffery Lockwood, “Taxonomic Status of the Rocky Mountain Locust: Morphometric Comparisons of Melanoplus Spretus (Walsh) with Solitary and Migratory Melanoplus Sanguinipes (F.),” Canadian Entomologist, 121 (1989): 1103-1109: Lockwood, Locust, 180-224. 38 Lockwood, Locust, 225-254. 37  146  seriously affected again in 1945.” 39 The insect had caught everyone off-guard, not least because it was the first mexicannus outbreak in provincial history. A shortage of men, machines, and chemicals associated with the war made matters worse, but mexicannus’s intractable biology also made it an exceedingly difficult insect to beat. It did not have well-defined egg-beds; eggs hatched over a very long time; nymphs and adults refused to eat arsenic bait; and both appeared completely immune to fungi, although the effects of parasitism did show on some adults. In these ways, Buckell observed, Melanoplus mexicannus was essentially different from British Columbia’s old adversary, Camnula pellucida. This bore deep implications for pest control because strategies devised to deal with the one insect did not work on the other, which was itself an enduring theme in the history of economic entomology. This did not mean that the control zone concept ought to be abandoned. Buckell insisted that in “matters pertaining to insects it is never safe to prophecy anything as so many factors influence their numbers.” The mexicannus plague would soon “pass into history,” probably not to return for many years. Already, crows and blackbirds and “at least 10 kinds of parasitic flies” were gorging on the grasshoppers, the latter slowly eating them alive from inside out. 40 Meanwhile, science would surely develop methods for managing the pests. When and if the locust returned, Buckell assured ranchers, entomologists would be ready. Buckell adeptly anticipated and eased ranchers’ worries, but basic uncertainties festered over the exact cause of the 1944 outbreak. “For some reason which we cannot  39  “Control Areas Should Not Be Discouraged Because of 1944 Grasshopper Outbreak,” Kamloops Sentinel, 22 November 1944; “Red Leg Grasshopper Pest in 1944 Expected Back in 1945,” Merritt Herald 17, November 1944. 40 Ibid. 147  explain at present,” he confessed, “the insect has increased beyond all imagination.” 41 Several factors seemed in play. Favorable weather for breeding was probably important. A dry summer and long warm autumn in 1943 and again in 1944 likely enabled females to lay far more eggs than usual. 42 The dramatic geographic expansion of Melanoplus breeding areas because of overgrazing by cattle and “the loosening of the surface soil by an enormous increase in the number of pocket gophers in recent years” was another factor. 43 The ecological connections between cattle, gophers and grasshoppers ran even deeper. Northern pocket gophers are burrowing herbivores that inhabit a wide variety of environments, but which thrive in disturbed areas, especially irrigated alfalfa fields where they find ample food and easy digging. 44 Thus the increase in pocket gophers was at least in part an effect of environmental changes associated with the rise of winter-feeding by ranchers after 1890. The total acreage devoted to alfalfa production increased considerably in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as ranchers expanded their herds and tried to protect themselves from the vagaries of weather. Population ecology is complicated and weather, disease and other factors were also at work in shaping the gopher population. 45 The sudden jump in pocket gopher numbers also coincided with a  41  Ibid. Ibid. 43 Ibid. Interestingly, Buckell noticed the increase in gophers and the way it expanded mexicannus breeding areas but apparently did not sound any alarm at the time. See E.R. Buckell, “The Use of Oil Sprays in Grasshopper Control in British Columbia,” The Canadian Entomologist LXXII, 8 (1940): 149-150. 44 David W. Nagorsen, Rodents and Lagomorphs of British Columbia (Victoria: Royal BC Museum DATE), 220. 45 For more on pocket gopher population ecology see: “Northern Pocket Gopher” in The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals Don Wilson and Sue Ruff ed. 474-477 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989); Robert Baker, Robert D. Bradley, and 42  148  significant decline in the badger population, due in large part to habitat loss associated with resettlement of the grasslands, and badgers were among the most effective predators of pocket gophers. A decline in one animal population may well have contributed to an increase in the other, and there was indeed a rapid increase of pocket gopher populations in the late 1920s and 1930s. 46 This posed a considerable problem for agricultural production. Pocket gophers damaged irrigation works, ate crops meant for cattle, and carried ticks that caused a kind of paralysis in livestock. 47 What ranchers and range mangers did not know at the time was that extensive burrowing by pocket gophers also created additional breeding areas for Melanoplus mexicannus. Buckell’s analysis, buttressed by informed historical-ecological speculation and recent research in entomology, strongly suggested that solving the mexicannus problem entailed much more than merely achieving a proper mix of institutions and pesticides. As one recent summary of North American grasshopper ecology points out, “the migratory grasshopper has adapted exceedingly well to western agriculture…Introduced weeds have furnished a nutritious and steady supply of food, plowing of sandy loams has  Lee R. McAlily Jr., “Pocket Gophers,” in Wild Mammals of North America: Biology, Management, and Conservation, George Feldhamer, Bruce Thompson, and Joseph Chapman, ed., 276-287 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003). 46 Although generally supported by modern ecological theory there are no specific scientific studies of gopher-badger interactions in British Columbia that could be used to give the analysis greater rigor. However, see C. Hoodicoff, Badger Prey Ecology: The Ecology of Six Small Mammals found in British Columbia (Victoria: Ministry of Environment: 2006). 47 On the tick paralysis problem see Eric Hearle, “Notes on a Serious Outbreak of Tick Paralysis in Cattle,” Proceedings of the BC Entomological Society, March 1933 (Victoria: 1933): 11-16. 149  resulted in wind-blown drifts that have proved favorable for oviposition, and overuse of rangeland by livestock has reduced grass cover and led to the invasion of weeds.” 48 Some of this was known as early as the 1930s and suggested that land use practice was an important part of pest control, but a new class of powerful chemical poisons was already in the air when the mexicanus outbreak occurred. In November 1944, Buckell informed University of British Columbia zoologist George Spencer, about a recent conversation with a colleague. “I had a long talk with Dr. Marshall a few days ago and he gave me the address of two firms, one makes dinitrocyclohexyphenol and the other the dinitroorthocresol dusts. Marshall thought we should get dinitro dust (which is on the market and is 40% strength) and then dilute it ourselves to find the minimum strength to kill hoppers using pyrophyllite or bentonite as a dilutant.” Marshall warned Buckell that “anyone using these chemicals must wear respirators, rubber gloves, and tight overalls as it is very dangerous in any strength.” 49 These were extreme measures undertaken by intelligent people, with little or no regard for the wider grasslands environment. Science offered less toxic approaches to grasshopper control. An important, albeit apparently minor, line of research revolved around what Spencer called “ecological” approaches to insect control. As early as 1935, he had spoken to Nicola Valley ranchers about “modifying” areas used as egg-beds in ways that made them unsuitable for oviposition. Perhaps the most interesting line of research followed from life history studies conducted at Riske Creek and in the Nicola Valley in the 1940s. It involved controlling grasshoppers with fertilizers. Noting that in late summer grasshoppers created bare 48  Robert E. Pfadt, Field Guide to Common Western Grasshoppers (Wyoming: Agricultural Experiment Station, 2002). 49 E.R. Buckell to George Spencer, 23 November 1944, UBC Archives, George J. Spencer Papers, Box 2, File 17. 150  patches in which to lay their eggs, and that the following spring young hoppers fed on the tender tips of new grasses, Spencer suspected that if these patches were treated with ammonium nitrate, and the grasses grew tall, dense, and tough, young grasshoppers would starve. An experiment confirmed his expectation “that their mouth parts are apparently too weak to chew the sides of grass leaves so they crawl up and eat the tender tips. The larger ones can eat the sides of grass leaves and by the third stage they begin to cut down the grass and move off the egg beds.” A new line on insect control was at hand, “to treat Camnula beds well before the eggs hatch with ammonium nitrate so as to have a very heavy stand of tall, strong leaves by the time the baby hoppers come out so that they find tough stems and dense shade instead of short and tender leaves and much sunshine.” There were other benefits as well. Tall, dense grass had a “great tendency” to develop a fungus which attacked grasshoppers and, of course, the increased growth would be “exceedingly attractive to stock, so that even if the hoppers fail to die in it the extra growth will benefit range animals.” 50 Spencer’s results were promising and echoed his elder colleagues’ conclusions about range restoration going back to the 1920s, but chemicals were quicker and, again, largely carried the day. Reflecting on the rise of chemical pesticides in a 1952 paper on “Fifty Years of Entomology in British Columbia,” the recently retired provincial entomologist E.P. Venables lamented that the control of insects had “lost the human interest, which it had in the early days.” Back then, he recalled, “remedies were far more heroic…and could be applied, in most cases, without referring to the chemist, who, today, hovers in the foreground and almost excludes the entomologist. The control of insects now seems to be 50  George Spencer to Lawrence Guichon, 15 April 1947, UBC Archives, George J. Spencer Papers Box 2, File 17. 151  in the hands of the chemical engineer, and universal destruction is the order of the day.” 51 Nostalgia is never good history. Venables had ignored the negative, if unquantifiable, impact that arsenic, itself a chemical, had had on local animal populations. The implied sharp division between chemistry and economic entomology was more imagined than real, but Venables’ comments did mark an important shift in the history of insect control away from relatively weak and temporarily toxic compounds of arsenic towards powerful and persistent synthetic chemicals such as DDT, the so-called “atomic bomb” of pesticides. 52 The purveyors of new chemical products promised to end all insect pests, yet the goal of ‘universal destruction’ proved more difficult than the boosters had expected. Grasshopper populations would continue to plague British Columbia rangelands into the late 1960s, and the specter of a large-scale outbreak, like that which occurred in 1943-44, never disappeared. Nor did the inequities exposed and exacerbated by the insect irruptions entirely disappear, under the Grasshopper Control Act. Writing about the Nicola Valley grazing dispute in 1936, agrologist George Copley explained that “We have tried out every scheme suggested by the smaller stockmen which did not exclude the Company stock altogether, as well as trying out many suggestions of our own, but in every case something has turned up which has broken the agreements made.” According to Copley, there seemed to be “a festering unrest in that locality” that was “impossible to surmount,”  51  E.P Venables, “Fifty Years of Entomology in the Interior of British Columbia,” Proceedings of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 48 (1953): 19-22. 52 Thomas Dunlop, DDT: Scientists, Citizens and Public Policy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981). Buckell and Spencer experimented with DDT in 1947. See George Spencer to E.R. Buckell, 24 July 1947, UBC Archives, George J. Spencer Papers, Box 2 File 17. 152  even though there had not been a serious insect outbreak in the area for a decade. 53 Then again, the dispute between big and small ranchers ran much deeper than the insect plagues of the 1920s. Copley was convinced that the only way resolve tensions was to help the small ranchers by setting aside a “community field” that would exclude Ward’s and Guichon’s cattle. Finally, the Grazing Branch agreed.54 This was a victory of sorts for small ranchers and it undoubtedly helped to ease tensions, but the old arguments and complaints about corporate concentration persisted into the post-war period. The economic inequalities of ranching had not gone away. If anything they became more exaggerated and entrenched over time. By the early the 1970s the Guichon Ranch comprised 40,000 deeded acres plus 500,000 more in permits and leases, and the Douglas Lake Cattle Company had expanded to 170,000 acres of deeded and leased land with 450,000 more under grazing permit. Provincially, only the Gang Ranch, with 1,000,000 combined acres, was larger. 55 The rest were miniscule by comparison and relied on relatively marginal range at the edges of the grasslands. Grasshopper irruptions exposed these inequalities but did little to resolve them.  53  George Copley to the Chief Forester 10 July 1939, GR1191, Kamloops Forest District, Box 7, File 206. 54 George Copley to the Chief Forester 18 July, 1940, GR 1191, Kamloops Forest District, Box 7, File 206. 55 These numbers come from Thomas Weir, Ranching in the Southern Plateau of British Columbia (Ottawa: 1956). 153  PART II: Wild Horses The war on grasshoppers was just one part of a campaign against creatures that competed with cattle for grassland. As battle plans developed against insects, a second, related conflict erupted over wild horses. Like grasshoppers, horses ate forage that, the ranchers said, should go to more deserving cattle. In almost every other way, though, the war on wild horses was different. This was partly because horses were relatively easy targets. There were no poisons or complicated population dynamics involved, just ropes, bullets, roundups and relatively straightforward patterns of animal reproduction. Mainly the war on horses was different because many of the ‘wild’ animals involved had owners. Native people living on Indian reserves not only claimed the animals, but also defended them.  154  Chapter 6: “Worse than Worthless Animals”  The modern horse (Equus Callabus) has a complicated history. It evolved in North America but became locally extinct about 11-13,000 years ago, and the continent remained horseless until the Spanish reintroduced Andulasians in the 15th and 16th centuries. 1 The horse was an agent of European imperialism, part of Alfred Crosby’s “portmanteau biota,” yet it became a powerful means of aboriginal resistance. 2 Aboriginal peoples quickly adopted and spread the horse, and the balance of aboriginal power on the Great Plains shifted away from settled horticulturalists, to nomadic bison hunters. For a time these equestrian aboriginal societies thrived, but over-reliance on bison removed the “ecological safety net” that protected horticultural groups against the vagaries of the environment and changing animal populations. When market hunting, drought and changing ecological conditions pushed bison to the brink of extinction in the 19th century, the horse cultures that depended on them also collapsed and peoples of European descent finally (and almost completely) claimed the range. 3 The central role of the horse did not diminish, however. It was used for trade, transport, hunting, sport, and  1  For an overview of Pleistocene animal extinctions and the possible role that human hunting played in their demise, see Sheppard Krech, “Pleistocene Extinctions” in The Ecological Indian: Myth and History (New York: Norton, 1999). On the evolutionary history of the horse see: Tim Flannery, The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and its People (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press): 110-111; 127-129; 293-295; Jay Kirkpatrick and Patricia Fazio, “Ecce Equus” Natural History 117, 4 (2008): 30-31; and Bruce J. McFadden, Fossil Horses: Systematics, Paleobiology, and Evolution of the Family Equidae (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992). 2 Alfred Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe: 900-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986). 3 On the collapse of the bison see Andrew Isenberg, The Destruction of Bison: An Environmental History 1750-1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). 155  occasionally for food. 4 As environmental historian Richard White observes, “For most groups, a life without horses became unimaginable.” 5 Anthropologists argue that the horse’s impact was much less pronounced in the plateau culture area, where fishing predominated, and that the southern portion of the plateau was more strongly influenced by its arrival than the north in present day British Columbia. The horse’s arrival nevertheless set in motion important social and ecological changes. Arriving sometime in the early 18th century, the horse increased grazing and trampling pressure on grasslands that previously experienced few large herbivores. They also had important indirect effects as mounted hunting parties of Secwepemc and Nlakapamux contributed to the extirpation of elk in the upper Nicola Valley by the late 18th or early 19th century. 6 The wider effects this elimination of elk from the upper Nicola are impossible to determine, but recent ecological theory suggests that removal of a large ungulate probably altered existing predator-prey relations in the region, opening new forage resources to new browsers and grazers such as deer and big-horn sheep. 7 Increased mobility also set important, if still poorly understood, social changes in train.  4  There literature on the Plains horse culture is large. This account is drawn from Francis Haines, “The Northward Spread of Horses among the Plains Indians,” American Anthropologist 40, 3 (1938): 429-437; Pekka Hamalainen “The Rise and Fall of Plains Indian Horse Cultures,” Journal of American History 90, 3 (2003): 833-862; and Richard White, “Animals and Enterprise” in Oxford History of the American West, Clyde Milner ed. 237-273 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). 5 White, “Animals and Enterprise,” 239. 6 David Wyatt, “Nicola” in Handbook of North American Indians: Volume 12: Plateau William Sturtevant ed. 220-222 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1998). 7 These reflections are drawn from Ian Gordon and Herbert Prins, The Ecology of Grazing and Browsing (Berlin: Springer, 2008). 156  Among other things, the horse expanded trading networks, enabled political alliances, encouraged intermarriage, and increased the scale and frequency of warfare. 8 Like other animals, horses were incorporated into an animated universe wherein people could be animals, animals could be people, and the actions of nonhuman actors carried social meaning for the human communities attached to them. 9 Horses also had considerable strategic as well as practical utility. They were objects of trade, means of transportation, technologies of war and, if fishing and hunting failed to provide sufficient winter sustenance, a source of food. They were also markers of status and wealth, and they may have contributed to the creation of an “incipient social class system of rank” in what had long been essentially egalitarian societies. 10 Many years later, ethnographer James Teit reported that Okanagan people considered horses to be “private property” and that some chiefs and families had very large herds, but the ethnographic record does not indicate whether favored grazing areas – like favored hunting, fishing and gathering sites – were hedged with hereditary use rights. 11 On a communal level, however, the historical record is unambiguous. Native people defended grazing sites vigorously against encroaching American cattle drovers  8  Deward Walker and Roderick Sprague, “History Until 1846” in Handbook of North American Indians: Volume 12: Plateau William Sturtevant ed. 138-148 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1998). 9 See, for example, James Teit, Mythology of the Thompson Indians (New York: AMS Press, 1975): 399-400; also see Richard White, “Animals and Enterprise,” 237. 10 Walker and Sprague, “History until 1846,” 139. 11 James Teit, “The Salishan Tribes of the Western Plateau” in Forty Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1927-1929 (Washington: Government Printing Office 1930): 277; Anthropologist Paul Nadasdy warns against accepting such claims uncritically given that western notions of property often have no equivalent in aboriginal culture. See Paul Nadasdy, “ ‘Property’ and Aboriginal land Claims in the Canadian Subarctic: Some Theoretical Considerations,” American Anthropologist 104,1 (2002): 247-261. 157  and pack trains on route to the Fraser Canyon and Cariboo gold mines in the late 1850s and early 1860s. 12 Like others before, these rushes were marked by violence. Fights between aboriginal people and armed miners moving in “paramilitary” formation were common, and colonial customs officers reported that cattle drovers abducted Native women. 13 But miners and cattle drovers were not the worst arrivals associated with the gold rush. In 1862 a smallpox epidemic spread from miners and devastated interior aboriginal populations, reducing them by perhaps one-third. 14 Depopulation had serious and lasting consequences for Native societies, but it also had important implications for nonhuman nature. In addition to changing the scale and pattern of aboriginal burning, and thus to some extent the pattern and distribution of forest and grassland plants affected by fire, some horses went feral when their Native owners died. This occurred elsewhere in the grasslands. Writing from Kootenai territory, near modern day Invermere, explorer David Thompson noted in 1808, that horses herds had “very much multiplied, as every year the mares have a foal. There are several herds of wild horses in places along the mountains; on the pine hills of Mount Nelson, these have all come from tame horses that have been lost, or wandered away from tents where sickness prevailed.” 