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Books on the Early History of Canada, First Nations, the Fur Trade, and the Canoe.

Bill Buxton

Last updated:  September 25, 2022.

Plains Buffalo Eating 

Table of Contents


Book List by Selected Topic

Book List by Author/Editor

Book List by Author with Annotation & Full Citation


This page documents the books in my library, initially stemming from my interest in the fur trade in Canada.  As my reading progressed, it expanded to include the history of the First Nations people who were here before, and upon whom the early Europeans depended.  Hence, the still-expanding library covers the early history of Canada as a whole, its geography, and almost by definition, the canoe.  I maintain the information on this page for my own benefit and use.  It just helps me keep track of things.  But, having made the effort to create it, is makes sense to share it, on the chance that some of the material will be of interest or use to others.

This is a companion to a few other pages that I keep - all of which pertain to my books.  One documents my books on Central Asia, the Himalaya, and Climbing.  One is a timeline that helps me keep track of events contemporary with those about which I am reading.  Finally, there is one which helps me keep track of some of the people who populate the books that I read - so far, only those having to do with climbing and the history of Central Asia.

Links to all of these, as well as to my home page - where my contact information can be found - can be accessed via the buttons at the top of this page.

Book List by Topic

Arctic & North-West Passage


Brûlé, Étienne Etienne Brule

Canoe History, Building & Routes


Champlain, Samuel de

Documents, Charters, Acts, etc. on-line

First Nations

Fraser, Simon

Kane, Paul

Mackenzie, Alexander

New Netherlands & the Dutch West India Company

Pacific North West Exploration & Fur Trade

In addition to the titles listed, see also separate lists for Astoria & George Vancouver

Palliser Expedition

Pond, Peter

Radisson, Pierre-Esprit

Red River / Assiniboia

Simpson, George

Thompson, David

Vancouver, George

Vérendrye, Sieur de la

Book List by Author/Editor:

Book List by Author with Annotation & Full Citation


------ A ------

Aboriginal Healing Foundation (2007).  Directory of Residential Schools in Canada.  Ottawa:  Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

This is a revised version of a 2003 document of the same name.  The directory comprises a comprehensive list of residential schools, including location, years of operation, and under whose auspices they were run.  The document is well illustrated, showing the locations of the schools on reasonably detailed maps. Click on title, above, to access on-line copy of the document.

Adams, Arthur T. (Ed.)(1961).  The Explorations of Pierre Esprit Radisson - from the original manuscript in the Bodeian Library and the British Museum  Minneapolis:  Ross & Haines.

Annotation to come.  For other works specifically by and/or about Radisson in my collection, click here.

Adney, Edwin Tappan & Chapelle, Howard, I. (1964).  The Bark and Skin Boats of North America.  Washington:  Smithsonian Institution.

This is the classic reference on the tradition of the building and design of North American bark and skin boats, especially birch bark canoes.  Note that this book is available on-line in the Internet Archive.  Click on title link in order to access. See also Jennings', Bark Canoes:  The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney, as well as Kent's, Birchbark Canoes of the Fur Trade.

Ahenakew, Edward (1951).  Sixty-Five Years Ago.  The Western Producer Magazine,  Saskatoon, Sask., Jan. 11, 1951, 1,3,4.

For other commentaries on the Frog Lake "Massacre", See also Ahenakew (1973), Kostash (2009)Stanley (1957)Fort Pitt Historical Society (1985) and Delaney & Gowanlock (1885/1999). Annotation to come.

Ahenakew, Edward (1965).  Little Pine:  An Indian Day School.  Saskatchewan History,  XVIII(2), 55-62.

This is an article about a remarkably successful day school on the Little Pine reserve.  The article was edited by Ruth Matheson Buck from unpublished papers left behind after Ahenakew's death.  Annotation to come.

Ahenakew, Edward (Ruth M. Buck, Ed.)(1973).  Voices of the Plains Cree.  Toronto:  McClelland and Stewart.

A volume of stories of the Plains Cree collected by Ahenakew, and edited and published posthumously by Ruth M. Buck.  For other commentaries on the Frog Lake "Massacre", See also Ahenakew (1951), Kostash (2009)Stanley (1957)Fort Pitt Historical Society (1985) and Delaney & Gowanlock (1885/1999).

Archer, Laurel (2003).  Northern Saskatchewan Canoe Trips:  A Guide to Fifteen Wilderness Rivers.  Erin, Ontario:  Boston Mills Press.

An excellent guide for northern Saskatchewan rivers. Very thorough in terms of map grid references.  See also Marchildon & Robinson as well as the book by the Karpans.

Arndt, Katherine L. (2001).  The Russian-American Company and the Northwest Fur Trade: North American Scholarship, 1990-2000.  Fairbanks, Alaska: Meeting of Frontiers Conference (on-line documentation)

A guide to recent (1990-2000) scholarship on the relationship between the Russian-American Company and the North American fur trade..

------ B ------

Bagrow, Leo (1985). History of Cartography. Second edition. Chicago: Precedent Publishing.

Annotation to come. See also Harley & Woodward (1987), Harley & Woodward (1992) & Woodward & Lewis(1998)

Ballantyne, Adam (1987). The Story of Chakapas Newcastle, Ontario: Penumbra Press.

Ballantyne, Adam (1991). Wisakyjak and the Making of the New World after the Great Flood. Newcastle, Ontario: Penumbra Press.

Ballantyne, Adam (1999). The Legend of the Mimigwesseos. Newcastle, Ontario: Penumbra Press.

The above three short books each recount a tradional story of the Woodland Cree of Northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  They were transcribed by Prentice G. Downes (see Sleeping Island) in 1937, as told to him through an interpreter by 75 year old Adam Ballantyne, an elder of the Peter Ballantyne Band of Pelican Narrows, Saskatchewan.  Each of these books is beautifully illustrated by woodcut images done by Annie Downes Catterson, P.G. Downes' daughter. The Wisakyjak and Mimigwesseos books each has an introduction by Robert Cockburn, who is currently editing Downes's journals.  Each of these three books are beautifully produced.

There are other collections of the stories of the Woodland Cree.  In my collection, see especially Brightman's, Ä€CAOÅŒHKĪWINA and Ä€CIMÅŒWINA, and the stories collected by George Nelson in 1823, found in The Orders of the Dreamed.  For another aspect of Cree story telling, see also one of my favourite books, Ahenakew's, Voices of the Plains Cree.

Barratt, Glyn (1986). Russia in Pacific Waters, 1715-1825. A Survey of the Origins of Russia's Naval Presence n the North and South Pacific. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Annotation to come.

Baxter, James Phinney (1906). A Memoire of Jacques Cartier, Sieur de Limoilou, His Voyages to the St. Lawrence, A Bibliography and a Facsimile of the Manuscript of 1534 with Annotations etc. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company.

Annotation to come.

Bays, Eric (2009).  Indian Residential Schools:  Another Picture.  Ottawa:  Baico Publishing.

This book presents another perspective on the residential schools from that found in Churchill (2004), Miller (1996) & Milloy (1999), for example.  Given its role in the operation of residential schools, it is important to state that Bays is a retired bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada.  This book is his attempt to say that while there was some bad in the system, that there was also some good, and that the latter is overshadowed by the former in our conversation about the residential school system.  One of his points is that some students did come through the system and went on to higher education or successful professional careers and that it is just as inapporpriate to assume that these students did so despite the school system as it is to assume that they did so because of it.  In short, this volume is an attempt to insert a degree of what he would call balance in the converstaion - a balance that he sees as missing.

The challenge in doing so, however, is in finding a different kind of balance- that between constructively adding relevant points to the dialogue and that of being an apologist.  Regardless of what one thinks of Bays position, much less the quality of his arguments, his scholarship and his writing, this book is worth reading - if for no other reason than if reflects a perspective that exists in part of the community, and therefore is worthy of receiving a fair hearing by those interested in understanding the issues and trying to find a path forward.

Belyea, Barbara (Ed.)(1994). Columbia Journals. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press.

An edited volume of David Thompson's journals from October 1800 - September 1811, the period that he was exploring west of the Rockies, especially in the region of the Columbia River. For other books in my collection specifically on or by Thompson, click here.

Bishop, Capt. R.P. (1923).  Mackenzie's Rock:  End of the First Journey Across North America. Ottawa: The Government Printing Bureau.

A small booklet that documents the author's figuring out the actual locations of Mackenzie's route and camp sites, etc., in the Bella Coola region.

Black, Samuel (1955).  A Journal of a Voyage From Rocky Mountain Portage in Peace River to the Sources of Finlays Branch and North West Ward in Summer 1824.  London:  The Hudson's Bay Record Society.

With introduction by RM Patterson. Annotation to come.

Blumenthal, Richard (Ed.)(2004). The Early Exploration of Inland Washinton  Waters - Journals and Logs from Six Expeditions, 1786-1792.  London:  McFarland & Company.

Annotation to come.

Blumenthal, Richard (Ed.)(2007).  With Vancouver in Inland Washington Waters - Journals of 12 Crewmen, April-June 1792.  London:  McFarland & Company.

Annotation to come.

Bonney, Orrin H. Bonney, Lorrain. (1970).  Battle Drums and Geysers: The Life and Journals of Lt. Gustavius Cheyney Doane, Soldier and Explorer of the Yellowstone and Snake River Regions. Chicago: Sage Books / The Swallow Press.

Annotation to come.

Bourne, Edward Gaylord  (Ed.)(1902).  The Voyages and Explorations of Samuel de Champlain 1604-1616, Narrated by Himself, Together with The Voyage of 1603, Reprinted from, Purchas His Pilgrimes.  (In two volumes.)  Annie Nettleton Bourne (Trans.).  New York:  Allerton Book Co.

Annotation to come.

Bown, Stephen R. (2008).  Madness, Betrayal and the Lash:  The Epic Voyage of Captain George Vancouver.  Vancouver:  Douglas & McIntyre.

See also Fisher (1992). Annotation to come.

Bown, Stephen R. (2009).  Merchant Kings: When Companies Ruled the World, 1600-1900.  Vancouver:  Douglas & McIntyre.

See also Fisher (1992). Annotation to come.

Bown, Stephen R. (2020).  The Company: The Rise and Fall of the Hudson's Bay Empire.  Toronto:  Doubleday Canada.

See also Willson (1899),  Newman (1985, 1987), Innis (1956), Dolin (2010) and Campbell (1957) - this last being a chronicle of the HBC's main competition, the NWC. Annotation to come.

Brandão, José António (1997). Your Fyre Shall Burn No More: Iroquois Policy towards New France and Its Native Allies to 1701. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Annotation to come

Bredin, Thomas (1962). River of Canada. Toronto: Longmans.

Annotation to come

Brightman, Robert A. (1989). Ä€CAOÅŒHKĪWINA and Ä€CIMÅŒWINA:  Traditional Narratives of the Rock Cree Indians. Hull, PQ: Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Annotation to come. See also Brown & Brightnman's, The Orders of the Dreamed, and Adam Ballantyne's recounting of the Chakapas, Wisakyjak, and Mimigwesseos stories.

Brown, Jennifer S.H. & Brightman, Robert (Eds.)(1988). The Orders of the Dreamed: George Nelson on Cree and Northern Ojibwa religion and Myth, 1823. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Annotation to come.  See also Brightman's,  Ä€CAOÅŒHKĪWINA and Ä€CIMÅŒWINA, and Adam Ballantyne's recounting of the Chakapas, Wisakyjak, and Mimigwesseos stories.

Brumwell, Stephen (2006).  Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe.  Montreal:  McGill-Queen's University Press.

Annotation to come.

Bryant, Mary Harrington (2007).  4 Years — and Then Some.  Ottawa:  Mary and Joe Bryant.

This is a self-published memoire of four years (1944-48) that the author spent at an Anglican school in Aklavik in the Northwest Territories, where she taught Inuit and Kutchin  students.  The latter part of the book covers a visit back to the community between 1955-58.  Annotation to come.

Bryce, Peter Henderson (1922). The Story of a National Crime: being an appeal for justice to the Indians of Canada; the wards ofthe nation, our allies in the Revolutionary War, our brothers-in-arms in the Great War. Ottawa: James Hope & Sons, Ltd.

This is a short, 16 page tract, by a federally appointed Chief Medical Officer of the Indian Department.  On the one hand, this document is a testament that there were white people working for the Federal Government who recognized the need to improve conditions in native schools, especially as to health, and tuberculosis in particular.  On the other hand, it makes the lack of acton on the part of the government all the more unacceptable.

Bumsted, J.M. (2008).  Lord Selkirk:  A Life.  Winnipeg:  University of Manitoba Press.

Annotation to come. 

Burpee, Lawrence, J.(1935). In Search for the Western Sea:  The Story of the Exploration of North-Western America (Two Volumes). Toronto: Macmillan.

This is a new and revised edition of the 1908 version of these books.  Annotation to come

Burpee, Lawrence, J.(Ed.) (1973). Journal of Anthony Hendry 1754-1755. Toronto: Canadiana House.

Annotation to come.

Butterfield, Consul Willshire (1898). Brulé's Discoveries and Explorations. Cleveland: Helman-Taylor Company.

Annotation to come.  Note, most of the information on Brûlé comes from Champlain's writing.  For other books that I have on Brûlé, click here.

Buxton, William J. (Ed.)(2019). Harold Innis on Peter Pond - Biography, Cultural Memory, and the Continental Fur Trade. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press.

This is a superbly edited volume which complies the writings of Harold Innis on Peter Pond - including Innis' 1930 book.  It is a scholarly edition worthy of the topic, and should be essential reading for those interested in either Pond, Innis, or both.  Besides extensive footnotes, bibliography and index, the volume includes a 108 page introduction which represents an important contribution to the literature in and of itself.  This is a volume which would be at home within the Champlain Society series.

------ C ------

Cameron, William Bleasdell (1926). The War Trail of Big Bear. London: Duckworth.

This is a first person account of the Frog Lake "Massacre" written by one of those taken hostage.  See also Ahenakew (1951), Kostash (2009)Ahenakew (1973), Stanley (1957)Fort Pitt Historical Society (1985),   and Delaney & Gowanlock (1885/1999).  Annotation to come.

Campbell, Marjorie Wilkins (1957). The North West Company. Toronto: MacMillan.

Annotation to come.

Campbell, Marjorie Wilkins (1962). McGillivray:  Lord of the Northwest. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Company.

Annotation to come.

