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Fort Selkirk: Early Contact Period Interaction Between the Northern Tutchone and the Hudson's Bay Company in Yukon Open Access
- Other title
Hudson's Bay Company
- Type of item
- Degree grantor
University of Alberta
- Author or creator
Castillo, Victoria E.
- Supervisor and department
Dr. Raymond Le Blanc (Anthropology)
- Examining committee member and department
Friesen, Max (Anthropology, External)
DeBernardi, Jean (Anthropology)
Supernant, Kisha (Anthropology)
Gruhn, Ruth (Anthropology)
Ens, Gerhard (History and Classics)
Department of Anthropology
- Date accepted
- Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
- Degree level
Historical archaeology has often struggled to reveal the roles that Indigenous people played as socio-economic agents during the initial contact period in North America. Previous research in the discipline largely focused either on reconstructing everyday life in early European settlements while ignoring Indigenous agency or on European material culture and dominance over Indigenous groups. The absence of Indigenous agency in historical archaeology unfortunately presents Aboriginal people as lacking the reflexivity to create their own space within their social conditions.
Research presented in the dissertation employs a holistic, multi-scalar approach, combining archaeological, archival, and ethnographic data to examine how Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) fur traders and Northern Tutchone Athapaskans negotiated their socio-economic roles at Fort Selkirk, Yukon (A.D. 1848-1852) and to expose the underlying social processes of early European-Indigenous interaction. Results of this study demonstrate that the Northern Tutchone were active agents in their trade relations with the Hudson’s Bay Company and Coastal Tlingit Chilkat trade partners. The archaeological and archival records reveal that the Northern Tutchone traded with the HBC but were never subsumed within the HBC trade sphere. The Northern Tutchone people, as reflexive agents, remained autonomous throughout the fort’s existence and were able to create a dual trading strategy that was profitable for them for the duration of the forts existence.
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