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.
About the author
Jean Barman, professor emeritus, has published more than twenty books, including On the Cusp of Contact: Gender, Space and Race in the Colonization of British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2020) and the winner of the 2006 City of Vancouver Book Award, Stanley Park’s Secret (Harbour Publishing, 2005). Her lifelong pursuit to enrich the history of BC has earned her such honours as a Governor General’s Award, a George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, a Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing and a position as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She lives in Vancouver, BC.
- Winner, Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia, UBC Library
- Winner, The Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, Canadian Historical Association
- Winner, K. D. Srivastava Prize, UBC Press
The history of French Canadian fur trappers in the northwest, often mentioned in local state histories, here crosses national and cultural borders to include their interactions with indigenous peoples and stories of travels from eastern Canada to Oregon and British Columbia. This book is an essential forensic history for all people who trace their ancestry to the fur trade era of the Pacific Northwest.
David G. Lewis, PhD, Tribal Historian, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon
In Barman’s adroit hands, the lives and experiences, hopes and dreams of the French Indian families who had a significant yet generally unremarked impact on the Pacific Northwest come to life. Rather than peripheral figures in the larger course of historical events, they were often at the center of the action - in exploring and fur-trapping expeditions, during periods of relatively peaceful negotiation and exchange, and at times of armed conflict.
Oregon Historical Quarterly, Summer 2015
This is a massive undertaking by a historian at the height of her powers. Barman has availed herself of an eclectic assemblage of sources: biographies, fur trade journals and exploration narratives, church records, and recent Canadian and American historiography on the fur trade, among others. She has seamlessly integrated this material to tell the stories of individuals and families, while at the same time providing a contextual framework for understanding the social, economic, and political trajectories of these people … French Canadian, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest is yet another fine contribution to BC history by one of its leading practitioners.
Barman’s feast of historical and genealogical data on French Canadians in British Columbia forces the reader to ponder their absence in previous BC histories, and reinforces the position of French Canadians as one of the founding peoples of that province.
Maurice Guibord, Société historique francophone de la Colombie-Britannique
Barman concludes this extensive, well-researched, and analytical work by stressing the need to view the history of the Pacific Northwest more inclusively.
British Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 29 No. 1, Spring 2016
Other titles by Jean Barman
British Columbia in the Balance
On the Cusp of Contact
Gender, Space and Race in the Colonization of British Columbia
Living between Indigenous and White in the Fraser Valley
Iroquois in the West
Maria Mahoi of the Islands
The Life and Writings of Noel Annance, 1792-1869
The Literary Storefront: The Glory Years
Vancouver's Literary Centre 1978-1985
Indian Education in Canada, Volume 1
Good Intentions Gone Awry
Emma Crosby and the Methodist Mission on the Northwest Coast
Growing Up British in British Columbia
Boys in Private School