Campbell, Marjorie Wilkins (1968). The Savage River: Seventy-One Days with Simon Fraser. Toronto: MacMillan.

This is an account of Fraser's 1808 trip down what he mistakenly thought was the Columbia River, to the Pacific - the third overland expedition to the Pacific north of Mexico. While it is a book written for young adults, it is a quick read and a fairly good and reliable introduction to the expedition. It is very much based on Lamb's far more extensive work, The Letters and Journals of Simon Fraser, 1806-1808.

Cardinal, Harold (1969).  The Unjust Society:  The Tragedy of Canada's Indians. Edmondon:  M.G. Hurtig.

Annotation to come.

Cardinal, Harold (1977).  The Rebirth of Canada's Indians.  Edmonton:  Hurtig.

Annotation to come.

Cardinal, Harold & Hildebrandt, Walter (2000).  Treaty Elders of Saskatchewan:  Our Dream is the our Peoples will one day be Clearly Recognized as Nations. Calgary:  University of Calgary Press.

Annotation to come.

Cartier, Jacques (1534).  See Baxter (1906).

Carver, Jonathan (1778/1974). Travels Through the Interior Parts of North-America, in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768. Toronto: Coles Publishing.

Annotation to come.

Castner, Brian (2018). Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.

Annotation to come.

Champlain, Samuel de: See both: Bourne, Edward Gaylord (Ed.) (1902), and Heidenreich, Conrad E. & Ritch, K. Janet (Eds.)(2010).

Churchill, Ward (2004).  Kill the Indian, Save the Man:  The Genocidal Impact of American Indian Residential Schools.  San Francisco:  City LIghts Books.

The position of the author is pretty clear from the title.  One might legitimately ask if the Jewish and Rwandan communities might find the use of the word genocide mis-applied.  (Genocide:  The deliberate and systematic extermination of an ethnic or national group.  OED).    Harold Cardinal's usage (1969), cultural genocide, is perhaps a better use of the term.  But if the term can be applied, it is perhaps worth keeping in mind that - as the devastation wracked on the Huron by the Iroquois in the years 1642-1650 illustrates - the Europeans were not the only ones who applied it to First Nations peoples. Regardless of the language used, the fact remains that federal policy, including the residential school system, has been deeply flawed, and has left deep wounds in our country - wounds that have a long way to go before healing, much less find a bridge to a more healthy future.  What is clear is that the extreme language and polarization reflected in this and other books is both an indication of the depth of the wound, but also a challenge to find a language to talk about the associated issues that is honest to history and to feelings, yet leaves an opening for dialogue.  But if we look at this in the larger context of history, perhaps there is some cause for optimism:  if the remains of the Huron can reconcile with the Iroquois, then perhaps there is hope for the First Nations people and the rest of Canada. 

For other writing on the residential school system in Canada, see: Davin (1879), Miller (1996), & Milloy (1999).  Annotation to come.

Cockburn, R.H. (Ed.)(2011).  Sleeping Island: The Story of one Man's Travels in the Great Barren Lands of the Canadian North.  Ottawa: McGahern Stewart Publishing.

This is a new edition of Downes' 1943  Sleeping Island.  It adds a good introduction, a number of useful end-notes, additional photos from Downes, as well as some excerpts from his diaries - none of which were in the original.  For Downes' journals, see the volume also edited by Cockburn, released in 2012. A number of Downes' photos, including ones from Sleeping Island - many in colour - can be viewed on-line by clicking here.

Cockburn, R.H. (Ed.)(2012).  Distant Summers:  P.G. Downes' Journals of travel in Northern Canada, 1936-1947.  Vol I:  1936-1938.  Ottawa: McGahern Stewart Publishing.

This is Volume I of Downes' journals, covering the period 1936-38.  Vol. II. is the listing below. See also Downes' 1943  Sleeping Island as well as the 2011 edition, also edited by Cockburn, which has a number of useful annotations and background information.  A number of Downes' photos, including ones from Sleeping Island - many in colour - can be viewed on-line by clicking here.

Cockburn, R.H. (Ed.)(2012).  Distant Summers:  P.G. Downes' Journals of travel in Northern Canada, 1936-1947.  Vol II:  1939-1947.  Ottawa: McGahern Stewart Publishing.

This is Volume II of Downes' journals, covering the period 1939-47.  Vol. I. is the listing above.  This volume is especially interesting to me in that my father plays a role in the journal, as well as the commentary, as he and Downes crossed paths in Pelican Narrows during his 1939 trip.

Combet, Denis (2001). In Search of the Western Sea: Selected Journals of La Vérendrye. Winnipeg: Great Plains Publishers.

This is a well-illustrated book on the travels of La Vérendrye and his family. Besides reprinting selections from his journals, the book includes an good introduction/overview, maps, chronology, and glossary. This is a bilingual book with all of the text in each of French and English.

Common, Ron & Frost, Larraine (1994).  Teaching Wigwams:  A Modern Vision of Native Education.  Muncey Ontario:  Anishinaabe Kendaaswin Publishing.

This is a book that speaks to the issue of developing a new model of governance for First Nation's education.Annotation to come.

Cox, Ross (1832).  Adventures on the Columbia, Including The Narrative of a Residence of Six Years on the Western Side of the Rocky Mountains, Among Various Tribes of Indians Hitherto Unknown: Together With A Journey Acoss the American Continent.  New York: J. & J. Harper.

This is the first edition of Cox's original book. See the next entry below for an abridged modern paperback edition. Annotation to come. Click on Astoria in order to see list of related books.

Cox, Ross (1950).  Adventures on the Columbia.  Portland: Binford & Mort.

This is a soft-cover highly abridged version of Cox's original 1832 book. For the full original 1832 US first edition, see the entry above; Click on Astoria in order to see list of related books.

Cranston, J.H. (1949). Etienne Brûlé: Immortal Scoundrel. Toronto: Ryerson Press.

Annotation to come.  Most of the information on Brûlé comes from Champlain's writing.  For a pot-boiler fictionalized pocket-book account of his life, see Ewert's, No Man's Brother.  For other books that I have on Brûlé, click here.

Crouse, Nellia, M. (1956). La Vérendrye: Fur Trader and Explorer. Toronto: Ryerson Press.

A history of La Vérendrye and his sons. Annotation to come. For other books in my library concering La Vérendrye, click here.

Cuthand, Doug (2005). Tapwe: Selected Columns of Doug Cuthand. Penticton: Theytus Books.

Annotation to come.

Cuthand, Doug (2007). Askiwina - A Cree World. Regina: Coteau Books.

Annotation to come.

------ D ------

Daniells. Roy (1969).  Alexander Mackenzie and the North West.  London:  Faber and Faber.

Annotation to come.

Davin, Nicholas Flood (1879). Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds

This is the report that let to the institution of the residential schools in Canada.  Click on the title link, above, to access an on-line copy of the report.  For a biographical sketch of Davin, click here.  For other writing on the residential school system in Canada, see:  Churchill (2004), Miller (1996), & Milloy (1999).

Davis, Richard C. (Ed.)(1995).  Sir John Franklin's Journals and Corrrespondence: The first Arctic Land Expedition 1819-1822.  Toronto:  The Champlain Society.

Annotation to come.

Davis, Richard C. (Ed.)(2008).  Nahanni Journals:  R.M. Patterson's 1927-1929 Journals.  Edmonton:  University of Alberta Press.

See also Finch's biography of Patterson, as well as Patterson's Dangerous River.  Annotation to come.

Davis, Richard C. (Ed.)(2008).   Nahanni Journals:   R.M. Patterson's 1927-1929 Journals.    Edmonton:  University of Alberta Press.

See also Finch's biography of Patterson, as well as Patterson's Dangerous River.  Annotation to come.

Delaney, Theresa & Gowanlock, Theresa (1885/1999).  Two Months in the Camp of Bg Bear.  Regina:  Canadian Plains Research Center.

Delaney and Gowanlock were two of the hostages taken by Big Bear's tribe, after their husbands were shot, during the Frog Lake incident in 1885.  This edition is significant in that the editor, Sarah Carter, has written an insightful analysis of the event and the text - pointing out some of the differences in what was published in their book compared to the description of events that they gave right after escaping.  Taken together, this edition provides a good reminder that history has to be read carefully, and evaluated from more than one angle.  For a good overview of the Frog Lake incident (traditionally referred to as a massacre), see Kostash (2009).  See also See also  Ahenakew (1951), Stanley (1957), Ahenakew (1973)Fort Pitt Historical Society (1985), and Cameron (1926).  Annotation to come.

DePasquale, Paul W. (Ed.)(2007).  Natives & Settlers - Now & Then:  Historical Issues and Current Perspectives on Treaties and Land Claims in Canada.  Edmonton:  University of Alberta Press.

Annotation to come.

DeVoto, Bernard. (1947).  Across the Wide Missouri, With an Account of the Discovery of the Miller Collection.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company.

Annotation to come.

DeVoto, Bernard. (Ed.)(1953). The Journals of Lewis and Clark.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company.

My copy is the later American Heritage Libray soft-cover edition.  Annotation to come.

Dolin, Eric Jay (2010).  Fur, Fortune and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America.  NY:  W.W. Norton.

Annotation to come.

Doughty, Arthur & Martin, Chester (1929).  The Kelsey Papers.  Ottawa:  The Public Archives of Canada and The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

These are the papers of Henry Kelsey, arguably the first European to see the Canadian prairies, and span the period from 1689-1722.  Annotation to come.

Douglas, Gail (2003).  Étienne Brûlé:  The Mysterious Life and Times of an Early Canadia Legend.  Canmore:  Altitude Press.

 Annotation to come.  Note, most of the information on Brûlé comes from Champlain's writing.  For other books that I have on Brûlé, click here.

Douglas, George M. (1914/2008).  Lands Forlorn:  A Story of an Expedition to Hearne's Coppermine River.  Tucson:  Zancudo Press.

This is a reissue of the 1914 original, published by G.P. Putnam's of New York.  It includes an excellent introduction by this edition's editor, Robert S. Hildebrand.  Annotation to come.

Downes, P.G. (1943).  Sleeping Island:  The Story of one Man's Travels in the Great Barren Lands of the Canadian North.  New York:  Coward-McCann, Inc.

A classic of northern travel. Not a fur trade book, per se, however a really interesting account of a trip in 1939,  right at the threshold of when the traditional ways of the north were changing.  Motors were in the process of replacing paddles, and the author was seeing what he knew to be one of the last of the aboriginal annual trips to trade.  The title is, however, a bit strange, since the author did not make the trip alone.  But that is nit picking.  This book is a must read for anyone interested in northern travel and wilderness canoeing.  See also the 2011 edition of this book edited by Cockburn, which has a lot of annotation that sheds light on the original edition, as well as the recently published (2012) first volume of Downes' journals, Distant Summers, also edited by Cockburn.  Finally, Downes was an avid photographer, and the first person to photograph northern Saskatchewan in colour.  A number of his photos, including ones from Sleeping Island - many in colour - can be viewed on-line by clicking here.

Downes, P.G. Journals Vol 1:  Cockburn, R.H. (Ed.)(2012).  Distant Summers:  P.G. Downes' Journals of travel in Northern Canada, 1936-1947.  Vol I:  1936-1938.

Downes, P.G. Journals Vol II:   Cockburn, R.H. (Ed.)(2012).  Distant Summers:  P.G. Downes' Journals of travel in Northern Canada, 1936-1947. Vol. II: 1939-1947.

Dugas, Abbé G. (1905). The Canadian West: Its Discovery by the Sieur De La Vérendrye. Its Development by the Fur-Trading Companies, Down to the Year 1822. Montreal: Librairie Beauchemin.

Annotation to come. See also Crouse (1956).

------ E ------

Eaton, Diane & Urbanek, Sheila (1995). Paul Kane's Great Nor-West . Vancouver: UBC Press.

An excellent book on Paul Kane's work.

Eccles, William J. (1959). Frontenac: The Courtier Governor.  Toronto:  McClelland & Stewart.

Annotation to come.

Eccles, William J. (1969). The Canadian Frontier, 1534-1760.   New York:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

This is one of the best written and engaging histories that I have read.  It is scholarly yet eminently readable.  It provides an excellent introduction to the history of French Canada, including insightful contrasts to the development of the English colonies to the south.  The nature of "frontier" is also broadly interpreted, encompassing separate treatments for the social, business (fur trade), imperial, and military frontiers.  Excellent bibliography and notes.

Eccles, William J. (1987). Essays on New France.  Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Includes a review critical of Innis's, The Fur Trade in Canada.  Annotation to come.

Evans, Doug. (2008).  Noahs Last Canoe: The Lost Art of Cree Birchbark Canoe Building.  Winnipeg:  Great Plains Publications.

This is essentially an annotated photo-essay, documenting the construction of a bark canoe by Noah Custer, and his wife, Emma, members of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, based in Pelican Narrows, Saskatchewan. The text accompanying the photos come from the author's field notes from the 1968 build. Custer, an elder at the time, had helped his father build bark canoes in his youth; however, this was the first one that he had built on his own - doing so based on his memories from his youth.

Ewers, John C. (1955).  The Horse in Blackfoot Culture - With Comparative Material from other Western Tribes.  Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 159. Washingto: United States Printing Office.

See also Roe (1955).  Annotaton to come.

Ewert, Charles (1984).  No Man's Brother:  The Story of Etienne Brûlé.  New York:  Avon.

This is a piece of pocket-book fiction constructed around what is known of the life of Brûlé.  It is like a Harlequin Romance, but kind of fun to read. For a biography, see Cranston's, Etienne Brûlé: Immortal Scoundrel.  Most of the information on Brûlé comes from Champlain's writing.  For other books that I have on Brûlé, click here.

------ F ------

Fenn, Elizabeth, A. (2001).  Pox Americana:  The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775 - 82.  New York:  Hill and Wang.

Annotation to come.

Finch, David (2000).  R.M. Patterson:  A Life of Great Adventure.   Calgary:  Rocky Mountain Books.

This is a biography of the writer R.M. Patterson, who as an adventurer, is perhaps best known for his trips on the Nahanni River in the North West Territories.  See also Patterson's Dangerous River and his introduction to Black's journal.  For Patterson's Nahanni journals, see Davis (2008).

Fischer, David Hackett. (2008).  Champlain's Dream.  Toronto: A.A. Knopf.

