Strangers in the House: A Prairie Story of Bigotry and Belonging

Strangers in the House: A Prairie Story of Bigotry and Belonging

by Candace Savage


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A renowned author investigates the dark and shocking history of her prairie house.

When researching the first occupant of her Saskatoon home, Candace Savage discovers a family more fascinating and heartbreaking than she expected

Napoléon Sureau dit Blondin built the house in the 1920s, an era when French-speakers like him were deemed “undesirable” by the political and social elite, who sought to populate the Canadian prairies with WASPs only. In an atmosphere poisoned first by the Orange Order and then by the Ku Klux Klan, Napoléon and his young family adopted anglicized names and did their best to disguise their “foreignness.”

In Strangers in the House, Savage scours public records and historical accounts and interviews several of Napoléon’s descendants, including his youngest son, to reveal a family story marked by challenge and resilience. In the process, she examines a troubling episode in Canadian history, one with surprising relevance today.

Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781771642040
Publisher: Greystone Books
Publication date: 09/24/2019
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Candace Savage is the author of several bestselling, award-winning books. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 1994 was inducted into the Honor Roll of the Rachel Carson Institute, Chatham College, in Pittsburgh. She shares her time between Eastend and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Table of Contents

Preface 1

1 Little House 5

2 Tangled Roots 23

3 Making Connections 39

4 An Agitation of Ghosts 54

5 Township of Tiny 68

6 Prairie Fire 82

7 Land Claims 96

8 Proving Up 113

9 Crystal Beach 131

10 Battle Grounds 148

11 Hard Times 168

12 Invisible Empire 186

13 Revelations 208

Acknowledgments 229

Blondin Family Tree (Partial) 232

Map of Places in the Text 234

Notes 237

Bibliography 249

Index 265

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Beautifully written and impeccably researched, Strangers in the House is a remarkable achievement."
—Roy MacGregor, author of Canadians: A Portrait of a Country and Its People

Strangers in the House puts the past in conversation with the present to show how certain events and decisions can have a ripple effect that lasts for generations.”
—Guillaume Morissette, author of The Original Face

"In Strangers in the House, Candace Savage has deftly reached across time and space to tell another, less comfortable side of Saskatchewan history through the lives of the people who once lived in her Saskatoon home. It’s as though they’re sitting together at the kitchen table, speaking from the heart, baring their souls."
—Bill Waiser, historian and author of A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905

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