Looking back in new ways

Historian and author Bill Waiser will be reading from his latest book, A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905, at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library on Jan. 21. (Photo courtesy Bill Waiser)

Historian and author explores Saskatchewan before provincehood

The history of Saskatchewan doesn’t begin in 1905.

In A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905, historian and author Bill Waiser tells the story of the region starting in the late 17th century, when Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) fur trader Henry Kelsey became the first known European to visit the northern plains.

But instead of recounting that period from Kelsey’s perspective, Waiser tells the story “from the inside.”

“I turn that story on its head, so instead of Kelsey being the outsider, striding larger than life across the pages of our history, I tell the story of Kelsey as an intruder… Kelsey really doesn’t know where he’s going without indigenous assistance,” Waiser said.

“How did he get inland, how did he know where he was going? You can’t answer those questions unless you bring in the indigenous perspectives, so I think it’s a matter of stepping back and asking new questions.”

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Got to go:

What? Book launch: A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905 by Bill Waiser

Where? John M. Cuelenaere Public Library

When? Saturday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m.

Admission? Free