A new comprehensive biography of Champlain. A very comprehensive book with about 300 of its 834 pages being dedicated to end notes, appendices, etc.  While the writing is somewhat dry, this is an essential source book for anyone interested in the history of New France.

Fischer, Robin. (1992).  Vancouver's Voyages:  Charting the Northwest Coast, 1791-1795.  Vancouver:  Douglas & McIntyre.

A summary of Vancouver's mapping of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland, which finally put to bed the notion of a northwest passage.  The volume is done in a coffee-table book type format, and includes numerous photographs of the regions discussed, as well as a large number of reproductions of maps and illustrations from the voyage.  Despite this, or perhaps especially because of this, the book is extremely frustrating to read because of how poorly  the photos are identified in terms of location, and especially because the maps included are totally inadequate in terms of helping the reader have any idea about the specific locations being discussed in the text.  Hence, unless you read the book with a good atlas, and or an Internet map program at your side, you will be lost.  Gloss has triumphed over promoting understanding - ironic for a book on exploration and mapping!  See also Bown (2008).

Fort Pitt Historical Society. (1985). Fort Pitt History Unfolding 1829-1985. Frenchman Butte, Sask: Fort Pitt Historical Society.

A history of the Husdon Bay Post and the school districs of White Eagle, Harlan, Frenchman Butte, Rock Bottom, Onion Lake and Fort Pitt.  For more information on the Frog Lake "Massacre", see also Ahenakew (1951), Kostash (2009)Stanley (1957), Ahenakew (1973), Cameron (1926), and Delaney & Gowanlock (1885/1999).  Annotation to come.

Franchère, Gabriel (1820). For Franchère's journals, see Lamb(Ed.)(1969).

Franklin, Sir John (1819-1822).   For Franklin's journals and correspondence of his first land expedition, see Davis (1995).

Franklin, Sir John & Richardson, John (1828/1971).   Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of The Polar Sea in the Years 1825, 1826, and 1827. Rutland Vermont:  Charles E. Tuttle Company.

This is a reprint of the original 1828 edition published in London by John Murray, an on-line copy of which can be accessed here.  For other books on Franklin's expeditions, arctic exploration. and the North West Passage, click here.  Annotation to Come.

Franks, C.E.S. (1977). The Canoe and White Water: From Essential to Sport. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

A somewhat older book but nevertheless a good overview of canoeing.

Fraser, Esther. (1969). The Canadian Rockies. Early Travel And Explorations. Edmonton: Hurtig.

Annotation to come.

Fraser, Simon.  For Fraser's journal of his journey of 1806-1808, see Lamb(Ed.)(1960) & Masson (Ed.)(1960).

Frideres, James S. & Gadacz, René R. (2005).  Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (Seventh Edition). Toronto: Pearson / Prentice Hall.

Annotation to come.

Fry, Howard T. (1970).  Alexander Dalrymple and the Expansion of British Trade. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Dalrymple is an interesting person in many ways, not the least of which is the fact that two of his most important contributions were due to his doggedly pursuing to theories which were pretty much completely wrong:  his belief in the existence in a Great Southern Continent in the southern ocean, and the existence  of a navigable north-west passage above Canada, linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  Searching for the former formed a significant part of the brief for Cook’s first, and especially second, voyage.  While the search for a Northwest Passage long pre-dates Cook’s third voyage (Williams, 2002; 2006), searching for definitive proof one-way or the other, was a key aspect of his 3rd voyage.  The problem was that Cook’s coastal surveys – while extensive – were incomplete.  And, given the economic interest in the Pacific North West following information of Cook’s findings becoming known, there was strong motivation to settle the matter – a key unknown was what lay within the Straights of Juan de Fuca.  Determining that was a cure mission of Vancouver’s voyage – a voyage  (along with a fruitless one from the east through Hudson's Bay by Duncan - Williams, 2002) which Dalrymple very much promoted.

For readers of Mackenzie’s journals, given both Dalrymple and his belief in the merit of the North American fur traders forming an alliance with the British East India Company, the question why both failed is still not clear.  Nevertheless, each book and the related literature contribute useful pieces to the puzzle. 

More to come.

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Gale, Ryan R.(2010). For Trade and Treaty: Firearms of the American Indians 1600-1920.  Elk River, MN: Track of the Wolf.

Annotation to come. See also these other books on firearms and their trade during the fur trade and early contact:  Hanson (1960) & Russell (1957).  Of the books on the topic that I have, this one by Gale is the one to start with.  While much shorter in terms of text, it is highly illustrated, gives a good overview, and for non-specialists like myself, does a good job of introducing the basic vocabulary - especially the various parts of the guns, etc.

Gates, Charles (Ed.)(1965). Five Fur Traders of the Northwest. Being the narrative of Peter Pond and the diaries of John Macdonell, Archibald N. McLeod, Hugh Faries, and Thomas Connor.  St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society.

Annotation to come. See also Innis' book on Peter Pond.

Gehring, Charles T. & Starna, William A. (Eds)(1988). A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635.  The Journal of Harmen Meynrtsz van den Bogaert.  Syracuse NY:  Syracuse University Press.

For details, see the entry for Harmen Meynrtsz van den Bogaert (1895).  See also the excellent general history of the New Holland colony in North America, by Shorto (2004), as well as van der Donk's, Description of New Netherlands.

Gentilcore, R. Louis (Ed.)(1993). Historical Atlas of Canada II: The Land Transformed, 1800-1891. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Annotation to come. See also Volume I: The Beginning-1800 and Volume III: 1891-Present.  The maps of these three volumes are now also becoming available on-line, which is fantastic.  See:

Gibson, Dale (2015). Law, Life, and Government at Red River. Volume 1: Settlement and Governance, 1812-1872.  Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.

This is well annotated record of the Red River colony, explained through the lens of the court/legal system in place between 1812-1872.  The volume is especially interesting and informative in that it sets the cases within the contemporary personal, social, cultural and legal context. This is the first of two volumes.  The second volume (which I do not currently have) includes the official record of every case heard during that period, along with further annotation.  Further annotation to come.

Gibson, James R.(1992). Otter Skins, Boston Ships, and China Goods: The Maritime Fur Trade of the Northwest Coast, 1785-1841. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.

Annotation to come.

Gibson, James R.(Ed.)(2019). "Opposition on the Coast": The Hudson's Bay Company, American Coasters, the Russiaon-American Company, and Native Traders on the Northwest Coast, 1825-1846. Toronto: The Champlain Society.

Annotation to come.

Goetzmann, William H. & Williams, Glyndwr (1992).  The Atlas of North American Exploration: From the Norse Voyages to the Race to the Pole.  New York: Prentice Hall.

A good balance of informed commentary with clear maps illustrating key events in the exploration of North America.

Goetzmann, William H. (1966/1993). Exploration and Empire: The Explorer and the Scientist in the Winning of the American West. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

An excellent book, winner of the 1967 Pulitzer Prize in History.  First published in 1966.  Annotation to come.

Goode, F.W. (2010).  Beaver Bark Canoes: The Art and Works of Ferdy Goode.

This is essentially a picture book showing the work of the canoe builder Ferdy Goode. In addition to showing examples of his finished canoes, snowshoes and baskets, short sections showing construction techniques.

Gough, Barry M. (Ed.)(1988/1992). The Journal of Alexander Henry the Younger 1799-1814. Vol. 1 (1988), Vol 2. (1992). Toronto: The Champlain Society.

This is an extensive and classic journal. Henry worked for the Northwest Company, and his is one of the key first-person accounts of Astoria/Fort George at the mouth of the Columbia. Henry went there in 1813. For other account of the settlement, see Rona's Astoria & Empire, Ross (1849), and the journals of Franchère edited by Lamb.

Gough, Barry M. (1997).  First Across the Continent:  Alexander Mackenzie.   Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.

Annotation to come.  For all of my books on or by Mackenzie, click here.

Gough, Barry M. (2007).  Fortune's River:  The Collision of Empires in Northwest America.  Madeira Park, BC:  Harbour Publishing.

A history of western region of North America around the Columbia River.  For other books on this topic in my collection, click here.  Annotation to come.

Gough, Barry M. (2014). The Elusive Mr. Pond: The Soldier, Fur Trader and Explorer Who Opened the Northwest.  Madeira Park, BC:  Douglas and McIntyre.

A biography one of the founders of the Northwest Company, as well as the one who opened up the MacKenzie River drainage (Athabaska) region to the trade.   For additional references, see Peter Pond  Further annotations to come.

Grant, George M. (1873/2000). Ocean to Ocean: Sandford Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872. Toronto: Prospero.

Sub-titled, "Being an Diary Kept During a Journey From The Atlantic to the Pacific With the Expedition of the Engineer-in-chief of of the Canadian Pacific and Intercolonial Railways. This is a modern facilmile edition of the original 1873 volume.

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Hamilton, Raphael N.(1970). Marquett's Explorations: The Narratives Reexamined. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Annotation to come.

Hanson, Charles E.(1960). The Plains Rifle. Harrisburg PA: The Stackpole Company.

A good reference on the history of fire-arms in the west.  The focus is more on the USA rather than Canada.  Nevertheless, much of the information is relevant.  See also Russell (1957), and especially Gale (2010), which is probably the book to start with on this topic. .Annotation to come.

Harley, J.B. & Woodward, David (Eds.)(1987). The History of Cartography Volume One: Cartography in Prehistoric, Ancient, and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Annotation to come. See also Bagrow(1985), Harley & Woodward (1992) & Woodward & Lewis(1998)

Harley, J.B. & Woodward, David (Eds.)(1992). The History of Cartography Volume Two, Book One: Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and South Asian Societies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Annotation to come. See also Bagrow (1985), Harley & Woodward (1987) & Woodward & Lewis(1998)

Harmon, Daniel Williams: See Lamb (1957).

Harper, J. Russell (Ed.)(1971). Paul Kane's Frontier. Including Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America by Paul Kane. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (For the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa).

Annotation to come. See also Kane.

Harris, R. Cole (Ed.)(1987). Historical Atlas of Canada I: From the Beginning to 1800. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Annotation to come. See also Volume II: 1800-1892 and Volume III: 1891-Present.  The maps of these three volumes are now also becoming available on-line, which is fantastic.  See:

Hayes, Derek (2001). First Crossing:  Alexander Mackenzie, His Expedition Across North America, and the Opening of the Continent.  Vancouver:  Douglas & McIntyre.

This could have and should have been the best introduction to Alexander MacKenzie, but due to sloppy editing and mistakes, it is not. The volume is much like a small coffee-table book:   beautifully illustrated with maps, photos and diagrams.  The text draws largely on MacKenzie's own account, when possible, using a transcript of his actual journal (only the one for the arctic expedition is known to exist), as well as his published book(see Lamb, 1970).   The book does a good job of setting context and providing additional information - especially through the liberal use of side-bars.  My frustration with the book, however, is that it has a number of sloppy mistakes.  For example, the very first sentence of Chapter 1 refers to Columbus and Cabot finding the North American continent in the "late sixteenth century"!  And throughout there are things that a good editing and/or one more draft would have fixed.  With little work, the book could have been, and should have been, much better.  Nevertheless, if one is interested in an introduction to MacKenzie, his time, and his importance, this is likely the the first book that you should read.

Hayes, Derek (2001). Historical Atlas of the North Pacific Ocean: Maps of Discovery and Scientific Exploration 1500-2000. London: The British Museum Press.

Annotation to come

Hayes, Derek (2002). Historical Atlas of Canada: Canada's History Illustrated with Original Maps. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre.

Annotation to come.

Hearne, Samuel (1795/1968).  A Journey from Prince of Wale's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean, Undertaken by Order of the Hudson's Bay Company, For the Discovery of Copper Mines, A North West Passage, etc., In the years 1769, 1770, 1771, & 1772.  Amsterdam: North Israel Press.

This is a facsimile re-issue of Hearne's original account of 1795.  See also McGoogan's  Ancient Mariner: The Amazing Adventures of Samuel Hearne, The Sailor who Walked to the Sea. Annotation to come.

Hector, James (1861). On the Geology of the Country between Lake Superior and the Pacific Ocean (between the 48th and 54th parallels of latitude), visited by the Government Exploring Expedition under the command of Captain J. Palliser (1857–60), Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 17, 388-445, 1 January 1861.

Annotation to come. The source of the pdf referenced above is:

Hector, James (1861). On the Physical Features of the Central Part of British North America: and on its Capabilities for Settlement, Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, New Series, XIV:(October 181): 212-240.

Annotation to come. The source of the above referenced pdf file is: 

Heidenreich, Conrad E.(1976). Explorations and Mapping of Samuel de Champlain, 1603-1632. Cartographica, Monograph No. 17. Supplement No. 2 to Canadian Cartographer,13.

Annotation to come.

Heidenreich, Conrad E. & Ritch, K. Janet (Eds.)(2010).  Samuel de Champlain Before 1604. Toronto:  The Champlain Society.

Annotation to come.

Hildebrandt, W. and Hubner, B. (2007). The Cypress Hills:  An Island by Itself. Saskatoon: Purich Publishing.

Annotation to come.

Hoare, W.H.B. (2014). A Thelon Odyssey: Journal of a Barrenlander and Reurn to the Barrens. Ottawa: McGahern Stewart Publishing.

This volume includes, Journal of a Barrenlander, documenting Hoare's trip of 1928-29 with a.J.Knox, which was previously published in 1990 in a very limited number.  As well, it includes the first release of Hoare's journal from his return trip in 1930-31.  Both are editted by Hoare's daughter, Sheila C. Thomson.  Annotation to come.

Hodgins, Bruce W. & Hoyle, Gwyneth (1994). Canoeing North into the Unknown - A Record of River Travel: 1874 to 1974. Toronto: Natural Heritage / Natural History.

Annotation to come.

Hood, Glynnis(2011). The Beaver Manifesto. Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books.

Physically, this is a relatively small book relative to how interesting, informative, well-written and well produced it is.  One way to describe the book is that it is a pretty great introduction to the beaver, ecologically and historically. This includes their mixed and evolvig relationships with humans.  Ultimately, the overall argument is around the importance of their potential role in helping address a number of issues facing us today.  Hood is an engaging writer who can sustain and satiate one's curiosity due to great story telling, while at the same time discussing serious topics which affect all of us.  Her discussion of their potential role in combating climate change, or mitigating the negative impact of forest fires, sheds a whole new light on one of Canada's most pervasive national symbols. I can't recommend reading this book strongly enough.

