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Best left as Indians : native-white relations in the Yukon Territories, 1840-1973 1984

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C I BEST LEFT AS INDIANS : NATIVE-WHITE RELATIONS IN THE TUKON TERRITORY. 1840-1950 by KENNETH STEPHEN COATES B.A.i The University of Br i t i s h Columbia. 1978 M.A.. The University of Manitobaf 1980 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of History) Ve accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard. THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA MARCH 1984 fc) Kenneth Stephen Coatest 1984 in In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requ i rements f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumb ia , I agree t ha t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s tudy . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copy ing o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g ran ted by the head o f my department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s unders tood t h a t copy ing o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l ga i n s h a l l no t be a l lowed w i thou t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f U<SWVJ The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver , Canada V6T 1Y3 Date Kor\\ vo, v s ^ 6 (.3/81) ABSTRACT Native peoples form a v i t a l part of the social and economic fabric of the Canadian North. Though much neglected in the historical literature* they have maintained an important presence in the regional order from the emergence of the fur trade to the present. This study places native a c t i v i t i e s in the context of Euro-Canadian developments, tracing native- white relations in the Yukon Territory from f i r s t contact in the 1840's to the establishment of a new socio-economic structure in the 1950's. Economici social and institutional relations are examined separately, but each i l l u s t r a t e s the systematic placement of the natives on the mar- gins of the regional order. Native workers found feu openings in the mining and service industries, relegated instead to seasonal, unskilled positions. A distinct social environment emerged in the towns and min- ing camps, characterized by a white-dominated population and firm re- s t r i c t i o n s on native entry. Sustained by a vibrant i f variable fur mar- ket, the fur trade d i s t r i c t s developed differently. The natives found a more economically rewarding and so c i a l l y integrated environment, one mirroring the social and economic accommodation reached during the pre- Gold Rush fur trade period. The major disruptions of the Klondike Gold Rush and the construction of the Alaska Highway and Canol Pipeline dur- ing World War II did not change the pattern significantly, as the na- tives remained only casual participants in the white-dominated economy and society. These divisions between native and white were re-enforced through the policies and programmes of the Anglican Church and the federal govern- ment. Both held pessimistic views of the prospects for t e r r i t o r i a l de- velopment and. although they retained a desire to " c i v i l i z e . " Christian- ize and assimilate the natives. they preferred to protect the natives' harvesting l i f e s t y l e until a more appropriate moment. The church and the government seconded public efforts to segregate the natives and sought in a very haphazard way to preserve their access to the region's natural resources. Though the actions, attitudes and programmes of the white population strongly affected the natives' position. native forces also influenced social and economic developments. The natives maintained a special af- f i n i t y for the harvesting mode, preferring the reasonable returns and f l e x i b i l i t y of hunting and trapping to the r i g i d discipline and insecur- ity of wage labour. With their religious and social values based on a continuing accommodation with the physical environment, the natives fav- oured the pursuit of game for cultural as well as economic reasons. Na- tive choice as much as Euro-Canadian exclusion dictated the natives' po- s i t i o n in the Yukon Territory. TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE Abstract i i L i s t of Tables i v L i s t of Figures v L i s t of Maps v Acknowledgements v i Preface 1 Chapter 1. Background 16 2. Economic Relations i n the Fur Trade Era 25 3. Natives and the Pre-Gold Rush Mining F r o n t i e r 47 4. Natives i n the Klondike Gold Rush Economy 61 5. Natives i n the Twentieth Century I n d u s t r i a l Economy 79 6. Natives i n the Harvesting Economy ... 92 7. Native-White S o c i a l Relations 126 8. Population and Disease ; 174 9. R e l i g i o n and the Yukon Natives 202 10. Education and the Yukon Natives 233 11. The Federal Government and the Natives of the Yukon 277 Conclusion 324 Bibliography 335 i i i LIST OF TABLES TABLE ? PAGE 1. Hudson's Bay Company Fur Returns. 1847-1893 43 2. Fur Returns By Region. Selected Years 101 3. Yukon Fur Returns. 1919-1950 102 4. Fur Prices - Five Year Averages. 1920-1949 103 5. Father's Occupation as Listed at Time of Registration of Indian Births, 1930-1950 124 6. Yukon Population, 1901-1971 127 7. Sex Ratios, Yukon Population, 1901-1951 127 8. Average Age At F i r s t Recorded Marriage, Anglican Church Records, 1900-1950 155 9. Ages of Fathers and Mothers, F i r s t Recorded Birth, 1930- 1950 155 10. Conjugal Condition, Yukon Indians, 1941 156 11. Age At Marriage, Indian-White Marriages, Anglican Church Records, 1906-1928 .156 12. Native Rural/Urban Population, 1901-1951 168 13. Native Alcohol Related Convictions and Police Manpower, Southern Yukon, 1940-1949 170 14. Yukon Native Population Ratios 179 15. Pre-Contact Population Density 179 16. Recorded Native Births, Deaths and Natural Increase. 1931- 1950 188 17. Causes of Death, 1900-1949 193 18. Percentage of Total Deaths, By Age 197 19. Average and Median Age at Death, By Sex, 1900-1949 . . . 197 20. Yukon Indian Children Contacted By Day Schools, 1920-1954 244 21. Day School Attendance, Yukon Indians, 1900-1954 245 22. Status of Parents, New Registrants, Carcross Residential School, 1930-1950 258 23. Carcross School Enrollments, Characteristics of Students, 1930-1950 260 24. Origins of New Registrants, Carcross Residential School, 1930-1950 . . . 261 25. Residential Reserves, Yukon Territory, 1896-1958 . . . . 290 26. Crimes Involving Natives, Whitehorse Police Court, 1900-1949 313 27. Federal Expenditures on Yukon Indians, 1900-1950 . . . . 320 LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE PAGE 1. Native Age-Sex Diagram, 1931 192 2. Native Age-Sex Diagram, 1941 192 3. Native Age-Sex Diagram, 1951 192 LIST OF MAPS MAP PAGE 1. Native Distribution 20 2. Hudson's Bay Company Trading Posts, 1847-1893 . . . 32 3. Routes to the Klondike Gold Fields 64 4. World War II Construction Projects 89 5. Fur Trade Posts, 1921 98 6. Fur Trade Posts, 1930 99 7. Fur Trade Posts, 1938 100 8. Anglican Day and Residential Schools, 1928 243 9. N.W.M.P. Posts, 1903 307 V ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Research on this project has been graciously assisted by many people. In particular^ Charles Mair. Diane Chisholm and Miriam McTiernan of the Yukon T e r r i t o r i a l Archives. Dorothy Healey of the Anglican Church's General Synod Archives, John Leslie and Robert Allen of the Treaties and Historical Research Centre, and the staffs of the Public Archives of Canada and the Hudson's Bay Company Archives provided much useful ad- vice. I must also thank the Hudson's Bay Company and Bishop Ferris of the Anglican Church, Yukon Diocese for permission to consult their re- cords. Finally, thanks are extended to George Brandak and Anne Yandle of the University of B r i t i s h Columbia Special Collections Division for providing an especially congenial work environment. Financial assis- tance was provided through an H.R. MacMillan Family Fellowship, an S.S.H.R.C. Doctoral Fellowship, and a special grant from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development's Northern Studies Training Grants Programme, administered through the U.B.C. Arctic and Alpine Re- search Committee. What qualities this work may possess reflects the work of the excel- lent historians I have had as teachers, colleagues and friends. At the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, my brother Colin, Duane Thompson and Dr. R. A. J. McDonald commented on my proposals and listened endlessly to new ideas and reports of archival discoveries. Dr. Allen Tully's gener- ous assistance, both in broadening my historical outlook and in remind- ing me of the world outside the university, i s gratefully acknowledged. Dr. Catherine LeGrand offered much important advice during my brief for- ays into Latin American history. Dr. A. J. Ray provided excellent c r i t - icism of the various drafts of this dissertation. I owe my greatest ac- ademic debt to Dr. David Breen. Academic excellence, professionalism and compassion characterize his work as teacher, advisor and historian. I hope only that this thesis adequately reflects his insightful and freely-offered advice. I owe the most to my wife. She has cheerfully lived with this project for the past four years. That I have f i n a l l y reached the conclusion is largely a reflection of her dedication and en- couragement. This one's for you, Cathy. PREFACE For most Canadians. the Yukon Territory i s the land of the Klondike Gold Rush, the route for the Alaska Highway, and more recently the loca- tion of a series of controversial proposed pipelines. With the excep- tion of these brief occasions when Canada's far north-west seized the public's imagination, the territory seemingly rested in extended somno- lence. Largely removed from national view, the d i s t r i c t remained l i t t l e more than a mecca for nostalgic tourists and repository for prospectors' dreams of another mineral "Bonanza". This conception obscures far more than i t reveals. Indeed, the Yukon has a vibrant past, but the vast upheaval and glamour attending the Klondike Gold Rush and World War II construction projects has obliterat- ed the underlying continuity of the region's historical experience. From before the 1840's, when fur traders f i r s t pushed into the upper Yu- kon River valley, to 1950, when post-war r e a l i t i e s forced a national consideration of the north's role in Canada's future, a significant re- gional order developed in response to a myriad of internal and external forces. The Yukon's social and economic environment has reflected the transiency of the white population, the s t a b i l i t y of native habitation and the varied nature of resource development. The native population remained the single most stable element throughout. Prospectors entered by the thousands, but most l e f t soon after their a r r i v a l . Many of the workers stayed for the short, intense summer work period, but departed before the harsh winter gripped the territory. The government's presence was also one of sudden growth and rapid decline, i t s perception of the north conditioned by a pessimistic. 1 though not inaccurate, assessment of the likelihood of sustained econom- ic development. With the exception of a feu government agents, several dozen missionaries and a few determined northern settlers, the natives were the only truly permanent inhabitants. Though they too f e l t the disruptions and shared some of the opportunities attending the Gold Rush and subsequent "booms," the natives retained their attachment to both the d i s t r i c t and a harvesting l i f e s t y l e . The Indian population clearly provided an element of continuity in a society noted for i t s i n s t a b i l i t y . Within the ever-changing t e r r i t o r i a l economy and society, the natives remained almost the only human con- stant. As a consequence, the assessment of Indian contact with the Euro-Canadian order provides a useful means of charting the broad trans- formations of the Yukon Territory. Clearly evident through this exami- nation are the comparative persistance of racial (and occasionally ra- cist) attitudes, varying government and popular perceptions of the north, the continued v i a b i l i t y of the fur trade, the establishment of distinct economic and social sectors within the regional order, and the natives' commitment to their way of l i f e . The study therefore examines more than racial interaction; i t considers as well the evolution of ter- r i t o r i a l society. The Canadian North has seldom been the focus for this form of region- al history. Addressing the Royal Society of Canada in 1970, W. L. Mor- ton noted that Canadian historians had consistently ignored — and hence underestimated — the' psychological and environmental impact of the north on national developments.1 Despite the c l a r i t y of Morton's appeal 1 W. L. Morton, "The 'North' in Canadian Historiography," in A. B. McKillop, ed., Contexts of Canada's Past (Toronto: Macmillan, 1980), 2 and the proliferation of regional studies elsewhere in Canada,2 the c a l l for the increased study of northern history remains largely unanswered. With the exception of Morton, Morris Zaslow and a small band of northern enthusiasts, few Canadian historians have turned their attentions north- ward. To date, the north is s t i l l decidedly outside the mainstream of Canadian historiography. 