Gerald A. Friesen

Professor of History
University of Manitoba


Prince Albert schools



B.A. (High Honours in History)

University of Saskatchewan



University of Toronto



University of Toronto


Positions held

Visiting Lecturer

University of Manitoba



University of Manitoba


Assistant Professor

University of Manitoba


Associate Professor

University of Manitoba



University of Manitoba


Visiting Professor (Honorary)

Macquarie University (Sydney)


Visiting Scholar

University of Sydney


Seagram Chair

McGill University
(McGill Institute for the Study of Canada)


Fields of specialization

Canadian History - including special teaching and research responsibilities in prairie and western Canadian history, labour history, and the history of culture and communication in Canada



Saunderson Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Manitoba


American Association for State & Local History, Certificate of Commendation


Rh Institute Award for Excellence in Research, University of Manitoba


Canadian Historical Association, Macdonald Prize for best volume in Canadian history


Canadian Historical Association, Regional History Award of Merit


Pettyjohn Lecturer, Washington State University


Canadian Historical Association. Regional History Award of Merit (to University of Manitoba Press for Manitoba Studies in Native History series)


Seagram Chair and Seagram Lecture, McGill University


Canadian Historical Association, finalist for Macdonald Prize


Fellow, Royal Society of Canada

The Canadian Prairies: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 544, 1984. Reprinted 1984. Reprinted in student paperback edition with statistical appendix 1987, reprinted 1992, 1997. Reprints of various chapters.

A Guide to the Study of Manitoba Local History (with Barry S. Potyondi). University of Manitoba Press, 1981.

River Road: Essays on Manitoba and Prairie History. University of Manitoba Press, 1996.

The West: Regional Ambitions, National Debates, Global Age. Penguin 1999.

Citizens and Nation: An Essay on History, Communication, and Canada University of Toronto Press 2000.

Work in progress
(1) A Social History of the Canadian Prairies during the Great Transition 1840-1890.
(2) A History of Immigrants in Prairie Cities (With Royden Loewen)
(3) Leaders of Rural Manitoba 1946 (with James Giffen)
(4) Region and Nation: The Forgotten Force in Canadian History

2001"The Evolving Meanings of Region in Canada" Canadian Historical Review 82,3 pp 529-45
2001"Defining the Prairies: or, why the prairies don't exist" in Robert Wardhaugh ed Toward Defining the Prairies: Region, Culture, and History (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press) pp 13-28
2001"Can You Trust It? The View From Here and the WAG Canadian Collection as Historical Documents" Manitoba History v 41 pp31-38

A. Canada's Visual History/Histoire du Canada en Images (Produced by the National Museums of Canada and the National Film Board)
1970Co-founder of the project
1971-3Advisory Board member: the series was created at meetings in Ottawa and Montreal; 30 volumes were commissioned.
1974-6Editorial Board member: the first 30 volumes were completed and the next 40 were commissioned.
1996CD-ROM version published.
Aside from developing the concept, my role was akin to that of an editor of a scholarly journal. Essays and illustrations were commissioned, reviewed, edited and eventually published in the format of slides and bilingual booklets. The CVH/HCI annual budget was split between two federal government agencies and sales revenues were shared by a number of institutions, private and public, but the government expenditures were about $200,000 annually for the first three years and kept pace until 1976, when I left the project. At that date, over 70 of the 80 sets had been published.

B. Native History of Manitoba 1983-
I developed this book series with the support and advice of the Hon. Eugene Kostyra, Minister of Culture and Heritage, Manitoba. The project is administered by a Board of nine members and is sustained by a one-time Manitoba government grant of $130,000. The Board selects, commissions and/or subsidizes the publication of volumes on Aboriginal history through the University of Manitoba Press. My role is that of secretary to the Board and general editor of the series.


Jacqueline Petersen and Jennifer Brown eds. The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Metis in North America


Paul M. Thistle Indian-European Trade Relations in the Lower Saskatchewan River Region to 1840.


J.S.H. Brown and R. Brightman eds. `The Orders of the Dreamed': George Nelson on Cree and Northern Ojibwa Religion and Myth, 1823.


John S. Milloy The Plains Cree: Trade, Diplomacy, and War.


P.D. Elias The Dakota of the Canadian Northwest: Lessons in Survival.


Jean M. Friesen and Kerry Abel (eds.) Aboriginal Resource Use in Canada: Historical and Legal Aspects


Laura Peers The Ojibwa of Western Canada 1780-1870


Katherine Pettipas Severing the Ties that Bind: Government Repression of Indigenous Religious Ceremonies on the Prairies


Christine Miller et al Women of the First Nations


Ila Bussidor and Ustun Bilgen-Reinart Night Spirits: The Story of the Relocation of the Sayisi Dene


John Milloy A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986


three book manuscripts are now being revised for publication.

Committee service
LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture and Symposium: National Advisory Board member 1999-

Appraisal consultant on graduate programs in History, University of Ottawa [Ontario Council of Graduate Studies] and Memorial University of Newfoundland
Canadian Historical Review Editorial Board 1997-2000
Manitoba Social Sciences Teachers' Association: Board member 1997-
Manitoba Labour Education Centre (MFL): Board Member 1984-
Manitoba Historical Conference: Program committee 1993-8
Canadian Historical Association:

  • Council 1979-1982
  • Regional History Committee 1978-1982
  • Chair, Regional History Committee 1980-1982
  • Editorial Committee 1986-1987
  • Sir John A Macdonald Prize Committee 1996-99
  • Nominating Committee 1998-2000
  • elected Vice-President 2001 (my term as President: 2003-2005)
  • Manitoba Historical Society:
    Governing Council 1976-1986