Horwood, Harold & Butts, Ed (1984). Pirates & Outlaws of Canada - 1610 - 1932. Toronto: Doubleday.

Annotation to come.

Houston, C. Stuart. (Ed.)(1974)). To the Arctic by Canoe 1819-1821: The Journal and Paintings of Robert Hood, Midshipman with Franklin.  Montreal:  McGill-Queen's University Press.

For other books on Franklin's expeditions, arctic exploration. and the North West Passage, click here.  Annotation to Come.

Howay, Frederic W. (Ed.)(1929). The Dixon-Meares Controversy.  Toronto:  Ryerson Press.

Annotation to Come.  See also Meares' Voyages.

Howay, Frederic W.(1930). A Yankee Trader on the Northwest Coast 1791-1793. Washington Historical Quarterly,  21(2), 3-14.

This is a narrative about a specific ship trading in the Pacific Northwest, the Jefferson, out of Boston.  It provides a window onto the nature of the maritime trade at the time. My copy is an off-print published in 1930 by the University of Washingon Press in Seattle.

Howay, Frederic W.(1931). A List of Trading Vessels in the Maritime Fur Trade, 1795-1804,  Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada,Third Series, XXV, 117-149.Section II, 117-149.

Sometimes list can make the most boring reading.  On the other hand, ones like this make history come alive, and help instill a deep sense of the intensity of activity and trade - and hence the importance - along the west coast in the period immediately following Vancouver's voyage, and MacKenzie's first crossing the continent. The copy of this that I have is a 1931 off-print,of this article, printed on Ottawa by the Royal Society of Canada.

Howay, Frederic W. (Ed.)(1941). Voyages of the "Columbia" to the Northwest Coast 1787-1790 and 1790-1793.  Boston:  The Massachusetts Historical Society.

Annotation to Come.

Howay, Frederic W.(1942). International Aspects of the Maritime Fur-Trade,  Proceedings of the Royal Society of Canada,Third Series, XXXVI, 59-78.

This is a summary of the west-coast fur-trade from about the time of Bering's shipwreck in 1742, when the survivors brought back to Russia an appreciation of the potential of the sea otter fur-trade, and the treaties of 1824 and 1825 between Russia and Great Britain and the United States, which more-or-less resolved issues of access by the latter two countries to territories previously claimed as sovereign by Russia. Not neglected in the summary are the roles played by Spain and France. The copy of this that I have is a 1942 off-print,of this article, which was Howay's Presidential Address to the Royal Society of Canada.

Hoyle, Gwyneth (2007).  The Northern Horizons of Guy Blanchet, Intrepid Surveyor, 1884-1966.  Toronto:  Natural Heritage Books.

Annotation to come.

Hume, Stephen (2008).  Simon Fraser:  In Search of Modern British Columbia.  Madeira Park, BC:  Harbour Publishing.

Annotation to come.

Hunter, Douglas (2007).  God's Mercies:  Rivalry, Betrayal and the Dream of Discovey.  Toronto:  Doubleday.

This book tells two separate stories of Canadian exploration: that of Henry Hudson and that of Samuel de Champlain. The author, Douglas Hunter, does a credible job at both. Had he left it at that, I think that it would provide a good introduction to each, and my only complaint would be the lack of a proper bibliography. End notes are intended to augment, not replace, bibliographies.

Frustratingly, however, Hunter decidedly did not leave it at that. Rather, he went one step further and, through complete speculation with no documented support, tried to tie the two stories together. Yes, their explorations overlapped, and they both played important roles in North America. And, yes, there is evidence that Champlain had seen Gerritsz’s 1612 map, which incorporated findings of Hudson’s fateful voyage of 1610-11, and that Champlain incorporated these into his map of 1613. That is all good.

But there is no evidence that Hudson had ever heard of Champlain, or had any knowledge of his activities in North America, and there is certainly no evidence presented that there was any rivalry or competition between the two.

Yes, Champlain’s Des Sauvages was published in French in 1603, prior to Hudson’s voyage. However, the first English translation by Hakluyt, was not published by Purchas until 1625, fifteen years after Hudson departed on his final voyage. Knowing this, without any notes, references, citations, or support other than his imagination, Hunter speculates that Hakluyt:

… would have gladly shared this English Manuscript with someone as well connected and as interested in passage-seeking as Hudson. (p. 93)

Let us leave aside the issue of how Hunter knows (as opposed to believing) what Hakluyt might or might not have been willing to do – assuming he had even started the translation by 1610 (a question not touched upon by Hunter). There is a far more serious point to be made. A hundred and five pages later, having shed no additional light on the question of Hudson possibly having seen the manuscript, Hunter writes:

And no one was more seriously or secretively affected by Champlain's reportage in Des Sauvages than Henry Hudson, as his persistent attempts to find some passage south from James Bay may well have been an effort to connect with Champlain's transcontinental passage to the Pacific, along the water route from the Northern Sea to Lake Tadouac as drawn by Wright. ... (p.198)

The point being made is that perhaps Hudson spent so much time exploring James Bay in the hope of finding the north-south passage-way indicated on a map drawn by Edward Wright in 1599 (published by Hakluyt in 1600 – a reproduction of which can be seen on p. 37 of Hayes, 2002), and then reach the orient via the east-west route that Champlain described in Des Sauvages (see Bourne, 1902 for a nice compact 2-volume edition, and  Heidenreich & Ritch, 2010, for the most current scholary edition).

My problem with the passage is not just the assumption that Hudson was aware of what Champlain had written in Des Sauvages, but that the knowledge thus gained affected him more than anyone else! Such an assertion – no longer couched as speculation – with no support or caution, is history writing that would not pass muster even in a high school term essay!

I am comfortable with Hunter having a speculative theory. I am even happy for him to tie it into a book telling the stories of his two protagonists. But by not drawing a clear line between his speculation and his well-researched and supported writing is both misleading and bad history.

In buying and reading a book, the reader is making a substantial investment in the author. For me, there is a kind of implicit contract that emerges from this, namely, that the author will be worthy of that investment – trust-worthy. Encountering something this obviously wrong is a violation of that contract, with the inevitable consequence that the reader loses confidence in everything that the author writes. Yes, one should always question everything and read with a critical mind. But by the same token, one would also like to invest one’s time in authors that one trusts.

The shame in this case is that this is all so avoidable. This was almost a very good book.

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Inglis, Alex (1978). Northern Vagabond: The Life and Career of J.B. Tyrrell - The Man Who Conquered the Canadian North. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.

Annotation to come.

Innis, Harold A. (1930). Peter Pond: Fur Trader and Adventurer. Toronto: Irwin & Gordon.

A life of Pond. To see Pond's journals, see Gates (1965).

Innis, Harold (1956). The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History . (Revised Edition. Original 1927.) Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

A classic study of the fur trade, taking a strongly economic foundation for its analysis.  For another perspective, see the critical review by Eccles in his, Essays on New France.  Annotation to come.

Irving, Washington (1836/1894). Astoria, Or Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains. (Holly Edition in 2 Volumes).  New York: Putnam's Sons.

My copy is a later limited edition (1,000 copies) of the original published in Philidelphia in 1836 by Carey, Lea, & Blanchard. See also the list of books relating to Astoria.  Annotation to come.

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Jackson, Donald (Ed.)(1955).  Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak:  Black Hawk, An Autobiography.  Urbana:  University of Illinois Press.

Annotation to come.

Jackson, William Henry & Driggs, Howard R.(1929/2011).  The Pioneer Photographer: Rocky Mountain Adventures with a Camera.  Colorado Springs: Pikes Peak Library District.
Jackson, William Henry & Driggs, Howard R.(1929/2005).  The Pioneer Photographer: Rocky Mountain Adventures with a Camera.  Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press.

This is an autobiography of one of the most influential photographers in terms of capturing the twilight years of the American west, before western civilization pretty much took over what had been wilderness.  Among other things, Jackson's work during the 1872 Geological Survey of the Yellowstone area played a significant role in the region being declared the first national park, not only in the USA, but in the world.  The first edition, which I do not currently own, was issued in 1929 by the World Book Company, Yonkers on Hudson.  My 2011 edition is a carefully prepared scanned facsimile of the original.  It is a modest paperback copy, but is very much worth having for the excellent index.  My 2005 copy is a gorgeous hard-cover lushly illustrated and typeset - very much in keeping with it being published by an art gallery.  It contains the full text of the original edition, augmented by additional illustrations and written material compiled, edited and annotated with copious end notes by Bob Blair, who did an outstanding job. My only disappointment is the lack of an index - a problem solved by taking the best from each version.

Jalbert, Russell & Jalbert, Ned (2003).  Mocotaugan:  The Story and Art of the Crooked Knife.  Nantucket, MA:  Metacom Publishing Company.

The crooked knife, or Macotaugan, is a single-handed draw knife which is the primary tool of traditional bark canoe building.  This volume presents a history of the knife, as well as stunning collection of photographed examples.  The book has been released in three forms:  a limited edition of 200 copies, specially bound, of which I have one;  a plainly bound edition of 100 copies that was donated to museums, etc.;  a free edition that is downloadable over the Internet at:

It is highly recommended, even if you never plan to build a canoe.

Jenish, D'Arcy (2003). Epic Wanderer: David Thompson and the Mapping of the Canadian West. Toronto: Doubleday Canada.

This is a biography of David Thompson. In 1784, at age 14, he was sent to Churchill Factory to work for the Hudson's Bay Company. He did not return to "civilization", in his case Eastern Canada, until 1812. In the intervening 28 years he travelled 50, 000 miles around the country - farther and more extensively than any of his peers in Canada or the US, including Mackenzie, Fraser, Lewis and Clark. And he exceeded all of them in terms of the territory that he mapped. In terms of the equipment, maps and experience that we have today, Thompson's gives cause to a serious rethink of what we call "extreme" adventure. This is a well written and researched book about one of the most amazing people that most of us have never heard of. For more biographical coverage of Thompson, especially his period exploring west of the Rockies, see Nisbet (2005). The Mapmaker's Eye: David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau. A transcription of Thompson's journals during his Columbia days can be found, along with maps and other relevant material, in Belyea (1994). One account of his arrival at Fort Astoria in July 1811 can be found in Ross (1859). See also Nisbet (1994), Sources of the river.

Jenish, D'Arcy (2006). The Fall and Rise of David Thompson: Differing views on the merits and mistakes of one of Canada's great adventurers keep the legend alive. The Beaver, December 2006 - January 2007, 86(6), 14-15.

A brief but interesting article discussing the treatment of David Thompson in the literature. For more on Thompson and pointers to associated literature, see the write-up for Jenish (2003).

Jennings, John (Ed.)(2002).  The Canoe:  A Living Tradition.  Toronto:  Firefly.

This is a stunning coffee-table type book.  It is a wonderful overview and tribute to the canoe and its role in the history of Canada.  It documents design, construction, use, etc.  Just a wonderful book for anyone interested in the fur trade.

Jennings, John (2004).  Bark Canoes:  The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney.  Toronto:  Firefly.

This is a reasonably thin (152 pages) coffee-table type book that gives a brief history of Adney (see The Bark and Skin Boats of North America), but mainly features beautifully shot photographs and descriptions of the models of various canoe types that were built by him.

Jones, David C., Sheehan, Nancy M. & Stamp, Robert M. (Eds.)(1979).  Shaping the Schools of the Canadian West.  Calgary:  Detselig.

This volume contains a number of articles that document the history of education in western Canada, including that of First Nations people. It is a useful reference in terms of setting a better frame of reference from which to view the residential schools in a broader context.

Jones, Robert F. (Ed.)(1993). Astorian Adventure: The Journal of Alfred Seton, 1811-1815.  New York:  Fordham University Press.

This is the journal of Alfred Seton, Clerk of the Pacific Fur Company at Fort Astoria. For other related journals and material that I have, click on Astoria.  Likewise, see the material on David Thompson and The Pacific North West Exploration & Fur Trade.

Jones, Robert F. (Ed.)(1999). Annals of Astoria: The Headquarters Log of the Pacific Fur Company on the Columbia River, 1811-1813.  New York:  Fordham University Press.

This is the journal of Duncan McDougall, Supervising Partner of the Pacific Fur Company at Fort Astoria. For other related journals and material that I have,click on Astoria.  Likewise, see the material on David Thompson and The Pacific North West Exploration & Fur Trade.

Jones, Tim .Edward Hodgson(1981).  The Aboriginal Rock Paintings of the Churchill River.  Anthropological Series, Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History No. 4.  Regina: Saskatchewan Department of Culture and Youth.

An extremely well illustrated and informative guide to the rock paintings on the Churchill River and near proximity.

Josephy, Jr., Alvin M. (Ed.)(2007).  Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes:  Nine Indian Writers on the Legacy of the Expedition.  New York: Vintage Books..

A very interesting set of essays that give a very different perspective on the Lewis and Clark expedition.  As a Canadian, I guess these resonated with me since the perspective is somewhat shared - that this expedition while of historical interest and importance, is one of the more over-hyped incidents in American history.  It is also one whose breadth of critical analysis comes no where near the voluminous literature around it.  This volume is a good counter example.

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Kane, E.K. (1856). Arctic Explorations: The Second Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin, 1853, '54, '55. Vol. I & Vol. II. Philadelphia: Childs & Peterson.

Subject is self explanatory. Annotation to come once I have properly read, which cannot be soon enough.

Kane, Paul (1925). Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America. Toronto: The Radisson Society of Canada. Also facsimile edition reprinted in 1996 in soft cover by Dover, Mineola, NY.

This is an account of the artist Paul Kane's travels across Canada between 1845 and 1848, originally published in 1858. The book includes a description of his traverse of the Canadian Rockies and Coastal ranges. A remarkable account of an exceptional explorer. The recent Dover edition is a facsimile of this one of 1925, with the addition of a number of Kane's paintings that are reproduced in colour, as in the original 1858 edition, but onlyin black and white, in that of 1925. This is a case where you may want both editions. However, perhaps the best recent and perhaps definitive version of Kane's book and collection of his paintings can be found in Harper's Paul Kane's Frontier. To see and read more about Kane's work, see Eaton & Urbanek (1995). For a transcription of Kane's journals, as well as related material, see MacLaren (1989: a, b & c).

Karpan, Robin & Karpan, Arlene (2008). Northern Saskatchewan Canoe Country.  Saskatoon:  Parkland Publishing.

A photo essay on northern Saskatchewan canoe routes.  For guide books on northern Saskatchewan rivers, see Archer and  Marchildon & Robinson.