15 The strong ties between aboriginal groups and horses persisted even after territorial dispossession. Even  12  These observations are based on Native complaints to Indian Reserve Commissioners in the mid-1870s. See Minutes of Decision Volume 4 Filed Minutes Gilbert Malcolm Sproat September 1878 (copy of files held by Natural Resources Canada, Vancouver Regional Office). 13 See William Cox to WAG Young 16 February 1861, Colonial Correspondence C.O. 60, Reel B1320, File 367. On the violence associated with the gold rush see Cole Harris, “The Fraser Canyon Encountered” In The Resettlement of British Columbia: Essays on Colonialism and Geographical Change (Vancouver: UBC Press 1997): 103-136. 14 On the 1862 epidemic see Deward and Sprague, “History until 1846,” 142. 15 J.B Tyrell ed. David Thompson’s Narrative of his Explorations in Western North America 1784-1812 (Toronto: The Chaplain Society): 377-378. 158  after Native people were confined to small reserves in the late 19th century, they retained a common right to crown range and continued to keep considerable herds of horses, cattle and pigs on the open range. Records of Native livestock are sparse and incomplete, but in 1891 the Indian Agent for the Kamloops-Okanagan area estimated that the Native people in that area had 12 “graded” stallions, 5520 “other” horses, and 1030 cattle. The agent at Williams Lake reported 3244 horses, and 521 cattle, and 1020 pigs. 16 Today the phrase “wild horse” usually refers to a “feral horse,” but in late 19th century British Columbia it included not only abandoned pack animals and escapees from local stock farms, but also and perhaps even primarily horses that were owned by Native people. 17 Settlers distrusted, even despised these animals because they inhibited the production of more valuable animals. As John Saul, a cattle rancher from Clinton put it, the “worst pest in this part of the country is wild horses. They help to eat up the ranges, break into fields, and are as hard to catch as deer. Another phase of evil wrought by these wild scrub horses is that the stallions are continually running off the tame mares so that often well bred mares produce worthless colts.” Those “wild horses” had owners. “I believe they are descendents of Indian horses,” he admitted, “and I am told [the Indians] lay claim to them in an indefinite sort of way.” Saul nevertheless wanted all of them “shot off” as had been done “by the thousands” in Australia and the American West. 18 Saul was not alone. Rancher J.D Prentice said “The wild horse evil is a great one, 16  British Columbia, First Report of the Department of Agriculture of the Province of British Columbia, 1891 (Victoria: 1892): 814. 17 Even some biologists still use the two terms interchangeably. See, for example, Stephen Jenkins and Micheal Ashley, “Wild Horse,” in The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals, Don Wilson and Sue Ruff ed. 1148-1163 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999). 18 Cited in British Columbia, First Report of the Department of Agriculture 1891, (Victoria: 1892): 847. 159  destroying feed and interfering detrimentally with tame bands. The wild stallions not only get to the gentle mares and so deteriorate the band, but they frequently run them off and it is difficult and sometimes impossible to recover them.” 19 Rancher R.D. Hoey of Ashcroft complained that “wild horses are of no benefit, even to those [Indians] that claim them, and they are injurious to the pastoral ranges. Stallions are the worst kind of nuisance, as they run off the tame animals, which in a short time become wild.” 20 Others were more cautious. John McKay thought the “evil might be mitigated by some reasonable and practicable regulations as to wild colts and stallions. As these regulations would chiefly affect the Indian’s horses, they should be plain, brief, and not too harsh.” 21 In general, while some ranchers agreed that conciliation and compromise were best, most sided with Saul and Hoey. As rancher J.S. Place put it, “the Indians have taken the chief interest in these wild horses, corralling and branding the unbranded ones occasionally. The Whites would cause no trouble. We are all of the opinion that they ought to be totally exterminated.” 22 For many settlers, “Indian cayuses” were not just eaters of grass but pathogenic vectors that transmitted mysterious diseases to domestic stock. In 1889, according to one rancher, “a very malignant distemper” affected the Cariboo district and “quite a number of animals died.” By his account the disease appeared first among “the Siwash ponies, and from their habit of roving with large bands, it was impossible to keep their more  19  Cited in British Columbia, Second Report of the Department of Agriculture, 1892 (Victoria: 1893): 934 20 Ibid. 21 Ibid. 22 Ibid. 933-934. 160  valuable stock free.” 23 A rancher from the Nicola Valley also noted a strange “stamper” in Indian horses. He thought “it would be advisable to exterminate such wild or nearly wild cayuses that are not attended to in the winter or never used as pack horses or rounded up and corralled at regular intervals.” 24 Other ranchers were more cautious about the source of the disease. William Wycott of Dog Creek wanted the government to “ascertain [the disease’s] true nature” before embarking on an eradication program. Meanwhile, he reported, “I am treating with sulphur burnt with old boot leather and making the cattle and horses inhale the smoke.” 25 But again, most settlers agreed that the useless, disease-prone cayuses should be exterminated. The role of wild horses in the overgrazing problem was the more serious issue, however, especially after grasshopper outbreaks from 1889 to 1891 depleted large parts of the open range. On the basis of his 18 years ranching and observing the environment around Alkali Lake, J.E. Moore was convinced that “the public pasture lands are overstocked and getting run down in consequence. We therefore must consider the best way of protecting the pastoral lands.” Rather than focusing on cattle, however, Moore made horses the villains of his history. By his estimate there were 5000 “wild or nearly wild horses between Lillooet and Big Bar alone.” 26 Removal legislation was needed and government officials agreed. For them the question was how best to achieve this end. “Mr. Moore’s suggestion is, in my opinion, a good one, and would certainly mitigate the evil and eventually stamp it out,” wrote James Anderson of the Department of  23  Ibid.767. Quoted in British Columbia, Fourth Report of the Department of Agriculture of the Province of British Columbia, 1894 (Victoria: 1895), 884. 25 Ibid. 886. 26 Ibid., 1129. 24  161  Agriculture, “but it would be a slow process as most of the these useless cayuses are, I am informed, claimed by the Indians.” Anderson wondered whether the simpler solution was to compel Native people to keep their horses on reserves. “It seems too bad,” he continued, “that the Indians besides having the best of the country as reserves should be allowed to make use of the public domain in this most wasteful manner.” 27 While Anderson discussed Native peoples’ grazing practices with Indian Affairs officials, provincial legislators tried to reduce the wild horse population with legal instruments. An Act for the Eradication of Wild Horses, passed in 1896, made it “lawful for any person licensed by the Government to shoot or otherwise destroy any unbranded stallion over the age of twenty months which may be running at large upon the public lands, provided that such person shall theretofore have unsuccessfully used reasonable endeavors to capture such stallion.” 28 The logic was to eliminate natural reproduction so wild horses would eventually disappear, but in ranching country this legislation was a disappointment, judged “limited” in scope and “entirely inadequate” to the situation. Anderson agreed that “the wild horse Act…while good and calculated to mitigate the evil in the course of time affords no immediate relief.” In his view “more stringent legislation” was necessary to protect the ranges. 29 By ‘more stringent’ he had in mind an open season and provincial bounty on horses running free on the range. This had become the favored approach to dealing with other animal pests. The death toll was considerable. In one seven year span from 1909 to 27  Cited in British Columbia, Fifth Report of the Department of Agriculture of the Province of British Columbia, 1895-6 (Victoria: 1897): 1171, emphasis added. 28 British Columbia, “An Act for the Eradication of Wild Horses,” The Revised Statutes of British Columbia, 1897 (Victoria 1897): 2193. 29 Cited in British Columbia, Fifth Report of the Department of Agriculture 1896 (Victoria 1897): 1171. 162  1916 the province paid bounties on 2871 wolves, 1951 cougars, 38,804 coyotes, 7396 bighorn owls, and 382 golden eagles. A bounty on wild horses was another matter, however. Calls for extermination notwithstanding, most ranchers balked at an open season on wild horses. 30 In reality many settlers also kept horses on crown range, and, as more than one rancher had to explain to grazing officials, at a distance it would be difficult for shooters to tell a branded from unbranded animal. Distance and common grazing combined to obscure, if not quite dissolve, the social categories that divided owned and ownerless animals. Many ranchers feared that “unscrupulous” hunters would shoot tame and thus more easily targeted horses just for the bounty.31 Meanwhile, wild horses, would simply find temporary refuge in the mountains and return to the open range when the shooting had stopped. Anderson disagreed, but he had no answer for how to address indiscriminate shooting. In 1900 “the wild horse question” remained unsolved. “Huge bands of these worthless beasts still roam over some of the best ranges in the interior doing incalculable damage to the detriment of the cattle industry,” complained Anderson. “The production of a good class of horses is also rendered abortive in many sections owing to the scrub stallions which run with the bands of wild horses.” 32 Two years later he lamented that the “vexed question” was “as unsettled as ever and there seems to be no diminution in the numbers of these worse than worthless animals.” The 1896 legislation targeting stallions had failed to limit their numbers. “The horses show no sign of diminution, and it is  30  These data are drawn from British Columbia, Report of the Provincial Game Warden (Victoria: Kings Printer, 1909-1916). 31 Ibid. 32 Cited in British Columbia, Sixth Report of the Department of Agriculture 1900 (Victoria: 1901): 7. 163  evident that something of a much more drastic nature is required.” 33 Thomas Ellis, an acerbic, wealthy, and politically connected cattle rancher from Penticton concurred. “As to the wild horse pest,” he wrote in a private letter to Anderson, “it ought to be entirely stamped out.” 34 In the meantime settlers tried several, somewhat less drastic plans. In 1901 the Vancouver Daily Province reported that an “organized effort” was being made to round up wild horses in the Nicola Valley for use in the British Imperial Army during the Boer War. Contrary to settler complaints that wild horses were small, weak and disease-prone, the story reported that these “wiry” and “excellent” the horses were “very acceptable” to Army purchasing agents. Those who captured such animals would be “well rewarded” for their efforts. 35 There were some selection criteria, however. According to the Army’s advertisement, horses that were “thin in flesh need not be shown.” Nor were military officials interested in white and light grey horses. Captured horses should be “brown, black, chestnut, or iron grey.” 36 As Lieutenant Colonel H. Thompson explained in an 1899 lecture on “Our Military Horses,” white and light colored horses lacked stamina, were prone to disease, and skittish and thus highly likely to buck their riders in the battle. 37 The Army purchasing agents arrived at Kamloops as planned, but there is no record of how many horses were rounded up for Africa.  33  Cited in British Columbia, Seventh Report of the Department of Agriculture 1902 (Victoria 1903): 182. 34 Ibid. 35 “Breaking in Wild Horses,” Vancouver Sun, 10 April 1901. 36 Ibid. 37 Lieutenant Colonel H. Thomson, “Our Military Horses,” Lecture before the Aldershot Military Society, London, 10 December 1895. A large literature explores the changing role of military horses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For an introduction see Stephen Badsey, “The Boer War (1899-1902) and British Cavalry Doctrine: A Re164  Another plan, described in local newspapers as a “sporting proposition,” involved using well-heeled English hunters to rid rangelands of wild horses. Appealing to the “sporting tendencies of Englishmen who had time on their hands,” J.B. Hayne, himself an avid hunter and Englishmen of apparently considerable means, suggested bringing a hundred of his countrymen to British Columbia to round up wild horses. The plan was to form “a far stretching cordon” around the Okanagan hills and move systematically from section to section in the district. “The line of hunters would be stretched around say, a lake,” Hayne explained, “and as they closed in the wild animals would be driven toward the centre and eventually would take refuge in the lake. Then it would be an easy matter to shoot them or dispose of them otherwise.” 38 The scheme was widely supported by provincial politicians, one of whom felt it “quite probable that the services of sporting Englishmen might be enlisted for the purpose.” 39 Hayne’s proposal to recruit elite British hunters had historical antecedents. In early Greece, as elsewhere in the ancient world, aristocrats had eradicated predators to ‘protect’ human settlement, crops and livestock. “Protective hunts” also occurred in early modern Britain and led, locally, to the extirpation of wolves and wild boars in the late 15th and the early 16th centuries. From these early efforts emerged elite-oriented bloodsports. Fox hunting, for example, became a popular and much ritualized practice among the English elite in the late 18th century, yet it “soon involved curious  Evaluation,” The Journal of Military History 71 (January 2007): 75-97; Jean Bou, “Cavalry, Firepower, and Swords: The Australian Light Horse and the Tactical Lessons of Cavalry Operations in Palestine, 1916-1918,” Journal of Military History 71 (2007): 99-125; and Gervase Philips, “Scapegoat Arm: Twentieth Century Cavalry in Anglophone Historiography,” Journal of Military History 71 (January 2007): 37-74. 38 No Title, Victoria Colonist 8 May 1901. 39 “Mustang Hunt Planned,” Daily Province 5 July 1925. 165  contradictions.” Although the fox was “a danger to all domestic poultry and to the eggs and young of pheasants reared for slaughter,” explains historian John Mackenzie, the “farmers and gamekeepers who killed them were dubbed ‘vulpicides,’ people who failed to comply with the elaborate rules of the countryside, the restricted access and ritualised forms of vermin destruction.” Moreover, as local populations declined, elite hunters took steps to protect and husband foxes by introducing breeding stock. As Mackenzie observes, “The logic of ‘protective’ hunting had been inverted. The ritual of protection against vermin had become so necessary to rural social relations that the vermin had to be preserved and increased. The sporting needs of the hunt had turned the ‘vermin’ into a protected species.” 40 Nobody in early British Columbia ever contemplated protecting horses for hunting purposes, but Hayne’s plan to recruit British horse hunters also had its ‘curious contradictions.’ One was how it combined the perceived virtues of hunting – that it encouraged among other things a kind of noble masculinity – with banal practices of pest eradication and rangeland conservation. In this way Hayne’s proposal to hunt wild horses resembled the “protective hunts” of ancient Greece, Assyria, and early modern England. The major difference was that it was bunchgrass, not people, that the hunt sought to protect. Indeed, in organization it also strongly resembled the communal hunts of colonial British-India. 41 Wild horses were not understood by Hayne or other settlers as literally wild, in the way that lions, rhinos, elephants and pronghorn antelope were wild. Settler 40  John Mackenzie, The Empire of Nature: Hunting, Conservation, and British Imperialism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988): 18. 41 Mackenzie, Empire of Nature; also see Paul Greenough “Naturae Ferae: Wild Animals in South Asia and the Standard Environmental Narrative,” in James Scott and Nina Bhatt ed. Agrarian Studies: Synthetic Work at the Cutting Edge (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001): 141-183. 166  accounts instead explain wild stocks as the offspring of Indian cayuses, the progeny of pack animals abandoned during the Cariboo gold rush, as feral escapees from local stock farms, and, most often, as ecological refugees associated with local Indian reserves. An Alkali Lake rancher captured a common view when he complained in 1900 that wild horses had “always been a problem around here, the reserve being the cause, and a protection for the horses.” 42 Whatever their exact origins, and it is impossible now to know, clearly what mattered most to Hayne and others was not whether horses were literally “wild,” but rather their potential for establishing a local bloodsport. 43 Hayne’s planned horse hunt notwithstanding, efforts to rid the range of wild horses languished in the early 20th century. Lacking a legal mechanism to force Native peoples’ horses off the range, some of the larger ranches simply began to buy them. The foreman for a large Chilcotin ranch property explained that the Native people around Big Bar on the east bank of the Fraser River “are hard up and need the money and it helps to get [the Indians and horses] off the range, besides we should make a little on them.” 44 Others were much less generous and humanitarian in their dealings with Native people and resorted to threats and intimidation. One wrote, ominously, about free ranging horses around Big Creek (a tributary of the Chilcotin River), “the Indians will be warned by me once [to keep their horses on the reserve] and if they continue [grazing them in this area] 42  McGuire to James Anderson ( no date, probably August 1900), BCA, GR1441, File 11064, Reel 144. 43 According to historian Tina Loo, big game hunting during this period reflected, among other things, a kind of “bourgeois masculinity” born of affluence and anti-modern malaise. Whether (and if so in what ways) this analysis applies to Hayne is unclear, however, because the biographical details surrounding his life are so scant. See Tina Loo, “Of Moose and Men: Hunting for Masculinities in British Columbia, 1880-1939,” Western Historical Quarterly 32, 3 (2001): 296-319. 44 J.H. Calhoun to C.A. Holland, 27 December 1910, BCA, Western Canadian Ranching Company Records, MS 2881, Box 510. 167  I think a way will be found to stop them.” 45 A few miles away at Dog Creek (on the east side of the Fraser River) immigrant ranchers were determined “to do something” about the grazing habits of “useless cayuses” emanating from a local Indian Reserve.46 Most settlers, however, opted for less aggressive, if ultimately not less violent, strategies for dealing with the ‘Indian horse problem.’ Petitions and personal letters to provincial politicians insisted that Native people had ample grazing resources already so their horses should be barred from overgrazing, trampling, or simply wasting crown range that would otherwise go to ranchers’ cattle. At a public meeting with government officials in 1913, rancher W.H Harmon of Bonaparte complained that “Indians have all kinds of mongrel stallions ranging which makes it impossible to raise purebred stock. Those horses jump over five foot fences. They eat up the range. That class of stallion should not be allowed to run at large.” 47 Numerous letters offered similar views, often adding that Native people and their animals were an impediment to agricultural progress. “In 1891 we began ranching with seven head of cattle,” wrote A.H McCuddy. “In a few years we accumulated seventy-five head and fifty hogs. Great bands of wild horses claimed by the Indians ate the grass to the roots, so that we were forced to dispose the cattle and go into sheep.” Then, in 1905, a “severe” winter caused a “heavy mortality” among the horses, and cattle were allowed to increase again. Before long, however, “the Indian horses increased again and the range was eaten down and has been eaten down ever since.” McCuddy claimed that his right to crown range had been encroached upon  45  Aitken (first name illegible) to J.D. Prentice, 8 December 1910, BCA, Western Canadian Ranching Company Records, MS 2881, Box 503 file 1. 46 G (?) Smith to W.A. Ross, 10 March 1911, BCA, GR1441, Reel 44, File 2733-2. 47 Transcripts, British Columbia Commission on Agriculture 1912-14, BCA, GR 0324, Box 2, Volume 3. 168  by Native people and their animals. “We had always been under the impression that we had a rite (sic) to the range,” he wrote, “and that the Indians had no privilege off the reserve.” 48 McCuddy was wrong. Native people did have a right to crown range. Essentially it was a common right, which they shared with ranchers like McCuddy, not to be excluded from “public” land. In the view of the Grazing Commissioners and in that of many other government officials and ranchers, however, Native people did not need access to crown range. According to most whites, Indian Reserves held ample resources to meet their grazing needs. “I understand that the Indians have sufficient hay producing lands on their reserves, within reservation boundaries, and that they raise sufficient hay for the use of the stock which they own,” observed commissioner Mackenzie in 1918. Indeed, the future provincial Grazing Commissioner continued, “if the Indians] were to keep t [their horses and cattle] to their own Reservations, the way would be clear for the proper organization of the settlers to handle grazing lands to the greatest advantage.” 