Red gods in the sportsman's Eden: wildlife conservation and the ordering of land in the Stikine Plateau, 1905-1918




Peyton, Jonathan Wynne

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In the early years of the twentieth-century, the British Columbia government used game law and conservation as a pretext for the establishment of an alternative, liberal order land regime in the northern reaches of the province. A. Bryan Williams, the first Provincial Game Warden (1905-1918), implemented this new order through legal strictures, promotion of tourism and settlement, and the operation of a wildlife conservation agenda designed to secure control over land managed by Indigenous peoples. The Tahltan of the Stikine Plateau, aided by the activism of ethnographer, hunting guide and Indigenous rights advocate James A. Teit, resisted the encroachment of their hunting territory by emphasizing connections to their land and resources. I analyse the correspondence between these two men to determine the extent of their contributions to the imposition of a new wildlife management agenda, resistance to it, and the incorporation of Indigenous peoples into a wage economy. In addition, I make preliminary attempts to integrate Antonio Gramsci's concept of hegemony, complemented by Ian McKay's understanding of the liberal order as a `project of rule', into the historiography of British Columbia. I contend that an analysis of colonial hegemonies and local counter-hegemonies can contribute to an understanding of the historical dimensions of power and resistance, both actual and discursive.



wildlife conservation, law and legislation, Tahltan Indians, British Columbia