By the time my great grandfather, Ole Andreas Rasmussen Madland, arrived in New York as a poor farm labourer in 1896, it had been 130 years since the Royal Proclamation of King George III and there was already a long history of the United States and Canadian governments using laws and treaties to enable the dispossession of Indigenous lands and the forcible removal of Indigenous Peoples from the territory upon which they once received sustenance.

The Dakota people had been forced from their land in southern Minnesota only 30 years before Ole arrived, opening up the area for farmers to settle. Ole was working as a farmer in Minnesota in 1900. The Dominion Lands Act and the Indian Act in Canada were only a little over 20 years old and the young Canadian government was actively recruiting young men living in the US to head north and settle in the Canadian prairies (Gates, 1934).


  • 1906

    Ole Marries Lena Undheim

    In 1906, Ole married Pauline (Lena) Undheim, in North Dakota.

  • October 1907

    Reuben Madland Born

    My grandfather, Reuben Madland was born in MacKenzie, North Dakota, USA.

  • 1910

    Ole Moves to Custer, WA

    By 1910, Ole was living with his cousin, Ole Brekke, in Custer, Washington (I could not find a specific date of his move to Washington). He was married and had a 2-year-old son, Reuben, my grandfather.

    13th US Census (1910) with a record of Ole Madland living in Custer, Washington

    Ole's military registration card from 1918.

  • 1923

    Ole Madland Emigrates to Alberta

    Ole and his family emigrated from Washington State to Alberta, Canada sometime in 1923 (I specified June 1 because I would have rather travelled in nice weather).

    I found records indicating that Ole made a homestead claim near Lesser Slave Lake north of Edmonton, Alberta, but he is also recorded in the 1926 census of the Prairie provinces as farming near Camrose, AB, south of Edmonton (line 29; his last name is spelled incorrectly).

    It is possible that Ole applied for a quarter section of land for a homestead but was unable to 'prove' it, and instead moved south and leased land south of Camrose.

    1926 Census of the Canadian Prairie Provinces showing Ole living near Camrose, Alberta with his wife, five children, and a boarder.

    Location of the Northeast quarter of Section 20, Township 42, Range 20, West of the 4th Meridian

    Location of Ole and Lena's farm in Alberta showing the traditional and ancestral stewards who ceded the land in Treaty 6

    My great grandfather, Ole Madland (left), with my Grandfather, Reuben, in Alberta in 1934.

  • August 1947

    Ken Madland

    Ken Madland, my father, was born in New Westminster, BC, on unceded Coast Salish territory.

  • December 1952

    Ole Madland Death

    Ole died of complications of diabetes in New Westminster, BC.

  • December 1973

    Colin Madland Born

    I was born December 13 in Clearwater, British Columbia on unceded Secwépemc territory.


  • April 2016

    Visit to Madland, Norway

    Untitled In 2016 I was fortunate to be able to travel to Norway and visit the farm where Ole was born.

    Madland and Brekko, Norway The Madland farm from across the lake (Little white farmhouse to the left of centre)

    Madland and Brekko, Norway The farmhouse has been abandoned for several years