3 Impeding the development of a truly "northern" historiography i s the d i f f i c u l t y inherent in defining the term "north". W. L. Morton de- scribed the north as the region beyond the limit of agricultural s e t t l e - ment. His definition reflects his view of the north as a psychological force, but i t lacks an his t o r i c a l dimension. 4 As both Morris Zaslow and Douglas Owram point out, the "north" is a variable term, changing with expectations and patterns of development. The "northernness" of the old North-Vest, for example, was an a r t i f i c i a l construct, reflecting B r i t i s h and Canadian perceptions more than environmental r e a l i t i e s . ^ 229-242. 2 Regional history has recently come under attack from several quarters. See J. M. S. Careless, "Limited Identities — Ten Years Later," Mani- toba History, 1/1981, 3-9. 3 See Morris Zaslow, "The North," in J. L. Granatstein and Paul Stevens, eds. A Reader's Guide to Canadian History 2: Confederation to the Present (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982); R. J. Diubaldo, "The North in Canadian History: An Outline," Fram: The Journal of Polar History, vol. 1, (Vinter 1984). * Morton, "The 'North'." s Morris Zaslow, The Opening of the Canadian North. 1870-1914. (Toron- to: McClelland and Stewart. 1971). XI—XII; Douglas Owram. The Promise of Eden (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1982). 3 In his major work. The Opening of the Canadian North. Zaslow defines three different norths: the North-West (prairie west), Middle North (forested belt or sub-Arctic) and the Arctic (treeless tundra). His definitions are both geographic and historic, suggesting that the "north" is both an environmental and temporal creation. 5 The Yukon pro- vides an excellent example of the u t i l i t y of Zaslow's definitions. The Arctic slope, p o l i t i c a l l y part of the Yukon Territory, belongs to a d i f - ferent north than the rest of the d i s t r i c t . It possesses both a dis- tinct geographic character and a different historical heritage. Because of the two regions' divergent traditions, the Arctic slope will not be included in this study, which will examine instead the upper Yukon River valley. The "Middle North," of which most of the Yukon Territory i s a part, has attracted few historians. Like the d i s t r i c t i t s e l f , the literature is dominated by popular writing on the Kondike Gold Rush and, to a lesser extent, the building of the Alaska Highway.7 Available studies consist of l i t t l e more than narrative,, often anecdotal, histories. Sev- eral of these works, including T. Karamanski, Fur Trade and Explora- tion, B A. A. Wright, Prelude to Bonanza,3 P. Berton, Klondike'*° and D. 6 Zaslow, The Opening of the Canadian North. 7 G. A. Cooke and G. D. Perry, Yukon Bibliography: Update to 1975. (Edmonton: Boreal, 1977); Cooke and Perry, Yukon Bibliography: Up- date to 1977 (Edmonton: Boreal, 1978); C. A. Hemstock and G. A. Cooke, Yukon Bibliography: Update 1963-1970 (Edmonton: Boreal, 1973); Hemstock and Cook, Yukon Bibliography: Update to 1973 (Edmon- ton: Boreal, 1975). B T. Karamanski, Fur Trade and Exploration (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1982). 3 A. A. Wright, Prelude to Bonanza, (Sidney: Grey's, 1976). 4 Rempley, The Crooked Road, 1 1 are worthwhile pieces. In the main, how- ever, the literature consists of unreliable g l o r i f i c a t i o n s of the heady Klondike days or equally favourable portrayals of the efforts of Ameri- can and Canadian construction workers on the various World War II de- fense construction projects. There are signs that a more systematic assessment of the region's past is underway, although much of the material remains unpublished and largely inaccessible. Government commissioned research, especially through the federal agency Parks Canada, has provided a variety of stud- ies relating to national historic s i t e s . 1 2 Hal Guest's "Dawson City" of- fers an extensive survey of the city's rise and subsequent d e c l i n e . 1 3 Similarly, R. Friesen's work on the Chilcoot Pass and Gordon Bennett's useful survey, Yukon Transportation: A History provide detailed analy- ses of the development of the regional transportation system. 1 4 Unfortu- nately, the bulk of Parks Canada production, like that of the T e r r i t o r i - al Government's Department of Tourism, Heritage and Cultural Resources, relates to specific historic s i t e reclamation projects and does not aid significantly in understanding larger developments, particularly outside the Gold Rush perio d . 1 5 Indeed, these studies, while very helpful, have i° P. Berton, Klondike, (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1972). n D. Rempley, The Crooked Road. (Toronto: McGraw-Hill, 1978). 1 2 For a l i s t i n g of studies, see Parks Canada, 1983 Bibliography. (Ot- tawa: Parks Canada 1983). 1 3 Hal Guest, "A History of the City of Dawson, Yukon Territory, 1896- 1920," (Parks Canada, Microfiche Report Series #7). i * R. J. Friesen, "The Chilkoot Pass and the Great Gold Rush of 1898", (Manuscript Report Series, No. 236, 1978)5 G. Bennett, Yukon Trans- portation: A History (Ottawa: National Historic Parks, 1978). 5 been compromised from the outset because they were prepared without the foundation of a regional history necessary to provide satisfactory con- text. Potentially more valuable is the work prepared by graduate studentB. Freed from the constraints of government-sponsored research. 1 6 these historians have been more willing to push beyond the narrow confines of site-oriented studies. Here again, the preponderant influence of Morris Zaslow i n shaping northern historiography is evident. Zaslou supervised many of the theses and dissertations prepared on northern and Yukon top- ics; not surprisingly, they share many of his pre-occupations and inter- ests. 1 7 Other centres, particularly the University of Manitoba, are pro- ducing graduate students interested in northern t o p i c s , 1 8 but the Canadian North remains far behind the rapid expansion i n the historiog- raphy on other regions of the country. 1 5 Two exceptions are the regional histories. Ken Coates, The Northern Yukon: A History (Manuscript Record Series, No. 403); A. A. Wright, "The Kluane D i s t r i c t , " (Parks Canada, unpublished manuscript). is Several graduate papers, including the studies by Guest and Bennett, were f i r s t prepared as government research projects. 1 7 See W. R. Morrison, "The Mounted Police on Canada's Northern Fron- t i e r " , (Ph.D., U.W.O., 1971); G. E. Gartrell, "The Work of the Churches in the Yukon during the era of the Klondike Gold Rush", (M.A. thesis, U.W.O., 1970); W. K. Hubbard "The Klondike Gold Rush in Literature, 1896-1930", (M.A. thesis, U.W.O., 1969): Gary Sealey, "The History of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1870-1910," (M.A., U.W.O., 1967). See K. M. Abel, "The South Nahanni River Region, 1820-1972," (M.A., University of Winnipeg, 1981); W. Ostenstat, "The Impact of the Fur Trade on the T l i n g i t , " (M.A. thesis, University of Manitoba, 1978); A. Tanner, "The Structure of Fur Trade Relations," (M.A. thesis, Uni- versity of Br i t i s h Columbia, 1966); S. Ugarenko, "The Distribution of the Kutchin and their Spatial Patterns of Trade, 1700-1850," (M.A. thesis, York University, 1979); Ken Coates, "Furs Along The Yukon: Hudson's Bay Company - Native Trade in the Yukon River Valley, 1830-1893," (M.A., University of Manitoba, 1980). 6 The more recent research to be found in the graduate papers and his- toric sites research on the Yukon, unfortunately, has not taken us much beyond the traditional emphasis on the Klondike Gold Rush. Mainly, they have fleshed out earlier descriptions offered by Berton and others. The notable exception is Zaslow's The Opening of the Canadian North. Care- ful l y written and researched, the volume provides a much needed intro- duction to the history of the Canadian north. But by virtue of i t s sur- vey character and because i t was prepared in advance of a significant historiography. the book does not examine a number of important topics in s u f f i c i e n t d e t a i l . Zaslow is pre-occupied with the "opening" of the north, which results in an emphasis on the unfolding of the Euro-Canadi- an frontier, the expansion of the limits of settlement, and the federal government's role in these developments. Many northern areas become "southern" as they succumb to explorers, settlers and developers, with the focus of the study shifting ever northward. In the Yukon context. Zaslow's interests resulted in a very casual treatment of Indians and native-white r e l a t i o n s . 1 3 Zaslow is not alone in paying l i t t l e attention to the processes of native-white contact. Other historians have similarly offered limited commentary on the Indians' role in the history of the region. The na- tives have not. however, gone unstudied. Beginning in the 1930's eth- nographers, anthropologists and archaeologists have undertaken numerous studies of the aboriginal inhabitants of the upper Yukon River valley. Cornelius Osgood (Han and Kutchin). Anne Acheson Welsh (Kutchin). Cathe- rine McClellan (Southern Yukon). John Honigman (Kaska). Dominique Legros is Zaslow. Opening, pp. 144-146. 7 (Tutchone), Julie Cruikshank (mythology) and others have combined personal observations, native oral tradition and limited documentary re- search to create sensitive and sensible portraits of indigenous cultures in the Yukon. 2 0 Though often exemplary within their discipline, these studies s t i l l do not offer extensive or systematic assessments of the evolution of native-white relations. The Yukon natives, therefore, have been studied in detail, but narrowly. Their contacts with the Euro-Can- adian population and their role in the changing pattern of the Yukon so- ciety and economy have received limited consideration. These gaps in the literature on the Canadian North and particularly the Yukon Territory i l l u s t r a t e the need for a thorough examination of Indian-white relations in the upper Yukon River valley. The historical questions raised in this regional context should be of interest outside the rather narrow confines of northern h i s t o r y . Assessments of mission- ary a c t i v i t i e s and federal government programs i l l u s t r a t e the process of a p p l y i n g international and national i n i t i a t i v e s in a northern B e t t i n g . The national application of federal Indian policy, i n c l u d i n g secular and Christian education should also be c l a r i f i e d by reference to regional 2 0 S. Krech, "The Eastern Kutchin and the Fur Trade, 1800-1860", Ethno- hiBtorv, 23/3 (Summer 1976), 213-235; C. Osgood, The Han Indians (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971); C. Osgood, Contributions to the Ethnography of the Kutchin (New Haven: Yale University, 1936); A. Welsh Acheson, "Nomads in Town: The Kutchin of Old Crow", (Ph.D. Dissertation, Cornell University, 1977); C. McClellan, My Old People Say: An Ethnographic Survey of Southern Yukon Territory 2 vols., (Ottawa: National Museum, 1975); J. Honigmann, The Kaska Indians, (New Haven: Yale University,1954); D. Legros, "Structure Socio-cul- turelle et rapparts de domination chez le Tutchone Septentrionaux du Yukon au: dixneuvieme s i e c l e , " (Ph.D., University of B.C., 1981); J. Cruikshank, "Becoming a Woman in Athapaska Society: Changing Tradi- tions in the Upper Yukon River," Western Canada Journal of Anthropol- ogy, vol. 5, no. 2, (1975, 1-14); The recent work i s l i s t e d and sum- marized in June Helm, ed. Handbook of North American Indians, vol. VI: Sub-Arctic, (Washington, Smithsonian, 1981). 