From Wooden Ploughs to Welfare examines the reserve system imposed by the Canadian government in the 1870s - a system, rooted in theories of racial difference, that stifled initiative, opportunity, and self-esteem. The 1960s saw the collapse of the reserve economy, until then sustained by casual wage work or trapping. The government's answer was a welfare program which marked a new era of deeper dependency. Helen Buckley argues that later government programs have proven equally discouraging: schooling has improved but drop-out rates remain high, economic development remains a low priority, and large sums are spent on manpower courses that seldom lead to jobs. The many who sought a better life by moving to the city received no government assistance at all. Buckley argues that self-government is the only solution to the economic isolation and underdevelopment of native Canadians. She focuses on Status Indians in the Prairie provinces, but her analysis and conclusions are applicable to Status Indians in other regions.