Karras, A.L. (1970).  North to Cree Lake.  New York: Trident Press.

Annotation to come.

Karras, A.L. & Hanson, Olaf(2008).  Northern Rover:  The Life Story of Olaf Hanson.  Edmonton:  AU Press.

Annotation to come.

Keighley, Sydney Augustus. (1989). Trader · Tripper · Trapper: The Life of a Bay Man. Winnipeg: Watson & Dwyer Publishing Ltd.

Annotation to come.

Kellog, Louise Phelps (Ed.)(1917). Early Narratives of the Northwest 1634-1699. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

An edited volume covering accounts of the travels of Jean Nicolet, Raymbault & Jogues, Radisson's 3rd journey, Nicolas Perrot, Father Allouez to Lake Superior and to Wisconsin, Dollier and Galinée, Jolliet & Marquett to the Mississippi, La Salle's discoveries, Duluth in Sioux country, and St. Cosme. Annotation to come.

Kelsey, Henry (1689-1722). Papers.

For the papers of Henry Kelsey, likely the first European to see the Canadian prairies, see: Doughty & Martin (1929).

Kemp, H.S.M. (1956).  Northern Trader.  Toronto:  The Ryerson Press.

This is one of the best written first person accounts that I have read about life in the fur trade in the period of transition during the first half of the 1900s.

Kent, Timothy J. (1997).  Birchbark Canoes of the Fur Trade. (Two Volumes).  Ossineke, MI:  Silver Fox Enterprises.

A two volume encyclopedic treatise on the canoe in the North American fur trade.

Kerr, Donald & Holdsworth, Deryck W. (Eds.)(1990). Historical Atlas of Canada III: Addressing the Twentieth Century 1891-1961. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Annotation to come. See also Volume I: The Beginning-1800 and Volume II: 1800-1892..  The maps of these three volumes are now also becoming available on-line, which is fantastic.  See:

Kobalenko, Jerry (2002). The Horizontal Everest: Extreme Journeys on Ellesmere Island. Toronto: Penguin.

This is on of the best travel books that I have read. It tells the stories of Kobalenko's experiences over the years traveling and exploring - frequently solo - in Canada's high arctic, in particular, in the region around Ellesmere Island. This is no simple recounting of events, however. The trips are interwoven, and the narrative passes from history, to description, and to his thoughts while hauling his sled. In many ways, the book works because the pace and feel of the prose exactly fits and evokes the place that he is writing about. Probably fitting - the intensity with which I read it was only matched by the sense of peace that I had in doing so.

Kostash, Myrna (Ed.)(2009).  The Frog Lake Reader.  Edmonton:  NeWest Press.

An editted collection of readings on the Frog Lake incident (a.k.a. massacre) of 1885.  See also Ahenakew (1951), Stanley (1957), Ahenakew (1973)Fort Pitt Historical Society (1985)Cameron (1926), and Delaney & Gowanlock (1885/1999).  Annotation to come.

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Lakusta, Ernie (2007).  The Intrepid Explorer:  James Hector's Explorations in the Canadian Rockies.  Calgary:  Fifth House.

This is an account of the Palliser Expedition (1857-1860) that mainly explored the area of present day Alberta from the US boundary to a northern limit running from Edmonton to Jasper.  A significant aspect of the expedition was exploring and mapping passes through the Rockies.  This account is from the perspective of the expeditions doctor, James Hector.  Hence, it is not a comprehensive account (since the expedition broke into independent groups in order to cover more territory).  However, it is a very readable introduction.  While Lakusta does a good job of tying together original sources, the book has a few frustrating short-comings.  First, it is very short in terms of setting the explorations of the expedition in context.  It is to be remembered that this was relatively late in the history of exploration in the region.  Much of the territory covered had been visited previously, mainly as part of the fur trade.  Yet, the reader of this volume is to be forgiven if they are left with the impression that Palliser's men had pioneered much of the territory, as opposed to refined and documented our knowledge of it.  In no means does this diminish their contribution or effort.  It would just set it in better context.  My second main frustration with the book is the sorry use of maps to reinforce the text.  What maps are included are reproductions from the original Palliser reports.  They are reproduced at such a small scale that the details are almost illegible.  Trying to follow the routes described in the text using these maps is almost impossible due to both their small scale, and the fact that many of the place names referred to do not appear on the maps.  One has to go to secondary sources.  Furthermore, there are no maps that ground the travels of the Palliser expedition in terms of modern place names or maps.  Travel and exploration are inevitably intertwined with maps, so all of this is as frustrating and disappointing as it is unnecessary and easy to avoid.  Regardless of these shortcomings, the book is worth reading.

Lamb, W. Kaye (Ed.)(1957). Sixteen Year in the Indian Country: The Journal of Daniel Williams Harmon. Toronto: The Macmillan Company.

One of the bestand most extensive first person accounts of life in the Canadian fur trade in the early 1800's.

Lamb, W. Kaye (Ed.)(1960). The Letters and Journals of Simon Fraser, 1806-1808 . Toronto: The Macmillan Company.

Annotation to come.

Lamb, W. Kaye (Ed.)(1969). The Journal of Gabriel Franchère. Toronto: The Champlain Society.

Annotation to come. Franchère was a junior clerk in Astoria (1810-13) and the journal documents this period, including the sea trip to the mouth of the Columbia on the Tonquin. See also Rona's Astoria & Empire, the account of Astoria by Ross (1849), and the journal of Alexander Henry the Younger by Gough.

Lamb, W. Kaye (Ed.)(1970). The Journals and Letters of Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Hakluyt Society Extra Series No. 41. London: Cambridge University Press for the Hakluyt Society.

Annotation to come. See also Wrong (1927) and Stuart-Stubbs (1968).

Lincoln, W. Bruce (1994). The Conquest of a Continent: Siberia and the Russians. New York: Random House.

A volume which gives some coverage of the Russian fur trade, including in Alaska.  Annotation to come.

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MacEwan, J.W. Grant (1971). Portraits from the Plains. Toronto: McGraw-Hill.

Annotation to come.

MacFarlane John, M. & Salmon, Lynn (2019). Around the World in a Dugout Canoe - The Untold Story of Captain John Voss and the Tlikum. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing.

Annotation to come.

MacGregor, James G. (1966). Peter Fidler:  Canada's Forgotten Surveyor 1769-1822. Toronto:McClelland & Stewart.

Annotation to come.

MacGregor, James G. (1975). Father Lacombe. Edmonton: Hurtig.

Annotation to come.

Mackenzie, Sir Alexander (1801). For Mackenzie's letters & journals, see: Lamb (Ed.)(1970).

Mackie, Richard Somerset (1997). Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British Fur Trade on the Pacific 1793-1843. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Annotation to come

MacLaren, I.S.(1989a). " I came to rite thare portraits": Paul Kane's Journal of his Western Travels. The American Art Journal, XXI(2), 6-21.

This is an introduction to Paul Kane's journals (see next entry), including biographical background and editorial comments.

MacLaren, I.S. (Ed.)(1989b). Journal of Paul Kane's Western Travels. The American Art Journal, XXI(2), 23-62.

This is the primary transcription of the journal that Kane wrote on his western travels. See also Kane's Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America, Harper's Paul Kane's Frontier and Eaton & Urbanek (1995).

MacLaren, I.S.(1989c). Guide to People and Places in Kane's Journal. The American Art Journal, XXI(2), 66-87.

This is as the title describes. It is structured much like a mini-encyclopedia, and is a very useful companion to Kane's journals.

MacLeod, Margaret Arnett & Morton, W.L. (1963).  Cuthbert Grant of Grantown: Warden of the Plains of Red River.  Toronto:  McClelland and Stewart..

Given his importance to the history of the early days of the Red River colony, and especially the 1816 altercation at Seven Oaks, this is a well researched and welcome volume on Cuthbert Grant.

Mancall, Peter C. (2009).  Fatal Journey:  The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson - A Tale of Mutiny and Murder in the Arctic.  New York:  Basic Books.

Annotation to come.

Mandelbaum, David G. (1940).  The Plains Cree.  Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, XXXVII, Part II.  New York:  American Museum of Natural History.
Mandelbaum, David G. (1979).  The Plains Cree:  An Ethnographic, Historical, and Comparative Study.  Canadian Plains Studies 9.  Regina Saskatchewan:  Canadian Plains Research Centre.

This is the primary anthropological study on the Plains Cree.  The 1940 edition is the original.  The 1979 edition reprints the 1940 edition, as well additional new material.  Annotation to come

Manson, Ainslie (2003).  Alexander Mackenzie:  From Canada by Land.  Groundwood:  Toronto.

This is a short (118) page student's introduction to Mackenzie.  To see all my books on Mackenzie, click here.

Marchildon, Greg & Robinson, Sid.  (2002).  Canoeing the Churchill:  A Practical Guide to the Historic Voyageur Highway.  Regina:  Canadian Plains Research Centre.

Despite the title, this is not exactly a guide to canoeing the Churchill.  While it starts on the Clearwater and heads east, the route described leaves the Churchill at Frog Portage, rather than continuing on down to Hudson Bay.  Rather, from the portage, it follows the classic route down the Sturgeon-Weir to Cumberland House.  The book is extremely strong in terms of the historical background provided along the route.  See also Archer, as well as the book by the Karpans

Masson, L.R. (1960).  Les Bourgeois de la Compagnie du Nord-Ouest:  Récits de Voyages, Lettres et Rapports Inédits Relatifs au Nord-Ouest Canadien. (Vol. I & II)  New York:  Antiquarian Press.

This is a reprint of the original two volume set published in 1889-90.  The English version of the sub-title is, Original Journals, Narratives, Letters, etc. Relating to the Northwest Company.  The French word "Bourgeois" in the title means someone of status in the actual business of the company, such as a  "trader", "clerk", "factor" or "partner".  The bourgeois were distinct from "Voyageurs".  The were typically English of Scottish, spoke English (although many of the Scots also spoke Gaelic), and were  educated enough to keep the accounts and journals of the posts and trips.  The term "factor" stems from the responsibility of "factoring" the accounts, and also is the reason that some of the posts were called "factories", i.e., the place where the factoring was done.  The voyagers were mostly French speaking and illiterate.  There was a real class system between the bourgeois and the voyageurs, with the latter being labour:  the engine for the canoes, and the ones who built the posts, hunted, etc.  All of which is a long way of saying that this volume is not about the voyageurs, but those who managed the enterprise that took them to the west.

Despite the French title, much of the first volume and all of the second are in English.  Vol. I starts with a 150 page (in French) summary of the history of the Northwest Company.  The second part of the volume consists of memoires, journals and letters of various traders.  These include:

  1. Roderic McKenzie (reminisces, largely consisting of letters from his cousin Alexander MacKenzie);

  2. Letters from the Norwegian trader Willard-Ferdinand Wentzel to Roderic McKenzie;

  3. Simon Fraser's journal from his 1808 trip down the Fraser;

  4. Journal of M. Francois-Victor Malhiot from Fort Kamanaitiquoya, 1804-1805;

  5. An account of the Red River by John McDonnell, from circa 1797;

  6. Missouri Journal of Franois-Antoine Larocque from 1804-1805.

  7. The Mississouri Indians - A Narrative of Four Trading expeditions to the Mississouri, 1804-1805-1806, by Charles MacKenzie.

Volume II consists of the following:

  1. Autobiographical notes by John McDonald of Garth, 1791-1816

  2. Letters to Roderic McKenzie from George Keith, 1807-1817

  3. An Account of Lake Superior, 1792-1807, by John Johnston

  4. Narrative of Circumstances Attending the Death of the late Benjamin Frobisher,  Esq., a Partner of the North-West Company, by Samuel Wilcocke, 1819.

  5. The Nipigon Country, 1804, by Duncan Cameron, with extracts from his journal

  6. The Sauteux Indians, by Peter Grant, circa 1804.

  7. Extracts from the journal of James McKenzie, 1799-1800

  8. The North-West Company's "Agreements" of 1802 and 1804.

McCart, Joyce & McCart, Peter.  (2000).  On the Road with David Thompson.  Calgary:  Fifth House.

This is a travel guide for those who want to retrace Thompson's steps by car and by foot.  It includes maps and other information for a number of locations in the west where Thompson was active.  It also weaves in a brief history of Thompson as well.

McArthur, Pat Deiter (1987). Dances of the Northern Plains.  Saskatoon:  Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre.

Annotation to come.

McDermott, James (Ed.)(2001a).  The Third Voyage of Martin Frobisher to Baffin Island 1578.  London:  Hakluyt Society.  Series III Volume 6.

Annotation to come.  See also, The Arctic Voyages of Martin Frobisher and Martin Frobisher:  Elizabethan Privateer.

McDermott, James (2001b).  Martin Frobisher:  Elizabethan Privateer.  London:  New Haven:  Yale University Press.

Annotation to come.  See also, The Arctic Voyages of Martin Frobisher. and The Third Voyage of Martin Frobisher to Baffin Island 1578.

McDonald, Archibald (1872/1971). Peace River:  A Canoe Voyage from Hudson's Bay to Pacific.  Edmonton:  M.G. Hurtig.

This is the journal of the trip that McDonald made in 1828 with George Simpson from York Factory, on Hudson's Bay to Fort Langley, near the mouth of the Fraser River

McGhee, Robert (2001). The Arctic Voyages of Martin Frobisher: An Elizabethan Adventure. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Annotation to come. See also, The Third Voyage of Martin Frobisher to Baffin Island 1578 and Martin Frobisher:  Elizabethan Privateer.

McGoogan, Ken (2001). Fatal Passage: The Untold Story of John Rae, the Arctic Adventurer who Discovered the Fate of Franklin. Toronto: HarperCollins.

Annotation to come.

McGoogan, Ken (2003). Ancient Mariner: The Amazing Adventures of Samuel Hearne, The Sailor who Walked to the Sea. Toronto: HarperCollins.

An excellent read and a really great introduction to the life of Hearne, one of the greats of Canadian exploration. See also Hearne's A Journey from Prince of Wale's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean.

McGoogan, Ken (2008). Race to the Polar Sea:  The Heroic Adventures and Romantic Obsessions of Elisha Kane. Toronto: HarperCollins.

Annotation to come.  See also Kane's (1856), Arctic Exploration.

McLeod, Neal (2007).  Cree Narrative Memory: From Treaties to Contemporary Times.  Saskatoon:  Purich Publishing Ltd.

