PARTNERS IN FURS: A HISTORY OF THE FUR TRADE IN EASTERN JAMES BAY 1600-1870
Daniel Francis and Toby Morantz.
Volume 11 Number 4.
Partners in Furs. Twelve steel needles for one beaver skin? It's a deal! Francis and Morantz believe the Algonquian (Cree) speakers were seldom mindlessly enslaved by white technology. But this point is only one of their themes.
Previously unpublished data taken from sources such as Hudson's Bay Company archives describe Indians, Inuit, and traders, and give the numbers and values of furs. The hunting gang system, the whale chases, and the "Esquimeaux hunts" are described. Facts (e.g., times of existence of various posts) are beautifully presented in concise charts, bold graphs, and carefully simplified maps. The new data and the bibliographic references will update knowledge that readers may have obtained from older, more general studies.
The emphasis on a region popularized by recent hydro projects but largely ignored by scholars, is a unique perspective. The book itself is a response to development, yet the authors do not avoid valid criticism of whites or deny their mercantile motivation.
This well-indexed text could be read from an historical or a geographical perspective. High school students would probably use it as a source of specific information. Older readers would develop a good appreciation of the era described and would increase their knowledge of the interrelations of traders, Indians, and the natural resources of the eastern James Bay area.
Robin Lewis, Riverdale H. S., Pierrefonds, QC.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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