Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

May 1997


Published in Great Plains Research 7:1 (Spring 1997). Copyright © 1997 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Canada as an historically contingent society, developing within the context of its own internal evolution, has always framed its becoming in its changing political, economic, and cultural relationships with the United States. The border takes on special significance for Canadians as it serves as the basic reference point for historical, literal, symbolic, and psychological interpretations of identity. Yet the meanings assigned to the border vary regionally because of different historic-geographical experiences.

This paper examines different types of population, economic, political, and cultural interactions taking place across the border within what can be called the international region of the Great Plains. It attempts to identify and elucidate those forces which served to integrate and differentiate those societies developing on both sides of the forty-ninth parallel. To this end, the paper makes some judgment as to the relevance of the Borderlands thesis in understanding Canadian-American relationships in this part of North America.