Annotation to come.

McMillan, Alan D. (1988).  Native Peoples and Cultures of Canada:  An Anthropological Overview. Vancouver:Douglas & McIntyre.

Annotation to come.

McPhee, John. (1975).  The Survival of the Bark Canoe, New York:  Farrar • Straus• Giroux.

This main part of this book reads like an extended article from the New Yorker.  In fact, it reads like two such articles spliced together.  The first is a profile of Henri Vaillancourt, a builder based in southern New Hampshire who began making birch bark canoes in 1965.  It is a kind of sketch of the man, how he works, and his obsession with bark canoes.  The second part tells the story of  canoe trip that the author took in with Vaillancourt and three other people in the back-woods of Maine.  The juxtaposition of the two sections works well. The first portrays Vaillancourt as a master crafts-person.  In contrast - despite his assertion of authority since he made the canoes -  when out tripping, he is a novice- never having done a portage, gone on a long trip, nor done any white water.  In fact, despite his fixing both canoes during the trip, thereby reinforcing his craftsmanship in one sense, two of the key difficulties on the trip are clearly shortcomings in his judgment it that craft's practice.  Throughout, there is reference to how he has very low freeboard on his boats.  So, no surprise that they were repeatedly in danger of swamping when out on lakes during strong winds.  They were too low - but then, he had little experience that would let him know better - unless he listened to others.  But then, this was clearly not in his character - the point is made repeatedly that he considered himself the best bark canoe maker in the world.  Besides the taking on of water due to the low freeboard, that this may not be the case - from the practical sense of making boats that function - is suggested to the repair that had to be made to his own boat.  It almost foundered due to the stitching  across the boat pulling out due to the seam being too close to the edge of the bark.  The stitching  may have been beautifully done, but the engineering and sense of materials is less impressive.  to be fair, this book was written early in his career, and many of us know more in our twenties than we do in our fifties.

Finally, the book ends with a collection of drawings from Adney's notes (see also Adney and Chappelle).  These are followed by a number of photos of Adney's scale models, the complete collection of which have now been beautifully reproduced in Jennings' Bark Canoes:  The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney.  A quick read, this book is extremely well written.

Meares, John (1791/1967).  Voyages Made in the Years 1788 and 1789, From China to the North West Coast of America, from which are prefixed An Introductory Narrative of A Voyage Performed in 1786, from Bengal, in the Ship Nootka;  Observations on the Probable Existence of a North West Passage; and Some Account of the Trade Between the North West Coast of America and China: and the Latter Country and Great Britain.  Amsterdam:  N. Israel Press. 

This book wins the award for longest title in my library!. The copy that I have is a facsimile of the original 1791 edition published by J. Walter, London. Even this facsimile is hard to find. Meares was an adventurer and a bit of a rogue. His actions, including the exaggerations in this book, were largely behind the Nootka Incident that brought England and Spain to the brink of war.  See also Howay's, The Dixon-Meares Controversy.  Annotation to come.

Merk, Frederick (Ed.)(1968).  Fur Trade and Empire:  George Simpson's Journal 1824-25 (Revised Edition).  Cambridge MA:  Belknap Press.

Annotation to come.

Miller, J.R. (1996).  Shingwauk's Vision:  A History of Native Residential Schools.  Toronto:  University of Toronto Press.

For other writing on the residential school system in Canada, see:  Churchill (2004), Davin (1879), & Milloy (1999).  Annotation to come.

Milloy, John S.(1988).  The Plains Cree: Trade, Diplomacy and War, 1790 to 1870.  Winnipeg:  The University of Manitoba Press.

Annotation to come.

Milloy, John S.(1999).  A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System 1879 to 1986.  Winnipeg:  The University of Manitoba Press.

For other writing on the residential school system in Canada, see:  Churchill (2004), Davin (1879), & Miller (1996).  Annotation to come.

Milton, Viscount, and Cheadle, Walter Butler (1865/2001).  The North-West Passage by Land, Being the Narrative of an Expedition from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  Toronto:  Prospero.

Sub-titled, "Undertaken with the View of Exploring a Route Across the Continent to British Columbia Through British Territory, By One of the Northern Passes in the Rocky Mountains. A modern facsimile of the 1865 6th edition. Annotation to come.

Mitchell, Barbara (2017).  Mapmaker: Philip Turnor in Rupert's Land in the Age of Enlightenment. Regina: University of Regina Press.

This is a welcome biography of Philip Turnor, one of the first trained surveyor / mapmaker chartered by the Hudson's Bay Company to map the locations of the company's posts.  He is also the one who trained both David Thompson and Peter Fidler - the three of them having mapped the majority of Canada.  The book is equally a portrait of the fur trade in Canada during the period in which he was active,1778-1793.  It is well researched, has copious notes, a useful index, numerous maps and illustrations,  useful bibliography and time-line (which sets the events covered in the context of the time).  Finally, there are fourteen short passages and an epilogue interwoven with the body of the text.  These provide a modern personal perspective by the author, who is a descendant of Turnor, about her quest to know more about him, his time, and his dependents.

Moreau, William E. (Ed.)(2009). The Writings of David Thompson. Volume 1: The Travels, 1850 Version. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.
Moreau, William E. (Ed.)(2009). The Writings of David Thompson. Volume 1: The Travels, 1850 Version. Toronto: Champlain Society.

This new edtion of Thompson's travels was simulutaneously published in a trade edition as well as the Champlain Society edition.  I have both.  Annotation to come. For other works in my library by and about Thompson, click here.

Moreau, William E. (Ed.)(2015). The Writings of David Thompson. Volume 2: The Travels, 1850 Version. Toronto: Champlain Society.

Volume two of THompson's travel writing.

Morice, Rev. A.G. (1905). The History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia (Formerly New Caledonia) [1660 to 1880]. (3rd edition) Toronto: William Briggs.

The first edition of this book was published in 1904. This third edition appeared in the centennial year of the first permanent European settlement in British Columbia (Fort McLeod). Besides corrections, it includes new appendices, minor revisions, and a significant number of new footnotes. Annotation to come.

Morrison, R. Bruce & Wilson, Roderick (Eds.)(2004).  Native Peoples:  The Canadian Experience.  Don Mills ON:  Oxford University Press.

Annotation to come.

Morse, Eric W. (1962). Canoe Routes of the Voyageurs: The Geography and Logistics of the Canadian Fur Trade. Toronto: Quetico Foundation / St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society.

A compilation of a series of three articles that appeared in The Canadian Geographical Journal in May, July and August 1961 under the title, “Voyageurs' Highway.” A great summary of the routes and practice of the Northwest Company.

Morse, Eric W. (1971). Fur Trade routes of Canada / Then and Now. 2nd printing. Ottawa: National and Historic Parks Branch.

A wonderful little book that is a nice expansion of the previous entry.

Müller, Gerhard Friedrich (1758/1986).  Bering's Voyages:  The Reports from Russia.  Carol Urness (Ed.). The Rasmuson Library Historical Translation Series Volume III.  Fairbanks: The University of Alaska Press.

Annotation to come.

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Nasatir, A.P. (Ed.)(1952/53).  Before Lewis and Clark:  Documents Illustrating the History of the Missouri 1785-1804. (Vol I 1952, Vol. II, 1953).St. Louis:  St. Louis Historical Documents Foundation.

Annotation to come.

Nelson, George (circa 1823):  See Brown & Brightman (1988)

Neuzil, Mark & Sims, Norman (2018).  Canoes: A Natural History in North America. Markham:  Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

This is an outstanding chronicle of the history of the canoe, canoe culture, and their impact and role in shaping North America.

Newman, Peter C. (1985).  Company of Adventurers Vol. I. New York:  Viking.

This is Volume I of Newman's history of the Hudson's Bay Company.  It covers the period leading up to the company's incorporation in 1670, to the period after 1760, with the fall of Québec, and the rise of Montréal-based traders.

Newman, Peter C. (1987).  Caesars of the Wilderness: Company of Adventurers Vol. II. New York:  Viking.

This volume picks up the story with the rise of the Montréal-based traders after the fall of Québec in 1760,  and the rise of the North West Company, founded in 1779.  It covers the struggle between the two companies, resulting the the ultimate victory of the HBC, reflected in its absorption of the NWC in 1821, through to the end of the old fur trade, represented by the last fur brigade going to York Factory in 1871.

Nisbet, Jak (1994). Sources of the river: Tracking David Thompson across western North America. Seattle: Sasquatch Books.

Annotation to come. See also Jenish (2003). Epic Wanderer: David Thompson and the Mapping of the Canadian West.

Nisbet, Jack (2005). The Mapmaker's Eye: David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau. Pullman WA: Washington State University Press.

This is a very good introdution to David Thompson. It is extremely well illustrated with maps, as well as images of the areas being discussed, drawing heavily on the works of Kane and Warre. While the book gives a brief but good overview of Thompson's life, the focus is on the period from 1807-1813, when Thompson was west of the Rockies, and exploring the regions around the Columbia River. For an overall life of Thompson, see Jenish (2003), Epic Wanderer: David Thompson and the Mapping of the Canadian West

Nokes, J. Richard (1991).  Columbia's River:  The Voyages if Robert Gray, 1787-1793.  Tacoma WA: Washington Historical Society.

Annotation to come.

Noonan, Brian, Hallman, Dianne & Scharf, Murray (Eds.) (2006).  A History of Education in Saskatchewan:  Selected Readings.  Regina, Sask.:  Canadian Plains Research Center..

Volume contains chapter on schooling of First Nations and Métis children, as well as a general history of education in the province.  Annotation to come.

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Olson, Sigurd (1961).  The Lonely Land. New York:  Alfred A. Knopf.

This is an account of a canoe trip made in 1955 across northern Saskatchewan, following the old fur-trade route from Isle à la Crosse, down the Churchill River, over Frog Portage, and on to Cumberland House.  For a modern description of the route, see Marchildon & Robinson.  Fuller annotation to come.

O'Meara, Walter (1960). The Savage Country: A History of the North West Company and the Lands They Conquered. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

This is less a history of the North West Company than the telling of the story of Alexander Henry the Younger's participation in it. However, it is more than just a précis of the two volumes of Henry's journal (Gough, 1988/1992). O'Meara does a good job of setting the story in context. He clearly has a good handle on the literature, and his telling provides an excellent introduction to this part of the North West Company's history. For an alternative complementary summary of the the company's history and practice, see MacKenzie's book (Lamb, 1970).

Osler, Sanford (2014).Canoe Crossings: Understanding the Craft that Helped Shape British Columbia. Victoria B.C.: Heritage House Publishing.

A valuable and very readable account of canoeing in BC, with a special emphasis on west-coast dug out canoe traditions, their cultural and physical evolution and reemergence.

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Paget, Amelia M. (1909). People of the Plains. Toronto: William Briggs.

Annotation to come.

Parker, Lewis K. (2003). John Jacob Astor and the Fur Trade.. New York: PowerKids Press.

This is a short (24 page) highly illustrated children's book - part of a series on American Tycoons. It does a rather good overview in so few pages.

Patterson, R.M. (1954). Dangerous River. NY: William Sloane.

Annotation to come. See also the biography of Patterson by David Finch, provides a great deall of background on this book - including the embelishments.  For Patterson's Nahanni journals, see Davis (2008).

Peel, Bruce (1972).   Steamboats on the Saskatchewan.  Saskatoon:  Prairie Books.

This is an extremely interesting and readable account of the introduction of steam boats into the west, part of the industrial wave that changed the fur trade and the west forever.  The book starts with the introduction of steamboats on the Red River in 1859, which - by connecting Fort Garry and the US rail-head in St. Paul Min., led to large areas of Saskatchewan, including Battleford and Fort Pitt, being supplied by ox-trains from Fort Garry, rather than from York Factory on Hudson Bay.  The next step was the introduction in 1872 of steamboats on Lake Winnipeg, running between Fort Garry and Grand Portage.  This put the nail in the coffin of the fur brigades to York Factory, changing the fur trade forever.  However, the main part of the book focuses on the use of steamboats on the Saskatchewan River between their introduction in 1874, through to their demise in 1899, due to the railroad, and their final disappearance in 1954.  Well worth reading.

Peers, Laura (1994).   The Ojibwa of Western Canada, 1780 to 1870.  St. Paul:  Minnesota Historical Press.

Annotation to come.

Penttila, Bryan (2003). Columbia River:  The Astoria Odyssey.  A Pictorial History of Life on the Columbia River Estuary.  9 Portland:  Frank Amato.

Annotation to come. For related journals and material that I have, click on Astoria.  Likewise, see the material on David Thompson and The Pacific North West Exploration & Fur Trade.

Phillips, Paul Chrisler (1961).   The Fur Trade, Vol. I & II.   Norman:  Univeristy of Oklahoma.

Annotation to come.

Pierce, Richard A. & Donnelly, Alton S.(Eds. & Trans.)(1978). A History of the Russian American Company, Vol I: See Tikhmenev Vol 1.

Pierce, Richard A. & Donnelly, Alton S.(Eds. & Trans.)(1979). A History of the Russian American Company, Vol II:See Tikhmenev Vol 2.

Podruchny, Carolyn (2006).  Making the Voyageur World: Travelers and Traders in the North American Fur Trade.  Toronto:  University of Toronto Press.

A cultural study of the early French-Canadians who constituted the voageurs who literally became the engine of the early fur trade. Annotaton to come.

Pryde, Duncan (1971).  Nunaga: My Land, My Country.  Edmonton:  M.G. Hurtig Ltd..

Annotaton to come.

Purchas, Samuel (Ed.)(1625-26 / 1965).  Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrims: Contayning a History of the World in Sea Voyages and Lande Travells by Englishmen and others. Vol. XIV.  New York: AMS Press.

This is a modern facsimile of the original published by William Stanley for Henrie Featherstone, London, in 1625-26.  This volume contains the account of Juan de Fuca, recounted to Michael Lok, the elder, in Venice in 1596.  It also contains accounts of Baffin's voyages, among others.  Annotation to come.

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Radisson, Pierre-Esprit:  See Warkentin, Germaine (Ed.)(2012).  Pierre-Esprit Radisson: The Collected Writings, Vol. I.

Raffan, James (1990). Summer North of Sixty:  By Paddle and Portage Across the Barren Lands.  Toronto:  Key Porter.

Annotation to come.