49 By “proper organization” Mackenzie meant well-defined range rights for ranchers and scientific range management by the state. Well-defined rights to crown range were needed to reduce tensions like the conflict between big and small ranchers in the Nicola Valley, which the Grazing Commissioners concluded was among the many negative effects of unregulated grazing in the past. Clearly defined range rights were also needed to solve the more pressing problem of overgrazing. Many crown lands were badly degraded by the early 20th century, and this was why there was so much interest in 48  A.H. McCuddy to M.A. Grainger, (no date probably 1917), BCA, GR1441, Reel 44, File 2733-2. 49 Thomas Mackenzie to the Minister of Lands, 12 August 1918, BCA, GR1441, Reel 44, File 2733-2. 169  ridding them of “wild horses.” According to the range scientists, the ultimate solution to range degradation was a closely regulated system of “deferred” or “rest-rotation” grazing. Figure 6.1 shows how the system worked. Year 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927  Area A First Second First Second Last Last Second  Area B Second First Last Last Second First First  Area C Last Last Second First First Second Last  Figure 6.1: Rest-rotation grazing plan. Plan begins with Area C. This intensity of and timing of grazing would also be altered in order to maximize forage and seed production and avoid permanent range degradation. After Sampson, Range and Pasture Management, 1923.  Key to this particular arrangement of people, animals and environment, aside from the construction of numerous fences, gates, and trails, was the close observation and careful management of cattle and range conditions in each grazing area. Initially the ranchers would do this, but increasingly it would be the purview of range experts trained in principles of plant succession. The American scientist Arthur Sampson, student of ecologist Frederic Clements and author of several important papers on scientific range management in the 1910s and 1920s, had defined these principles. 50 Properly understood and applied they promised to restore degraded rangelands. As Sampson observed,  50  See Arthur Sampson, “Succession as a Factor in Range Management” Journal of Forestry 15, 5 (1917): 593-596; Arthur Sampson, Natural Re-vegetation of Rangelands Based Upon Growth Requirements and Life History of the Vegetation,” Journal of Agricultural Research 3, 2 (1914): 93-147; Arthur Sampson, Pasture and Range Management (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1923) summarizes and expands on these ideas. On Clements influence, see Donald Worster, Nature’s Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1985). 170  “Where the vegetative cover has been interfered with more or less seriously…but where these disturbances have been eliminated or decreased in severity there is a tendency through successive invasions, for the vegetation to become more like the original…. This vegetative state marks the climax, or stable type and is quite in harmony with the world around.” 51 The task of range management was thus to determine the carrying capacity of each range type and limit the number of cattle and timing of grazing accordingly (figure 6.2). Rotating cattle from one range to the next would allow grasslands the rest needed to recover to their original vegetative state. This scientific vision hinged on an orderly world of people and animals. It presumed the granting of specific rights to crown range and exposed a kind of panoptic knowledge of landscape in which managers could collect information about exactly where and when and whose and how many cattle grazed the grasslands. Land managers could then begin to direct ranchers to graze so many cattle on so much range for only so long and only at specific times of year. Creating crown range rights for individual ranchers was prerequisite to ‘rational’ land management by the state. Over time it made people, animals, and ecological processes more “legible” and assumedly more manipulable. 52  51  Sampson, “Succession as a Factor,” 593. The concept of “legibility” comes from James Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press 1998). 52  171  Figure 6.2: Climax model of range succession. This model dominated range science during much of the 20th century. But like all climax-oriented ecology, the model continued to suppose a single, stable vegetative state in the absence of grazing: the climax. Plant succession, by implication, was both progressive and predictable, tending always toward climax condition. Grazing pressure also produced changes that were progressive but in exactly the opposite direction. The challenge for range management was to strike a balance between succession and the stocking rate, allowing just enough animals onto the range to achieve environmental equilibrium (Noss and Cooperider, 1994).  172  Almost by definition, a landscape ordered by science and privatized land rights meant that Native people and their horses had no place in this thoroughly bureaucratized new world order. Yet, as the province’s chief forester M.A Grainger observed, it had been pointed out to members of the Grazing Commission that Native people were wards of the Canadian state under the Indian Act, a status that made the management of “provincial” rangelands a good deal more unwieldy and difficult. Even in the interior of British Columbia, even when it came down to conserving local grasslands, the old political problem of federal-provincial relations could not be escaped. 53 Rather than accommodate Native peoples’ grazing needs, men like Grainger and Mackenzie tried to eliminate them. In their view, and in that of white settlers, Indian animals, like Indian peoples, should be confined to Indian Reserves where the Dominion could deal with them.  53  For an analysis of this problem in the context of reserve creation in British Columbia see Cole Harris, Making Native Space: Colonialism, Resistance and Reserves (Vancouver: UBC Press 2002): 70-166. 173  Chapter 7: The Biogeography of Dispossession  A considerable body of settler opinion to the contrary, Native people could not keep their horses on the reserves all year, and had long said so. 1 Reserves were small and rarely contained good grazing land or the water necessary to irrigate hay crops. It is impossible, at the scale of these pages, to detail fully the pattern of dispossession produced by ranching and resettlement in the late 19th century. Instead, I offer some generalized observations about ranching and resettlement along the middle Fraser and Chilcotin Rivers (Figure 7.1) and at Douglas Lake in the Nicola Valley (Figure 7.2). Like so many ranches in early modern British Columbia, those along the middle Fraser River were often established before the process of reserve creation had begun. The precise origin of each ranch is difficult to determine, but the Alkali Lake Ranch, said to be the oldest ranch in the province, dates to 1861, and the Gang Ranch, the largest ranch in the province, was largely assembled from 1870 to 1883. Numerous smaller ranches were also established along the middle Fraser, especially at the junction of the Fraser and Chilcotin Rivers on the so-called Riske Creek range, at Alexis Creek in the western Chilcotin, and on the east side of the Fraser River at Big Bar. In some cases these smaller operations became the basis for much larger land holdings. The massive Chilco Ranch, for example, was an amalgamation of ranches and range and water rights acquired between 1890 and 1910. All ranches, however, flowed from the brute and brutal fact of colonial dispossession. Small, marginal Indian Reserves were established along the middle Fraser and Chilcotin Rivers in the 1860s and again in the 1880s. As elsewhere in 1  For more details see Cole Harris, Making Native Space: Colonialism, Resistance and Reserves in British Columbia, (Vancouver: UBC Press 2002): 83-84; 120-151. 174  Figure 7.1: Ranch property and reserves, Middle Fraser River (Map by Eric Leinberger).  175  Figure 7.2: Ranch property and reserves, Nicola Valley. Map shows part of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, public commonage, and small Indian Reserves in 1939 (Map by Eric Leinberger).  176  the grasslands, these enclaves were usually located at the margins of large settler and corporate ranch properties. 2 Figure 7.2 showing Indian Reserves and ranch property at Douglas Lake in the Nicola Valley suggests a similar pattern of resettlement defined the southern interior rangelands. Although the No. 1 reserve there was larger than most and contained some good grazing land, the best winter ranges and open grasslands belonged to the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, the Guichon Ranch, and an unknown number of much smaller ranches. Like all the big ranches in British Columbia, Douglas Lake grew out of preemptions and land purchases in the early 1860s and 1870s, when the process of reserve allocation had only just begun. By the late 1880s, as shown in figure 7.2, ranch managers acting on behalf of the company’s Vancouver-and Victoria-based shareholders had amassed a considerable base comprising much of the best bunchgrass in the region, leading smaller ranchers to petition government in 1884 and 1886 to create “commonage” under the provisions of the Stock Ranges Act. 3 By then there were also eight marginalized Indian Reserves in the area, all of which were located around the edges of large corporate and settler cattle ranches. 4 A biogeographical understanding of pastoral land use along middle Fraser River and in the Nicola Valley helps to explain the ecological and social implications of this  2  This account is drawn variously from BCA, MS2811, Western Canadian Ranching Company Records; BCA, MS 1286, J.D Prentice Papers; BCA, MS1648, J.D Prentice, Papers about Ranching; BCA MS 1692 Bayiff Family Papers, 1845-1968; the best secondary source on ranching the Cariboo-Chilcotin region is still Thomas Weir, Ranching on the Southern Interior Plateau (Ottawa: Queen’s University Press). 3 This account is drawn variously from BCA, MS1083 Douglas Lake Cattle Company Records 1880-1979. 4 For more see Harris, Making Native Space, 45-166. 177  pattern of colonization. 5 In British Columbia, as elsewhere in the North American West, ranching revolved around winter range. Strategies varied but in most circumstances a form of transhumance prevailed to take advantage of separate upland ranges from spring to fall and lowlands valleys, benches and terraces to produce feed for winter. 6 Each range type served a clear purpose and much time and effort was spent moving cattle from range to range. Winter ranges were the critical resource in this particular arrangement of space and environment, however. As one early observer explained, “it was worthless to feed cattle in summer if they have to die for want of food and shelter in winter.” 7 As a result, winter ranges were the first resources to be colonized by ranchers. Figure 7.3 shows the distribution of open grasslands. All bunchgrass is considered ‘hard’ grass because it cures on the ground, making it available for grazing after other forage plants succumb to effects of frost, but all hard  5  A full account of ranching and resettlement in British Columbia would have to address the full apparatus of colonial power and confronting Native peoples in the late 19th and 20th centuries. This is a study in its own right and one that remains to be written. The best account is Harris, Making Native Space; also see Harris (with Demeritt), “Farming and the Rural Life.” My analysis adds to this work by bringing biogeography and pastoral land use practice to bear on the pattern of dispossession. 6 There is a large literature on pastoral land-use practice but start with Tim Ingold, Hunters, Pastoralists, and Ranchers: Reindeer Economics and their Transformations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980); Terry Jordan, North American Cattle Ranching Frontiers: Origins, Diffusion, and Differentiation (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1993); Andrew Sluyter, “The Ecological Origins and Consequences of Cattle Ranching in Sixteenth Century New Spain,” Geographical Review 86, 2 (1996): 161-177; Donald Worster, “Cowboy Ecology” in Under Western Skies: Nature and History in the American West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992) 34-52 7 Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, “Report on Grazing,” 4 February 1878, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel C10115, Volume 3657, File 9360. 178  Figure 7.3: Open Grassland (Source, Weir, 1956)  179  grass is not winter range. Geographically, winter range was usually co-extensive with what range ecologist Edwin Tisdale eventually dubbed lower grasslands. 8 As the designation indicates, these were ranges where snowfall seldom exceeded a few inches and occasional thaws from warming mountain winds called Chinooks left the ground bare. Recognizing the importance of winter range, ranchers quickly preempted, purchased, and leased as much of this ecosystem as possible. In some instances, such as the Gang Ranch, Chilco Ranch, and Alkali Lake Ranch, this was quite a lot. Lower grasslands comprised a very small portion of all the interior plateau rangelands, but relatively extensive stretches existed along the middle Fraser River and lower Chilcotin Rivers. Bluebunch wheatgrass, which was a deep-rooted, fire tolerant, perennial species from the Poaceae family (figure 7.4), was by far the dominant forage plant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but there were many others. A 1918 study by UBC botanist Andrew Hutchinson listed 17 forage plants, while numerous others had “little or no forage value.” Sagebrush was the most notable of these, and Hutchinson tellingly reported that it was “predominant” on the few unfenced winter ranges left in the interior, a sure sign, he thought, that such areas had been badly overgrazed in the recent past. 9 Ironically, the very natural factors that made lowlands good winter range – low annual precipitation and high evaporation in summer – made the grazing capacities of these areas relatively low compared to middle and upper grasslands. Ranchers responded by trying to limit as best they could based on conditions, the amount of time cattle grazed 8  Edwin Tisdale, The Grasslands of Southern British Columbia, Ecology, 28, 4 (1947): 346-382. Lower grasslands were separate and distinct from “middle” and “upper” grasslands which were used for spring and fall range (cattle spent the dry summer months foraging for pine grass in forested uplands) 9 Andrew Hutchinson, Grazing Lands in British Columbia, UBC Archives, Andrew Hutchinson Papers, Stored with BC Historical Photograph Albums, BC 1456/83. 180  Figure 7.4: Bunchgrass (Source: Tisdale 1939).  181  on lower grasslands. Increasingly they addressed the problem of aridity by shifting water from the uplands. Sometimes they redirected old gold miners’ ditches. More often they embraced new irrigation technology. 10 By the late 1880s many had begun to use gravitybased flumes and canals to convert tracts of lower grassland to irrigated alfalfa fields. 11 Precise data are difficult to find, but the trend toward summer irrigation and winterfeeding with alfalfa clearly accelerated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was also the context in which ranchers were struggling to maintain and increase their herds in the face of changing ecological conditions on the open range. In one case during 1891 and 1892, as many as 40 Chinese irrigators, some former gold miners, lived around the edges of the Gang Ranch digging ditches for a dollar a day. This may be where the ranch got its name. One former ranch manager supposed that this is when it got its name “because there was such a gang of Chinese laborers up here digging the irrigation ditches.” 12 In any event, the work was hard, even at the best of times. When the weather turned bitterly cold in November 1891, work became all but impossible and, much to the chagrin of company managers, the labor crews curtailed their efforts or quit. Ranch foreman C.W. Martin had to report that the “The ditch is not finished. The season was too cold, the Chinamen refusing to work, and when they did it was for half a day, and as we 10  In 1893, for example, Gang Ranch manager J.D Prentice acquired a mining ditch and water rights from a Chinese man named Go Lu Po (also known to ranchers as China George) in order to bring water to the lower benches of his ranch. See J.D. Prentice to C.A Holland, 7 September 1892, BCA, MS2811, Western Canadian Ranching Company Records, Box 506, File 5. 11 On the trend toward irrigation in ranching David Igler, Industrial Cowboys: Miller and Lux and the Transformation of the Far West, 1850-1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); J. Orin Oliphant, “The Cattle Herds of the Oregon Country, 1860-1890,m” Agricultural History, 21, 4 (1947): 217-238; James Young, “Hay Making: The Mechanical Revolution on the Western Range,” The Western Historical Quarterly 14, 3 (1983): 311-326. 12 Gang 182  had to feed them it was best to discontinue.” 13 Work resumed next spring and by July the dams and ditches were done. By North American standards the 1000 acres of irrigated bottomland was a small affair. Far larger irrigation works had been built on corporate ranches in Oregon and California, but this was a considerable achievement in British Columbia. Indeed, in 1893 it was “the largest tract of ranch land under irrigation in the province.” Ranch manager J.D. Prentice continued to call on Chinese and, to a lesser extent, Native labor from time to time. By 1910 the Gang Ranch boasted 70 miles of canals and flumes and a large acreage of irrigated, lower bench-land mostly sown with alfalfa and a little timothy. 14 Nicola Valley ranchers also preempted, leased and purchased as much winter range as possible. Indeed, when Indian Reserve Commissioner Gilbert Malcolm Sproat arrived in 1878, he found many of the best winter ranges already behind ranchers’ fences and much of the rest held in lease. 15 Meanwhile, colonial official Peter O’Reilly had confined Native people to three small reserves some ten years earlier. Convinced that stock raising was the only viable reserve-based economy available to Native people, but unwilling to create large reserves containing what little winter pasture was left in the region and thus leave settlers short of hay, Sproat created about 18,000 acres of “commonage” for the joint use of settler and Native livestock. These spaces were subject  13  C.W. Martin to C.A. Holland, 25 November 1891, BCA, MS2881, Western Canadian Ranching Company Records, Box 506, File, 3. 14 C.A. Holland to Brayne, 10 August 1910, BCA, MS2881, Western Canadian Ranching Company Records, Box 503, File 1. 15 Gilbert Sproat, “Grazing Lands” (Extract from a General Report to the Provincial Government), 4 February 1878, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel C10115, Volume 3657, File 9360. 183  Figure 7.5: Commonage, Indian Reserve Commission, 1878. (Copy of a map found in RG10, Department of Indian Affairs 1878).  184  only to Dominion management if overgrazed (figure 7.5).16 Unsure of his powers but committed to the principle of common grazing, Sproat reported that if either government disallowed the commonage it should become a reserve. Sproat reported that Native people at Douglas Lake were satisfied with this arrangement, but settlers objected and eventually the commonage at Nicola was disallowed by the province on the grounds that the Indian Reserve Commissioner had no authority to create this land use category. Nor, the province insisted, could the land in question become an Indian Reserve. As Forbes Vernon, Peter O’Reilly’s brother-in-law and the province’s Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works put it: “To allow these commonages to become Indian Reserves would simply mean the destruction of the cattle industry.” Vernon should have known; he was probably the most prominent member of the industry. For these reasons the commonages could not “be recognized by the Provincial Government.” 17 Instead, the lands were “thrown open” to settlement, and before long the last patches of winter pasture in the region passed into the hands of a few immigrant cattle ranchers, the largest of which was the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, which by 1914 had amassed almost 180,000 acres of alienated and leased open grassland, far more than the other immigrant cattle ranches in the area. Indian Reserves in the area remained small and rarely contained good grazing land. Some Nicola Valley Native men worked at the Douglas Lake Ranch. A few found  16  See: “Correspondence regarding commonages 1880-1888,” RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel C10123, Volume 3701, File 17,514-1. 17 Forbes Vernon to Isaiah Powell, 28 January 1888, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel C10123, Volume 3701, File 17,514-1.  185  seasonal employment as cowboys, but most performed the more menial tasks of cutting and stacking hay or clearing weeds from the company’s extensive irrigation ditches. 18 Because ranchers’ cattle could not survive without winter range, and because these sites were restricted to a few places with specific ecological and climatic attributes, a few ranchers with strategic properties could control a far larger area than the size of their individual ranches. Consider two examples from the middle Fraser River. The Chilco Ranch, which held exclusive grazing rights between Taseko River and Big Creek, controlled almost 850,000 acres of open range and forested upland by 1940. Only the Gang Ranch controlled more. With roughly 40,000 acres of prime winter range in 1898, its ranching hinterland amounted to almost 1,000,000 acres. Its 1500 square miles effectively made it one the largest ranch properties on the continent. 19 These were extreme examples, but they illustrate a general pattern in which control of lowlands – because uplands were often worthless without them – enabled a few ranchers with extensive property rights in winter range to control an entire valley. Even relatively small ranches with winter range could extend their reach over larger areas of land. Thus, an 1800-acre ranch might have access to 3000 more by way of leases and permits, a 640acre ranch controlled another 1200 acres of land through leases and permits, and a tiny, 320-acre ranch had an additional 320 acres in leases and permits. 20 The spatial reach of ranching could be considerable.  18  These observations about Native labour at the ranch are drawn variously from BCA, MS1083, Douglas Lake Cattle Company Records, especially Box 3, File 1, “Company Reports.” 19 These numbers come from BCA, MS 2881, Western Canadian Ranching Company Records Box 256, File 1; and Weir, Ranching in the Southern Interior Plateau. 