Possessing Meares Island
A Historian's Journey into the Past of Clayoquot Sound
- Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
- Initial publish date
- Nov 2021
- General, Environmental Conservation & Protection, Native American
- Publish Date
- Nov 2021
- List Price
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A fascinating account that links early maritime history, Indigenous land rights, and modern environmental advocacy in the Clayoquot Sound region by award-winning author and historian Barry Gough.
Centred on Meares Island, located near Tofino on Vancouver Island’s west coast, Possessing Meares Island weaves a unique history out of the mists of time by connecting eighteenth century Indigenous-colonial trade relations to more recent historical upheavals. Gough invites readers to enter a dramatic epoch of BC’s coastal history and watch the Nuu-chah-nulth nations spearhead the maritime sea otter trade, led by powerful chiefs like Wickaninnish and Maquinna. Eventually, Meares Island declines into an economic backwater due to overhunting the sea otter, the bloody Clayoquot War of 1855, and most importantly, the proxy of empire—the Hudson’s Bay Company—establishing colonial roots in nearby Victoria. Caught up in the tides of change, the Oregon Treaty of 1846 ushers in a new era as the island is officially declared property of the British Crown.
Gough bridges the gap between centuries as he describes how the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council draw on this complicated history of ownership to invoke their legal claim to the land and defend the majestic wilderness from the indiscriminate clear-cut saw. Possessing Meares Island will not only appeal to history buffs, but to anyone interested in a momentous triumph for Indigenous rights and environmental protection that echoes across the nation today.
About the author
Dr. Barry Gough, one of Canada's foremost historians, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of King's College London and Life Member of the Association of Canadian Studies, and has been awarded a Doctor of Letters for distinguished contributions to Imperial and Commonwealth history. He is well recognized for the authenticity of his research and the engaging nature of his narratives, and is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including Fortune's A River: The Collision of Empires in Northwest America (Harbour, 2007), which won the John Lyman Book Award for best Canadian naval and maritime history and was shortlisted for the Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize. Gough has been writing for almost four decades. He lives in Victoria, BC, with his wife, Marilyn.
- Short-listed, Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize
- Short-listed, George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature
- Winner, Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing
- Short-listed, City of Victoria Butler Book Prize
- Winner, John Lyman Award in Canadian Naval and Maritime History
Other titles by Barry Gough
Churchill and Fisher
The titans at the Admiralty who fought the First World War
Britannia's Navy on the West Coast of North America, 1812-1914
From Classroom to Battlefield
Victoria High School and the First World War
The Elusive Mr. Pond
The Soldier, Fur Trader and Explorer Who Opened the Northwest
Juan de Fuca's Strait
Voyages in the Waterway of Forgotten Dreams
Britain and the Northwest Coast of North America, 1579-1809
In Search of the Visible Past
History Lectures at Wilfrid Laurier University 1973-1974
Fortune's A River
The Collision of Empires in Northwest America
Through Water, Ice & Fire
Schooner Nancy of the War of 1812
New dimensions in ethnohistory
Papers of the second Laurier Conference on Ethnohistory and Ethnology