8 a c t i v i t i e s . Similarly* this study addresses several noticeable gaps in the exist- ing Canadian literature on native-white relations. With the exception of C. Bishop's ethnographic. The Northern 01ibwav and the Fur Trade and D. Francis and T. Morantz, Partners in Furs, 2 1 few studies in this sub- ject area examine northern Canadian settings. The current work also adopts an expanded chronological framework. covering the period from 1840 to 1950. Existing writing by historians on Indian-white relations is voluminous for the pre-Confederation period? but scanty thereafter. 2 2 To date. l i t t l e material exists on the post-Confederation period, de- spite the obvious significance of developments following the advance of settlement and expanded resource developments. As well, v i r t u a l l y noth- ing exists spanning the two periods, describing the difference in con- tact relations between the pre- and post-Confederation eras and assess- ing the evolution of native-white contact through the many crucial transformations. 2 3 By bridging existing chronological and geographic gaps in the historiography, this regional study should inform the broad- < er examination of Indian-Euro-Canadian relations. i t 2* C. Bishop, The Northern Oi ibwav and the Fur Trade (Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974); D. Francis and T. Morantz, Partners in Furs (Montreal: McGill - Queen's, 1983). 2 2 For a discussion of the literature, see J. Walker, "The Indian in Canadian Historical Writing, 1971-1981," in I. Getty and A. S. Lussi- er, As Long As the Sun Shines and the Water Flows (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1983), 340-357; Robin Fisher, "Historical Writing on Native People in Canada," History and Social Science Teacher, vol. 17, no. 2 (Winter, 1982). 65-72. 2 3 The major exception is C. Bishop, The Northern Oi ibway. Less system- atic, but s t i l l useful i s Hugh Brody, Haps and Dreams (Vancouver: Douglas and Mclntyre, 1982). 9 Though historians have paid l i t t l e attention to the period after 1900. anthropological work on the sub-Arctic considers native a c t i v i t i e s in the Twentieth Century in detail. In these studies, the contact his- tory of the north is typically divided between contact-stable (or fur trade) and post-1945 government intervention. 2 4 Though the Yukon example il l u s t r a t e s the importance of post-World War II changes, the treatment of the earlier period as a single period i s less acceptable. The d i v i - sion assumes a stable fur trade economy, an assumption that does not ac- count for industry reorganization following the termination of the Hud- son's Bay Company monopoly, subsequent competition for native trade, changes in Indian technological culture, and a revived interest in the northern fur trade in the Twentieth Century. This approach also ob- scures the impact of northern adventurers, scientists, prospectors, mis- sionaries and government agents, a l l active in the area long before 1945. For the Yukon in particular, the disruptive influence of the Klondike Gold Rush, 1896-1904, belies any description of the region as "stable". Charles Bishop, both in his monograph on the Ojibway and l a t - er in an a r t i c l e with A. J. Ray, offers a different chronology for na- tive history, and Indian-white contact, in the sub-Arctic. 2 3 This more appropriate division (Early Fur Trade, Competitive Trade, 1763-1821, Trading Post Dependency, 1821-1890, Era of Early Government Influence, 2 4 See Helm. Handbook. This chronology i s also applied in Peter Usher, "The North: Metropolitan Frontier, Native Homeland," in L. D. McCann. ed. Heartland and Hinterland (Scarborough: Prentice-Hall, 1982). 2 5 Bishop, Northern Oi ibwav, C. Bishop and A. J. Ray, "Ethnohistoric Re- search in the Central Subarctic: Some Conceptual and Methodological Problems," Western Canadian Journal of Anthropology, 6 (1), 1976, 116-144. 10 1890-1945. and Modern Era. post-1945) emphasizes the changing nature of fur trade relations, the preliminary impact of missionaries, government agents and new technology, and the important changes associated with the poet-war period. Though this chronology, s p e c i f i c a l l y defined with ref- erence to the central sub-Arctic and therefore of limited direct use for the Yukon, will not be applied, an acceptance of an evolutionary pattern of contact is implicit. Several basic considerations condition the following analysis of the natives' response to changing socio-economic conditions. The corner- stone i s a belief in the efficacy and efficiency — to the Indians — of their hunting and gathering l i f e s t y l e . To use Marshall Sahlin's provoc- ative phrase. they were the "original affluent society."zs Within the context of their own culture and the constraints of their expectations, harvesters readily s a t i s f i e d their biological and material requirements. The nature of the hunting and fishing existence ensured that the natives maintained a positive attachment to their way of l i f e . The f l e x i b i l i t y , leisure and mobility afforded by a reliance on natural resources served as an agreeable focus for economic and social behavior. Europeans viewed this manner of l i v i n g with disdain, considering i t inferior to the more regular work patterns of the industrial age. Though many con- temporary and scholarly observers deemed aboriginal methods impractical, the natives clearly favoured the harvesting way of l i f e . 2 7 * 2 6 M. Sahlins. "Notes on the Original Affluent Society." in Stone-Age Economics (London: Tavastock. 1974). 2 7 For an excellent analysis of popular and academic attitudes toward natives, see R. Berkhofer. The White Man's Indian Images of the Amer- ican Indian from Columbus to the Present (New York: Knopf. 1978). 11 This positive environmental accommodation — i t s e l f the essence of the v i t a l i t y of the native l i f e — conditioned both belief and social systems. The a v a i l a b i l i t y of natural resources set population limits, determined habitation patterns and influenced social structures. 2 S The continuing a b i l i t y of the Yukon Indians to hunt, trap and fish — an op- tion they retained through to 1950 — is therefore a central concern. As Hugh Brody demonstrated for the natives of North-Eastern Br i t i s h Co- lumbia, this environmental accommodation is not an "aboriginal a r t i - fact." but rather a positive, on-going adaption to economic r e a l i t i e s . 2 9 Though anxious to preserve their hunting l i f e s t y l e . the Indians were not blind to the many advantanges of European expansion. Material and technological improvements from the iron axe to the outboard motor were key additions. Once attained, they were not readily surrendered. To gain these new items did not. however, require the abandonment of exist- ing economic and social patterns. Michael Asch described the Mackenzie Indians' accommodation to the new Euro-Canadian order as a "mixed econo- my. " in which natives by preference continued their harvesting. As need and inclination dictated, however, they participated in those sectors of the Euro-Canadian economy — from the fur trade to hard-rock mining — necessary to satisfy their material requirements. 3 0 Much as Asch has de- 2 8 Some anthropologists, notably Marvin Harris, take this to an extreme, arguing for veritable biological determinism. David Riches and oth- ers emphasize the importance of human processes in determining native social patterns. Marvin Harris. Cultural Material ism (New York: Random House. 1979); D. Riches. Northern Nomadic Hunter-Gatherers: A Humanistic Approach (London: Academic Press. 1982). 2 9 Brody. Maps and Dreams. 3 0 M. Asch. "The Ecological-Evolutionary Model and the Concept of the Mode of Production." in D. Turner and G. Smith, eds. Challenging An- thropology (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson. 1979). 81-99; M. Asch, 12 scribed for the Mackenzie River Indians, the Yukon natives did not se- lect either the harvesting or the industrial economy; rather, they meld- ed the two into an acceptable and rational economic system designed to provide for their material and cultural needs. These considerations of native preference, plus an acceptance of their a b i l i t y to respond positively to different economic conditions, provides the foundation for subsequent assessments of native a c t i v i t i e s . The main purpose, however, is not to focus on Indian a c t i v i t i e s , but rather to examine native-white relations in the Yukon River valley from 1840 to 1950. As suggested, the natives of the Yukon operated with a clear perception of self-interest, defined of course with reference to their own culture. The Euro-Canadian population, an odd collection of fur traders, missionaries, government workers, prospectors, developers and settlers, similarly approached the natives and the north within a framework etched by contemporary perceptions. That natives and whites often came to similar conclusions — for instance on the need to keep the Indians as harvesters of game — for conflicting reasons, only i l - lustrates that the meeting of races was, f i r s t and foremost, a confron- tation of cultures and mentalities, often incompatible, seldom mutually comprehended. Fundamental misunderstanding, mutual or one-sided, unin- tent ioned or malevolent, stands at the centre of inter-racial encounter in North America. The Yukon Territory i s no different. "The Economics of Dene Self-Determination," Ibid.. 339-352; M. Asch, "Capital and Economic Development: A C r i t i c a l Appraisal of the Rec- ommendations of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Commission," Culture, vol. 2, no. 3 (1982), 3-9. 13 In the Yukon's case, a variety of economic, social, demographic and institutional forces, both native and white, combined to separate the races, keeping the Indians on the margins of white society. That the Indians inhabited the fringes does not, however, simply attest to the power of e x c l u B i o n i s t attitudes and programmes. Though these proved of considerable strength, natives seldom challenged the barriers of preju- dice. Their continuing commitment to harvesting reduced, i f not elimi- nated, the desire to enter the industrial and urban sectors of the ter- r i t o r i a l economy and society. The late and di f f e r e n t i a l pattern of development in the Yukon sets the region somewhat apart from other northern d i s t r i c t s . Experiences i n this quarter, however, offer insights into native-white relations in other non-settlement areas, many of which, like northern Br i t i s h Colum- bia, northern Ontario and the Mackenzie River valley, faced similar Euro-Canadian expansion. Despite the disruptive influence of the gold rush and war-time construction projects, the Yukon Indians retained ac- cess to land and resources up to 1950. The continued v i a b i l i t y of the harvesting economy, a condition shared throughout much of the Canadian north, strongly influenced native response to white expansion and, equally, Euro-Canadian reaction to the Indians. To address the aforementioned themes, this study has been organized into four sections. A brief discussion of aboriginal economic and so- c i a l patterns serves as basis for further discussion of native response to Euro-Canadian advances. The second section deals with economic ties from the fur trade through World War II, placing the natives within the broader t e r r i t o r i a l context. An examination of social contact, includ- 14 ing inter-personal relations and demographic consequences of white ex- pansion, constitutes the next division. The final chapters deal with institutional relations, focusing alternatively on religious, education- al and government programmes and their impact on the Indians of the Yu- kon. 15 CHAPTER ONE BACKGROUND According to Indian legend, the ancestors of the natives of the Yukon River basin crossed to North America by land bridges from a distant con- tinent. Recent archaeological discoveries have confirmed this interpre- tation, dating earliest known occupations of the region at 30,000 years B.C. or e a r l i e r . 