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Distributed for University of Alaska Press

The Kandik Map

In 1880, a Native American named Paul Kandik and a French explorer, François Mercier, traveled across northeastern Alaska and western Canada to create the earliest known map of the region. Linda Johnson now delves into the fascinating story behind the Kandik Map, examining the reasons why and how these two men from such different backgrounds combined their extensive knowledge of the country to map the Kandik River region. Drawing on historical letters, geographical analysis, and the original map itself held in the University of California’s Bancroft Library, Johnson produces a groundbreaking study on the history of the Kandik Map and reveals its significant implications for Native American scholarship.

160 pages | 1 map | 6 x 9 | © 2009

Geography: Cartography, Cultural and Historical Geography

Native American Studies

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Table of Contents


1        The Kandik Map: Reflections on Time and Space

Discovering the North: Story Lines and Camps

Recovering the North: New Sources and More Perspectives

The Social Life of a Northern Document


2        Searching for Paul Kandik

Mapping an Identity

Words and Sounds: Reading and Listening for the Past


3        Documenting a Mystery

Tracking the Names Paul and Kandik

First Meetings: The Hudson’s Bay Company Period

The American Trade and Exploration Period

Big Paul: Pilot on the Upper Yukon

Government Records and the Gold Rush Era



4        François Mercier: Agent of Change

François Mercier: Early Years in the American West and Alaska

Time of Change: The Legacy of the Old Monopolies

The American Takeover: With French Canadian Traders

More Change on the Yukon

The Summer of 1880: The Census and the Kandik Map

Back to the Hän Country Again


5        Mapping the North: Where the Kandik Map Fits In

Unveiling the North

Defining the Boundary



6        Meetings and Meanings

Using Space and Knowing Place

Meetings, Meanings, and Motivations

Stories of the Kandik Map



Appendix, Chart of Place Names


Selected Bibliography

Unpublished and Archival Sources

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