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Labelled with ICRA

Since 1979 logo

book cover

6 X 9 inches, 64 pages

ISBN 0889840121
Out of print

ISBN 0889840148

The Land They Occupied

originally published by The Porcupine's Quill, Inc.

John Flood

'ON JUNE 29, 1905, Duncan Campbell Scott was appointed by the Governor General to represent the Dominion of Canada in the negotiation of James Bay Treaty (Number 9) with the Indians who inhabited the 90,000 square miles of Northern Ontario drained by the Albany and Moose River systems. Cession of Indian title to land further south had taken place in 1850 (Robinson Treaties) and further west in 1873 (Northwest Angle Treaty: Treaty Number 3). To complete his task Scott was to spend two summers paddling and portaging these great rivers. Behind him he left a record of how he dealt with the Indian people.

'An excerpt from a news item in the December 4, 1974 issue of The Timmins Daily Press demonstrates how real the discontent is among Native people in Northern Ontario today [1974]. Andrew Rickard, president of Grand Council Treaty Number Nine, says that research into the validity of treaty negotiations in 1905 and 1906 has begun and that

"... it indicates to us that we have a strong base in which to request re-negotiations," he said. When asked how many incidents of illegal procedures had been consummated during the treaty signing, Mr. Rickard replied, "When I say our people were shafted, that brings it to 100% doesn't it."'

After setting the historical scene in the preface, John Flood delves into the dark heart of Scott's encounter. In imagining select events, these stark, incisive poems, remind us, perhaps, why we are still reeling from the repercussions of those early land title negotiations.

champion shaman
debater of the boreal,
mounts his canoe,
erection at the bow
dividing the river.

Straight shooting
instinct in his organ,

half canoe's length
over falls.

Not dead,

though everything is smashed,
he is splayed
on rocks below, penis
like a worm in the belly
of a dead fish, body hunger gone,
foam rubbing him out
of the magic his brain

Now more legend than god.

The Great Debate


John Flood


Aside from being the busy proprieter and president of Penumbra Press, John Flood has penned two volumes of poetry of his own, The Land They Occupied (Porcupine's Quill Inc.) and No Longer North (Black Moss Press).

He was also the founding editor of two literary and fine arts magazines, Boréal and Northward Journal: A Quarterly of Northern Arts, and the managing editor of The Literary Review of Canada. He presided over Carleton University Press from 1994 to 1998, where he now serves as an adjunct professor. And like many Penumbra authors, he is listed in the Canadian Who's Who.

He holds a B.A from Saint Dunstan's University (Charlottetown), an M.A. from University of Calgary, and a Ph.D. from University of Toronto. He specializes in Northern and Native literature through the critical lens of reader response theory. A professor of English language and Literature for twenty-four years at Université de Hearst, which once appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest university in the world. Dr. Flood was the entire department of English.

A Word from the Publisher ...

An Interview with the Publisher ...

Once upon a Swamp ...


Duncan Campbell Scott



Duncan Campbell Scott authored numerous volumes of poetry, short fiction, and essays—most notably Village of Viger (1896, 1945) and The Circle of Affection (1947).

On a less than noble note, Duncan Campbell Scott was also the man the Governor General chose in 1905 to negotiate with Natives of northern Ontario what became the notorious James Bay Treaty—Number Nine. John Flood explores this historic encounter through poetry in The Land They Occupied (1976), and later edits and publishes Untitled Novel, ca. 1905 which Scott had authored just prior to his notorious dealings on behalf of the Dominion of Canada.

U of T: Representative Poetry On-Line

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