before modern political boundaries divided North America, the
prairie region of modern Canada served as a borderless homeland and
trade region for First Nations peoples. With the purchase of
Rupert's Land by the Government of Canada in 1869 the Canadian
prairies as a whole, except for what was then Manitoba, became a
political unit called the North-West Territories. Within these new
political boundaries the prairies functioned fairly
naturally as a region. There continued to be a shared sense of
history and economic integration.
When the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were carved out of
the North-West Territories in 1905, they did not immediately lose
all that had previously tied them together. Despite the growth of
provincial distinctions, the economies of the four western provinces
to this day are still based primarily on the exporting of primary
resources such as foodstuffs, forest products, and oil and gas.
Because of these shared experiences the people of the Canadian west
largely continue to have a common outlook globally and within
information on this topic see:
Gerald Friesen. The West: Regional Ambitions, National
Debates, Global Age. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1999.
This digital collection was
produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital
Collections initiative, Industry Canada.