1 Between that time and the arrival of the Hudson's Bay Company fur traders in the 1840'B, the Indians occupied and u t i l i z e d the ecologically diverse region now known as the Yukon. An examination of native l i f e in the region before f i r s t contact, with particular emphasis on patterns of mobility, harvesting and social organization is therefore an appropriate place to begin. The geographic context i s important in understanding native adapta- tions. The environmental challenge facing the Indians differed s i g n i f i - cantly from contemporary images of the frozen and barren north. The current Yukon Territory (given institutional form in 1898) is dominated by a large central plateau, flanked on the east by the Mackenzie Moun- tains and the southwest by the formidable St. Elias Range. The region is cut by rivers, principally those of the Yukon River network which, through such tributaries as the Porcupine, White, Stewart, Pelly, and Teslin, drains much of the area. Several d i s t r i c t s f a l l outside the reach of the central river system. In the southeast, the Frances River watershed i s part of the Mackenzie River drainage basin, while to the 1 As Julie Cruikshank has illustrated, native legend and s c i e n t i f i c analysis are not as different as often imagined. Julie Cruikshank, "Legend and Landscape: Convergence of Oral and Sc i e n t i f i c Tradition in the Yukon Territory", Arctic Anthropology, vol. 18, No. 4 (1981), 17-28. 16 extreme southwest the Alsek River flows directly into the Pacific Ocean. To the north, the Peel River bisects the territory, draining to the east and joining the Mackenzie River shortly before the latter empties into the Arctic Ocean. The climate is less than benign, with a frost-free period of only seventy days conspiring with consistently cold winters to ensure that the waterways remain frozen much of the year. The Yukon is heavily forested, although the temperature and limited precipitation permits only stunted tree growth. Animal resources are diverse and com- paratively abundant, with moose, caribou, mountain sheep, goat, bear and a variety of fur-bearers available throughout the region. While the rivers hardly teem with fish, there are regular salmon runs along the Yukon and Alsek Rivers and white-fish, grayling, and several other fish species inhabit many of the lakes and rivers. The image of the north as a barren wasteland hardly applies to the Yukon, but the suggestion that the region contains an inexhaustable bounty of harvestable resources is similarly untenable. 2 Several problems emerge in any attempt to describe native l i f e in the Yukon River valley before the arrival of the Hudson's Bay Company. Few adequate or insightful contemporary commentaries are available. Though intimately involved with the natives, fur traders and missionaries ac- tive in the d i s t r i c t seldom recorded details of Indian society and cus- 2 K. J. Rea, The P o l i t i c a l Economy of the Canadian North (Toronto! Uni- versity of Saskatchewan, 1968), James VanStone, Athapaskan Adaptations (Chicago: Aldine, 1974), 17-18; P. Camu, E. P. Weeks, and W. Sametz, Economic Geography of Canada (Toronto: Hacmillan, 1964); D. F. Putnam and R. G. Putnam, Canada: A Regional Analysis (Toronto: j . n. Dent and Sons, 1979). 3 A. H. Murray, Journal of the Yukon, 1847-1848, ed. L. J. Burpee, (Ot- 17 toms. Fur traders A. H. Hurray, 3 Strachan Jones 4 and William Hardistys and missionaries W. W. Kirby. 5 V. C. Sim 7 and T. H. Canham8 provided comparatively useful portraits, but a l l focus on the Porcupine-Fort You- con region. Subsequent descriptions by explorers, travellers, miners and police officers belong to a separate period — the pre-Klondike min- ing era — and are of limited use in assessing native l i f e in the mid-19th century. Ethnographic and anthropological reconstruction provide further tools for defining the contours of Indian society. Cornelius Osgood, who worked among the Han and the Kutchin in the 1930's and John Honigman, who studied the Kaska Indians the following decade, offer detailed sum- maries based on extensive interviews with native informants. More re- cently, Catherine McClelland, Julie Cruickshank, Anne Acheson Welsh and Dominique Legros have reconstructed patterns of native existence and thought before the arrival of the whiteman. In conjunction with more general literature on Athapaskan society, their works allow for a pre- liminary description of native society. 9 tawa: Government Printing, 1910). 4 S. Jones, "The Kutchin Tribes," Smithsonian Institution Annual Report, 1866, 303-310. 9 W. Hardisty, "The Loucheux Indians," ibid., 311-326. 6 W. W. Kirby, "The Indians of the Youcon," H. Y. Hind, Explorations in the Interior of the Labradour Peninsula (London: Longmans, Roberts and Green, 1863), 254-257. 7 M. Wesbrook, "A Venture into Ethnohistory: The Journals of V.C.Sim," Polar Notes. No. 9 (May 1969), 41. 8 T. H. Canham, "Undated Account of the Indians of the Far Northwest," Anglican Church of Canada, General Synod Archives (GSA), M56-2, Series C-23, Canham Papers. 18 Six principal Indian groups, the Kutchin, Han, Kaska, Tagish and Tes- l i n inhabited what is now the Yukon Territory. (Hap 1) With the excep- tion of the last group, tied l i n g u i s t i c a l l y and culturally to the coast- al T l i n g i t , a l l the natives were Athapaskans. As a result, the Indians conformed in many cultural attributes to the larger patterns of the hunters of the subarctic forest. The area of habitation of a l l these groups in the pre-contact period extended beyond the t e r r i t o r i a l bounda- ries which constitute the parameters of this study. Kutchin bands, for example, ranged from the lower Mackenzie River to east-central Alaska. Similarly, the Han Indians straddled the 141st meridian (the eventual Canada/United States border) along the Yukon River. There is very l i t - t l e evidence that these ethnographic divisions were formalized in exten- sive p o l i t i c a l organization or t r i b a l consciousness. Linguistic d i f f e r - ences existed as did distinctive local and regional cultural characteristics. While s e n s i t i v i t y to specific native adaptation to ec- ological conditions must be maintained, James VanStone has suggested that the various Athapaskan cultures represented "a cultural continuum carried on by a series of interlocking groups whose individual lifeways differed only in minor details from those of their most immediate neigh- bours." 1 0 While there is then socio-cultural j u s t i f i c a t i o n for treating the Yukon Indians as a single unit, such a description must be qualified by an acknowledgement of the importance of regional variation. 9 See Preface, footnotes 23-30; James VanStone, Athapaskan Adaptations: Hunters and Fishermen of the Subarctic Forest (Chicago: Aldine, 1975). 1 0 James VanStone, Athapaskan Adaptations, 19 M a p 1: Native Distr ibution 20 Anthropologist VanStone describes the Yukon Athapaskans as conforming to a central-based wandering pattern, meaning that larger groups congre- gated on a regular basis, usually at a spring f i s h e r y . 1 1 Upon completion of harvesting and when demand for food exceeded readily available local supply, the IndianB dispersed into smaller groups, usually family units. The region's limited resources and the resulting enforced mobility en- sured that more compact and permanent settlement did not occur. The natives throughout the Yukon River basin hunted a variety of ani- male and birds, caught several species of fish, and collected a variety of plants in the course of their seasonal ac t i v i t y . With important re- gional variations, the seasonal cycles of a l l Yukon natives incorporated summer fishing, with much of the catch dried and stored for later use. Host hunting took place in the f a l l , while rivers remained open for nav- igation and before winter limited travel. Hunting continued through the winter months, although due to limited game stocks and truncated mobili- ty in that season, hardship occasionally visited upon those who were i11-prepared. The Indians adopted a highly nomadic existence, staying largely in the river valleys and travelling to the high country only in pursuit of specific game. The a v a i l a b i l i t y of major sources of food followed sea- sonal patterns, such as caribou migrations and salmon runs. Equally, moose and smaller game could not be harvested indefinitely from one site, forcing regular camp movements. Although the Yukon natives tended to operate out of selected central bases, they wandered extensively in pursuit of game. Regional variations in climate, geography and the 1 1 Ibid. 21 a v a i l a b i l i t y of game also forced significant adaptations. In the Peel-Porcupine River areas, the Kutchin exploited the large caribou herds, using circular enclosures called "surrounds" to trap the migrat- ing animals. 1 2 Along the Yukon River, the Han built fish traps or used g i l l nets to harvest the salmon run. 1 3 Natives in the Alsek-River - De- zadeash Lake d i s t r i c t similarly relied heavily on salmon stocks, a l - though their harvesting methods d i f f e r e d . 1 4 In a l l areas, natives har- vested moose and caribou, suppli menting their food supplies with small game, stream and lake fishing, and berry picking. Harvesting required extensive mobility, which in turn limited the complexity of their social organization. A rough band system evolved, based upon the groups of natives that met each summer. But even these groups had limited structural significance. Leadership remained vaguely defined, varying according to the tasks involved and the s k i l l s of the men in the group. Often one man functioned as the trading chief while another led the band during hunting expeditions. Shamans, or medicine men, exerted considerable power through their perceived a b i l i t y to un- derstand and manipulate the s p i r i t u a l world, but general religious be- l i e f s lacked r i g i d i t y or regional coherence. In the place of the codi- fied structure European missionaries would soon offer, the Indians held imprecise, indiv i d u a l i s t i c interpretations of the s p i r i t u a l world, domi- nated by a sense that s p i r i t s imbued the natural surroundings, forest and fauna. The larger native groups, however, did not have a systematic 1 2 C. Osgood, Contributions to the Ethnography of the Kutchin. 1 3 C. Osgood, The Han Indians 1 4 C. ttcClellan, Hy Old People Say. 22 or shared assessment of the significance and power of those s p i r i t s . These amorphous beliefs were highly functional as they formed an inte- gral part of the natives' relationship with the animal world* impinging upon and controlling the pursuit of sustenance. 1 5 The essence of Athapaskan society in the Yukon was i t s consistent a b i l i t y to adapt to human and ecological change. Social organization* religious beliefs, harvesting patterns and mobility were consistent throughout the region only in their ultimate f l e x i b i l i t y . The substan- t i a l differences reflected not only environmental diversity, but also the impact of a harsh, often unforgiving northern setting. The scat- tered nature of animal resources, annual freeze-ups of rivers and the limited regenerative capacity of flora and fauna exacted their t o l l . The environment similarly required that the people function primarily in the smallest viable social unit — the extended family — which again restricted the prospects for a more inclusive social organization. This family-oriented, nomadic subsistence structure formed the basis of Indian society in the Yukon River valley before the arrival of Hud- son's Bay Company explorers in the 1840's. Important regional varia- tions in harvesting patterns, seasonal movements, language and t r i b a l identification represented comparatively minor deviations from the com- mon threads running through native existence in the Yukon River valley. The environmental relationship, a delicate, occasionally unreliable bal- ance between man and resources, defined the contours of Indian social and economic behaviour. Native adaptation following the arrival of 1 5 This general description comes from ibi d . ; Kehoe, North American In- dians 487-504; NcClellan, My_ Old People Say and especially June Helm, Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. VI: Subarctic. 