20 See Weir, Ranching on the Southern Interior Plateau 122-123. 186  A map of ranches and Indian reserves in British Columbia also approximates the distribution of winter range. Ranches had most of it, and Indian reserves had only a little or none. This was the pattern of ranching and resettlement. This was the biogeography of dispossession. 21 The situation of upland ranches in British Columbia was more complicated. Away from the major rivers and in forested uplands where an extensive archipelago of meadows offered a greater range of grazing possibilities, immigrant ranchers and Native people found more ways to coexist. The origins of these meadows, which are widespread on the northern portion of the plateau but comparatively absent to the south, are as intriguing as any aspect of grasslands history. It is possible that purposeful aboriginal burning created, or at least extended and encouraged the formation of some meadows in the pre-colonial period. As noted in Part I, the precise nature and scale of aboriginal burning is extremely difficult to determine. Native people did use fire for hunting. Deer and other game animals are drawn to openings in forest cover, and the maintenance of these ecotones made animals much easier to kill. Several kinds of berries and edible roots with historic importance in aboriginal diet also thrive after light burns. 22 Combined with oral histories from Native elders, this circumstantial evidence raises the distinct possibility that some meadows had  21  Most studies of resettlement tend to treat land in ecologically undifferentiated terms. My emphasis on the biogeography of dispossession builds on work in environmental history and historical geography but the following books were particularly influential: William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983); Frank Tough, As Their Natural Resources Fail: Native Peoples and the Economic History of Northern Manitoba (Vancouver: UBC Press 1996); Richard White, Land Use, Environment and Social Change: The Shaping of Island Country, Washington (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1980). 22 Douglas Deur and Nancy J Turner, ed. Keeping it Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America (Seattle: University of Washington Press 2005). 187  aboriginal origins, and it is plausible that some preexisting meadows were maintained or enlarged by aboriginal burning practices. 23 The colonization of many open meadows by Douglas fir after fire was strictly controlled, also suggests that anthropogenic burning had a role in maintaining at least some upland grasslands. 24 Other meadows had different origins. Some were the product of abandoned beaver dams, but to the extent that abandonment was related to the fur trade, these were in part a product of human culture. 25 The evidence for abandoned beaver dam meadows comes from scattered references in ranch diaries, but an historical-ecological relationship between beaver dams and hay meadows can also be deduced from submissions to a Royal Commission on Forestry (popularly known as the Sloan Commission) by CaribooChilcotin ranchers in 1944. 26 One shows that Cariboo ranchers opposed a plan by southern interior ranchers to replenish depleted provincial beaver populations to alleviate water shortage problems. Their resistance stemmed from a belief that beaver dams would eventually re-flood meadows that the ranchers had come to rely on, making them useless for grazing or for winter hay. As one report noted, “we submit that in areas such as some parts of the Cariboo where a great deal of hay is grown on natural meadows, and drainage 23  Ibid. On the problem of forest encroachment see BCA GR1379, Box 1 File 4, Report to the Royal Commission on Forests and Forestry, 1955. 25 Ecologist and environmental historian Nancy Langston has noted a similar relationship between beaver dams, ranching practice, and the fur trade in Oregon’s Malheur Basin. See Nancy Langston, Where Land and Water Meet: A Western Landscape Transformed (Seattle: University of Washington Press 2003): 18-19; 101-106; on the North American fur trade see: Harold Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada: an Introduction to Canadian Economic History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1930); Arthur Ray, “The Fur Trade in North America: An Overview from a Historical Geographical Perspective,” in Wild Furbearer Management and Conservation in North America, Milan Novak ed. 2130 (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 1987). 26 See, for example: BCA, MS1633, Kenworthy Family Fonds (Empire Valley Ranch, Chilcotin) Reel 1. 24  188  is essential to enable the farmer to cut hay, the operations of the beaver must be carefully controlled.” 27 Indeed, by the mid-1950s, beavers were a “general problem” throughout the grasslands “disrupting irrigation systems, flooding meadows and destroying good rangeland by flooding,” The reason for the increase was unclear because no beavers had actually been reintroduced, but apparently had do with a concurrent decrease in the price paid for beaver pelts. As one local observer reported, “registered trapline (sic) holders won’t bother to trap beaver if the returns are not commensurate.” 28 Whether the result of abandoned beaver dams or aboriginal burning, at least some of the ‘natural’ hay meadows used by ranchers and Native people in the 19th and early 20th centuries had a longer human history. Most did not, having derived from underlying and ancient patterns of relief and drainage associated with the operation of basic earth processes over tremendous amounts of time. The northern portion of the interior plateau is poorly drained in many places, resulting in numerous swamps and marshes in depressions caused by the uneven deposition of moraines from the last ice age about 12,000 years ago. It was in these many glacial depressions that water accumulated, and created conditions conducive to meadow growth. Most meadows thus were ‘natural’ in origin. 29 Given the wide range of local ecological conditions, it should come as no surprise that there were many different kinds of meadows. Swamp meadows may have been most common. These usually featured a slow moving stream or perhaps a small pond at the centre derived from spring run-off. Either form was an important source of water for 27  “Brief from Cariboo Cattleman’s Association, October 1944,” BCA, GR0520, Royal Commission on Forestry, Box 16, File 4. 28 BCA, GR1238, Box 1, File 2, “Grazing Report for 1954, H.K Debeck.” 29 See Thomas Weir, Ranching in the Southern Plateau. 189  plants and animals. The most common plant associations were sedges and horsetail, with forbs and grasses found only around the drier, outer edges. Strategies varied, but in the late 19th and early 20th centuries swamp meadows were primarily used for fall grazing with a portion of the forbs and grasses cut and set aside for winter feeding. Dry meadows usually occupied former lakebeds and beaver ponds. Sometimes these formed in swale bottoms where water tables were high in spring but low in the summer and fall. Ranchers prized these areas because they often contained valuable forage plants like spear grass, brome grass, and June Grass, as well as foxtail, dandelion, and several kinds of sedge. Dry meadows were used for spring and fall range. They also provided a supplementary, for some ranchers and Native people a primary, source of winter range. Willow bottom was the final type of meadow used by ranchers and Native people in the 19th and 20th centuries. Found only on the flood plains of streams and creeks 20 to 100 feet below uplands, willow bottoms included significant numbers of the trees that lent its name and a diversity of plants that served as forage. Aspen, dwarf spirea, arctic birch, and wild rose were common, as were several grasses and sedges. Some ranchers, perhaps following Native practice, burned willow bottoms to encourage grasses and sedges. 30 Others opted to save a few shrubs for early winter when snowfall made the grasses difficult to crop. Although ranchers purchased and fenced some of these meadow types, just as often they used them in common with other ranchers. In some instances users regulated access and  30  See for example “Range Burning (Hargreaves), correspondence and reports, April 1916 – April 1917,” BCA GR1441, Reel 93, File 7679. 190  even set stocking rates and spring turn out times informally as they established customary use rights. 31 The biogeography of an upland ranch reveals how these varied ecosystems fit together in the British Columbia cattle industry. 32 Located on Big Creek, a tributary of the Chilcotin River, the ranch ran from 450 to 500 head of cattle on perhaps 3000 acres of rangeland, at least 1200 acres of which had been preempted or purchased between 1890 and 1910. At about 3500 feet of elevation, although lower along the creek, the ranch’s patterns of transhumance were primarily horizontal. Cattle moved more or less laterally from one meadow to the next by way of trails cut through dense thickets of lodgepole pine, the result, one provincial forest ranger said, of frequent forest fires in the past. The precise timing of these movements varied annually in response to changing ecological conditions, but usually cattle were fed or left to rustle on the ranch’s winter meadows from about mid-December to mid-April. Then they were driven to a small spring bunchgrass range near the Chilcotin River. Spring grazing might last for a month or more, until late May or early June. Cattle spent the summer months on several dry meadows at Big Creek, and sometimes this lasted well into the fall depending on the weather. Usually by late October the cattle were herded onto cutover meadows close to the home ranch to crop stubble and sedges until winter-feeding began again in about the  31  For early 20th century accounts of meadow use by ranchers see “Grazing Reconnaissance Chilcotin Division, 1914,” BCA, GR1441 Reel 44, File 2822; and “Grazing Report 1914-1915,” File 2824. On meadow use in the mid-20th century see Weir, Ranching on the South Interior Plateau. 32 Owen Sanger, “Grazing Reconnaissance, Chilcotin Division 1914.” BCA, GR1441 Reel 44, File 2822. There is a remarkable correspondence between the Big Creek ranch in Weir’s map and the unnamed ranch in Owen Sanger’s report and they might even be one in the same, although it is worth nothing that there were several other upland ranches on Big Creek with exactly the same land use practices. 191  Figure 7.5: Biogeography of an upland ranch. Located on Big Creek (Source: Thomas Weir, 1956).  192  middle of December. According to grazing official Owen Sanger: “In the winter feeding season a number of cattle proportionate to the amount of hay stacked are fed and wintered under the care of one man. The cattle browse around in the neighbourhood of the meadow, and may, if the location is good, succeed in rustling a very large proportion of the feed they need, especially if the snow is not too deep and there are in the locality some wet meadows, now frozen hard, which were so soft in the summer that the cattle dared not venture out upon them.” 33 Not all ranches relied strictly on lateral movement, but all used transhumant land management strategies. Native people were increasingly excluded from these meadow commons in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and their segregation became a bone of considerable contention. The best-documented and most enduring conflict involved a relatively large swamp meadow located 45 miles from the mouth of the Chilcotin River. This area had been used historically by the Anaham people, but in the late 19th century it was taken over by about a half a dozen or so immigrant cattle ranchers. The documentary record of this dispute dates to the late 1880s, when Indian Reserve Commissioner Peter O’Reilly created reserves in the area, but scattered remarks and reports strongly suggest problems at Anaham even earlier. Arriving on 6 July 1887, O’Reilly laid out a reserve of 8930 acres, about 1500 of which he thought could be cultivated “ without any expense other than ploughing (sic).” He wrote that “the soil on the low land is for the most part excellent, being deep, and of rich loamy character.” The “mountain side affords good grazing, and there is timber sufficient for the purpose of fencing, fuel etc.” How a commissioner with little or no agricultural or natural history background could ascertain 33  “Grazing Reconnaissance Chilcotin Division,” 24 December 1914, BCA, GR1441 Reel 44, File 2822. 193  this in less than a day is hard to fathom. Most likely he did not. According to historical geographer Ken Brealey, between 1881 and 1897 O’Reilly laid out 600 reserves in approximately 1000 days, suggesting that he rarely spent more than one day on any particular reserve. 34 They were laid out as quickly as possible, usually with very little input from Native people and no specific knowledge of local conditions or the wider environmental setting. In O’Reilly’s view, however, the No. 1 reserve at Anaham was “one of the most valuable reserves” in the province and the Indians there were satisfied. 35 The morning after O’Reilly laid out the reserve, the Anaham Chief and perhaps a dozen or so Anaham men joined him on a ride up to a “swamp meadow” where, according to O’Reilly, “the Indians had been in the habit of cutting small quantities of hay for winter use.” Apparently the Chief wanted the entire meadow set aside as a reserve, but O’Reilly “declined” to do this on the grounds that it was “altogether in excess of the requirements of the tribe.” “I pointed out to them that even could they cut the 2000 acres of hay, they had not sufficient animals [200 horses and apparently no cattle] to consume one fourth of it, nor could they find a market for it, and drew their attention to the reserve I had allotted to them the previous day, 1500 acres of which can be converted into hay land without the expense of clearing a single acre.” Instead, he set aside a second reserve of 640 acres, or less than one third of the total meadow that he declared ample to feed their 200 horses. The rest of the meadow became commonage for  34  Ken Brealey, “Travels from Point Ellice: Peter O’Reilly and the Indian Reserve System in British Columbia,” BC Studies 115/116 (Autumn/Winter 1997/98): 181-236. 35 Peter O’Reilly, “Minutes of Decision, Correspondence and Sketches, June 1885-March 1889, O’Reilly to Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, 16 August 1887.” Copies held by Natural Resources Canada, Vancouver Regional Office. 194  immigrant cattle ranchers. 36 Later that morning O’Reilly left Anaham for Soda Creek, pleased with the work he had done and believing that the Anaham were content with their reserves. It soon became apparent, however, that the Anaham were not content with their reserves. According to provincial surveyor James Fletcher, whose job it was to resurvey Indian Reserves and record them on provincial preemptors maps, when he arrived at Anaham nearly four years after O’Reilly the “Old Anaham [the chief] and about 15 of his men came to camp and told me that he understood he was to get all the meadow, and unless it was given to him he would prevent me from surveying it.” 37 By July 1891 there were many more ranchers in the region, and all wanted a part of the swamp meadow for winter range. A local missionary reported that settler cattle had already encroached onto the 640 acre “No. 2 Reserve,” causing “considerable dissatisfaction” among the Anaham people. 38 In this fraught context, Fletcher said he would survey the meadow “as instructed until prevented by force” that he feared might be exercised by Native people. His anxiety was not simply personal paranoia. He noted that “if any white settlers are given the balance of the meadow… [the Indians] will never allow them to cut hay from it, and for that reason none of the settlers around here would take it.” O’Reilly responded by reiterating his original conclusion that the balance of the swamp meadow should be reserved as commonage for settler stock. Ranchers instead treated the entire meadow as theirs, including the 640 acres still legally denoted an Indian reserve.  36  Ibid. Peter O’Reilly, Extract of Letter from Fletcher, 8 July 1891, Minutes of Decision, Correspondence and Sketches, June 1885-March 1889. Copy held by Natural Resources Canada, Vancouver Regional Office. 38 Ibid. 37  195  Unable or perhaps unwilling to remain idle as immigrant ranchers claimed their reserve, some Anaham people began “squatting” in the meadow and apparently at several other places. According to an early 20th century petition from local cattle ranchers, the Anaham were “gradually squatting all over the area between Alexis Creek, Alexis Lake, and Nazko Lake, erecting cabins, cutting the small open meadows, and keeping the Range Permittees (sic) Cattle off the areas referred to by the use of their children and dogs, and using the Ranchers meadows as horse pastures.” In the view of the petitioners, the Anaham were “trespassing” on settler properties and ought, along with their animals, to be confined to their reserves, which, the petitioners said, had “sufficient” hay on them for grazing any horses and cattle they might have. 39 For their part, the Anaham, who by the early 20th century had as many as 350 horses and 120 cattle, which was a common ratio on reserves throughout the grasslands, insisted that the O’Reilly reserves were too small to support Native families. They did not produce nearly enough hay to feed Native livestock. And so it went for years. Native people claimed the swamp meadow as a reserve. Settlers treated it as commonage. 40 In retrospect, such conflicts over meadowland seemed almost over-determined, the inevitable consequence of a superficial reserve allocation process, a culturally blinkered resettlement process, and an ecologically constrained landscape. With ample rangeland and water for irrigation, interior Native peoples might have developed viable reserve-based ranching economies. As it stood they had relatively little  39  Petition from Ranchers at Alexis Creek to R. McKenzie (MLA, Williams Lake) 10 June 1929, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel 16094, Volume 11063, File, C-II2. 40 Taylor to McKay, 20 May 1937, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel 16094, Volume 11063, File C-II-2. 196  of either and found it increasingly difficult to maintain their communities. By the early 20th century, numerous reports and remarks from Indian Agents and others revealed that many reserves were badly overgrazed. As grazing official Owen Sanger observed in a 1914 report prepared for the recently established Royal Commission on Indian Affairs, the Redstone reserve in the Chilcotin region was “a good example of a range which, originally carrying a good growth of Bunch Grass, with very little Wormwood, now supports a sparse growth [of both] which are found in about equal proportions.” 41 Similar ecological observations were made about the Ashcroft reserve which, “though large in extent is very worthless, the greater part of it being a horse range, that, owing to overstocking, has been completely eaten out.” 42 Other government agents passed similar reports, among them Indian Agent John Smith who reported that many Nicola Valley reserves were or could soon be overgrazed. All the Native people there wanted additional pastureland for horses. “These Indians are stock raisers on a large scale,” Smith reported, having “over 1800 head of horses, of the very best class, and some 600 head of cattle.” The reserve, however, was overgrazed in places and the Native people were feeling “their cramped position in pasturage.” 43 These sorts of complaints and pleas, particularly for winter range, were put before the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs by virtually every interior Native band. Created in 1912 in response to organized political protest on the part of Native peoples and the need to address increasingly intractable Dominion-provincial disputes 41  Owner Sanger, “Report on Grazing Reconnaissance, Chilcotin District,” 21 December 1914.GR1441 Reel 44 File 2822. 42 Ashdown Green to Secretary, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs, 29 April 1914. RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3958, Volume 11021, File 538. 43 Smith to Secretary, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs 12 June 1915, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3958, Volume 11021, File 538. 197  over the size of reserves, the task of the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs was to make a “final adjustment” of Native land in the province. 44 To that end the so-called McKenna-McBride Commission was given the power to alter the size of existing reserves. It could increase, or with Native consent, decrease reserves as well as create new ones. But basic questions about Native title to land, the very questions that had formed the basis of Native protest in the years immediately prior to 1912, would be left to the courts to decide. 45 With this mandate the commissioners held numerous meetings with Native people, Indian Agents, settlers and others, and, then, in 1916, submitted a four-volume report. These thick volumes are mostly filled with maps and tables describing the location of reserves, their populations and economies and the status of additional land applications. Much can be said about the underlying assumptions of the report. According to the commissioners a system had been developed for the “scientific analysis and tabulation of all information gleaned by the commission.” 46 The work was supposed to represent an ‘objective’ answer to what had come to be known as the “Indian land question.” As historian of science and social theorist Donna Haraway and many others observe, however, claims to objectivity have always at some level been associated with the exercise of social power. 47 Indeed, the maps and tables in Royal Commission report reinforce historian of science Theodore Porter’s argument that forms of quantification are essentially “technologies of distance,” a means of managing 44  See R.M Galois, “The Indian Rights, Native Protest Activity and the ‘Land Question’ in British Columbia,” Native Studies Review 8, 2 (1992): 1-34. 45 On the Royal Commission see Harris, Harris, Making Native Space, 216-248. 46 Report, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs. RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Volume 10123, File 4, 47 Donna J. Haraway, “Situated Knowledge: The Science Question in Feminism” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (London: Free Association, 1991). 