Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest

Document type Book
Author Barman, Jean
Publisher UBC Press; Vancouver, B.C.
Date 2014
ISBN 978-0-7748-2805-5
Pages xiv, 458 pages: illustrations, charts, maps


In [this book], Jean Barman rewrites the history of the Pacific Northwest from the perspective of French Canadians involved in the fur economy, the indigenous women whose presence in their lives encouraged them to stay, and their descendants. Joined in this distant setting by Quebec paternal origins, the French language, and Catholicism, French Canadians comprised Canadians from Quebec, Iroquois from the Montreal area, and metis combining Canadian and indigenous descent. For half a century, French Canadians were the largest group of newcomers in this region extending from Oregon and Washington east into Montana and north through British Columbia. Here, they facilitated the early overland crossings, drove the fur economy, initiated non-wholly-indigenous agricultural settlement, eased relations with indigenous peoples, and ensured that, when the Pacific Northwest was divided in 1846, the northern half would go to Britain, giving today's Canada its Pacific shoreline. In the generations that followed, Barman argues, descendants did not become Metis, as the term has been used to describe a people apart, but rather drew on both their French Canadians and indigenous inheritances to make the best possible lives for themselves and those around them. --Publisher's description