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A tone of cynical critique at the prevailing practices of white people runs throughout the stories John Maclean wrote for a younger audience. An illustrative example is "The White Man's Bride," as published in The Warden of the Plains:

Story 1A white man, Major Brown, spends some time on the Blood reserve. This "fine specimen of that educated class of his countrymen who, being possessed of private means, are able to indulge their desire of change and adventure" marries an Aboriginal woman, and has a child with her. After some time the man returns to England "to attend to some important business". The woman with her young son is brought back to her father who, after waiting two years in vain for Brown's return, sells her to an old Indian. Story 13 The woman is not worth much because she has been the wife of a white man. As the fourth wife of the old man she enjoys the treatment of a slave, becomes ill and dies. "In a large and busy manufacturing town in the west of England, a merchant sat in his office reading his letters . . . Among the others was a paper from the Canadian North-west in which a parked paragraph caught his eye. 'There died last Friday on the Blood Reserve, Napiake, and Indian squaw . . . Forgotten? No! He could never forget her. But in that busy English town he is a merchant prince, [married and] holding an honoured position in society . . . Little Charlie Brown finds a home among the Indians, depending on them for food and clothing, and sometimes an old-timer takes compassion on him . . . He endures the poverty of an Indian lodge, while over the sea his father enjoys the comfort of an English mansion."

Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUA  Women in the Fur Trade, Part 9: Discrimination
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Citation Sources
Maclean, John. The Warden of the Plains and Other Stories of Life in the Canadian North-West. Toronto: William Briggs, 1896.


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