198  populations and social processes from afar. 48 As anthropologist James Scott puts it, such practices are also a means of making state space “legible” and “legibility is a condition of manipulation.” 49 In detail these articulations differ, but all alert us to the ways that maps and numbers enable the modern state to manage and exercise power over unwieldy social and ecological realties. Certainly, quantification was important to the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs. As historical geographer Cole Harris observes in a recent book on resettlement and reserve creation in British Columbia, “the [Royal] commissioners were participating in a bureaucratized, early twentieth century form of a venerable colonial strategy and quite unconsciously were privileging ‘facts’ and maps over other more local and densely textured modes of understanding. Moreover, their assigned task required such abstract methods.” 50 Traces of that denser mode of local understanding can be gleaned from the testimonies of Native people, which were not included or referred to in the final report, but which commission stenographers recorded verbatim with the aid of a translator. Such testimonies can be read many ways, of course, and they must be read carefully. As one recent study of the commission transcripts points out, the whole procedure was meant to place facts “within an intricate theatre of power.” 51 The meetings unfolded approximately as follows. Once the commission and the commissioners’ oath had been read and 48  Theodore M. Porter, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), ix. 49 James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998): 183. 50 Harris, Making Native Space, 233. 51 Ibid. 231. My comments on the commission borrow from Harris, Making Native Space, but also from Diedre Sanders, Naneen Stuckey, Kathleen Mooney, and Donald Leland, “What the People Said: Kwakwaka;wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Tsimshian Testimonies before the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of British Columbia,” Canadian Journal of Native Studies XIX, 2 (1999): 213-248. 199  translated, Native witnesses were officially sworn in and then offered an opportunity to make an opening statement. This done the commissioners quickly got down to the business of dispossession. Aligned on one side of a long table, they questioned and crossexamined Native people relentlessly as if the latter were on trial for some transgression. The commissioners wanted to know how many people lived on a given reserve and how many acres were being or could be cultivated. They wanted to know how many cattle and horses were on each reserve, whether the reserve had water rights, and if so to how many inches per acre. They also wanted to know whether a residential school existed nearby and whether Native people worked off the reserve and where and much else besides. The commissioners used all this information to assess Native peoples’ land requirements. As geographer Cole Harris and others note, some Native people understood the purpose of this theatre quite clearly and responded with a mixture of eloquence, irony, sarcasm, and flattery. 52 Native witnesses spoke of poverty and property rights and sometimes said prayers. Others refused to testify or were evasive and uncooperative under oath. It is hard to say how much of what was said at the meetings was lost in translation. The commission transcripts are often exceedingly difficult to interpret, yet as several scholars have observed, they are by far the best source of historical information on Native opinion at the time. 53 Read carefully with attention to context and content, they suggest something of the plight of Native people by the early 20th century, and provide a rare glimpse of Native thought and patterns of resistance. Interior Native peoples expressed and explained their deep dissatisfaction with many things. They spoke of the decline of fish and game populations, restrictive fish and 52 53  Harris, Making Native Space; Sanders et al. “What the People Said.” Sanders et al. “What the People Said.” 200  game regulations, lack of water for irrigation, and much else. Lack of access to good grazing land, especially winter range, was a central and consistent concern throughout the grasslands. As Chief Camille of Canoe Creek explained, “All the land that is marked on the maps as reserves that you passed on the way here is useless. We cannot grow any hay on them, although we grow a little on No. 2 reserve, but the rest is worthless to us. All that is grown for us to live on grown on this [No. 1] reserve. On No. 3 reserve there is some good land but we have no water and therefore we cannot make any use of it. That is all I have to say, but I want to let you know that we are very hard up.” 54 Similarly at Alexis Creek, Chief Louis of the Stone band complained that the “land is hardly big enough for us. The place I have is not like Anaham (on the Chilcotin River). It is a very poor ranch. I fence in all what I have on the reserve, and I keep my horses in there, and there is no feed there at all. If I could get some more pasture land, I would like it, and the meadow I got before is not like a meadow, there is no grass in it. We just go and cut open swamps to get hay. We cut the road to swamp meadows away back, that don’t belong to us, and if you are willing to help us, we would like it better.” 55 Strategies varied, but members of virtually every interior Native band made similar complaints and pleas for more pasture or rangeland. The following excerpt from an October 14, 1913 meeting with the “Adams Lake Band of the Shuswap Tribe” was typical 56 :  54  Transcripts, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of British Columbia, Meeting with Canoe Creek (Shuswap) Band or Tribe of Indians at Canoe Creek Indian Reserve, 17 July 1914. 55 Ibid. Meeting with the Stone Band or Tribe of Indians on Anaham Indian Reserve, 22 July 1914. 56 Ibid. Meeting with the Indians of the Adams Lake Band of the Shuswap Tribe on Adams Lake Reserve No.4, 14 October 1913. 201  [Commissioner Shaw]: How many horses do you suppose you sell in a season? [Adrian Narcisse]: I don’t know. I could not say how many. Some of the Indians gets hard up and then they have to sell a horse. Q: Do you sell any cattle? A: Yes. Q: I suppose that a large amount of your living is derived from the sale of horses and cattle? A: That is right. The Indians used to raise horses and sell them a long time ago for their living, but our stock is getting less as we have no place for them to run. Q: They formerly used to run on the open range outside, did they not? A: Yes. Q: And that range has since been taken up by white settlers so that there is no pasturage there now? A: Yes, that is right.  A similar exchange took place during a 10 July 1914 meeting with the Alkali Lake Band 57 : [Commissioner McKenna:] Where do your cattle graze? [Chief Samson]: Out here on the open range. Q: On the open range? A: Yes, on the open range around mountains. Q: That is outside the reserve? A: They on the outside ranges here. Q: And the horses also, I suppose. A: Yes. Q: Do they get plenty of hay for winter feeding their stock. A: No.  57  Ibid. Meeting with the Indians of the Bonaparte Tribe of the Indian on the Bonaparte Reserve No.3, 31 October 1913. 202  Later in same the meeting: Q: What use do you make of that [No. 6] Reserve? A: In the winter time they range their horses down there. Q: And their cattle too? A: No, they don’t use it for cattle. Q: How many horses run there in the winter? A: We have taken 100 horses there, and there is not a speck of grass left there in the spring.  At a 31 October 1913 meeting with the Bonaparte band the following exchange ensued 58 : Commissioner McKenna: Are there any horses on this [No. 3] reserve? Tenas Lapp: Not many. Q: Do your horses range out all the year round? A: Some pull through the winter alright but some die. Q: They die from want of food? A: They die from hunger. Q: Have you any cattle? A: No cattle.  Later in the same meeting: [Commissioner Shaw]: Is there any natural grazing land on the Lower Hat Creek reserve which amounts to anything? Tenas Lapp: Outside the reserve there is some good pasture. Q: What about inside the reserve? A: The reserve is all through in the Canyon and the pasture is no good, but outside the reserve the pasture is good. Q: Where? Up in the hills or beyond the hills?  58  Ibid. Meeting with the Shuswap Band or Tribe of Indians at Alkali Lake Reserve. 10 July 1914. 203  A: On top of the hills there are good open ranges. It falls into valleys on the other side. Q: Does anybody graze cattle on the open range? A: All the white people put their cattle there every year. When the winter comes on, the white people’s cattle come down on to the reserve and feed. 59 Commissioner McDowell: Is the reserve fenced? A: We are not able to fence our reserve. We have no money.  And, finally, this exchange from a meeting with the Ashnola Band 60 : [Chairman White]: How many horses are there on the whole Reserves? [Chief Ashnola John]: I think myself alone, I have 200 head of horses and cattle. Q: How many horses and cattle do the other Indians own? A: They own lots of cattle and horses. Q: Can you give me any idea how many they own? A: I think there are about 800 head of cattle and horses. You can see for yourself that my meadows to raise sufficient hay to feed that amount of stock is very small. Q: How much meadow has all the Indians got to feed their stock? A: I cannot count. Q: I would like to know about the pasture ranges on your Reserves - are they sufficient to keep the cattle and horses the Indians have? A: It is all rocks there is no grass there.  Similar pithy and poignant exchanges ensued elsewhere as the commissioners made their way around the grasslands. Native people complained that reserves were too small and range resources too few or too poor to make a living raising stock. Lack of  59  My understanding is that this is not a contradiction in Tenas Lapp’s testimony but rather a complaint that the reserve in question had some grass on it (and would have more) were it not for the grazing habits of settler cattle. 60 Transcripts, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs, Meeting with the Ashnola Band or Tribe of Indians at Ashnola Reserve, 1914. 204  water was a problem on many reserves. Ranchers controlled the lowlands, which were usually easy and cheap to irrigate. They also had the water rights. According to Chief Camille, this was the situation at Canoe Creek, where arid reserves with little in the way of winter pasture bordered on large irrigated alfalfa meadows owned by the BC Cattle Company, one of the big corporate ranches in the province. “On the No. 3 Reserve there is not enough land to cultivate on account of the shortage of water,” the Chief continued, “also on account of the timber, mountains and the alkali…I want you to go and examine the reserves yourselves.” 61 Water for irrigation was a serious problem at Kamloops where the Western Canadian Ranching Company, owner of the Gang Ranch and several other ranching properties in the province, claimed all the water in St. Paul’s Creek, which, like other creeks, ran through the reserve before reaching the company’s alfalfa and bunchgrass bottomlands. 62 Over and over in the transcripts, interior Native people pointed to problems of water and winter pasture and asked the commissioners for more of each to raise their horses and cattle. The commissioners remained skeptical. It was widely assumed among settlers and grazing officials that horses required far more forage than cattle, and the commissioners knew from questioning and cross-examination that Native people usually had far more horses than cattle. Indeed, at places in the transcripts Native people appear inexact if not evasive about the number of horses on reserves, noting only that they had lots, or not too  61  Transcripts, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs, Meeting with Canoe Creek (Shuswap) Band or Tribe of Indians at Canoe Creek Indian Reserve, 17 July 1914 62 Transcripts, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs, Meeting with the Kamloops Tribe of Indians on the Kamloops Reserve 28 October 1913. 205  many, or did not know. 63 At a meeting with Native people from the Dog Creek Reserve, who in recent years had been accused of ranging horses on grazing land allotted by government to immigrant ranchers, the following exchange ensued 64 :  The Chairman: Do you raise any horses? Edward (representing the Dog Creek Reserves): No. Q: Then you buy your horses do you? A: Most of the horses have been caught from these wild horses that are running in the mountains. Q: Have you sold any horses lately? A: No.  A few short exchanges later: Commissioner Carmichael: Did they ever have more than eight horses in the Band; say during the last two years? A: I don’t know whether we have sold any horses – I am not the Chief here. Q: Are you sure there are not more than eight horses here? A: We run short of water in the lower ditch.  Neither evasiveness nor candor or any other strategy altered the outcome of the meetings, however. As Commissioner McKenna explained in a meeting with the Alkali Lake band, whose horses outnumbered their cattle by the fairly common ration of about 3 to 1: “When you come to the government to apply for land, you would have a much stronger case if you did not have so many cayuses, and these men who have hay land on 63  On similar tactics of resistance see Scott, Weapons of the Weak; James C. Scott: Domination and the arts of Resistance (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990). 64 Transcripts, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs, Meeting with the Shuswap Tribe (Dog Creek Band) of Indians on Dog Creek Indian Reserve, 18 July 1914. 206  the reserve should make a special effort to get together some cattle, keeping only enough of these ponies as they absolutely need; sell the rest and buy cattle with the money adding to what they got from the sale of their cayuses by working for the white people.” 65 Here in full view was the old argument against horses and even older settler assumption that Native people did not know how to use land properly. The commissioners espoused versions of these convictions at virtually every meeting with interior Native people. Many Native people agreed with the Commissioners when they said that cattle were more valuable than horses, but they also pointed out that it was impossible to add cattle without additional winter pasture. Chief Camille of Canoe Creek expressed a common complaint among Native people when he asked: “How can [the Indians] raise cattle when we cannot raise enough [hay] to feed them on?” 66 According to Chief Louis of the Stone band, more cattle might be desirable, but in the circumstances keeping horses keeping made environmental sense. “Yes, it would be better to have cattle, but there is no hay on the Reserve. Horses, why they can rustle out on the open land.” 67 Others had made much the same point that horses were better able to graze the usually steep hillsides of Indian reserves and local crown lands. As a Secwepemc Chief explained, “cattle are not able go up on the mountain. Only the horses can go up on the mountain sides.” 68 Native people raised horses for many reasons, of course, but their  65  Transcripts, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs, Meeting at Alkali Lake Reserve. 10 July 1914. 66 Transcripts, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs Meeting with Canoe Creek Band of Indians at Canoe Creek Indian Reserve, 17 July 1914. 67 Transcripts, Royal Commission on Indian Affairs, Meeting with the Stone Band or Tribe of Indians on Anaham Indian Reserve, 22 July 1914. 68 Ibid. 207  decision to keep more horses than cattle had nothing to do with an inability to use land properly. It was an ecological adaptation to dispossession. Whatever McKenna and the other commissioners made of these arguments, and there is nothing specific in commission transcripts on which to base a judgment, they were not persuaded that Native people needed more grazing land. The majority of requests from interior Native people for more and better grazing land were, in the words of the Commissioners’ summary report, “not entertained; as not reasonably required” (appendix 3). 69 The reasons for rejecting these requests were twofold. First, according to the commissioners, and to the Indian Agents, ranchers and range managers with whom they had met and corresponded, the grazing capacities of reserves could be significantly increased if Native people rid themselves of horses and raised cattle instead. According to some estimates the grazing capacities of reserves could be tripled if used only for cattle, which, in any case, were much more valuable in the market. Second, and just as important, the commissioners observed again that Native people still had a common right to crown range. Certainly that was the case in 1916 when the commissioners issued their report. Within three years, however, British Columbia appointed a Grazing Commissioner and passed its first Grazing Act, effectively outlawing the running of livestock on crown land without a permit from the provincial government. The open range had essentially been enclosed in what historian Louis Warren calls a “state commons.” 70 Henceforth ranchers and Native people would have to pay an annual fee for  69  Report of the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of British Columbia (Victoria 1916). 70 The phrase “state commons” comes from historian Louis Warren, The Hunters Game: Hunters, Poachers, and Conservationists in 20th Century America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997). 208  crown grazing rights, a system inherently biased toward market values and the possession of capital. With grasshopper outbreaks and state enclosure of the open range, ridding the range of wild horses became, for ranchers and provincial range managers alike, a powerful imperative.  209  Chapter 8: The War on Wild Horses  Because of the Royal Commission on Indian Affair’s criticism of Native peoples’ grazing needs, settler anger at overgrazing by Indian livestock became acute in the late 1910s. This was eventually reflected in provincial grazing policy, the principle architect of which was Thomas Mackenzie. An Australian by birth, Mackenzie knew little about British Columbia and nothing at all about Native people and their land problems when he became Grazing Commissioner in 1918. He had dealt with grazing issues in the American West, however, and was determined to prevent wild horses from further degrading the rangelands of British Columbia. To that end Mackenzie had provincial legislators amend the Grazing Act, the Trespass Act, and the Animals Act. His aim was to outlaw the running of horses on crown range and establish the legal mechanism needed to remove them. The penalty for ignoring the new law was severe. After 1 January 1925, horses were to be rounded up by the state. Any animals not sold or reclaimed by their owners at 5.00 dollars per head were to be shot. The amendments targeted all equines, not just Indian horses, but contemporary opinion viewed the latter as the villains of the range. As Mackenzie told the Dominion Indian Department, “the horses of the Indians are responsible for the heavy damage to the range in the early spring, which has occurred during late years and so long as this indiscriminate use continues the damage cannot be prevented.” 1 The new law was widely supported by cattle ranchers but provoked interior Native people. The biases were unsurprising. Natives usually had far more horses than 1  Thomas Mackenzie to William Ditchburn, 4 February, 1924, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3951, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11. 210  cattle, and they were far more dependent upon the Crown land for feed because their reserves were so small. “Why does the white man oppose to my stock to run on the range?” asked Nicola Chief Johnny Chilliheetza. “We the Indians do not oppose to the white men to have their horses and cattle run on the ranges…The Indians say why do the white men want to kill our horses, if we said that to them, we were to kill their horses, would that be well? The white men if his horse was worthless no body will threaten to kill his horse as it is his horse, he owns it, no one will kill it… It is not well for the white men to say they are to kill the Indian horses because they are worthless, no matter how the horses are, they are the property of the Indians.” 2 English property law and the state power that lay behind it had done much to dispossess Native people of land, but at times it also provided a means of resistance through appeals such as Chilliheetza’s for the rule of law. 3 According to legal theorist Joseph Raz, invocations of the rule of law assume “that people should be ruled by law and obey it…and that the law should be such that people will be able to be guided by it.” 4 It has nothing to do with the content of any particular law nor, as legal historian Douglas Harris explains, does “the rule of law require the rule of good law; it only requires that law provide sufficient guidance so that subjects of the state may know how the latter will  2  Johnny Chilliheetza to George Pragnell, 13 March 1924, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3951, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11. 3 On western property law and colonial dispossession see Nicholas Blomley, “Law, Property, and the Geography of Violence: The Frontier, the Survey and the Grid,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 93, 1 (2003): 121-141; more generally see John McLaren, A.R Buck and Nancy E. Wright ed. Despotic Dominion: Property Rights in British Settler Societies (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005); and John Weaver, The Great Land Rush and the Making of the Modern World, 1650-1900 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2003). 4 Joseph Raz, “The Rule of Law and its Virtue,” in The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979): 213. 211  react to their actions before they act. In this sense the rule of law is merely an attribute of a functioning legal system, necessary but not sufficient to ensure fundamental rights, justice, and equality.” 