23 Euro-Canadians derived from the Indians' pre-contact condition. Despite the comments of fur traders and missionaries to the contrary* the na- tives' l i f e s t y l e was not oppressive, not a desperate struggle for meager subsistence. Instead, harvesting provided a means of survival and l e i - sure which the natives accepted as a comparatively "affluent" existence. Reactions to social and economic change attending white expansion, im- portantly, originated in the Indians' belief in the efficacy of their system and their commitment to maintaining a hunting-gathering existence as a preferred form of economic act i v i t y . 24 CHAPTER TWO ECONOMIC RELATIONS IN THE FUR TRADE ERA Inhabitants of the upper Yukon River valley f e l t the impact of an ex- panding European fur trade long before the arrival of the f i r s t whites. 1 Traders of the Russian American Fur Company, active along the Pacific Coast and on the lower reaches of the Yukon River, had not actually ex- panded operations upstream, but through the medium of inter-tribal ex- change their trade goods passed into the interior. When the Hudson's Bay Company began to expand into the NorthweBt following the 1821 merger with i t s long-time r i v a l , the North-West Company, explorers found numer- ous signs along the Liard and Mackenzie Rivers of the extensive reach of the Russian trade. John Bell, the f i r s t white man to cross the Richard- son Mountains and reach the Porcupine River, and John MacLeod, explorer of the upper reaches of the Liard system, both noted the existence of Russian trading goods among the Indians well inside what they believed to be the Hudson's Bay Company's trading sphere. 2 Similarly, when John Franklin travelled along the Arctic Coast west of the mouth of the Mack- enzie River in 1826, he commented that the Inuit near Herschel Island 1 K. Coates, "Furs Along the Yukon: Hudson's Bay Company - Native,Trade in the Yukon River Valley, 1830-1893," (M.A. Thesis, University of Manitoba, 1980). See the a r t i c l e by the same t i t l e , BC Studies No. 55 (Autumn 1982), 50-78. 2 Susan Ugarenko, "The Distribution of the Kutchin and Their Spatial Patterns of Trade, 1700-1850;" W. Ostenstat, "The Impact of the Fur Trade on the T l i n g i t , " (MA thesis, U. of Manitoba, 1976), Adrian Tan- ner, "The Structure of Fur Trade Relations," (MA Thesis, UBC, 1966); Hudson's Bay Company Archives (HBCA), D. 5/6 f o l . 341, Bell to Simp- son, 20 December 1943; Public Archives of Canada (PAC), MG30, D39, Burpee Papers, "Letters of John B e l l , " f o l . 27. On McLeod, see HBCA. A. 12/1 f o l . 72, Simpson to Governor and Committee, 10 August 1932 and McLeod's Journal, B.200/2/14. 25 participated in the Russian trade through inter-tribal exchange with the Kutchin Indians to the south. 3 Regular native trade within and between regions pre-dated the Europe- an fur trade. Groups possessing an abundance of a particular indigenous commodity, such as salmon, copper or caribou, traded supplies in excess of their requirements for goods not available in their region. This regular, though not extensive, trade encouraged the development of a se- ries of institutional arrangements u t i l i z e d after European fur traders arrived. As Franklin, and later explorer Thomas Simpson, noted on the Arctic coast, formal trading partnerships existed between Kutchin and Inuit traders to f a c i l i t a t e exchange. This was of particular impor- tance, given the frequency of h o s t i l i t i e s between the two groups, to en-, sure that the trade continued without interruptions. Similar arrange- ments conditioned exchange between the coastal T l i n g i t Indians to the south and their inland trading partners and less formal institutional structures operated to expedite trade among the various interior native groups. These native trading networks and institutions formed in the pre-contact period assumed even greater importance when the f i r s t Euro- pean traders appeared. 4 3 J. Franklin, Thirty Years in Arctic Regions (New York: D. W. Evans, 1860), 448. Thomas Simpson and Peter Varren Dease observed similar trading ties when they travelled in the area in 1837. A. Simpson, The Li fe and Travels of Thomas Simpson (Toronto: Baxter. 1963), 119-20. 4 Ugarenko, "The Distribution of the Kutchin;" Ostenstat, "The Impact of the Fur Trade;" Tanner, "Structure of Fur Trade Relations," C. McClelland, My_ Old People Say deals with the southern Yukon; Osgood, Contributions to the Ethnography of the Kutchin. 26 When whites began to trade with Indians on the outer fringes of the Yukon River natives' trading networks — Russians to the west and south, British and Canadians to the east — the extent of existing patterns of exchange altered significantly. Earlier institutional arrangements nonetheless remained in place to f a c i l i t a t e the dispersal of the newly arrived European commodities. The maintenance of individual trading connections, however, depended not upon their longevity, but on the cost and a v a i l a b i l i t y of the desired European goods. Access to a dependable supply of European manufacturers allowed the T l i n g i t Indians, the f i r s t external native group to secure such a source, to greatly expand their inland trading operations. Acting through intermediary tribes, includ- ing the Han and the Tutchone, the T l i n g i t s drew much of the upper Yukon basin into their trading sphere. 5 Such pre-eminence was conditional upon other native groups' i n a b i l i t y to locate their own supply of European goods. The situation could, and did, change rapidly. Vhen the North- west company, and later the Hudson's Bay Company, expanded operations along the lower Mackenzie River in the early 19th Century, the eastern bands of the Kutchin Indians found themselves with a Becure source of desired commodities and soon established themselves in a strong middle- man position vis-a-vis the western Kutchin and the Han Indians. 6 A l - though the pre-contact institutions and trading networks remained in ex- istence after the arrival of European traders on the periphery, the actual patterns of trade proved to be highly variable with considerable s T. Kamouriski, Fur Trade and Exploration: The Opening of the Far North-West, 1821-1852 (Vancouver: UBC, 1983). s S. Krech, "The Eastern Kutchin and the Fur Trade, 1800-1860," Ethno- historv, 23/3 (Summer 1976), 213-235. 27 reorientation occuring as native groups moved to exploit new sources of European supplies. Native trading patterns and institutions proved v i t a l to the Hudson's Bay Company's expansion plans and, equally important, influenced trading relations between the firm and the people of the Yukon River basin. Following the discovery of the C o l v i l l e River by Thomas Simpson and Pe- ter Warren Dease in 1837,7 the Hudson's Bay Company launched a two- pronged exploration of the of the region west of the Mackenzie River. In both instances, the company found i t s way impeded by the existence of functioning native trade networks. Realizing the importance of main- taining a monopoly over either a source of supply or a trading d i s t r i c t , the Indians attempted to prevent Hudson's Bay Company expansion. The natives acted from a position of some strength, and were able to limit or restrain access to the fur reserves of the Yukon River basin. At the same time, they always possessed an alternative supply of European manu- facturers through the T l i n g i t (Chilcat) Indians or the natives along the lower Yukon. The f i r s t thrust of the Company's effort to expand westward centered on Peel's River Post, opened in 1840 by John Bell following an unsuc- cessful attempt to cross the Richardson Mountains. 8 Only recently estab- lished in a middleman position, the Peel River Kutchin did their utmost to hinder attempts to push west. The natives offered Bell v i r t u a l l y no assistance in his quest, frequently misrepresenting the d i f f i c u l t y of 7 Kamouriski, Fur Trade and Exploration. e PAC, MG 30 D39, Burpee Papers, "Letters of John B e l l , " 28; HBCA, B200/b/ll, f o l . 15, McPherson to Simpson, 30 November 1838; Ugarenko, 137. 28 the terrain and the concomitant problems of transmountain transport. Similarly, individual natives agreed to guide the Company's men, only to abandon them long before they reached their objectives. 3 On at least tuo occasions, Indians from west of the Richardson Mountains anxious to en- courage expansion into their area reached Peel's River and provided flattering descriptions of the prospects for trade in their home are- as. 1 0 Encouraged by the reports and prodded by Hudson's Bay Company Govenor George Simpson, Bell f i n a l l y succeeded in crossing the mountain barrier in 1842, only to be abandoned by his guide once again. 1 1 Bell solved the problem in 1845 when, on Simpson's recommendation, he hired Indian assistants who knew nothing of the area to the west and whose self-interest did not conflict with the purposes of exploration. In that year. Bell f i n a l l y reached the "Youcon" River, believed at the time to be the C o l v i l l e . 1 2 Although the Peel River Kutchin ultimately failed to hold the Hudson's Bay Company in the Mackenzie River basin, their ac- tive interference postponed the firm's expansion into the Yukon River watershed for seven years. With Bell's discovery and the opening of an area somewhat wistfully believed to be a "New Athabasca," the Company moved quickly to incorpo- rate the region into i t s trading system. In 1845 the Hudson's Bay Com- pany built a small outpost, Lapierre's House, on the west side of the a HBCA, D5/7, f o l . 250, Bell to Simpson, 11 Sept. 1842; HBCA, D5/8, f o l . 421, Bell to Simpson, 10 August 1843. 1 0 HBCA, D5/5, f o l . 377, Lewes to Simpson, 20 Nov. 1840, HBCA, B200/b/13, f o l . 14, Bell to Lewes, 26 August 1840. 1 1 HBCA. D5/7, f o l . 250, Bell to Simpson, 11 Sept. 1842. 1 2 HBCA, D4/31, f o l . 93, Simpson to Bell, 3 June 1844; HBCA, D5/14 f o l . 212-215, Bell to Simpson, 1 August 1845. 29 Richardson Mountains and the following year Alexander Hunter Murray led a contingent of men to the junction of the Porcupine and Youcon Rivers, where they erected Fort Youcon. 1 3 This expansion, however, did not per- manently destroy native trading patterns extant before the company head- ed west. The eastern Kutchin lost a valuable trading position, but bands around the new post assumed the role of middlemen. Elimination of inter- t r i b a l networks had not occurred; instead. the trade simply 'leap-frogged' one link in the chain. The Kutchin near the new post, formerly dependent upon other natives for their supplies, now possessed a secure source of European manufacturers. Aware of the implications of the Hudson's Bay Company's expansion, the post Indians. in part, aban- doned their former role as fur trappers and assumed the new mantle of fur traders and provision hunters. 1 4 The second phase of the Hudson's Bay Company's westward movement, led by Robert Campbell along the Liard and Pelly Rivers, also encountered serious d i f f i c u l t i e s with native trading networks. The consequences in this instance proved markedly different from Bell's experience. Camp- bell's early trade, which centred on the sparcely populated area around Frances Lake and the upper Pelly River, encountered few problems with the Indians — and also attracted very l i t t l e trade. As he extended his operations toward the Yukon River, however, he brought the Company's trade into c o n f l i c t with the interior exchange network of the Chilcat 1 3 HBCA, B200/b/22, f o l . 15, Murray to McPhereon, 30 November 1847; A. H. Murray, Journal of the Yukon, 1847-1848, ed. J. Burpee (Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1910), 35-45. 1 4 Ugarenko. 138-142; HBCA. D5/34, f o l . 71, Anderson to Simpson, 10 July 1852. 30 Indians and their inland partners. 1 5 As had happened to Bell in the north, Campbell's native tripmen forced him to conclude an exploratory voyage prematurely when they refused to continue, ostensibly for fear of "savage" Indians downstream16 When, after five years of procrastination and questionable management, Campbell f i n a l l y opened a post. Fort Sel- kirk, at the junction of the Lewes (Yukon) and Pelly Rivers, the long- anticipated returns failed to (Hap 2) materialize. 