Making Banff a wild west: Norman Luxton, Indians and Banff tourism, 1902-1945

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This thesis examines the role of Norman Kenney Luxton as entrepreneur in the early history of the tourist industry of Banff, Alberta. Luxton established many of Banff’s first tourist attractions and actively shaped an image for the town between his arrival in 1902, and the end of World War II in 1945. This thesis focusses on the nature of the Wild West image Luxton actively promoted, and seeks to explain why that image was so popular in the opening decades of the twentieth century. Luxton sold his image through the items he offered for sale in his curio shop, the Sign of the Goat. As well, Luxton promoted a Wild West image through the Banff Indian Days, an annual festival in Banff attracting tourists from around the world that Luxton popularized. This study reveals that the Wild West image was not only an integral part and reflection of Luxton's own personality, but also appealed to the local Stoney Indian population and visiting tourists for a number of different reasons. Banff has traditionally been approached by academic historians as an elite health spa, a cultural haven in the Canadian wilds, built along British and continental European lines. This thesis, on the other hand, approaches Banff from a different perspective. Borrowing interpretive frameworks from the disciplines of Anthropology and History, it proposes that it was the uncivilized wilderness that attracted the visitors, and seeks to explain the nature of that attraction of "wildness" to the Euro-American citizens arriving in Banff before 1945. As well, it is concerned with the nature of Indian participation in the selling of this "wildness" to Banff visitors. Finally, as a result of its unique interdisciplinary approach, this thesis is able to offer a new interpretation of both Indian-White relations and the role of nature in early twentieth century society.
Bibliography: p. 112-118.
Drees, L. M. (1991). Making Banff a wild west: Norman Luxton, Indians and Banff tourism, 1902-1945 (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/20642