5 Chilliheetza’s appeal to property was in this sense an attempt to remind settler society of the importance they claimed to place on law and property in order to prevent the killing of his peoples’ horses which, after all, were ‘their property.’ This is why the horse conflict was ultimately about dispossession and selfdetermination. The Indian agent for the Nicola District explained, “the Indians say that this is merely an attempt on the part of Ward [the manager of the Douglas Lake Cattle Ranch] and Guichon [the owner of another large Nicola Valley ranch] and one or two other cattle owners to corral all the grazing land. They [the Indians] say that they see no reason why, if one man wants to earn his living from cattle, another should not do the same in the way of horses, and that if they loose their horses they are ruined.” The Indian agent added that “the Indians assure me that they will not allow their horses to be rounded up in this manner, neither are they going to pay 5.00 a head to claim their horses.” 6 Native people in the Cariboo and Chilcotin regions were expressing similar views. Agent Pragnell’s supervisor was dubious. In William Ditchburn’s view, Native people’s need for more grazing land would disappear if they abandoned their “useless animals.” 7 Horses required more forage yet held much less economic value than cattle. In a 1923 meeting with the Allied Indian Tribes of British Columbia Ditchburn argued 5  Douglas Harris, “The Nlha7kapmx Meeting at Lytton, 1879, and the Rule of Law,” BC Studies 108 (Winter 1995-96): 5-25. 6 George Pragnell to William Ditchburn, 31 March 1924, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3951, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11, Part B. 7 William Ditchburn to George Pragnell, 16 April 1924, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3951, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11, Part B. 212  that “the trouble with Indian cattle is this, that they allow their best ranges to be taken up by a lot of Cayuse horses that have no commercial value at all, and they would be far better off if they would kill every one of them.” He complained that, “Indians expect the Government of British Columbia to set aside new range lands for them, when their best ranges are being eaten up by horses that have no value. That is a fact.” 8 A representative speaking on behalf of interior Native people replied that the horses did indeed have value: “The Indians say that they raise horses because they are necessary and they realize good profits through the sale of those horses that are being raised.” 9 Ditchburn scoffed. “There are a few cases, Narcisse and his father Johnny Chilliheetza in the upper Nicola; they raise good stock, not Cayuses; but there are a lot of places where the Indians have these Cayuse horses; and they are eating up to nineteen acres of range where a cow only uses thirteen.” 10 By late March 1924 the conflict had escalated. Returning from the Nicola district, Pragnell was deeply concerned that a “great many threats of imprisonment, fines, etc. have been made to the Indians causing a very antagonistic feeling to arise.” The ranchers “were talking as though the law was dead set against the Indians in particular, and I told Mr. Mackenzie that on top of all the propaganda going around regarding the settlement of the Indian questions, if his rulings were enforced it would only add fuel to the fire.” 11  8  “Conference of Dr. Duncan Scott, Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs of the Dominion of Canada, W.E. Ditchburn, Chief Inspector of Indian Agencies of British Columbia, with the Executive Committee of the Allied Tribes of British Columbia, 7 August 1923.” Copied at Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Vancouver Regional Office). 9 Ibid. 10 Ibid. 11 George Pragnell to William Ditchburn, 9 April 1924, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3951, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11, Part B. 213  Pragnell was convinced the new law “was altogether too summary and arbitrary.” To enforce it without addressing Native concerns about access to grazing lands would invite reprisals, even “bloodshed.” “The Indians are not prepared to stand idly by while their horses are rounded up and removed from the range,” he warned Indian Department and provincial grazing officials.”12 After meeting with Native people in the Nicola Valley, Mackenzie reluctantly agreed to delay enforcement of the new law until suitable grazing areas could be set aside for Native horses. As always, the difficulty was in finding such land. Private property was out of the question unless purchased by the Indian Department and most of the rest was land held by ranchers under grazing leases or permits, or land set aside as commonage under the 1876 Stock Ranges Act. What was left was either too rocky, too full of timber, or simply too far away to be useful as horse pasture. Pragnell promised to keep looking, but neither the Indian Department nor the Grazing Branch believed that Native people needed more land. Government officials continued to insist that Native people could significantly increase the carrying capacities of their reserves simply by ridding themselves of horses. 13 Although the official roundup was on hold and remained so into 1926, horses owned by Native people were shot repeatedly near Williams Lake in the Cariboo region. As Ditchburn of explained to Grazing Commissioner Mackenzie, the Indians had warned a cattle rancher named Henderson “not to shoot their horses.” But soon “they heard some  12  From a second letter to Ditchburn written the same day: Pragnell to Ditchburn, 9 April 1924 RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3951, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11, Part B. 13 This summary is drawn variously from reports and correspondence in RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3951, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11 Parts A and B. 214  shooting and on investigating found that four of their horses had been killed.” 14 Similar incidents took place at Big Creek in the Chilcotin, where Natives lost 13 horses. “They are very indignant about this,” reported one Indian agent, “since they can prove that there were at least 200 horses [owned by ranchers] on the Big Creek Range, which were not touched by the shooters.” 15 There were a number of similar killings, one of which in April 1925, resulted in four horses killed and two more wounded in the Nicola Valley. Agent Pragnell explained, “I have been trying to calm some of the Indians down, who were much agitated over the shooting of some of their horses which had taken place, by persons unknown.” Pragnell’s suspected a local cattle rancher acting on his own accord, but Native people “connected the shootings with the rules of the Grazing Commissioner.” Pragnell warned that "the gravity of the situation has not been grasped.” 16 For the most part ranchers sought to prosecute the campaign against Indian horses by other means. A December 1926 petition from the British Columbia Stockbreeders Association was typical. Written by Frank Ward of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, it complained that wild horses were a pest that overgrazed and trampled the province’s already degraded grasslands and asked whether “discriminate compulsory measures can be utilized to rid the ranges of British Columbia of Indian Cayuses.” The petitioners acknowledged that settlers owned some of the horses on the range, but their altruistic crusade was against “wild horses” owned by Native people. “We believe this resolution should be of two-fold benefit to the Indian: First it would rid him of his own fond curse. 14  William Ditchburn to Thomas Mackenzie, 9 April 1926, BCA, GR1441, Reel B03541, File 52130. 15 A.E. Macleod to William Ditchburn, 22 April 1927, BCA, GR1441, Reel B03541, File 52130. 16 George Pragnell to Wlliam Ditchburn, 9 April 1925, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel C10123, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11 Part B. 215  Second it would have a tendency to enforce him to become a cattle raiser.” 17 William Ditchburn declared the complaint “well founded” and urged officials to make their best efforts to persuade “the Indians to give up raising useless horses altogether.” Like the petitioners, Ditchburn was sure “the best thing the Indians could do with would be to kill all of those [horses] which have no particular use and turn their attention more to cattle.” 18 Closer to the conflict, Agent Pragnell had to be more cautious. Recognizing the pressures placed on Native people around Williams Lake and the southern interior by the Indian Department, range managers, and even local police, he expressed his concern that “there will be trouble if a process of elimination is used by the Provincial officials.” Despite all opinions to the contrary, Native people did place “a certain value on these horses.” They also insisted that their reserves were too small and too short of hay to keep cattle “whereas horses can exist after a fashion.” At the same time, Pragnell had pretty much had his fill of Native resistance. He was frustrated that “whenever we suggest any improvements we are told by the Chiefs that they are going to settle at Ottawa or with the King.” He was increasingly persuaded that only “a flat refusal of their demands and a statement of what the Department proposes to do [will] settle the unrest.” Indeed, in his view, “all these various troubles” would not be settled until Chief Chilliheetza and his followers were “finally and firmly dealt with and repressed.” 19  17  Hay to Grisdale, 26 December 1926, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3951, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11. 18 William Ditchburn to George Pragnell, 28 February, 1927, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, T3951, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11, Part B. 19 George Pragnell to William Ditchburn, 2 March 1927, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T3951, Volume 11001, File 901/36-11, Part B. 216  Thus at a fundamental level the Native people were correct that the war on horses had always been part and parcel of processes of colonialism that dispossessed them of land. 20 This was abundantly apparent to grazing officials and others within the provincial government by the early 1930s. Facing renewed plans to rid rangelands of wild horses, Native people again resorted to settler law. 21 In April 1930, Jack Swakum, Felix Gregore, and Myers Michel gathered in Merritt with their lawyer to protest the planned horse hunt. There are no transcripts of the meeting, but Vancouver newspapers ran headlines that the Indians had been “stirred” and “aroused” by plans to shoot horses and described an “ugly situation” developing in the interior of the province. “The Indians assert that the country and the ranges belong to them. They claim that they are non-treaty Indians and must live by their own resources, that horses are cash, as they are used in their trading, and that they and no other rangers know what horses are of value and what are not, and what should be shot and in what manner.” 22 Echoing arguments made by Chilliheetza and others, “one Indian Chief, who interviewed the late Queen Victoria in England years ago,  20  On the symbolic and practical political importance of the crown in the history of Native protest see: Douglas Harris, “The Nlha7kapmx Meeting at Lytton, 1879, and the Rule of Law,” BC Studies, 108 (Winter 1995-96): 5-25; J.R. Miller, Reflections on Native Newcomer Relations: Selected Essays (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004): 217268. On patterns of Native Protest in British Columbia see, Harris, Making Native Space; and R.M. Galois, “The Indian Rights Association.” 21 This was not the first time that Native people sought legal counsel in order to address land and resource problems. See Douglas Harris, Fish, Law, and Colonialism: the legal capture of salmon in British Columbia (Toronto: University of Toronto Press); and Douglas Harris, Landing Native Fisheries: Indian Reserves and Fishing Rights in British Columbia, 1849-1925. 22 “Range Death Order Stirs Indians,” Vancouver Province 4 April 1930. 217  claims that her late majesty told him the land belonged to the Indians and protests in strong terms against the government taking any of their rights away.” 23 As Native people made their case at Merritt, ranchers and range managers prepared to meet government officials to discuss recent changes in range policy. The meetings convened by the Grazing Commission in May and June of 1930 often returned to the “problem” of “wild horses” generally and “Indian horses” in particular, although for many ranchers these were the same thing. One expressed the common complaint that “there are a lot of Indian horses which do not belong to anybody. Some of them carry the Indian brand, I suppose, but they are practically wild horses. There is no reason why we should pay for forage on the range and have it eaten off by wild horses [whose owners] do not pay anything.” 24 Others agreed but thought the problem ran much deeper. Another rancher related a tale of how Indian Agent George Barber had approached Nicola Valley Native people five years earlier about grazing their horses on rangeland at Marquette Creek in the Dominion railway belt. “The Indian turned around and said ‘all of Canada is ours.’” Although the Indian Department “offered to fence a piece for them for a horse range “they were not interested.” 25 Such tales were calculated to raise the ire of ranchers. Others insisted that Native people were wards of the state under the Indian Act, and that “the Indian Agent has the authority to go in there and get rid of those horses, but he does not do it.” 26 Many at the meeting agreed.  23  “Protests Against Shooting of Wild Range Horses; Indians Aroused,” Vancouver Sun, 9 April 1930. 24 “Grazing Commission Transcripts 1930,” Unpublished copy held by British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Range Library, Victoria, British Columbia. 25 Ibid. 26 Ibid. 218  Some ranchers suggested more out of frustration than sympathy, that specific pastures should be set aside for Indian horses. One of the most vociferous critics of Indian horses, Frank Ward, actually led the charge arguing that ranchers had tried to control “these worthless animals” which were eating ranchers “out of house and home.” But if the horses could not be “removed” from the range then perhaps they could be “confined to one place…then at least you have them under control.” 27 Locating suitable pastures was far more difficult than advocating their creation, however. As the meetings unfolded it became clear that few, if any, ranchers were willing to accommodate Native peoples’ need for more and better grazing land. Even those such as Charles Moon of Riske Creek and Hugh and George Bayliff of Redstone who said it should be done made no substantive offer. Thus ranchers really left no option but to return to the old solution of quarantine. As rancher Richard Collier put it, Native people “should be forced to keep their horses on the reserves.” 28 Around the edges of this almost uniformly anti-horse and at times simply antiIndian discourse, a few voices tried to shift attention to the broader picture. Rancher Henry Koster of Riske Creek worried that all the ruckus over wild horses had deflected attention away from insects, which in his view were a much bigger menace. “The most vital improvement to be done in our district is to clean out the grasshopper,” he reminded ranchers and range officials. “He can ruin a bigger area in a shorter time.” A few others agreed. One even objected outright to wild horse eradication. “There are certainly a lot of valueless horses using good grass,” remarked rancher Richard Kearton. “On the other  27 28  Ibid. Ibid. 219  hand I do not approve of going in and shooting horses because they happen to be wild.” There had to be a better solution, even if he did not know what that solution was. The most revealing exchanges at the meetings revolved around questions of animal classification. Several ranchers asked, “What is a wild horse?” 29 Chief Forester Caverhill admitted that there was a “difference of opinion” on the question and suggested changing the word ‘wild’ to “useless,” but this only muddied matters. After all, asked another rancher, “what is a useless horse?” Caverhill’s answer sought to establish an objective, material basis for a definition, yet hopelessly conflated the issue with race. “As near as I can express it,” he began, “we have two types of horses, the horse which has never been branded or apparently never claimed, and the cayuse, whatever you want to call it, which has almost no marketable value and probably is destroying more range in one year than you can get for the whole animal.” 30 In fact, Native people claimed both types. 31 Settlers working within a western legal tradition with its peculiar notions of property in animals were confused and frustrated by Native claims. Unable or unwilling to understand and accommodate Native claims, ranchers simply agreed that the original 1924 legislative amendments made by Mackenzie were right and ought to apply. They also recommended that “all stallions, except registered stallions, running at large on the range be declared outlaws and subject to be shot.” 32 The state should also hire hunters to shoot wild horses in more “remote” areas such as the Chilcotin region, which range officials declared too far from the only point of sale in Williams Lake.  29  Ibid. Ibid. 31 Ibid. 32 Ibid. 30  220  In December 1930, a “large” number of Native people led by Chief Johnny Chilliheetza met with the new Indian Agent, George Barber, at Douglas Lake in the Nicola Valley. “The Indians are afraid that most of the horses will be shot,” the Nicola Chief explained. “They have no grazing lands [and] not feed enough on their reserves to keep these horses through winter.” By his estimate their hay would run out in a week so the horses had to be released onto crown range. For the Nicola it had come down to a Hobbesian choice between the risk of having their horses rounded up or shot on the one hand or watch them slowly starve to death on the other. The root problem was not ecological but social. This was a crisis wholly manufactured by the state. Chilliheetza fumed, “None of these horses are outlaws, and none of them should be killed.” 33 The message was much the same as articulated in Merritt eight months earlier: Native peoples had a right to run horses on the range. It was theirs as the original and rightful owners of the land. As one Indian Agent later explained: “the Indians strongly object to giving up ‘rights’ held from ‘time immemorial.’” 34 Mackenzie and Ditchburn had had enough. Meeting privately they decided that the roundups would go ahead as planned. They also concluded that the federal Indian Act could be amended if need be to facilitate greater control of Indian livestock. Taking this step would essentially establish the kind of authority over Native people and their animals that most ranchers wrongly assumed the Indian Department already held. As Mackenzie explained in a pithy missive to grazing official W. H. Browne: “As soon as the time is ready, i.e. when the wild and useless horses are back on the Crown range, we 33  Chief Chilliheetza, Jack Quattelle, Jim Alexander, Johnnie Tezestky, and William Jack to Indian Agent Barber, 5 December 1930, BCA, GR1441, Reel 03542, File 52130a, 34 W.H. Browne to Thomas Mackenzie, 6 December 1930, BCA, GR1441, Reel 03542, File 52131a. 221  will round them up and put men on to shoot. If any Indian horses are out and destroyed, any complaint [the Indians] make to their department will, undoubtedly, lead to an extension of wardship (sic) to control their useless horses.” 35 Mackenzie and Ditchburn would force the issue. The horse hunt began as planned in 1930, and Native people did not relent. In one case they herded horses onto their reserves and kept them there until the cowboys had passed. Another roundup was successful until Native men began opening the corrals at night and letting horses back onto the range, and still another was delayed when local men hired to do the work suddenly backed out after being confronted by Native men who warned that there would be reprisals if any Indian horses were removed. 36 According to Mackenzie, the roundup would have to wait until he could find “a man or two from the outside who will undertake the work.” 37 At Alexis Creek, where ranchers and Natives contested swamp meadow since the late 1880s, ranchers worried that rounding up horses would invite “reprisals from the Indians in the shape of lost cattle and burned haystacks.” 38 The ranchers refused to support the roundup, insisting that outsiders do the work. At Williams Lake ranchers also refused to remove wild horses because “the Indians and half-breeds are involved” and they “might raise considerable objection and retaliate on the white farmers if the latter took any steps to dispose of horses which the  35  Thomas Mackenzie to W.H. Browne, 22 December 1930, BCA, GR1441, Reel 03542, File 52131a. 36 W.H. Browne to Thomas Mackenzie, 22 January 1930, BCA, GR1441, Reel 03542, File 52131a. 37 Thomas Mackenzie to W.H. Brown 23 January 1930, BCA, GR1441, Reel 144, File 11064. 38 Taylor to William Ditchburn, 21 August 1929, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel T16094, Volume 110063, C-II-2. 222  Indians might consider belonged to them.” 39 At Big Creek the ranchers balked because “it would cause a lot of hard feelings and would be impossible to live there afterwards.” 40 Such comments were tinged with racist colonial rhetoric. In British Columbia, as in other European settler societies, Native people had long been portrayed as irrational and naturally inclined toward violence and reprisals. 41 Yet these incidents also reveal the substance and effect of Native resistance. Threatening settlers, intimidating hunters, and conjuring fire were intended to stop the war on horses and contest the colonial condition that produced it, and to a certain extent their tactics worked. 42 Scattered remarks and reports from Indian Agents suggest that Native people continued to resist horse eradication into the 1940s. The clearest examples come from the Nicola Valley and Middle Fraser River. 