1 7 Continuing a long-established practise, Chilcat traders regularly travelled inland to trade, outbidding the Hudson's Bay Company for the Indians' furs and preventing Campbell from achieving a profitable re- turn. On August 21, 1852, Chilcat traders returning from a trading for- ay arrived at Fort Selkirk. Campbell had only two other men at the post, the rest having been dispatched on provisioning and trading du- ties. When the coastal Indians ransacked the fort, he was powerless. 1 8 While Campbell must bear a healthy portion of responsibility for the ep- isode, the attack indicated a larger conflict in progress. Unlike Bell, whose actions overturned trading arrangements of relatively short dura- tion, Campbell interfered with a much more established and more economi- cally viable network. The Hudson's Bay Company officer himself noted 1 6 C. Wilson, Campbell of the Yukon (Toronto: Macmillan, 1970); A. Wright, Prelude to Bonanza, (Sidney: Grey's Publishing, 1976), 27-77; T. Kamouraski, Fur Trade and Exploration. 1 8 HBCA, B200/D/19, f o l . 11, Campbell to Lewes, 25 July 1843. 1 7 In five years at Fort Selkirk, Campbell never achieved a profit, let alone begin to repay the accumulated debt. HBCA, Df/34, f o l . 71, An- derson to Simpson, 10 July 1852. See also Pelly Banks and Fort Sel- kirk Journals in PAC, MG 19, H25 and UG 19, D13. 1 8 HBCA, B200/b/29, f o l . 170, Campbell to Anderson, 4 Nov. 1852; PAC, MG 19, D13, Journal of Occurances at the Forks of the Pelly and Lewes, July 3-9. 31 32 that the Chilcat'a knowledge of the terrain and the interior natives' customs and language allowed the coastal Indians to maintain their su- premacy 1 3 Other, more practical considerations, including r e l i a b i l i t y of supply and lower prices also served to s o l i d i f y the existing trading a l - liance. The inconsistent receipt of supplies, a situation created by their reliance upon the turbulent waters of the Vest Branch of the Liard River as a supply route, hindered the Hudson's Bay Company traders in their opposition. They also adhered to the Mackenzie River D i s t r i c t t a r i f f , a pricing structure which compared unfavourably with that of- fered by the C h i l c a t s . 2 0 Participants in the competitive maritime fur trade, the coastal Indians offered regular supply, comparable quality and substantially lower prices. Even more than the longevity of the ex- isting trading networks, these considerations ensured the Chi l e a f s con- tinuing supremacy. 2 1 Fort Selkirk and i t s predecessors, Pelly Banks and Frances Lake, never proved economical and following the destruction of the former post in 1852, the Hudson's Bay Company did not attempt to re- vive the southern Yukon fur trade. Instead, the Company concentrated i t s efforts on the consistently profitable operation at Fort Youcon. 2 2 1 3 HBCA, B200/b/29, f o l . 235, Campbell to Gent in Charge R. D i s t r i c t , 18 October 1851. 2 ° HBCA, B200/b/24, f o l . 60, Campbell to McPherson, 24 July 1850; HBCA D.5/22, f o l . 162, Campbell to Simpson, 22 April 1848. 2 1 Ostenstat, "The Impact of Fur Trade." For a discussion of T l i n g i t trade along the Stikine River, see S. Johnson, "Baron Wrangel and the Russian American Company," (Ph.D. dissertation, U. of Manitoba, 1978). 2 2 Though a post operated at Lapierre's House, trade was not permitted. The firm directed natives to take their furs to either Fort Youcon or Peel's River, HBCA, B220/b/29, f o l . 34, Anderson to Peers, 25 January 1852. 33 Suffering i n t i t i a l l y from an insufficient outfit and a lack of certain specific items in high demand, the firm's officers attempted to use native trading institutions, as they perceived them, to organize the trade. Aware of the function of partnerships in inter - t r i b a l exchange, the traders erroneously assumed that forging an alliance with a band's trading chief would allow them to dictate terms of trade to the entire group. 2 3 In times of shortage, the officers traded such highly valued goods as guns and beads only with these "principal men." The trading chief did not, however, enjoy the status with his band so readily ascribed by the Hudson's Bay Company employees. A group of natives se- lected the trading chief to represent their interests at the trading post, but arrangements thus concluded were not binding on the band mem- bers. After granting preferential treatment to a chief, the Hudson's Bay Company off i c e r s often found the trade of the remaining natives went elsewhere. 2 4 That the Hudson's Bay Company's men misjudged the importance and function of a native institutional structure is somewhat surprising giv- en the firm's long and extensive experience in the fur trade and, more directly, in dealing with the Athapaskan Indians. Trade conducted along the Mackenzie River following the merger of the Hudson's Bay Company and the North-West Company was most analogous to the Yukon situation, but that trade functioned under a monopoly. Although the firm could c a l l upon ample experience in highly competitive trade elsewhere, the o f f i - cers in direct control of the Yukon trade had been trained and had 2 3 Tanner, "The Structure of Fur Trade Relations," 37-44. 2 4 HBCA, B200/b/23. f o l . 35, Murray to McPherson, 12 November 1848; HBCA, B200/b/19, f o l . 183, Hardisty to Anderson, 5 July 1852. 34 worked primarily in the Hudson's Bay Company-dominated Mackenzie River basin after 1821. This background led several officers to attempt to impose inappropriate conditions and regulations on the Fort Youcon trade. For example, the Company had a long standing policy that such high demand goods as guns and beads. were traded only for the most va- luable furs. thus ensuring that the natives tendered the most highly valued pelts such as prime beaver and marten. Lacking a complete com- plement of trading goods in many of the f i r s t years. the Hudson's Bay Company traders decided to temporarily abandon the policy. They had not anticipated that the natives would now demand that the relationship be maintained as a "standard of trade." meaning that the Indians refused to trade their better furs for anything but guns and beads. 2 5 Similarly. William Hardisty. Chief Factor in Charge of Mackenzie River D i s t r i c t , decided in 1865 to impose an immediate restriction on the granting of supplies on account (credit) to the Indians. Although the firm attempt- ed to implement the change throughout the d i s t r i c t , evidence from Fort Youcon suggests that the practise of advancing trade goods in anticipa- tion of future receipts of furs continued. 2 5 The natives resisted any attempt to impose new or unfavourable conditions on the Fort Youcon trade. 2 7 2 5 HBCA, B200/b/23. f o l . 35, Murray to McPherson, 12 Nov. 1848. 2 5 HBCA, B200/b/35. f o l . 94, Circular from W. Hardisty, 10 March 1865. In 1869, Fort Youcon traders granted 1080 "Made Beaver" in debt. HBCA, B240/d/13, Fort Youcon Accounts, 1869. 2 7 Native assertiveness in the fur trade is well-accepted in recent his- toriography. Robin Fisher, Contact and Conf1ict, A. J. Ray, Indians in the Fur Trade, A. J. Ray and D. Freeman, Give Us Good Measure. 35 This apparent conflict between the firm's district-wide policies and attitudes at Fort Youcon reflected the more competitive nature of the Yukon River trade. The natives hesitated to accept the dictates of the Hudson's Bay Company and played a significant role in determining the nature of the regional fur trade. The Indians' exploitation of competi- tion between European traders clearly demonstrates their a b i l i t y to i n - fluence conditions of trade under favourable economic conditions. Through their extended, i f indirect, contact with Europeans, the natives had developed an obvious understanding of the whites' motivation for trading furs and awareness of the implications of competition for the traders' profits and, more importantly, for t a r i f f s and trading stan- dards. That the Yukon natives would take advantage of competitive opportuni- ties in the 1880's, when numerous traders vied for furs i s not surpris- ing. Native interest in competitive trade, however, appeared in 1847 when the firm f i r s t expanded to Fort Youcon. As soon as Murray arrived the Indians exploited the Europeans' fear of competition. At the time the only legitimate alternative to the Hudson's Bay Company was a small, irregularly maintained outpost of the Russian American Fur Company at Nulato, about seven hundred miles downstream from the B r i t i s h establish- ment. The Indians quickly reported the Russians " a c t i v i t i e s , " claiming that they had ascended to the s i t e of Fort Youcon the previous year and that they planned to return that same season. 2 8 Aware that his post stood inside Russian territory in contervention of an e x p l i c i t trade agreement with the R.A.F.C., Hurray feared that the apparent competition 2 8 Murray, Journal of the Yukon. 1847-1848, 45-69. 36 would destroy any possible v i a b i l i t y of the Fort Youcon trade. 2 3 The na- tives continued to provide Murray with "information" on a regular basis, claiming at various times that his r i v a l s had outfitted their boat with a cannon, that they offered a more favourable t a r i f f and dispensed many gif t s , and that they spread inflammatory rumours about the Hudson's Bay Company.30 Vhile the natives' information did not appear to accurately reflect the a c t i v i t i e s of the Russian firm, i t does i l l u s t r a t e the Indi- ans' appreciation of the value of European trade rivalry. Even though distance meant that only minimal competition existed, the natives did their best to make the most of the situation and tried to present the Russians as a serious threat to the Fort Youcon trade. The Indians' encouragement of competitive trade e l i c i t e d a number of responses from Hudson's Bay Company officers, not a l l favourable to the natives. Fear of Russian expansion led them to respond quickly to na- tive requests, i f at a l l possible, in order to prevent their defection. In particular, the firm met the natives' demands for specific commodi- ties. Fort Youcon traders requested that the company's Pacific Division collect some coastal shells and send them to the Youcon, where they were a highly valued item of trade. 3 1 In c a l l i n g for the adjustment of the t a r i f f , in contrast, the natives enjoyed less success. The Company ref- used to act, realizing that the high costs of trading in the area could be profitably met only i f the t a r i f f remained unaltered. Also the Peel River Indians, trading in the Mackenzie River basin, were reasonably i n - 29 HBCA, B200/b/23, f o l . 9, Murray to McPherson, 24 June 1849. 3 0 HBCA, B240/2/1, f o l . 45, Youcon Journal, 27, Nov. 1847; f o l . 76, 24 May 1848. 3 1 HBCA, E37/9 f o l . 40, Anderson to C o l v i l l e , 16 March 1852. 37 formed of conditions to the west. If the exchange rates were relaxed, they threatened to resort en masse to the Fort Youcon to trade. 3 2 In 1862, the Hudson's Bay Company f i n a l l y received tangible evidence that Russian competition existed when a servant of the Russian American Fur Company arrived at Fort Youcon. 3 3 Believing the event signalled Russian expansion, and basing their actions on the natives* oft-repeated de- scriptions of the nature of the Russian trade, the o f f i c e r s of the Hud- son's Bay Company decided to respond aggressively. The decision to send annual trading boats downstream cut the Fort Youcon Indians out of a considerable portion of their jealousy guarded middleman trade. 3 4 From 1847 to 1863, however, the "manufacturing" of competitive circumstances worked to the natives' benefit. The natives did not rely solely upon exploitation of competition to press their demands. Indeed, they found a number of means to encourage Hudson's Bay Company compliance. The apparent vulnerability of the Com- pany establishment, an isolated island fortress of less than twenty men in the midst of several thousand natives of dubious loyalty weighed heavily on the Hudson's Bay Company men, especially Alexander Hurray. On several occasions, the natives spoke openly of their plans to attack the post unless the firm offered more favourable conditions of trade. In the aftermath of Campbell's Fort Selkirk fiasco and the Hudson's Bay Company'B refusal to retaliate, the Indians' threats became even more 3 2 HBCA, B220/b/37, f o l . 