Jemmy Jock Bird: Marginal Man on the Blackfoot Frontier

Posted in Biography, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation on 2012-09-16 21:52Z by Steven

Jemmy Jock Bird: Marginal Man on the Blackfoot Frontier

University of Calgary Press
205 pages
16 b/w illustrations, 1 b/w photo, index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-55238-111-3

John C. Jackson

Jemmy Jock Bird, the son of a Cree woman and a mixed-blood trader employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company, has become part of the mythology of the mountain man era. In this creative non-fiction account, Jackson meticulously reconstructs the life of this intriguing individual who was caught between opposing sides of a dual Métis heritage. Closely identified with the Cree and the Peigan, Bird’s trading activities and undercover work as a “confidential servant” of the Hudson’s Bay Company during the competitive period of the fur trade are explored using materials from the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, the Montana Historical Society, and Bird’s descendants living on the American Blackfeet Reserve in Browning. As an interpreter, Bird was later instrumental in negotiating the 1855 Blackfoot peace treaty and the 1877 Canadian Treaty 7. Jackson steeps himself in the sparse documentation of the fur trade era to shed some much-needed light on Jemmy Jock Bird’s adventurous career – one that straddled the international borders of the northern plains and mountain west and touched upon many aspects of western development.

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The People Who Own Themselves: Aboriginal Ethnogenesis in a Canadian Family 1660-1900

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2009-11-20 17:00Z by Steven

The People Who Own Themselves: Aboriginal Ethnogenesis in a Canadian Family 1660-1900

University of Calgary Press
300 pages
6″ x 9″
ISBN: 1-55238-115-3

Heather Devine, Professor of Communication and Culture
University of Calgary

The search for a Metis identity and what constitutes that identity is a key issue facing many Aboriginals of mixed ancestry today. The People Who Own Themselves reconstructs 250 years of the Desjarlais’ family history across a substantial area of North America, from colonial Louisiana, the St. Louis, Missouri region, and the American Southwest to Red River and Central Alberta. In the course of tracing the Desjarlais family, social, economic, and political factors influencing the development of various Aboriginal ethnic identities are discussed. With intriguing details about the Desjarlais family members, this book offers new, original insights into the 1885 Northwest Rebellion, focusing on kinship as a motivating factor in the outcome of events. With a unique how-to appendix for Metis genealogical reconstruction, this book will be of equal interest to Metis wanting to research their own genealogy and to scholars engaged in the reconstruction of Metis ethnic identity.

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