Premières nations et colons - Extrait de The Great Lone Land
par Sir William Francis Butler
They are gone, and scarcely a trace remains of them. Others have left in lake and mountain-top the record of their names. Erie and Ottawa, Seneca and Cayuga tell of forgotten or almost forgotten nation which a century ago were great and powerful. But never at any time since first the white man was welcomed on the newly-discovered shores of the Western Continent by his red brother, never has such disaster and destruction overtaken these poor wild, wandering sons of nature as at the moment in which we write. Of yore it was the pioneers of France, England, and Spain with whom they had to contend, but now the whole white world is leagued in bitter strife against the Indian. The American and Canadian are only names that hide beneath them the greed of united Europe. Terrible deeds have been wrought out in that western land... If on the long line of the American frontier, from the Gulf of Mexico to the British boundary, a single life is taken be an Indian, if even a horse or ox be stolen from a settler, the fact is chronicled in scores of journals throughout the United States, but the reverse of the story we never know. The countless deeds of perfidious robbery, of ruthless murder done by white savages out in these Western wilds never find the light of day... The most curious anomaly among the race of man, the red man of America, is passing away beneath our eyes in to the infinite solitude. The possession of the same noble qualities which we affect to reverence among our nation makes us kill him. If he would be as the African or the Asiatic it would be all right for him; if he would be our slave he might live, but as he won't be that, won't toil and delve and hew for us, and will persist in hunting, fishing, and roaming over the beautiful prairie land which the Great Spirit gave him; in a word, since he will be free - we kill him.
Lieutenant-général sir William Francis Butler a écrit son récit de voyage, The Great Lone Land en 1872 suite à son voyage aux Rocheuses de l'année précédente. Sa perception romantique et impérialiste l'a popularisé avec ses compatriotes britanniques. Mais, par contre, lorsque le chemin de fer arrive dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest et les colons européens arrivent en grand nombre, le rapport entre les indigènes et les nouveaux arrivants était devenu beaucoup plus compliqué.