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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

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

Jean Barman rewrites the history of the Pacific Northwest from the perspective of the French Canadians involved in the fur economy, the Indigenous women whose presence in their lives encouraged them to stay, and their descendants. For half a century, French Canadians were the region’s largest group of newcomers, facilitating early overland crossings, driving the fur economy, initiating non-wholly-Indigenous agricultural settlement, and easing relations with Indigenous peoples. When the region was divided in 1846, they also ensured that the northern half would go to Britain, ultimately giving Canada its Pacific shoreline.

472 pages

Table of Contents


Part 1: French Canadians and the Fur Economy

1 To Be French Canadian

2 Facilitating the Overland Crossings

3 Driving the Fur Economy

4 Deciding Whether to Go or to Stay

Part 2: French Canadians, Indigenous Women, and Family Life in the Fur Economy

5 Taking Indigenous Women Seriously

6 Innovating Family Life

7 Initiating Permanent Settlement

8 Saving British Columbia for Canada

Part 3: Beyond the Fur Economy

9 Negotiating Changing Times

10 Enabling Sons and Daughters

11 To Be French Canadian and Indigenous

12 Reclaiming the Past



Works Cited


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