43 A February 1946 report noted that Native people from Lower Nicola and Coldwater Indian Reserves “strongly” opposed a plan to remove horses from rangeland on the north side of the Nicola River. Several reserves were badly depleted by grasshopper plagues in the summers of 1944-45, but the immediate problem had been the weather. The Indian agent explained that “Owing to the long winter many of the Indian horses are being put out on the range in order to keep the  39  George Melrose to Allen, 25 January 1939, BCA GR1441, Reel 144, File 11064. Robert Cameron to District Forester, 13 December 1938, GR1441 File 11064, Reel 144. 41 William Turkel, The Archive of Place: Unearthing the Pasts of the Chilcotin Plateau (Vancouver: UBC Press 2007): 139-224. 42 On tactics of resistance among marginalized peoples more generally see, James C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven: Yale University Press 1985); also see James Scott, “Everyday forms of Resistance,” Journal of Peasant Studies 12 (1986): 5-36; and Andrew Turton, “Patrolling the Middle Ground: Methodological Perspectives on Everyday Peasant Resistance,” Journal of Peasant Studies 13 (1986): 55-71. 43 Examples: BCA, GR1441, File 5213, Reel 03541, St. Clair to District Forester, 3 February 1947. 40  223  meager hay supply now on hand for the use of cattle.” 44 Native people were confident that the horses could dig through snow and ice to get at the grass buried below and also take refuge in the timber when the weather turned harsh. People from the Fountain Reserve made similar arguments in 1947 amid renewed commitments to horse eradication along a portion of the Middle Fraser River. Local ranchers wanted about 60 “wild horses” removed that were supposedly depriving 180 head of cattle of range. Chief Sam Mitchell responded that “If this order referes (sic) to a certain strip of grazing land we are intered (sic) in, we are compelled, each and everyone one of us in this band, to object to such an order.” 45 Although resistance and accommodation held horse eradication at bay in certain parts of British Columbia, settlers and their extensive apparatus of social power were a tremendous force for change. 46 Native people could never dislodge settler assumptions about proper land use or Native peoples’ deficiencies in this regard. William Ditchburn reflected as much when he met with the Allied Indian Tribes of British Columbia in 1923, but he simply echoed views that had been expressed many times before. As early as 1888 Indian Reserve Commission Peter O’Reilly observed that “The grass ranges both on and off the [Nicola Valley] reserves are greatly eaten out principally by bands of wild horses belonging to the Indians which greatly injure the pasturage of the country and from which the tribe derives little or no benefit and the sooner they are got rid of the  44  McKay to Melrose, 8 February 1946, BCA, GR1441, File 52131, Reel 03541. Chief Sam Mitchell to Mr. E Kenney, Minister of Lands and Forests, 10 January 1947, BCA, GR1441, File 52131, Reel 03541. 46 Cole Harris, “How did Colonialism Dispossess? Comments from an Edge of Empire,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 94 (2004): 165-82. 45  224  better it would be for both the Indians and the settlers in the entire Valley.” 47 Three years later another agent reported that the Alkali Lake Reserve possessed 150 head of cattle “and it would be to their advantage if they would procure more, by selling their numerous wild horses (of which they own 600) – which are of no use to them, and are gradually eating out the grass – and purchasing horned cattle with the proceeds.” 48 Closer to the conflict were powerful assumptions about the horses themselves. Interbreeding was a pressing concern. Ranchers and range officials had long held that "mongrel" “Indian horses” ruined settlers' "purebred" stock. It is easy to imagine that such anxieties about interbreeding in animal populations reflected contemporary concerns about interbreeding between human populations. 49 On the other hand, many ranchers married Native women and had “mixed race” children. 50 In this context it seems unlikely that ideas about interbreeding in animal populations had much, if anything, to do with ideas about interbreeding in human populations. However, the issue of infectious disease may be another matter. Settler assumptions and anxieties about disease in Native horses closely paralleled contemporary assumptions and anxieties about disease in Native  47  Peter O’Reilly to Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, 5 December 1888, RG10, Department of Indian Affairs, Reel C10123, Volume 3704, File 17867. 48 Canada, Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs for 1891, Canada, Sessional Papers (Ottawa: 1892), 54. 49 On the connection between people, race and animals, see, Kay Anderson, “’The Beast Within’: Race, Humanity and Animality,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 18 (2000): 301-320; and Jennifer Wolch and Jody Emel, ed. Animal Geographies: Place, Politics and Identity in the Nature-Culture Borderlands (London: Verso 1998). As historian Adele Perry and others have noted, the phrase “mixed-race” is problematic but there is not a better term that I can think of at this point. 50 A basic social history of ranching and resettlement remains to be written. On intermarriage in early British Columbia see Adele Perry, On the Edge of Empire: Gender, Race and the Making of British Columbia (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001). 225  peoples. 51 Given the way smallpox and other introduced diseases had devastated Native populations in the 19th century, it is hardly surprising that medical discourse in British Columbia largely portrayed the problem of disease as a one-way movement of contagions from newcomer to Native. Yet the fear that diseases (especially tuberculosis) might move from Native to newcomer was also in the air by the early 20th century. 52 Similar concerns pervaded vernacular (and to some extent formal) veterinary knowledge as well, often without evidence and at times amid overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. As late as the 1940s, some British Columbians held that Indian horses were responsible for spreading “sleeping sickness” throughout the grasslands . 53 Whether or not the infection originated with Native horses is impossible to determine. In any event, it was well known by the early 1940s that flies were principle vectors of sleeping sickness. According to provincial livestock commissioner W.R. Gunn, ranchers should “keep their horses free of flies, which are supposed to carry the virus that causes the disease. Animals in infected districts should be worked early in the morning and in the evening when files are not prevalent and the horses should be kept in fly-free barns.” 54 Interbreeding and disease were important factors behind British Columbia’s war with horses (wild and otherwise), but they were not determinative. For ranchers and range managers the most important ‘fact’ about horses was that they wasted forage that would otherwise go to cattle. In 1923 William Ditchburn suggested that horses consumed one and a half times more forage than cattle. In 1925 Thomas Mackenzie insisted that 51  Mary Ellen Kelm, Colonizing Bodies: Aboriginal Health and Healing in British Columbia, 1900-1950 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1998). 52 Mary Ellen Kelm, “Diagnosing the Discursive Indian: Medicine, Gender and the ‘Dying Race,’” Ethnohistory 52, 2 (Spring 2005): 371-406. 53 See: “British Columbia’s Wild Horse,” Victoria Daily Times, 14 February 1940. 54 “Dreaded Horse Disease Strikes,” Victoria Daily Times, 10 August 1938. 226  horses were “approximately three times heavier on the range than cattle, moving quicker, depasturing closer, and living on the range the whole year.” 55 A 1936 Grazing Manual suggested that horses consumed about twice the forage that cattle did. 56 Nineteen years later, a 1955 grazing report presented to Chief Justice Sloan during a Royal Commission on Forests and Forestry estimated “that one horse on the range throughout the year consumes or destroys (by trampling) forage sufficient to support four to five head of cattle.” 57 According to historian of science Theodore Porter, a large part of the power of numbers in public policy derives from their apparent objectivity. As Porter puts it, “quantification is a way of making decisions without seeming to decide.” 58 Just so, it seems, did numbers help to decide (if not quite determine) the fate of wild horses in British Columbia. Although a study of horses and grazing resources had never been undertaken in the province, a very considerable body of settler and scientific opinion and experience (and assumption) held that horses were variously ruinous on rangelands and had to be removed. Ranchers mostly got their wish. A 1950 story in the Victoria Daily Times observed that “over the last 30 years a sort of guerrilla warfare has been carried on against the wild horses and they are steadily being reduced. This year they must all go, if possible.” 59 Hardly any settlers objected to wild horse eradication in the first half of the  55  Thomas Mackenzie, “Report on Grazing,” 10 August 1925, GR 1441, Reel 155, File 13063. 56 British Columbia, Unpublished Grazing Manual, 1936, copy held by Ministry of Forests Library, Victoria, British Columbia, 57 Report to the Royal Commission on Forests and Forestry, 1955, Grazing Division, BCA, GR 1379, Box 1, File 2, 58 Theodore Porter, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1995). 59 “War Declared on Wild Horses,” Victoria Daily Times, 9 January1950 227  20th century and the state forcefully backed this sentiment. In 1951 “three youths were charged with willfully killing…three Indian horses [near Williams Lake]. These men, acting under another man’s license, had apparently shot the horses on private property.” Convicted in the county court, the culprits were acquitted in Supreme Court “on the grounds that they believed that they had a right to shoot wild horses though no permits had been issued to them.” 60 An unknown number of Native-owned “wild horses” were killed as part of the conservation effort to improve British Columbia grasslands, and there was little official concern about the collateral damage. Ultimately, ridding the range of pests was part and parcel of a larger process of colonial dispossession. 61 There were always a few voices of concern at the edges of British Columbia’s quiet consensus on killing horses. Dan Weir, a Cariboo trapper and hunting guide, had shot hundreds of wild horses in the Chilcotin in the 1930s (430 in one winter by his own count) and had made a little extra money doing so. Like others in settler society, Weir did not consider horses to be wild in the same way as bears and cougars; nor was he sheepish about killing them. But he did believe that horses were as hard to hunt as any other wild animal, and that killing them raised basic ethical considerations. Horses were tough animals, as tough as Weir had ever seen. They took “a lot of killing unless you hit in a vital spot. After they have got warmed up with the excitement of running will carry more 60  M.T. Wallace, “Grazing Report for 1951,” GR1238, Kamloops Forest District, Grazing Reports, 1951-55. 61 Others have observed similar, close connections between conservation practice and processes of colonial dispossession. See Jacoby, Crimes against Nature; Loo, States of Nature; Warren, The Hunters Game; John Sandlos, Hunters at the Margins: Native People and Wildlife Conservation in the Northwest Territories (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2007); Mark Spence, Dispossessing the Wilderness Indian Removal and the making of the National Parks (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); Louis Warren, The Hunters Game: Poachers and Conservationists in Twentieth Century America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997). 228  lead than a moose, and they don’t lay down.” According to Weir “the lung shot is the surest and most humane. It’s a big target and they [the horses] just fall down and die almost before you can get over to them. Anywhere in the lungs and they hardly live a minute.” Otherwise, he reiterated (suggesting some apprehension), they “take a lot of killing.” 62 Others complained that the province’s approach to the wild horse problem was wasteful. According to A Plan for the Reclamation of Wild Horses in British Columbia put before the provincial government in the early 1940s, there were as many as 20,000 wild horses in the province. Although some were “small, disfigured, and useless animals unfit for living,” many were strong, rugged animals that should not be “indiscriminately” eradicated. Killing wild horses, the proposal argued, was “wasteful” and fundamentally flawed. It “reduced the wild horse bands from the wrong direction” by culling the strong and relatively superior animals as well as the weak and inferior ones. Rather than wholesale annihilation, a program of annual roundups and systematic culling and breeding would instead “rid British Columbia ranges of the present wild horse nuisance” and produce “marketable horses for every purpose, turning a liability into an asset.” Horses could be sold to local and regional stockbreeders as well as to the Canadian military. Moreover, annual roundups would attract tourist dollars. “The world-wide attraction of the only wild horse range, where native wild horses could be viewed in the natural course of tourist travel, would be inestimable,” the proposal insisted. “Artists, authors, motion picture producers, writers, etc. would in the natural pursuit of their own  62  Dan Weir to Louis LeBourdais, 2 January 1946, BCA Louis LeBourdais Papers, MS0676 Box File 25. 229  interest [in viewing wild horses] assist in publicizing to the world that only in British Columbia, Canada, may such a tremendous undertaking be found.” 63 A few politicians supported the plan, but grazing official R.G McKee dismissed it as “neither sound nor practical.” McKee laughed, “The whole report reads like a western story magazine rather than a workable plan. I trust that the money for it will come from some private individual who can afford to indulge his romantic nature.” 64 In truth, however, plans to kill or reclaim wild horses aimed to eradicate wild horses. They only differed over the means, not the ends of dispossession. Even the most passionate resistance by non-Natives to eradication had the effect of reinforcing the process of dispossession. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) denounced the British Columbia wild horse program as barbaric. In one case the SPCA complained that “the animals were being shot through the body in many instances left to die in pain. Mares were killed and their colts left to starve.” 65 In another case twenty-one “scrub range horses” suffocated inside a Canadian Pacific Railway boxcar bound for Vancouver. According to the SPCA, “the horses were found stacked like cordwood and the doors were sealed tight.” Originally the horses were to be slaughtered and used as fox feed, but their carcasses became fertilizer instead. 66 In 1958, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stopped a Canadian trailer truck at the U.S border “after the SPCA complained that 25 wild horses had been kept in the trailer for 36 hours  63  BCA MS0676 Louis LeBourdais Papers, Box 6 File 25, “Plan for the Reclamation of British Columbia’s Wild Horses,” (no date, probably 1940). 64 R. G. McKee to Louis LeBourdais, 1 June 1940. BCA MS0676, Louis LeBourdais Papers, Box 6 File 25. 65 “Brutality claimed in horses kills” Victoria Daily Times 28 Feb 1951 66 “Horses Suffocate in Sealed Boxcar,” Vancouver Daily Province 7 August 1951. 230  without food or water.” 67 They found one horse was dead and the rest were in poor condition. According to the SPCA, it was time to regulate the roundups and remove the bounty. At least the horses had a right to be treated humanely. The Canadian Wild Horse Society went much further demanding that the government abolish the abhorrent bounty and create a sanctuary where wild horses could graze. Established in 1963 by Tom Hughes, president of the Ontario Humane Society, and Norma Bearcroft, a court stenographer and self-described “horse lover” from British Columbia, the CWHS considered wild horse eradication to be inhumane. 68 Its central plank, however, was not so much an argument for animal rights as an origin story. Wild horses were actually a romantic link to the colonial past. “All wild horses are descendents of Arabian stock brought to the Americas by the Spanish centuries ago,” explained Bearcroft. When they first arrived the horses were simply domesticated animals like any other, but soon a few escaped and spread north, “thriving on the lush grasslands of the prairies and siring great herds of wild horses that are now part of the history of the American west.” Decoupled from Native American history, these horses retained only their Spanish roots. Had not the explorer David Thompson documented wild horses with Spanish-looking manes and tails near modern day Nelson in British Columbia’s east Kootenay Valley? In this horse-centric narrative wild horses ranged across North America’s open grasslands at will, subject only to the vagaries of the seasons. Native  67  SPCA charges Wild Horses Mistreated” Victoria Daily Times 12 November 1958. There is a large literature on the rise of animal rights in Europe and the United States but to my knowledge only scattered and general coverage of Canada. In the American context see Dianne L. Beers, For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006); for broader and deeper perspective on these matters see Rod Preece, Brute Souls, Happy Beasts, and Evolution: The Historical Status of Animals (Vancouver: UBC Press 2006).  68  231  people were irrelevant. According to Bearcroft, cattle and sheep took over the grasslands in the 19th century and transformed these animals into pests. Then the genocide began. Countless thousands of wild horses were killed and converted to dog food and fox feed each year until, finally, there were just a few of wild horses left in the West. “Shaggy and tough,” the horses survived on a few small and scattered mountain meadows that ranchers did not want, appearing briefly at lower elevations in April and May just to “taste the first sweet grass of spring.” “With a few variations,” Bearcroft insisted, “this is the story that emerges if one digs deep enough.” 69 Missing, of course, were the ways that horses were integral to Native history before resettlement; nor did Bearcroft acknowledge that wild horse eradication had anything to do with dispossession or that some wild horses might have more common origins as feral outcasts. The CWHS’s wild horse sanctuary was a radically simplified archive of Western history, but no such sanctuary was ever created. The bounty on wild horses was instead broadened to include mares. Wild horse round-ups became fewer and far smaller in British Columbia as the number of wild horses in the province dwindled, but grazing officials never ruled them out. Small-scale roundups in 1974 and 1980 removed 68 and 47 horses respectively. A somewhat larger roundup in 1988 shipped 129 horses from the Chilcotin region to Williams Lake, where they were sold and then turned into pet food. By the early 1980s the reasons for wild horse removal had grown more complicated. Horses were now seen as “taking food away from wildlife” regional wildlife branch manager Marty Beets told the Vancouver Sun following a 1988 roundup, “and they’re also competing for food with cattle.” According to Beets, wild horses posed a greater problem in 1987 than at any time 69  Vancouver Public Library, Canadian Wild Horse Society Scrapbook, Tom Hazlitt, “The best friend a wild horse ever had” no date. 232  recent memory. “It’s getting more critical,” he insisted. “We’ve got less water, so there’s less forage and the competition may get even more severe. The water table rapidly is dropping and potholes are drying up that haven’t run dry in since the 1930s. ” 70 Range manger Lyle Resh agreed. “Horses pose wildlife management and range control problems for a number of reasons,” he added. Because they occupied “the range all year, they overgraze and cause erosion to the Chilcotin’s side hill country, and they graze the sedge, grasses and shrubs that provide food for cattle, deer, moose, and wild sheep.” 71 Although protecting deer, moose and wild sheep was a new rationale for ridding the range of horses, the underlying logic of eradication had not changed since the late 19th century. Animals were assessed on the basis of exchange value. 72 Cattle remained at the top of this scale, whereas horses, if they ranked at all, were at or near the bottom and grasshoppers had no value at all. By the 1980s, the value of deer, moose, and sheep had risen. Partly this was because they were important to scientific researchers, to hunters, and to people interested in protecting wild nature for posterity. The provincial Fish and Wildlife Branch were besieged with letters, petitions, and reports begging officials to save Bighorn sheep in particular. Populations had suffered several significant “die-offs” in the 1960s and 1970s due to disease and competition not with horses but rather cattle for forage on the sheep’s winter ranges. 73 Their fate seemed precarious into the 1980s. 74  70  “Special Report: The Killing of Wild Horses” Vancouver Sun 18 March 1988. Ibid. 72 For a similar analysis of animals in the American west see Richard White, Animals and Enterprise, in Oxford History of the American West, Clyde Milner ed. 237-273 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). 73 This is a study in its own right and one that has not been written. My admittedly cursory understanding of the cattle-sheep conflict is based on a reading of reports held by the BC Ministry of Forest and Range Library. See: James Hatter, R.A. Demarchi and I.D Smith, Submission on Grazing by the British Columbia Fish and Wildlife Branch to the 71  233  In the simple arithmetic of range and wildlife administration, “feral” horses –the preferred terminology of provincial biologists and range ecologists – were a detriment to the production and careful management of more valuable animals including “real” wildlife. Horses still had to go. It is unclear just how many horses were removed from rangelands in British Columbia in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Records held by the provincial Grazing Branch indicate that at least 13,420 horses were removed from provincial rangelands between 1924 (when the eradication program was first enacted) and 1955 (when it began to slow down), and that this removal accounted for as much as a quarter of all expenditures on “range improvement” during these years. 