Raffan, James (1996). Fire in the Bones: Bill Mason and the Canadian Canoeing Tradition. Toronto:  HarperCollins.

Annotation to come.

Raffan, James (1999).  Bark, Skin and Cedar:  Exploring the Canoe in Canadian Experience.  Toronto:  HarperCollins.

A kind of meditation on the place of the canoe in Canada - its history and its place.  Really a collection of stories and thoughts about and around the canoe.  Well written - the kind of thing that you want to hear/read around the campfire while out tripping.

Raffan, James (2002). Deep Waters:  Courage, Character and the Lake Timiskaming Canoeing Tragedy. Toronto:  HarperCollins.

Annotation to come.

Raffan, James (Ed.)(2004). Rendezvous with the Wild:  The Boreal Forest. Erin, Ontario:  Boston Mills Press.

Annotation to come.

Raffan, James (2007). Emperor of the North: Sir George Simpson and the Remarkable Story of the Hudson's Bay Company. Toronto: HarperCollins.

An extremely readable and informative book about Simpson and the fur trade in Canada in the 1800's.

Raffan, James (2014). Circling the Midnight Sun: Culture and Change in the Invisible Arctic. Toronto: HarperCollins

Annotation to come.

Ravenhill, Alice (1938). The Native Tribes of British Columbia. Victoria: Charles F. Banfield. Press.

Annotation to come.

Ray, Arthur J. (1974). Indians in the Fur Trade:  Their Role as Hunters, Trappers and Middlemen in the Lands Southwest of Hudson Bay 1660-1870. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Annotation to come.

Ray, Arthur J. (1996). I Have Lived Here Since the World Began:  An Illustrated History of Canada's Native People. Toronto: Lester / Key Porter.

Annotation to come.

Ray, Arthur J. (2018). Life and Death by the Frozen Sea: The York Fort Journals of Hudson's Bay Company Governor James Knight, 1714-1717. Toronto: Champlain Society.

Annotation to come.

Ray, Arthur J. & Freeman, Donald B. (1978). 'Give Us Good Measure': An Economic Analysis of Relations Between the Indians and the Hudson's Bay Company Before 1763. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

This is a study of the Hudson's Bay Company during its first 100 years of operation.  As stated in the preface, it frames things in the context of an economic system within a geographical context - one in which maintained a continious relationship between the indiginous First Nations people and the Company. The importance of the HBC's dependence on their indiginous partners becomes clear when one considers that up to 1774, and the systematic move trade inland (beginning with establishment of Cumberland House), virtually all trade took place at the HBC factories on the bay.  That is, the indingious people brought the furs to the HBC, and conducted all inland trade amongst themselves. (Yes, Henley House (1743-55) was established 120 miles innland on the Albany in reponse to competition from Quebec traders, but that was an exception, with systematic establishment of inland posts not beginning until Cumberland House.)  

Reid, Martine J. Reid (Ed.)(2011). Bill Reid and the Haida Canoe. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing.

Bill Reid (1920-1998) was a champion and practitioner of West Coast, Haida, art - as a jewler, sculptor and canoe builder.  As the title suggests, this volume focusses on the canoe - in scupture, but especially his contribution to revitalizing the traditional craft of Haida canoe building.

Robinson, Percy J. (1933). Toronto During the French Régime:  A History of the Toronto Region from Brûlé to Simcoe, 1615 - 1793. Toronto: Ryerson University Press.

Annotation to come.

Robson, Joseph (1752/1965).  An Account of Six Years Residence in Hudson's Bay, From 1733 to 1736, and 1744 to 1747. Toronto: Johnson Reprint Corporation.

This is a reprint of the 1752 first edition, originally published by Payne and Bouquet, London.   Annotation to come.

Roe, Frank Gilbert (1955). The Indian and the Horse. Norman Oklahoma:  Univerity of Oklahoma Press.

See also Ewers (1955). Annotation to come.

Rogers, Robert (1765/2008). A Concise Account of North America: Containing a Description of Several British Colonies on That Continent, Including the Islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, &c.  Whitefish, MT:  Kessinger Publishing.

This is a facsimile reprint of the 1785 first edition originally published by J. Millan, London.  Annotation to come.

Ronda, James, P. (1990). Astoria & Empire. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

An excellent well researched account of the founding of Astoria, with background, and analysis. My only real complaint about the book is the inadequacy of the maps. For a list of other books in my collection on Astoria, click here.

Ross, Alexander (1849/1969). Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River: Being a Narrative of the Expedition Fitted Out by John Jacob Astor to Establish the "Pacific Fur Company;" with an Account of Some Indian Tribes on the Coast of the Pacific. NY: Citadel Press.

Ross was born in Scotland but migrated to Canada with his family. He was part of the group sent out by Astor to set up a trading post at the mouth of the Columbia River, Fort Astoria. The fort was established in 1811. This is Ross's account of his experiences from when they headed out from New York by ship in 1810, until the company failed and was passed on the the North West Company in 1813. This includes his comments on the surprise arrival of David Thompson and his party on July 15, 1811. This is a reprint of the 1849 first edition published in London by Smith, Elder and Co. This is the first of three books by Ross. The second was, The Fur Hunters of the Far West; A Narrative of Adventures in the Oregon and Rocky Mountains, published in 1855. The third was, The Red River Settlement, Its Rise, Progress, and Present State. With Some Account of the Native Races and its General History, to the Present Day, published in 1856.

For a list of other books in my collection on Astoria, click here.

Ross, Alexander (1855). The Fur Hunters of the Far West: A Narrative of Adventures in the Oregon and Rocky Mountains. Volume I, Volume II London: Smith, Elder and Co.
Ross, Alexander (1855/1966). The Fur Hunters of the Far West. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

This is the third of three books by Ross covering his time in the fur trade and after. The links associated with the 1855 edition are to a freely downloadable PDF copy of volumes I and II, respectively, of the first edition. The 1966 edition is a reissue edited by Kenneth A. Spaulding.

Ross, Alexander (1856). The Red River Settlement: Rise, Progress, and Present State. With Some Accounts of The Native Races and its General History, to the Present Day. London: Smith, Elder and Co.

This is the third of three books by Ross covering his time in the fur trade and after. The link associated with this books title is to a freely downloadable PDF copy of the original volume.

Ruggles, Richard (1991). A Country So Interesting: The Hudson's Bay Company and Two Centuries of Mapping 1670-1870. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.

A wonderful book of scholarship documenting the mapping of Canada by HBC employees. Includes reproductions of 66 key maps, plus catalogue of all known maps from the period. Also great discussion of historical context, map making, etc. A "must-have" book for anyone interested in the history of Canada and cartography of the country. Beautiful production.

Russell, Carl P. (1957). Guns on the Early Frontiers:  A History of Firearms from Colonial Times Through the Years of the Western Fur Trade. Berkeley:  University of California Press.

See also these other books on firearms and their trade during the fur trade and early contact:  Hanson (1960) and especially Gale (2010), which is probably the best book to start with on this topic..

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Savage, Candace (Ed.) (1974).  A The World of Wetiko - Tales from the Woodland Cree as told by Marie Merasty.  Saskatoon:  The Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College.

Annotation to come.

Scott, Duncan C. (1914).  Indian Affairs, 1867-1912.  In Adam Shortt & Arthur G. Doughty,  (Eds.). Canada and Its Provinces. (Vol. 7) Section IV.  The Dominion: Political Evolution.  Toronto: Glasgow, Brook & Company. pp. 93-626.

This is an important text for anyone interested in better understanding the issues around the history of the residential school system for First Nations people in Canada.  Since this is a relatively old and hard to find book, it is worth noting that an excellent scanned version of the book is available as a free PDF download.  Click on the title above to find the link.

The following passage from the body of the article is telling in many ways:

It cannot be gainsaid that in the early days of school
administration in the territories, while the problem was still
a new one, the system was open to criticism. Insufficient
care was exercised in the admission of children to the schools.
The well-known predisposition of Indians to tuberculosis resulted
in a very large percentage of deaths among the pupils.
They were housed in buildings not carefully designed for
school purposes, and these buildings became infected and
dangerous to the inmates. It is quite within the mark to
say that fifty per cent of the children who passed through
these schools did not live to benefit from the education which
they had received therein.

Again, for a long time no attention was paid to a question
of the very first importance : what was to become of the
pupils who returned to the reserves ? The danger was
recognized that they might lapse to the level of reserve
life as soon as they came into contact with their parents.
Little, however, was done to grapple with the difficulty.
In fact, this relapse actually happened in a large percentage
of cases, and most promising pupils were found to have
retrograded and to have become leaders in the pagan life of
the reserves, instead of contributing to the improvement of
their surroundings. (p. 615)

Let me make a few points that can be illustrated with this passage:

  1. As early as 1912 authors recognized serious problems associated with the residential schools and that by 1914 these issues appeared in a very credible, establishment publication. 
  2. Such concerns, once raised, appeared to have little or no effect on the school system.
  3. The objection was not with the residential system, per se, but mainly with its execution.
  4. Despite his concern with the conditions of the schools, the author's concern that students might "lapse" back into reserve life appears to be very much in line with the objective of the assimilation of the students into Christian "civilized".
  5. These points make clear the mixed nature of the issues with the system, and why it is important to draw distinctions, and not muddle one up with the other in discussing them.
  6. Perhaps most significantly, note the author's statement, "It is quite within the mark to say that fifty per cent of the children who passed through these schools did not live to benefit from the education which they had received therein."  This is a statement that has been quoted in many subsequent books, generally in a way that is implies that the statement is (a) accurate, and (b) applies to the residential school system in general, i.e., it is not qualified to apply to a particular year, epidemic, school or region.  Let's look at both points.  First, note that Scott cites no data to support his claim.  Second, even he does not explicitly frame it in any specific context of time or geography.  Yet what he writes is stated as fact, and generally true - something that reflects how feelings and discussions around the topic of residential schools becomes inflamed and polarized.

In terms of point 6, what strikes me is that there are more than enough well documented problems with the residential school system already.  We don't need to exaggerate or grasp at such straws - unless or until one has done the homework and has the data at hand to support the assertion.

In this, I am not making a statement about the narrow or general validity of Scott's statement.  What I am saying is that if there is any hope for dialogue and reconciliation, we cannot go on emotions alone.  We need to show discipline and do our homework since the notion of finding "truth", such as it may be, comes part and parcel with reconciliation.

Sexé, Marcel (1923).  Two Centuries of Fur-Trading 1723-1923 - Romance of the Revillon Family.  Paris:  Draeger Freres.

This is a beautifully produced book providing a history of the Révillon Frères company to 1923.   It is certainly not an objective, or critical history - rather a bit of of a hagiography, as it was commissioned by the Révillon family.  Nevertheless, it is rich in information that is difficult to find elsewhere, and precious (to me, at least) for what it is.     Stopping at 1923, the account of the history is cut somewhat short, as the fur trading part of the company stopped trading in 1936 when it was acquired by the HBC.  An electronic copy of this book used to be available from Google Books, but this is sadly no longer the case.

Shelikhov, Grigorii I. (1783-1786).  For A Voyage to America 1783-1786, see Pierce (Ed.)(1981)

Shorto, Russell (2004).  The Island at the Center of the World:  The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & The Forgotten Colony the Shaped America.  New York:  Doubleday.

This is an excellent overview of the Dutch settlement in North America.  Despite the title, it is not only about Manhattan;  rather, it covers the history of the larger colonization of Manhattan, Long Island, and the interior lands between the Delaware (South) and Hudson Rivers.  This is a good source to get some perspective on what was going on in this quarter at the same time that the French were pushing the fur trade in Canada.  See also  the journal of van den Bogaert. and van der Donck's,  A Description of New Netherlands

Shortt, Adam & Doughty, Arthur G. (Eds.)(1913). Canada and Its Provinces. (Vols. 6, 7, and 8) Section IV.  The Dominion: Political Evolution.  Toronto: Glasgow, Brook & Company.

I have these three volumes in my collection.  However, excellent PDF copies are available for free download.  Just click on the volume numbers above to access the relevant download sites.  Annotation to come.

Siggins, Maggie (2005). Bitter Embrace: White Society's Assault on the Woodland Cree. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.

This is a book about the impact of contact with European society on the Woodland Cree in northern Saskatchewan. This is an important topic. It is also one which is neglected, and deserves serious attention. It is also a subject that Canadians as a whole need to be better informed about, since that is the foundation upon which any future action needs to be based.

Unfortunately, this is not the book that will lead to any such understanding. The problem is that the author is so intent on blasting the reader with the litany of ills perpetrated upon the Cree, that she loses any sense of objectivity, and provides nothing by way of helpful or constructive analysis. Her research, while extensive, is highly selective, apparently targeted at digging up more data to support her argument, as opposed to generate understanding. In short, she wants you to feel what she feels, not understand the situation, not to be equipped to do anything about it.

The author's world is one of opposites, good and bad. On the one hand, one has a naive view of the "Noble Savage" living in total peace and harmony, and on the other, the white intruders, who destroy everything good that previously existed.

What makes this book so frustrating, is that it teaches little, and contributes nothing to an understanding of the underlying issues, much less what is to be done about them. Rather, it appears to be an outlet for the author to unburden herself from the self-imposed guilt that she carries for being of European descent.

Yes, the Woodland Cree are in a desperate state. Yes, the encounter with European culture carries a huge burden of responsibility for that situation. And yes, our policies past and present have been inadequate and need to be addressed.

But any analysis that paints the world in such polarized terms simply inflames stereotypes, and perpetrates misunderstanding, rather than eliminates it.

The book claims to be well researched. That is simply not the case. Good research looks at all the data, not just those that support the sense of moral indignation that the author brought with her at the start of the project.

In many cases, her facts are just wrong. As a simple example, when talking about the history of education of First Nation people, she seems to not have read Champlain's history - something that is kind of elementary. Her facts are simply wrong - not just in terms of dates, but in terms of substance. You see, Champlain's position on education was contrary to her thesis, so of course she would leave it out. Or perhaps her research just wasn't as thorough as she and her publishers would have you believe.