277, Hardisty to Council, 30 Nov. 1870. 3 3 HBCA, B200/b/34, f o l . 136, Jones to Hardisty, 23 June 1803. 3 4 V. Stefansson, Northwest to Fortune (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1936), 219-20; HBCA. B.200/6/34, f o l . 57. Jones to Hardisty, 10 Nov. 1803; HBCA, B200/b/37, f o l . 28, Hardisty to McDougall, 29 January 1809. 38 incessant. 3 3 When native threats became particularly persistent and omi- nous, the senior officer of the Mackenzie River D i s t r i c t directed the Fort Youcon trader to v i s i t a l l the natives in his area and explain the economic advantages of a continuation of the firm's trade. 3 5 No appeals to loyalty. or friendship — merely a recitation of the function and value of the trading post. The Hudson's Bay Company acknowledged the military threat and attempted to meet i t through an appeal to the na- tives' economic p r i o r i t i e s . Not a l l native schemes were of such belligerent tone. The threatened or actual withholding of furs remained the primary means used to press demands. The natives resorted to the tactic whenever the Hudson's Bay Company did not provide goods in the quantity or quality d e s i r e d . 3 7 Rob- ert Campbell was convinced that the Indians had formed a "combination" to protest trading conditions at Fort Selkirk. The natives, as one. refused to bring either furs or meat to the post. 3 5 The effectiveness of these boycotts should not be underestimated for they proved a very pow- erful means of ensuring rapid compliance. Restriction of trade served other purposes than securing a modification of the firm's outfit or prices. On one occasion a group of Indians forced the removal of an Hudson's Bay Company trader. Strachan Jones. from Fort Youcon by refus- 3 5 HBCA. B200/b/32. f o l . 24, Hardisty to Anderson, 15 October 1853; HBCA, B.200/b/33, f o l . 15, Ross to Council, 29 Nov. 1858. 3 5 HBCA, B200/b/32, f o l . 42, Anderson to Hardisty, 1 January 1854. 3 7 For Fort Selkirk, see PAC MG19, D13, Pelly and Lewes Forks Journal, vol. 1, 30 Sept. 1849. For Fort Youcon, see HBCA, E37/10, f o l . 95, Anderson to Simpson, 25 March 1855. 3 5 Ibid. The observation is repeated several times thereafter. 39 ing to trade until the individual was reassigned. 3 9 The Hudson's Bay Company encountered l i t t l e serious European competi- tion during the f i r s t quarter century of direct native-white trade in the Yukon River basin. Through the use of inter-tribal trading net- works? the a r t i f i c a l creation of competition. intimidation and trading boycotts, however. the native overcame an apparent monopoly and secured more favourable conditions for trade. With the 1867 transfer of control of Alaska from Russian to the Unit- ed States of America, the economy of the upper Yukon River valley took on a markedly different complexion. American traders moved onto the lower reaches of the Yukon River soon after the announcement of the pur- chase of Alaska. Encouraged and assisted by a sympathetic U.S. govern- ment. "Yankee" traders reached Fort Youcon two years later. Responding to reports that the Hudson's Bay Company traded well within American territory. the federal government dispatched Captain Raymond of the United States Navy in 1869 to survey the Yukon River and to ascertain the precise location of Fort Youcon. 4 0 His subsequent 'discovery' that the post was on U.S. s o i l , an open secret within the Hudson's Bay Compa- ny for many years. led to the removal of the Hudson's Bay Company to Br i t i s h (soon to be Canadian) territory and to a rapid restructuring of the regional economy. The Hudson's Bay Company opened Rampart House 3 9 HBCA, B200/b/35, f o l . 99. Hardisty to Jones, 1 April 1865. J. Dun- lop, an apprentice clerk also l e f t after incurring the displeasure of the Indians. HBCA, B200/b/33, f o l . 15, Ross to Council, 29 Nov. 1858. 4 0 B. Lain, "The Fort Yukon Affair, 1809," Alaska Journal vol. 7, no. 1 (Winter, 1977), 14; Charles Raymond, "Reconnaissance of the Yukon River," U.S. Government, Compilation of Narratives of Explorations in AlaBka (Washington: Gov't Printing Office. 1900). 40 along the Porcupine River in 1870. burned i t down that same year and moved further upstream to Lapierre's House. 4 1 The following year, the firm opened a new Rampart House a short distance upstream from the f i r s t and remained at the s i t e until 1890. 4 2 The discovery in that year that this post was also on American s o i l led to i t s abandonment and the con- struction of a third Rampart House just east of the 141st meridian (Can- ada-United States border) along the Porcupine River. This establishment remained open for only three years, as the Hudson's Bay Company withdrew from the area completely in 1893^ (Hap 2) The American traders were no less erratic as i n i t i a l l y a number of small companies vied for what a l l believed to be a highly profitable trade. Posts regularly opened and closed, new companies formed as competitors merged operations in an at- tempt to counter the high cost of doing business in the isolated dis- t r i c t . By 1874, the Alaska Commercial Company dominated the Alaskan , portion of trade, regularly running a steamboat along the Yukon River to supply an expanding string of posts. 4 4 Even the dominance of this single firm did not eliminate competition, as a number of small, independent traders s t i l l competed for business. This f l u i d , irregular framework stood in stark contrast to the comparatively stable pre-1869 trade. 4 1 Asen Balikei, Vinta Kutchin Social Change (Ottawa: Northern Co-ordi- nation and Research Centre, 1963), 34-36. HBCA. B200/b/37 f o l . 272, Hardisty to Smith, 30 Nov. 1870; HBCA, B200/b/40, f o l . 5, Hardisty to llcOougall, 10 March 1871. 4 2 HBCA, B200/b/43, f o l . 597, Camsell to Wrigley, 29 March 1890. 4 3 HBCA, A74/1, f o l . 38, Chipman to Camsell, 7 January 1893. 4 4 S. D. Johnson, Alaska Commercial Company, 1868-1940 (San Francisco, 1940); A. Wright, Prelude to Bonanz, L. N. McQuesten; "Recollections of Leroy McQuesten", Yukon T e r r i t o r i a l Archives (YTA), Pamphlet 1952-3. 41 The natives, especially those Indians directly attached to Fort Youcon. responded negatively to the Americans' a r r i v a l . The natives i n i t i a l l y refused to trade furs or provisions with the interlopers and frequently pledged their allegiance to the Hudson's Bay Company. As the Company withdrew up the Porcupine River, a substantial number of the Fort Youcon Indians joined the exodus.*5 This animosity was not general throughout the region and applied almost exclusively to the "homeguard" Indians eliminated from a profitable, i f declining, middleman position by the Americans' a r r i v a l . The Hudson's Bay Company's success in re- taining native support, i n i t i a l l y attributed to the quality of their goods and the fairness of the trade, appears to have been due largely to the presence of James HcDougall, a long-time Fort Youcon trader highly respected by the Indians. When he later l e f t the area, many of the na- tives abandoned the Hudson's Bay Company in favour of the Americans. The Indians' remonstrances of support accompanying the expulsion from Fort Youcon proved tenuously based. As the economic advantages of the American trade became more apparent, the Indians quickly dropped their allegiance to the Hudson's Bay Company.45 4 5 HBCA, B200/B/38, f o l . 15, HcDougall to Hardisty, 3 January 1870. 4 5 HBCA, B200/b/37, f o l . 255, Hardisty to Council, 2 August, 1870. 42 Table 1 HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY FUR RETURNS, 1847-1893 (Averages i n L H l l 1847-49 1278 1870-74 1173 1850-54 1624 1875-79 841 1855-59 3023 1880-84 636 1860-64 4050 1885-89 542 1865-69 3933 1890-93 708 1. Incomplete returns. Source: HBCA, Fort Youcon Accounts, B.240/d/; Fort Simpson Accounts, B.200/d/; Rampart House Accounts, B.173/d/. Due to the inherent d i f f i c u l t i e s of supply and the aforementioned problem of the Peel River Indians' awareness of trading conditions to the west of the Richardson Mountains, the Hudson's Bay Company enjoyed few options in selecting competitive strategies. The Company expanded existing competitive measures, granting greater debt to reliable natives and offering relatively long-term employment (3 to 6 months) in an at- tempt to t i e individual Indians to the f i r m . 4 7 For the most part, the Company relied on the attraction of certain of i t s trading goods, espe- c i a l l y blankets and tobacco, which remained in great demand throughout the Yukon River basin and which assured the Hudson's Bay Company of at least a small share of the Yukon fur trade. 4 5 4 7 HBCA, B200/b/40, f o l . 74, Hardisty to Sinclair, 1871: HBCA, B.200/b/37, f o l . 272, Hardisty to Smith, 30 Nov. 1870. 4 5 Coates, "Furs Along the Yukon, " 152-75. 43 Driven by internal competition as well as confrontation with the weakened Hudson's Bay Company, the Yankee traders u t i l i z e d a broader ar- ray of techniques to attract native traders. I n i t i a l l y these followed the traditional lines of granting generous gratuities, lowering prices, offering better rates for Indians' furs, travelling to trade directly with native bands, and incorporating competitors' trade goods into their o u t f i t s . 4 9 Finding these methods only marginally successful, the Ameri- cans resorted to other methods, focusing primarily on the use of natives to encourage other Indians to alter their trading patterns. Adopting techniques long used with success by the Hudson's Bay Company, some Americans hired native runners to travel to distant tribes in order to s o l i c i t trade. 5 0 Later attempts to compete with the Hudson's Bay Company saw the Alaska Commercial Company set up Indians as "free traders" in the immediate v i c i n i t y of Rampart House, supplying them with a generous complement of goods and encouraging their proteges to offer debt and better prices to secure trade. 5 1 Whatever the measure adopted, each attempt to entice native trappers and traders away from a European rival worked to the economic benefit of the Indians, offering a new trading source, alternative employment, a wider range of trade goods, or a more advantageous pricing policy. The 4 9 Ibid. HBC blankets were particularly valued as trade goods. The Com- pany was most concerned in 1881 when the "Yankees" began trading Eng- l i s h trade goods at lower prices. HBCA, B200/b/43, f o l . 30, Camsell to Grahame, 23 March 1881. W. Ogilve, Klondike O f f i c i a l Guide (To- ronto: Hunter, Rose, 1898), p. 48. 5 0 HBCA, B200/b/37, f o l . 272, Hardisty to Smith, 30 Nov. 1870; HBCA, B200/b/39, f o l . 35, McDougall to Hardisty, 20 Dec. 1873; HBCA, B200/b/40, f o l . 120, Hardisty to Wilson, 30 March 1875. 5 1 PAC, MG29, A l l , MacFarlane Papers, vol. 1, f o l . 607-08, McDonald to MacFarlane, 10 January 1877. 44 natives quickly exploited favourable circumstances, altering patterns of trade to take advantage of the best possible conditions. Even maintain- ing ties with the Hudson's Bay Company. an option selected by a number of natives in the upper Porcupine River area. included noticeable ben- e f i t s . While the pricing arrangements were only marginally competitive, the ready a v a i l a b i l i t y of credit and the limited p o s s i b i l i t y of securing comparatively long term employment with the firm served as attractive enticements. 5 2 As well, the natives always retained, and frequently u t i - lized, their option of resorting to competitive traders whenever condi- tions warranted. Somewhat surprisingly, the expansion of commercial whaling operations to the Herschel Island region in the late 1880's also altered the Yukon River basin fur trade. While their primary concern remained whaling, the Arctic mariners quickly discovered that the fur trade offered an av- enue for quick and lucrative profits. B l i s s f u l l y ignorant of the struc- ture of the interior exchange of both the Hudson's Bay Company and i t s more agressive American riv a l s , the whalers adopted a variety of novel measures to attract the natives. In their lust for furs. the whalers regularly traded such goods as alcohol and Winchester repeating r i f l e s , both banned for trade with the Indians by the Canadian government.53 The social extravaganza which characterized the Herschel Island trading ses- 52 ibid., vol. 1. f o l . 