75 But this was only a partial accounting of the cost and carnage of improving British Columbia’s grasslands in the twentieth century. Fully externalized were the negative impacts of conservation on Native people. The fate of the horses is clearer than the numbers involved. Although the wild horse advocate Norma Bearcroft once wrote that British Columbia “contain[ed] a valley  Select Committee on Forestry and Fisheries, 11 March 1969; D.A Demarchi, A Comparison of BC Forest Service and BC Fish and Wildlife Branch Estimates of Carrying Capacity on the Bill River Range, 5 August 1969; D.A Demarchi et. al. Mountain Sheep Management Plan for British Columbia, January 1973; the most important conflicts between cattle and sheep occurred in the East Kootenay region. There are numerous reports on this but the most important is the 2-volume report by R.J. Hudson, V.C (Bert) Brink, and W.D Kitts titled The Grazing Question in British Columbia submitted to government in 1974, which is also available at the Ministry of Forests and Range Library in Victoria. 74 On the importance of hunting interests in the history of wildlife protection in Canada more generally, see Tina Loo States of Nature; in the American context see Warren, The Hunter’s Game. 75 See British Columbia, Reports of the Forest Branch, 1924 – 1960 (Victoria: Government Printing Office). 234  knee-deep in the carcasses of slain horses,” most horses left the province alive. 76 There is evidence that the British Imperial Army purchased many horses during the Boer war, and an unknown number were shipped to the Soviet Union in the late 1920s because the “durable” animals were apparently suited to the purposes of the army on the Russian steppe. 77 Most were simply crowded into railcars and sent to Oregon, Washington, Montana, Washington and Oregon, Alberta or Saskatchewan where they were slaughtered and rendered as fertilizer, pet food, or feed for fox farms. These were indeed unromantic endings for animals that by the mid-twentieth century had become for some a much-cherished symbol of western freedom and wilderness. 78  76  Norma Bearcroft, The Wild Horses of Canada (Canadian Wild Horse Society, 1972), 58-59. 77 “Breaking in Wild Horses,” Vancouver Province 10 April 1902. Transcripts, “Grazing Commission 1930,” Copy held by Ministry of Forest and Range Library, Victoria. 78 For a recent example see Elwyn Hartley Edwards, Wild Horses: A Spirit Unbroken (Stillwater: Voyageur Press 1995). 235  Conclusion: A New Order  All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.  George Orwell, Animal Farm (1946)  In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a new order was imposed upon the land and inhabitants of the interior plateau of British Columbia. The remaking of this rather remote region of North America took place in particular ways and at a particular time, but it was neither entirely new nor, in a broad sense, unique. The interior plateau was distinct from other New World settings in ecological detail and in the culture and life-ways of its indigenous inhabitants, but as Alfred Crosby and others have shown, Old Word cattle and crops along with their human custodians had colonized numerous other forest and grassland environments in the age of European imperial expansion, and various ecological niches and many indigenous groups were profoundly, indeed even irrevocably, altered in the process. The story of ranching and pest eradication on British Columbia’s interior plateau was part of a larger story of New World resettlement and worldwide decline in biological diversity. 1  1  Alfred Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1986); Eleanor Melville, A Plague of Sheep: Environmental Consequences of the Conquest of Mexico (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 236  One recent measure of declining biological diversity from the interior plateau is the relatively high number of rare and endangered species found in its open grassland. 2 The Sage Grouse and White-tailed Jackrabbit have already been extirpated from the grasslands, and biologists worry that the Badger and Pallid Bat are bound for a similar fate. Several reptile and amphibian species, including the Western Rattlesnake and Tiger Salamander, and numerous bird species, including the Grasshopper Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, and Prairie Falcon, are also threatened. All of these animals, and many more besides, depend on native grassland for habitat, but there is now little, if any, such grassland that has not been altered by relatively recent activity. Much has simply been lost. 3 None of this is to idealize nature or to argue for the “end of nature.” 4 After all, some species thrive in the new order. Nor is it to argue that ranching alone is responsible for the fate of every endangered plant and animal in the grasslands since, quite clearly, other forms of development (condominium developments, orchards, vineyards, golf courses) have also made it difficult for some species to survive. It is to argue, however, that the resettlement and reordering of British Columbian landscapes has come at a considerable cost for some species. 5  2  There are 252 endangered species in the grasslands including 180 plants and 72 animals. Overall, less than one percent of the province contains over thirty percent of its endangered species. 3 See Forest Practices Board, Special Investigation: The Effect of Range Practices on Grasslands: A Test Case for Upper Grasslands in the South Central Interior of British Columbia (Victoria: 2007). 4 Bill McKibben, The End of Nature (New York: Random House, 1989). 5 For a recent overview of endangered species in British Columbia see Paul Wood and Laurie Flahr, “Taking Endangered Species Seriously? British Columbia’s Species at Risk Policies,” Canadian Public Policy – Analyse de Politiques, 30, 4 (2004): 381-399. More generally Karen Beazely and Robert Boardman, Politics of the Wild: Canada and Endangered Species (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2001). 237  In some cases, however, ranching has been decisive in determining the fates of animals. Since the late nineteenth century, ranchers and provincial range officials have tried hard to make the interior plateau as comfortable as possible for domestic cattle by eradicating animal pests. Countless animals including cougars, wolves, bears, coyotes, hawks, eagles, gophers, owls, horses, grasshoppers and numerous non-target species, including elk, deer and several kinds of songbird, have been killed in the province’s century long effort to sustain ranching in an environment that, ironically, evolved without large, herding herbivores like bison. Indeed, it was partly because British Columbia’s grasslands evolved without large herd animals like bison – and were thus relatively unsuited to the trampling and sustained, heavy grazing characteristic of commercial cattle ranching – that ranchers and range managers had to engage in certain forms of pest eradication in the first place. Range degradation favored grasshopper outbreaks and there is evidence wild/feral horses flourish relative to domestic cattle in degraded grassland. Ironically, range degradation favored the very creatures that ranchers and the state increasingly sought to eradicate. The story of ranching and pest eradication is not a simple tale of environmental determinism, however. The meaning and value that the eradicators attached to animals also mattered. 6 Europeans brought to the New World a deeply instrumental view of nonhuman nature. Long ago the historian Lynn White Jr. traced this view to a JudeoChristian imperative to control and subdue nature. According to White, “Christianity inherited from Judaism…a striking story of creation. By gradual stages a loving and all-  6  Students of ecological imperialism, as Alfred Crosby calls it, tend to focus on the material dimensions of resettlement without much attention to the realm of culture and ideas. 238  powerful God had created light and darkness, the heavenly bodies, the earth and all its plants, animals, birds, and fishes… Man named all the animals thus establishing his dominance over them. God planned all of this explicitly for man’s benefit and rule: no item in physical creation had any purpose save to serve man’s purposes.” 7 White’s essay is an important starting point for thinking about the cultural – as opposed to economic, technological or demographic – origins of modern environmental problems. On the other hand, not all branches of the Judeo-Christian tradition have been domineering and ecologically destructive. Ecological problem-causers may be Christians, but not all Christians are ecological problem-causers. In any event, environmental problems are not unique to Judeo-Christian societies. Indeed, every society in history has, at some level, had to deal with them. 8 Others have argued that the rise of instrumental reasoning actually has much broader and more recent – as well as more secular – origins in early modern Europe, when revolutionary changes in science combined with new technology to suggest that nature was nothing more than a storehouse of energy and resources to be harnessed for the purpose of human progress and improvement. 9 As historian Carolyn Merchant argues this point, “Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the image of an organic cosmos…gave way to a mechanistic world view in which nature was reconstructed as 7  Lynn White Jr. “The Ecological Roots of our Ecological Crisis,” Science 155, 3767 (1967): 1203-1207. 8 There is a huge literature on these matters. I found the following books and articles especially useful: Robbin Attfield, “Social History, Religion, and Technology: An Interdisciplinary Investigation into Lynn White’s ‘Roots,’” Environmental Ethics, 31, 1 (2009); 31-50; Clarence Glacken, “Reflections on the history of Western Attitudes to Nature,” Geojournal 26, 2 (1992); 103-111; and David Lodge and Christopher Hamlin, Religion and the New Ecology (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006). 9 Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution (San Francisco: Harper Collins 1990): xvi. 239  dead and passive, to be controlled by humans.” 10 Merchant may be right in outline about the shift from an organic to mechanical worldview in early modern Europe, but overall the argument suffers from too simple a conception of science. In recent years geographers, historians, philosophers and other students of science have begun to paint a far more complicated picture of science’s past. Key to this new understanding of modern science is the realization that there has not been one ‘tradition’ of ‘western science,’ but that there have been many, each with its own standards of truth, objectivity and authority over questions about nature. 11 In short, not all sciences are instrumental in outlook. As the environmental scientist Dena Pedynowski argues, the “meta-narrative” of “western science” found in Merchant’s Death of Nature and other similarly framed studies of science, “belies the complexity of scientific endeavor and its diverse epistemic cultures.” 12 Closer to colonial British Columbia, I think, was a distinctly capitalist brand of instrumental reasoning in which the fate of animals was determined simply on the basis of their exchange value. The measure of worth in capitalism’s Great Chain of Being was purely commercial, and any creature that interfered with the production and careful management of more valuable animals was a pest and an enemy to be eliminated. 13 As environmental historian Donald Worster observes, “in an age ruled by [capitalist]  10  Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution (San Francisco: Harper Collins 1990): xvi. 11 For an overview see Jan Golnski, Making Natural Knowledge: Constructivism and the History of Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 12 Dena Pedynowski, “Science(s): Which, When, and Whose? Probing the Metanarrative of Scientific Knowledge in the Social Construction of Nature,” Progress in Human Geography 27 (2003): 739. 13 This phrase comes Arthur Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being: A study of the History of an Idea (Harvard: Harvard University Press 1960). 240  instrumentalism, nature ceases to have any value in itself…A tree, a mountain, a river, and its edges, are meaningless except where they can be turned to some use by a farmer, a scientist, or a manufacturer.” Nature, he continues (quoting German theorist Max Horkheimer), “‘is degraded to mere material, without any other purpose than that of this very domination.’” 14 This surely helps to explain the pervasiveness of military discourse on the interior plateau in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. So powerful was the instrumental logic of capitalism that ranchers and provincial range managers could see their individual successes as being tied to the annihilation of entire species. As Frank Ward, manager of the massive Douglas Lake Cattle Company put it, “the grass is so limited that we are required to take every possible care or we shall all be forced out of business for lack of pasture. All animals which live by grazing and are of no commercial value should be treated as a pest and destroyed.” 15 None of this is suggest that newcomers to the interior plateau never appreciated animals or sometimes felt sorry for them when they died. Nor is it to be nostalgic about the plateau before capitalism or idealize indigenous peoples and their relationships with animal nature. Like all human communities, the indigenous peoples of the plateau sought to “order and control the natural world,” but their social ordering of nature also required a “religious negotiation” of the landscape. 16 Ritualized ‘first salmon’ and ‘first game’ ceremonies were common practice throughout the plateau culture area. Some indigenous groups sweat-bathed and then sang to the spirits before hunting. Others sang to animals 14  Donald Worster, Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Growth of the American West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985): 55. 15 Frank B Ward to The Nicola Stockbreeders Association, 30 May 1929, BCA, Douglas Lake Cattle Company Records, MS 1082, box 3, file 6. 16 Richard White, “Animals and Enterprise” in Oxford History of the American West, Clyde Milner ed. 237-273 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). 237 241  even as they butchered them, and all indigenous groups took special care not to offend the spirits of the animals that consented to being killed. 17 Ultimately, indigenous people killed animals “as much by prayer, pleading and reverence as by the arrow or spear.” 18 European settlers were far more instrumental in outlook and killed animals as much by economic calculation as by bullet or chemical poison. Using the kind of simple arithmetic that most settlers found irresistible, one provincial grazing official calculated that the elimination of 5527 “worthless” wild horses between 1940 and 1945 “conserved” range sufficient to feed 27,635 head of cattle worth an estimated 331,620 dollars. 19 Historian Richard White describes the transition from indigenous to settler space in the American West metaphorically as a transition between two forms of bio-political organization. Before the arrival of Europeans, the West was a “biological republic” where people and animals were interchangeable equals and “pity was the sentiment that animals felt toward humans.” By the close of nineteenth century, however, the West had become a “biological monarchy,” a place “where humans reigned, where uselessness was a crime punishable by death, and where enterprise was the reigning virtue.”20 The same transition took place on British Columbia’s interior plateau in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, beginning with the continental fur trade and culminating in the arrival of cattle ranching. “Animal persons yielded to animals of enterprise, which gleaned the energy of  17  See William Sturtevant ed. Handbook of North American Indians: Volume 12: Plateau ed. 220-222 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1998). 18 White, “Animals and Enterprise,” 238. 19 BCA, GR0520, Royal Commission on Forestry, Box 16, File 4. 20 White, “Animals and Enterprise,” 257. 242  western ecosystems to produce hides, meat and wool that found markets all over the world.” 21 Like all monarchies, British Columbia’s biological monarchy was premised on territorial control and this made pest control an instrument of dispossession and human rule. Not all humans reigned in the new order, however. Class and race divided British Columbia’s biological monarchy, pitting people against each other in sometimes-bitter struggles over the fate and meaning of nature, and making monarchical rule much more difficult. The way the rulers responded to these challenges underscored the social nature of the environmental problems they faced. In the case of grasshopper irruptions, it was easier and much more acceptable politically to use poison than it was to tackle land-use problems were social in nature. And when range managers used legislation to compel participation in poison control – a move that strongly resembled the social policy of military conscription – they did so precisely to avoid confronting the social problem of class. Likewise, the ecological problem of range degradation was reframed in racial terms that enabled some people to avoid confronting their own complicity in the process. Rather than confront the ecological inroads from ranching, ranchers and provincial land managers simply targeted competing, marginal claims to range, in this case “wild” horses that were often “Indian horses.” Rather than confront the problems they faced, the rulers of British Columbia’s biological monarchy tried to erase them, and in the battles that ensued discourse was an immensely effective weapon. Indigenous peoples were constructed as ‘uncivilized’ and ‘idle’ and as incapable of using land properly, while their horse herds were portrayed as  21  Ibid., 238. 243  profligate wasters of range and as wild interlopers and disease-prone inter-breeders that polluted much better bloodlines. Discourse was a particularly powerful tool of colonial dispossession, but it also profoundly shaped social relations among colonizers. The small ranchers who obstructed or simply refused to assist grazing officials with poison control confronted powerful and deeply rooted cultural assumptions and stereotypes when they were labeled ‘unprogressive.’ For all their important differences, both brands of discourse bolstered British Columbia’s biological monarchy. ‘Wild horses’ were legally declared ‘ownerless outlaws’ open to destruction by ranchers and the state, while an undemocratic, almost feudal Grasshopper Control Act ensured smaller ranchers cooperated with poison control. A large portion of the power and momentum of pest eradication in British Columbia came from such social constructions, but the most effective discursive devices were those that revolved around human warfare. Words and images of warfare were pervasive and uncontested on the interior plateau, but the connections to warfare went much deeper as provincial grazing officials made direct, material links with militaries in Canada, Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. British Columbia’s wars with grasshoppers and wild horses were not wars in the usual sense of human conflict. Nor were they alike in every respect. Indeed, in terms of the animals, ecologies, and human communities involved, they were often quite different. But they were wars and like all wars each had serious and lasting consequences for people and nonhuman nature alike. People suffered, parts of the plateau environment were badly degraded, countless animals  244  died, and, in ways that nobody intended or noticed, the repulsiveness of real human warfare was diminished and trivialized. 22 None of this is to be nostalgic about nature or the past. There is no going back, nor perhaps would we wish to. Certainly this has not been a romantic history. Rather, we must live with what we have as well as what we have done, and try to do better – not just by each other, but by the rest of nature as well. In recent decades environmental debate in North America has devolved into decreasingly productive arguments over social justice versus environmentalism, as if these were separate and distinct problems. 23 A speciesinclusive reading of history is not the answer to environmental problems, but it will help to bridge the divide between social justice and environmentalism by encouraging people to think and act in terms of a broader species-based theory of justice. As philosopher Martha Nussbaum argues, “it has been obvious for a long time that the pursuit of global justice requires the inclusion of many people and groups who were not previously included as fully equal subjects of justice: the poor, members of religious, ethnic, and racial minorities; and more recently women, the disabled and inhabitants of nations distant from one’s own. But a truly global justice requires not simply that we look across the world for other fellow species members who are entitled to a decent life. It also requires looking around the world at the other sentient beings with whose lives our own 22  This line of analysis draws from a growing body of scholarship on the environmental history of warfare. For an introduction see Edmund Russell and Richard Tucker, Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward and Environmental History of Warfare (Corvallis: Oregon State University of Press, 2004); less directly see Clinton Evans, The War on Weeds in the Prairie West (Calgary: University of Calgary Press 2002), and Mark L. Winston, Nature Wars: People vs. Pests (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999). 23 On the tensions between social justice and environmentalism see, David Harvey, Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1996); also see David Harvey, Spaces of Hope (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), especially 199-232. 245  are inextricably and complexly intertwined.” 24 When the social and ecological costs of New World resettlement are fully calculated, we may well agree with Orwell’s pigs that ALL ANIMALS ARE CREATED EQUAL BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS. 25 But we may not. 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