But it is worse than that. It doesn't matter what the issue is, she will argue from all sides if it suits her purpose. She seems to assume that in her barrage of data that the reader will not notice her lack of logic and her circular argument. She argues against residential schools (not hard to do, given the ills that they perpetrated), for taking the kids away from their families and thereby losing traditional skills, language and culture. Yet she argues against day schools in the summer (set up since families spent fall-spring away from the communities at family hunting and trapping camps) because there was too long of an interval between classes. This despite the fact that the summer schools were set up specifically to enable the kids to live with their families, and keep their culture. And, just to complete the circle, she complains at how long it took to set up fall-spring day schools in the communities, yet never is clear to the reader why that is, namely, that even up to 1940 and later, up to 80% of the population left the central communities from fall to spring, as already stated, to go to their hunting and trapping camps. A normal school year school would either have to have been residential, or disrupt the traditional sojourns at the hunting and trapping camps. And around and around the author goes, never stepping back to look at the larger picture, and all the time pretending that a coherent argument is being made. Such is the book.

The telling of this story requires skills in ethnography, history and analysis that the author is clearly lacking. What is sad is that this story deserves telling. These are a people who deserve better than the author provides. These issues are too important to permit the self-indulgent undisciplined rant found in these pages. What a pity. Yet again, the white person lets the Cree down.

As a closing note, by way of full disclosure: I have a connection to the community discussed in this book through my father, who taught there in 1938-39. I have also studied the history of the area. Thus, in reading this book, I was motivated to not take things at face value, and to look a bit deeper. For that, I am grateful, and make no apology.

Simpson, George:  See Merk, Frederick (Ed.)(1968).  Fur Trade and Empire:  George Simpson's Journal 1824-25

Simpson, Thomas (1843/1970).  Narrative of the Discoveries of the North Coast of America; Effected by the Officers of the Hudson's Bay Company During the Years 1836-39 (Second Edition).  Toronto:  Canadiana House.

Thomas Simpson was a younger cousin of Sir George Simpson.  This is a facsimile edition of the original that was published in 1843 by Richard Bentley, London, at the instigation of Simpson's younger brother Alexander.  While nothing has been omitted from the original version, this edition is augmented by a memoir of Simpson by his brother, Alexander Simpson, as well as other material.  This edition is published in two volumes, although with my copy - at least - both volumes are bound together, and appear to have been that way originally.  Further annotation to come.

Skinner, Constance Lindsay (1920).  Adventurers of Oregon:  A Chronicle of the Fur Trade.  New Haven:  Yale University Press.

A history of the fur trade focusing on Oregon, including chapters on the discovery and exploration of the Columbia River, Lewis and Clark, Astoria, and John McLoughlin. Annotation to come.

Sluman, Norma & Goodwill, Jean (1982). John Tootoosis:  A Biography of a Cree Leader. Ottawa:  Golden Dog Press.

Annotation to come.

Smith, Barbara Sweetland (2000). Science Under Sail:  Russia's Great Voyages to America 1728-1867. Anchorage:  Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

This is a small (40 page), very well illustrated booklet that was created to accompany an exhibition of the same name at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.  It is an excellent summary of early Russian expeditions to North America, and worth searching out.

Smith, James K.(1973). Alexander Mackenzie, Explorer The Hero who Failed. Toronto:  McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited.

For other books in the collection concerning Mackenzie, click here.  Annotation to come.

Spry, Irene M. (1963). The Palliser Expedition: An Account of John Palliser's British North American Expedition 1857-1860. Toronto: The MacMillan Company.

Annotation to come.

Spry, Irene M. (1968). The Papers of the Palliser Expedition: 1857-1860. Toronto: The Champlain Society (Vol.XLIV).

Annotation to come.

Stanley, George (1957).  Massacre at Frog Lake.  The Early West. Calgary: Historical Society of Alberta, 1 - 7.

From a footnote one page two: "This interview was made by Mr. Peterson in 1931 and was published in the Winter, 1956, issue of Alberta Historical Review. The story was translated into Engish from Stanley's native Cree language by interpreter George Fidler."  See also Ahenakew (1951), Kostash (Ed.)(2009),  The Frog Lake Reader as well as Ahenakew (1973)Fort Pitt Historical Society (1985)Cameron (1926), and Delaney & Gowanlock (1885/1999).

Stark, Peter (2014). Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire. A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival. New York: HarperCollins.

A recent general history of Astoria, its founding and context. Annotation to come.

Steele, Peter (2003). The Man Who Mapped the Arctic: The intrepid life of George Back, Franklin's Lieutenant. Vancouver: Raincoast Books.

Annotation to come.

Stuart-Stubbs, B. (1968). Maps Relating to Alexander Mackenzie: A Keepsake for The Bibliographical Society of Canada . Distributed at the Annual Meeting of the Bibliographical Society, Jasper, June 1968.

A booklet tracing the variations in the versions of the maps that appeared in successive (mostly international) editions of Mackenzie's book. See Lamb (1970).

------ T ------

Talbot, Robert J. (2009).  Negotiating the Numbered Treaties: An Intellectual & Political Biography of Alexander Morris.  Saskatoon:  Purich Press

Annotation to come.

Tikhmenev, P.A. (1978).  A History of the Russian American Company, Vol I. Richard A. Pierce & Alton S. Donnelly (Eds.& Trans.).Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Annotation to come.

Tikhmenev, P.A. (1979). A History of the Russian American Company, Vol II: Documents. Richard A. Pierce & Alton S. Donnelly (Eds.& Trans.). Kingston Ontario:  The Limestone Press.

Annotation to come.

Tovell, Freeman M. (2008).  At the Far Reaches of Empire:  The Life of Juan Francisco de la Bodega Y Quadra.  Vancouver:  UBC Press.

Annotation to come.

Trigger, Bruce G. (1985). Natives and Newcomers: Canada's "Heroic Age" Reconsidered. Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press

Annotation to come.

Turner, Dick (1975). Nahanni. Saanichton: Hancock Hous Publishers

This is a well written and informative account of heading north as a young man to make one's way at the start of the depression.  Turner spent the rest of his life in the Yukon and North West Territories, and his description of the way of life captures the way and nature of that life in an engaging way.  Well worth the read.

Twigg, Alan (2004).  First Invaders:  The Literary Origins of British Columbia.  Vancouver:  Ronsdale Press.

This book provides a sketch of the early travelers to the Pacific Northwest, in particular, coastal British Columbia.  Besides a biographical sketch, it provides a summary of the person's literary work(s) concerning their travels.  It includes the very early travelers (precursors), the Spanish, French, Cook and associates, traders, Americans and mapmakers.  It is an extremely well researched and written small book, and is of great interest and use as a guide to anyone interested in the history of the region.

Twigger, Robert (2006).  Voyageur:  Across the Rocky Mountains in a Birchbark Canoe. Toronto:  McArthur & Co.

This is the story of retracing MacKenzie's trip up the Peace River, over the Rockies, to the Pacific at Bella Coola, BC.  The modern trip took three seasons, rather than MacKenzie's one (out and back, compared to the author's one-way).  But what the two trips lack in common in terms of speed, skill, experience, or style, is somewhat compensated for by the interesting twist that the modern trip, as well, was done in a birchbark canoe.  The book is well written, and worth reading.  And, if you are planning to make such a trip (I am) is as useful as a negative example of how to proceed, as it is a positive one.

Tyrrell, J.W. (1897). Across the Sub-Arctic of Canada:  A Journey of 3,200 Miles by Canoe and Snowshoe Through the Barren Lands. Toronto:  William Briggs.

A classic in northern Canadian canoe tripping.  Annotation to come.

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Underhill, Roy. (1981).  The Woodright's Shop:  Exploring Traditional Woodcraft. New York:  MJF Books.

This is neither a book on exploration nor on canoe building, per se.  However, it is important in terms of the latter, since it teaches one the traditional way to construct a shaving horse - an essential tool for anyone considering carving a canoe paddle, or making their own bark canoe.  If you own or use a two handed draw knife, or crooked knife, you need a shaving horse, and this is a great way to get one.

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van den Bogaert, Harmen Meynrtsz (1895/1988).  Charles T. Gehring & William A. Starna (Eds). A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635.  The Journal of Harmen Meynrtsz van den Bogaert.  Syracuse NY:  Syracuse University Press.

This is the earliest known account of the Iroquois in the interior of New York State.   Harmen Meynrtsz van den Bogaert led an expedition of 3 people from the Dutch colony of Fort Orange (now Albany NY) to negotiate with the tribes in the head of the Mohawk Valley to resume trading with the Dutch, rather than the French, who they had begun dealing with instead.  The word list included in this journal constitutes the earliest known written vocabulary of the Mohawk language. This edition of van den Bogaert's journal was edited by Charles T. Gehring and William A. Starna and published in 1988.

van der Donck, Adriaen (1655/1841/1968).  A Description of New Netherlands.  Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

This is a recent edition of this book which was originally published in Dutch in 1655, and which first appeared in English translation in 1841.  This edition was edited and introduced by Thomas F. O'Donnell.  See also the excellent general history of the New Holland colony in North America, by Shorto (2004), as well as the journal of van den Bogaert.  Annotation to come.

 Van Kirk, Sylvia (1980).  Many Tender Ties:  Women in Fur-Trade Society in Western Canada.  Winnipeg: Dwyer Publishing.

Annotation to come.

 Veale, Elspeth M. (2003).  The English Fur Trade in the Later Middle Ages.  London: London Record Society.

This book was first published by Oxford University Press in 1966.  Annotation to come.

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Wade, M.S. (1927).  Mackenzie of Canada: The Life and Adventures of Alexander Mackenzie Discoverer.  Edinburgh:  William Blackwood & Sons.

This is the first book-length biography of Mackenzie. Annotation to come.

Warkentin, Germaine (Ed.)(1993).  Canadian Exploration Literature:  An Anthology.  Toronto:  Oxford University Press.

An excellent and scholarly anthology. spanning the period between 1660 (Radisson's travels to Lake Superior) to 1860 (the Palliser expedition).

Warkentin, Germaine (1964).  Pierre-Esprit Radisson: The Collected Writings, Vol. 1.  Toronto:  The Champlain Society.

This new volume is by far the definitive work on Radisson.  It is the first volume of the series; but it is also the first book - even just the 101 page introduction - that you should read if you are interested in him. 

Warkentin, Germaine (Ed.)(2014).  Pierre-Esprit Radisson: The Collected Writings, Vol. 2.  Toronto:  The Champlain Society.

This second volume contains the Port Nelson Relations,  miscellaneous writings and related documents. 

Warkentin, John. (1970). The Western Interior of Canada: A Record of Geographical Discovery. The Carleton Library No. 15. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.

Annotation to come.

Warre, Captain H. (1970). Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory. Barre, MA: Imprint Society.

A quite well presented and documented collection of the drawings and watercolours done by Warre during his trip from Montreal to BC and down to the Oregon territories in the mid 1800's, along with his account of the trip.

Watkins, E.A., Mackay, J.A., Faries, R., Ahenakew, Edward, Hornsfield, R.B. & Anderson, J.G. (1938).  A Dictionary of the Cree Language as Spoken by the Indians in the Provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.  Toronto:  The General Synod of the Church of England in Canada.

This is a revised verson of the first English-Cree dictionary, which was compiled by E.A. Watkins between 1853-1864.  This edition was revised by Mackay, Faries, Ahenakew, Hornsfield and Anderson.

Wherrett, George Jasper (1977).  The Miracle of the Empty Beds:  A History of Tuberculosis in Canada.  Toronto:  University of Toronto.

Of particular interest in the context of the topics covered by the books on this page is Chapter 7, Tubercolosis in the Native Races, (pp. 98-120).  Comparing the graphs of deaths by the desease for Canadians overall (Appendix 3, p.251) and among Canadian Indians (Appendix 4, p. 252) is also interesting.  The steep decline in the overall population began prior to 1921, whereas with the First Nations population, not until after 1945.   Annotation to come.

Whillans, James W. (1955). First in the West: The Story of Henry Kelsey - Discoverer of Canadian Prairies. Edmonton: Applied Art Products.

Annotation to come.

Whitney, Peter Dwight (1960). White-Water Sport. New York: Ronald Press.

Annotation to come.

Williams, Glyn (2002). Voyages of Delusion: The Search for the Northwest Passage in the Age of Reason. London: HarperCollins Publishers.

This is a thoroughly researched and extremely well written account of the "second wave" of exploration to find the elusive northwest passage, both from Hudson's Bay, and from the Pacific. In the telling, the book sheds a lot of light on the politics of the time and the Hudson's Bay Company. The account of Middleton's voyage and his subsequent treatment, largely due to Dobbs is a reminder of how ignorance on the part of those with power can not only destroy truth, but the people who convey it as well. Having read a couple biographies of Cook, the quality of the research in this volume is also reflected in how this volume, nevertheless shed new insights. Finally, one of the bonuses of the book is that Appendix 1 contains the original "accounts" of three of the fictitious voyages that most cluttered up and confused the knowledge of the Northwest Passage, namely the "Voyages of Imagination" (perhaps better called "Imaginary Voyages") of Juan de Fuca, Bartholomew de Fonte and Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado.

Williams, Glyn (2009).  Arctic Labyrinth:  The Quest for the Northwest Passage.  Toronto:  Viking.

Annotation to come.

Willson, Beckles (1899). The Great Company.  Being a History of the Honourable Company of Merchants-Adventurers Trading into Hudson's Bay. Toronto: The Copp, Clark Company.

Annotation to come.

Wood, W. Raymond (1981).  The John Evans 1796-97 Map of the Missouri River.  Great Plains Quarterly.  1(1): 39 - 53.

Annotation to come.

Wood, William (1920).  All Afloat:  A Chronicle of Craft and Waterways.  Vol. 31 of George M. Wrong & H.H. Langton (Eds.), Chronicles of Canada.  Toronto:  Glasgow, Brook & Co.

Annotation to come.

Woodward, David & Lewis, G. Malcolm (Eds.)(1998). The History of Cartography Volume Two, Book Three: Cartography in the Traditional African, American, Arctic, Australian, and Pacific Societies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Annotation to come. See also Bagrow (1985), Harley & Woodward (1987), & Harley & Woodward (1992)

Wrong, Hume (1927). Sir Alexander MacKenzie: Explorer and Fur Trader. Canadian Men of Action Series – Number IV. Toronto: The MacMillan Company.

An early history of MacKenzie, the first person to cross the North American continent north of Mexico to the Pacific and back. For MacKenzie's account of his trip, etc., see Lamb (1970).

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Xydes, Georgia (1992).  Alexander Mackenzie and the Explorers of Canada.  New York:  Chelsea House.

This is a short (112) page student's introduction to Mackenzie.  To see all my books on Mackenzie, click here.

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