Capturing Women: The Manipulation of Cultural Imagery in Canada's Prairie West


247 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7735-1656-5
DDC 971.2'02




Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian studies at
Concordia University, and the author of Kurlek, Margaret Laurence: The
Long Journey Home, and As Though Life Mattered: Leo Kennedy’s Story.


In the last three decades of the 19th century, what had been an
aboriginal majority became a small minority, one increasingly segregated
from Euro-Canadians. Settlers needed wives; settlements needed more
hands, and children. The thesis of this excellent and innovative study
is that distorted images of Natives and of European women were created
in late 19th-century Canada to encourage “white” settlement.
“Women in the West were polarized at this time,” writes Carter,
“into those who were regarded as the virtuous and pure agents of
salvation of [white] men and civilizers of the new region or the nation,
and those regarded as the promiscuous agents of ruin of the same.”

Carter develops her thesis with skill and authority. Her book makes an
important contribution to western Canadian history, and has strong
relevance to ongoing relations with Canada’s Native populations.


Carter, Sarah A., “Capturing Women: The Manipulation of Cultural Imagery in Canada's Prairie West,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 29, 2024,