- May 2017
Fort Simpson was originally established by the Hudson’s Bay Company at a location on the north shore of the Nass River estuary. In the summer of 1834, the Hudson’s Bay Company moved its fort to a site on the Tsimshian peninsula at McLoughlin Bay, which is now called Port Simpson, British Columbia (Patterson 1994). In 1858 and 1894, Roman Catholic missionaries reached Fort Simpson and permanently resided there. The Roman Catholic Mission provided many resources for the community, such as St. Margaret’s Hospital built in 1916 and a school in St. Margaret’s Hall built in 1917. St. Margaret’s Hall was replaced by the Federal Day School in 1974 and was run by the Federal Government. Fort Simpson is still inhabited today and is a quite popular tourist destination. It is the only village in the Northwest Territories with a population of approximately 1,250. Some people of Fort Simpson still identify as Dene. Fort Simpson is accessible via airplane or highway. The Liard Trail Highway leads to Fort Simpson from British Columbia and the Mackenzie Highway reaches Fort Simpson from Alberta. Since both of these highways pass through expanses of nature, it is possible to see black bear, moose, woodland caribou, lynx, wolves, and bison alongside the highways (Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce n.d.).
Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce. n.d. Fort Simpson Nortwest Territories Canada. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://www.fortsimpson.com.
Patterson, E. Palmer. 1994. ""The Indians Stationary Here": Continuity and Change in the Origins of the Fort Simpson Tsimshian." Anthropologica 181-203.
Hay River is a town in the Northwest Territories, Canada that was incorporated at a town in 1963. It is located on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, at the mouth of the Hay River. This town is located 201 air kilometers southwest of Yellowknife. The town was permanently settled in 1868 by the Hudson’s Bay Company to establish a trading post with Anglican and Catholic missions. The Catholic church built during the late 1800s in Hay River is still being used today in the Hay River Reserve. The Hay River Reserve is home to about 300 K’atlodeechee First Nation and was created in 1974. Before the arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the area was used by the Slavey Dene people. The town had a population of approximately 3,606 in 2011. Most members of the current Hay River community have ties to the postwar construction of the Mackenzie Highway. Due to its important transportation and communication amenities and abilities, Hay River earned the nickname “the hub of the north.” This town houses the staging point for shipping up the Mackenzie River and the commercial fisheries of Great Slave Lake. The economy of Hay River today relies heavily on private enterprise (The Canadian Encyclopedia, n.d.).
The Canadian Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Hay River. Retrieved from Historica Canada: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/hay-river/
York Boats are long, canoe-like, inland boats utilized in the 19th century for fur trading. The boats received their name because they were produced at the York Factory and travelled to inland fur trading posts and back to the York Factory (HBC). Contractors for the Hudson’s Bay Company built the York boats because the birch trees needed to build canoes were not prevalent in York (Morton). Because the Hudson’s Bay Company was already in competition with the North West Company to be the biggest trading company, they attempted to build a new type of boat. York boats soon surpassed canoes in the fur trading business because they could carry more goods. The boats were “clinker-built”, meaning that the heavy wood panels overlapped on the sides to make the boats strong (HBC). The boats were long with flat bottoms and the stern of the boat was angled upward at 45 degrees so that it was easy for the boats to be transferred into and out of water. Each boat fit 8 men, where 6 men paddled the boat down the river and two additional men steered the boat (Morton). Along with their ability to carry more goods, York boats were able to withstand harsh winters and could contact ice patches without destruction (HBC). York boats were no longer produced for trade after the 1870s, but are still used today for an annual heritage festival in Norway House, Manitoba. York boats can be seen below. http://www.hbcheritage.ca/hbcheritage/history/transportation/yorkboat/home
References: Hbc Heritage | The York Boat. Accessed May 03, 2017. http://www.hbcheritage.ca/hbcheritage/history/transportation/yorkboat/home.
Morton, W. L. "The York Boat." Manitoba Historical Society . June 30, 2009. Accessed May 03, 2017. http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/pageant/02/yorkboat.shtml.
- Mackenzie River
- Northwest Territories
- Hay River Reserve
- Fort Simpson
- Nass River
- McLoughlin Bay
- St. Margaret's Hall
- Port Simpson
- Hudson's Bay Company
- Hay River
- York boats
- St. Margaret's Hospital
- Federal Day School
- Mackenzie Highway
- York Factory
- Great Slave Lake
- Mar 2017
Fort McPherson is also known as “Tetl’it Zheh” in Gwich’in or “Town at the Head Waters”. It was established in 1849. The actual site of Fort McPherson now wasn’t the place where the original trading post actual was. This was four miles North up the lower Peel River, where John Bell, Hudson’s Bay Company explorer first arrived. This “Peel River” that connects to the McKenzie Delta, is named after Robert Peel, who first explored the area in the 1826 Franklin Expedition. The post is formally named after Murdoch McPherson, who was the “Chief Factor” for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Fort McPherson sits on a bluff and has quite the view of the Richardson Mountains. Anglican missionaries arrived to the area in 1866. This was a period that started the strong connection between the Native Gwich’in people and Christianity. Archdeacon Robert McDonald started this connection by translating the Bible into the local language. Since 1900 a school has existed in the area, first started by missionaries. The area began to be policed in 1903 when the Northwest Mounted Police arrived. Now, Gwich’in and settlers live in the same community in Fort McPherson. The population of the community is below 1000, at about 900, most of which have Gwich’in ancestry. Attached below is a picture of the area.
Fort McPherson Hamlet. “Fort McPherson- A Brief History.” Last modified 2010. http://www.fortmcpherson.ca/AboutUs http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/28224426.jpg
Commonly referred to throughout history as “metis”, “mixed-bloods”, or “michif”, this group of individuals represented a population thought to be half- European and half- First Nation Peoples. More specifically, “Metis” is used to refer to the population that has mixed French Canadian and Cree ancestry living in Canada. Within the context of our studies, however, the term is commonly used in the Mackenzie District to mean mixed blood of European and First Nations ancestry. They have been plagued by lack of opportunity given to them by the Canadian government, or lack of representation. However, before the turn of the 19th century they famously fought for their recognition in the “North West Rebellion”, a stand for their community that took place in 1885. Their struggle to gain proper recognition as a people under the Canadian government is one that represents a common theme in the topics relevant in this article. Much of Metis identity comes from identifying as those who were “dispossessed by Canadian government actions from 1870 on”. The number of Metis in Canada has been estimated to be around 750,000. The 1970s saw groups of Metis from the Dakotas, Canada, Idaho and Montana gather to commemorate their shared heritage and pride. The Metis have been referred to as the “Forgotten People”. The history of these people actually started when male members of the Hudson’s Bay Company married and had Children with Cree women. These children were the first to be identified as Metis. Their history is a long and powerful one, dating back to the 1670s.
If you select the link to the Manitoba Metis Federation website in the reference section below, you can view the Metis Flag.
Jacqueline Peterson and Jennifer S.H. Brown, The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Metis in North America (Winnipeg: The University of Manitoba Press, 1985) https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=q8qervZ6nakC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=metis&ots=eb9wxWIATY&sig=ejlZFKH4ZkQVeLLk1hd9fCwdvtY#v=onepage&q=metis&f=false
Manitoba Metis Federation. “History of the Metis Flag.” Last modified 2017. http://www.mmf.mb.ca/history_of_the_metis_flag.php