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Contact and Enlightened Co-operation
A History of the Fur Trade in the Arctic Drainage Lowlands 1717-1821
This manuscript re-examines the history of the fur trade in the eastern subarctic and Mackenzie lowlands from 1717 when the first post was established to serve the Indians in the region to the confirmation of the monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821. The assumption that the Indians have provided "the 'background' for Canadian History" rather than the central focus has typified the histories of the fur trade in the Mackenzie region. The Indians were active participants and at the very least, partners in the fur trade. Policies of the trading companies in the Mackenzie region were assessed and accommodated or rejected according to the advantage of the Indians. They were a vital agent in influencing the policies, practices, and the eventual corporation shape which evolved in the eastern subarctic and Mackenzie lowlands after 1821. Changes which were more than merely locational began to occur early in the fur trade as the Indians adapted from a nomadic band centered and mainly caribou hunting based to a trapping or specialized hunting way of life. Participation in the fur trade led to changes in the society of the Athapaskans as customs which had been adapted to a migratory existence were discarded and bands followed new seasonal cyclical patterns which were adapted to the fur trade. Changes were hurried by an epidemic and population dislocation. The North West Company attempted deployment of bands, turned to intimidation of those Indians who were recalcitrant and bullied opposition traders. Indians resisted the pressure by seeking out the opposition, by retaliating, and by returning to traditional hunting pursuits. By 1820 the combination of Indian resistance to their methods and the need for conservative resource policy led North West Company to seek union with the Hudson's Bay Company. To develop these ideas focus has been placed on a range of themes. The disciplines of history, archaeology, ethnography and linguistics have been studied and supplemented by nutritional and wildlife studies of the region to seek out native relationships with their environment, changing behavioural and cyclical movements, policies and manner of operation of the fur companies, and social change within the band.
iii, 299 p: maps.
University of Manitoba
LOCAL FC 3212 S55 1985
Native Peoples -- Canada