Massacre Street

Merging poetry and historical records, Zits masterfully (re)creates a poetic view of the Frog Lake Massacre of April 2, 1885. His collage and cut-up techniques challenge the histories penned by the event’s recorders and reflect upon the difficult and painful complexities of past and present. He weaves together voices of Métis and First Nations participants, settlers, and military officials, using tape transcripts, historical accounts, memoirs, and footnotes to create a unique, non-narrative historiography of fragmented poetic language. This innovative work of literary montage digs deep into a historic period that continues to garner scholarly and public interest. Readers interested in poetry and Canadian history will find this an intriguing new collection.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front Cover 1
Title Page 4
Dedication 8
Contents 12
List of Illustrations 16
I Prologue 18
Tape A 19
II The Mound-Builders 24
The work is a plain one 25
In the Long Knives' country 26
A Maundy Thursday 27
Blood-red the sun 28
Sun-red, the blood or, The sun pushed a huge crimson shoulder above the skyline 31
Red the sun blood or, She has but half a smoke to live 33
The red-blood sun or, The sun had scorched its green roofing leaves was sinking 35
The ordinary red man 37
Among the valuable things 39
Entering the lodge of a Wood Cree 40
Oh, Sun 41
All that remained of the H.B. Co's business at Frog Lake 42
Bullets 43
The curtain drop on the last scene in this grim, emotional drama 44
Tape B 45
III That Little Hamlet by the Creek 50
Solomon says 51
Eyes 52
I peeked over the bank of his horrible-looking head and my scalp felt very loose 53
not the desire of the author of this work to publish 55
A most unmelodious 56
Write a cold, matter-of-fact statement of the event 57
Gathered up a few that were scattered around in the dirt and saved them when no one was looking 58
without giving expression to sentiments of sorrow 59
Had I only the language at my command 60
That little hamlet by the creek 61
When one has nothing to write about it is hard to fill up pages 62
Tape C 63
IV The Inadvertent Poetry of Major-General Thomas Bland Strange 70
The Queen is the supreme power in the Realm The message thus being transmitted:- 72
Our Jingo found himself on the deck of a steamer 73
Our jingo and B Battery reach the ice cone at Montmorency 74
Rough Work: Rumour to-night Indians being tampered with 75
The fibre of the iron had crystallised 76
Rough Work: Endeavouring to secure additional mountain guns 77
Not a blade of grass for a hundred miles 78
Rough Work: The safety and peace in this country will be jeopardized 79
Jingo's house 81
Rough Work: If wheat and seed come by boat they will be in time 82
Jingo's speech at Frog Lake on The Queen's birthday 83
Rough Work: Some justifiable measure should be made to prevent escape of Riel and following 84
I fear I should have lost my small army in this very big country 86
Rough Work: Three french half breeds blundered south 87
With field-glasses could be detected 88
I have seen miles of territory just south of the line 89
Tape D 90
V The Trial 92
Mis-ta-hah-mis-qua 93
And I could not refuse them, I dare not refuse them, because they would have just a likely as not blown my brains out 94
Mis-ta-hah-mis-qua, Big Bear 95
According to W.J. Maclean, sworn 96
Mis-ta-hah-mis-qua, Big Bear, the prisoner 97
According to Henry R. Halpin, sworn 98
Mis-ta-hah-mis-qua, Big Bear, the prisoner 100
And unofficially 101
Mis-ta-hah-mis-qua, Big Bear, the prisoner, the prisoner in the dock 102
And the official twenty-three words of Big Bear leftover from his trial (translated from Cree) 103
Mis-ta-hah-mis-qua, Big Bear, the prisoner, the prisoner in the dock 104
Mis-ta-hah-mis-qua, Big Bear, the prisoner, the prisoner in the dock, a sort of chief 105
Tape E 106
VI Epilogue 110
A remarkable new jail 111
Every one will be satisfied 112
Tape F 114
Rough Work: From frenchman who defended prison to Riel 117
Rough Work: Although holding foolish and peculiar views concerning visions as to prophecy 118
The rebellion is now a thing of the past, it is now a page 119
Crowfoot chief of the Blackfoot, like a dark Duke of Wellington, in the house of the 'white chief with one eye open,' as they called Jingo (from his watchfulness and his eyeglass) 120
Endnotes 121
Literary Sources 122
Acknowledgements 124
About the Author 125
Other Titles from The University of Alberta Press 126