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History Pre-confederation (to 1867)

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

by (author) Jean Barman

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2014
Pre-Confederation (to 1867), NON-CLASSIFIABLE, Women's Studies, Native American, NON-CLASSIFIABLE
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
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  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
    List Price

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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.

Jean Barman's profile page


  • 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

Editorial Reviews

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.

BC Studies

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

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