817-18. McDonald to MacFarlane. 1 January 1881; Ibid., f o l . 819-20, Sim to MacFarlane. 4 January 1881. 53 HBCA, B200/b/43, f o l . 698, Camsell to Wrigley, 25 March 1891; HBCA, B200/b/43, f o l . 719, Camsell to Chipman, 11 Sept. 1891; Peter Uster, "Canadian Western Arctic, a century of change," Anthropologics 13, no. 1/2 (1971), 169-83; I. Warner, "Herschel Island," Alaska Journal 3, no. 13 (1973), 130-143; A. Stevenson "Whalers' Wait," North 15, no. 5, (1963) 24-31; A. Stevenson, "Herschel Haven," North, 15 no. 6, (1963), 24-32. 45 sions also served as an attractive alternative to the sedate interior exchange. The Hudson's Bay Company trader at Rampart House* John Firth* watched helplessly as the whalers siphoned away the remnants of the once flourishing corporate trade in the Yukon River v a l l e y . 5 4 By the early 1890's> the fur trade had lost i t s economic pre-eminence in the d i s t r i c t . American traders continued to encourage the natives to trap and trade* but the embryonic development of an alternative economy* based on the extraction of mineral resources* increasingly attracted most of the business interest in the area. Based on a continuation of the natives' hunting-gathering cycles* the fur trade had proven valuable to the Yukon Indians and they had responded aggressively and creatively to the developments in the industry. Their subsistence economy had readily accommodated demands for time to trap* dress furs and* particu- larly* to undertake the numerous* often lengthy t r i p s required to trade their harvest. The fur trade lost i t s pre-eminence; a new economic or- der emerged which* at f i r s t glance* placed l i t t l e importance on the role of the Indians and their harvesting economy. It was unclear as to how the natives' would adapt to the emerging r e a l i t i e s of the mining fron- t i e r . 5 4 HBCA, B200/b/43, f o l . 755. Camsell to Chipman, 30 March 1892. 46 CHAPTER THREE NATIVES AND THE PRE-GOLD RUSH MINING FRONTIER The departure of the Hudson's Bay Comany in 1893 did not signal the end of the Yukon fur trade. But although the fur trade continued. i t gave way to an incipient but expanding mining industry. From the 1880's. there would no longer be a singular Yukon "economy." Instead, the region's marketable wealth came from two sectors, mining and har- vesting, with only tenuous links between the two. Any assessment of the economic role of the Yukon Indians following the arrival of the miners must take into account the c o n f l i c t s and accommodations between the two economic sectors. Manpower requirements, demand for resources, compara- tive s t a b i l i t y of markets and the ascribed role of the natives in the different sectors, in combination with the Indians' definition of their self-interest, determined the extent and nature of the Indians' involve- ment in the mining economy. Consequently, extra attention must be paid to the functioning of the labour market on the mining frontier, for the demand and a v a i l a b i l i t y of labour set limits and defined opportunities for native involvement. As well, the relative v i a b i l i t y of what had be- come the Indian mode of l i f e — hunting for both subsistence and trade and trapping furs for market — remained a crucial determinant of the natives' response to the new economic order. Hudson's Bay Company officers and Church Missionary Society clergymen knew of the existence of sizeable quantities of gold in the tributaries of the Yukon River for some time. Anxious to retain the region as a fur preserve, the traders kept the information to themselves, as did the missionaries who wished to protect their native charges from the a n t i c i - 47 pated ravages of a mining f r o n t i e r . 1 Such efforts ultimately proved un- successful as the lure of gold which had drawn thousands of prospectors to California in the 1840's and to Br i t i s h Columbia a decade later pulled miners inexorably northward. The discovery of major gold depos- i t s in the Cassiar D i s t r i c t in 1872 set off yet another "rush." albeit much smaller than itB predecessors. When those diggings had been worked over, would-be miners continued northward. By the early 1880's pros- pectors were scouring the creeks of the Yukon though without much suc- cess. 2 Two streams, the Stewart and Forty Mile, both in the weBt-central Yu- kon, attracted particular attention and small mining communities formed at both locations. George Dawson, an o f f i c i a l of the Geological Survey of Canada who inspected the upper Yukon River valley in 1887. estimated the mining population at less than 250.3 That number increased slowly in subsequent years, as reports f i l t e r e d out of the region of gold in "pay- ing" quantities in the Yukon streams. The mining population fluctuated widely as disenchanted and financially-ruined prospectors l e f t the area, only to be replaced by those optimistic enough to believe that riches remained to be found beneath the cold waters of the Yukon River wat- ershed. Similarly, the population was extremely v o l a t i l e as the miners 1 F. Whymper. Travels in Alaska and the Yukon (London: 1869). 227; Beck- les Willson. The Li fe of Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal (Toronto. 1915). p. 427. 2 This is based on George Dawson. Report on an Exploration in the Yukon Di s t r i c t . (Ottawa: Queen's Printer. 1898); A. Wright. Prelude to Bo- nanza. A. Cooke and C. Holland. The Exploration of Northern Canada (Toronto: Arctic History Press. 1970); L. N. McQuesten. Recollections of Leroy McQuesten. YTA. Pamphlet. 1952-53. 3 Dawson. Report, p. 182. 48 eagerly abandoned one stream and headed to another at the slightest hint that a new gold f i e l d had been uncovered. To 1896* Forty-Mile remained the most profitable and consistent of the creeks, with miners realizing more than $14 a day for their efforts, a sizeable sum even after taking the high costs of goods and services at the isolated outpost into ac- count. Before the discovery of gold on Rabbit Creek, which in turn touched off the Klondike Gold Rush. the Yukon mining community remained small and geographically concentrated, content with the remunerative i f unspectacular returns* yet ever vigilant for a new or larger s t r i k e . 4 The actual mining operations offered few employment prospects for In- dians in the area. Natives seldom staked claims, apparently seeing l i t - t l e attraction in the extensive work undertaken with no guarantee of a profitable return. Those few who followed the miners to the fi e l d s usu- a l l y sold their claims within a short time. The technology and. just as important* the ideology of placer mining ensured that most miners con- ducted operations on a small scale. rarely involving more than two or three men. Unlike quartz or hard rock mining* which required labour and machine intensive operations. Yukon placer mining remained essentially small scale, with power supplied by hand and the manipulation of natural water supplies. Gold bearing d i r t was accumulated, usually during the winter, from shafts dug (often through permafrost) to the bedrock under- lying a creek bed. Miners stockpiled d i r t until spring run-off. at 4 Descriptions of the Forty-Mile Camp are found in W. Ogilvie* Informa- tion Respecting the Yukon D i s t r i c t (Ottawa: Gov't Printing Bureau* 1897). 9-155 F. Schwatka. Report of a Militarv Reconnaissance (Wash- ington: Government Printing Office* 1885); Pierre Berton. Klondike* (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. 1972); W. R. Hunt North of 53: The Wild Days of the Alaska-Yukon Mining Frontier. 1870-1914 (New York: Macmillan. 1974). 49 which time the stream would be diverted through a sluice-box (a long, narrow trough with a r i f f l e d bottom designed to trap the heavy gold dust and nuggets). The accumulated d i r t was mixed with water and run through the sluice. At an appropriate time, the flow of the water was stopped and the r i f f l e s checked. The operation of the placer mines was highly seasonal and, because of the small size of the claims, normally run by individuals or partnerships. Additional labour requirements usually came only during the spring run-off when the care had to be taken to en- sure that a l l the carefully gathered d i r t was "washed" while water sup- plies lasted. Each miner typically handled his own claim; to have a l a - bourer on hand was a luxury affordable only by those with a "proved" mine. Characterized by a small population and u t i l i z i n g an individual- ized, extractive technology, the placer mining operations in the Yukon River valley in the 1880's nonetheless had a significant economic impact on those Indians resident near the mines.5 While the border (Forty-Mile) region f e l t the principal effect, a lesser number of natives in outlying . d i s t r i c t s came into the new econo- my, drawn by miners reaching ever further a f i e l d . Most of the pros- pectors entering the d i s t r i c t came by way of the Chilkoot Pass, a small mountain divide connecting Lynn Canal and the headwaters of the Yukon River. The coastal Chilcat (Tlingit) Indians, and to a lesser degree the inland Tagish bands, earned money by transporting supplies through the mountains. Many of the prospectors and travellers who travelled this route found the Indians' charges usurious, but the Chilcats' j e a l - ously protected monopoly of the passes had to be respected and most paid 5 Ibid. 50 rather than face the prospect of packing their own supplies. 6 The pros- pectors' willingness to risk the usually placid, occasionally treacher- ous, waters of the Yukon River in hastily built scows and rafts thwarted an extension of this a c t i v i t y into river travel. As well, Alaska Com- mercial Company sternwheelers plied the waters of the Yukon from Ameri- can territory well up into Canada, bringing in the bulk of provisions and supplies required by the miners. Natives did find a limited amount of work along the river as guides, pil o t s , and packers, but the pros- pectors' generally limited financial means restricted this avenue to oc- casional work. There was considerable demand for Indian labour around the mining camps, particularly at Forty-Mile where the local natives participated extensively in the emerging economic order. The new ventures proved highly remunerative, offering material gain far in excess of that a v a i l - able through trade with the Hudson's Bay Company or i t s competitors. The limited development of the d i s t r i c t severely restricted the supply of white labourers. Whenever miners uncovered paying quantities of gold most men in the d i s t r i c t worked their own claims. With white workers at a premium, i f available at a l l , would-be employers turned, i f reluctant- ly, to the available pool of natives. Retailers and wholesalers supply- ing the mines often needed assistance unloading sternwheelers. Even more importantly, these vessels required a steady supply of cut cord wood in order to ply the waters of the Yukon. Like the other seasonal and temporary chores, the role of packer f e l l largely to the Indians. Most of the mines in the Forty-Mile d i s t r i c t were a considerable dis- e R. Friesen, The Chilkoot Pass, Manuscript Record Series, #236, Parks Canada, 1978. 51 tance from the Yukon River. Miners attempting to provision their opera- tions either carried in their own supplies or. as most chose to do, hired a packer to do the work. Most of this work went to the natives. 7 The natives seldom received the remuneration offered the feu uhites willing to hire out. Packers in the Forty-Mile area received up to $.30 a pound, for carrying the goods as far as 85 miles from the settlement. Winter rates f e l l to approximately a third of the summer stipend, but in that season dog teams could be used uith a concommitant reduction in the time and e f f o r t . 8 Wage rates in the mines and elseuhere fluctuated ac- cording to the season and the number of labourers available. Monetary offerings reflected the shortness of the summer uhich placed a premium on that season. White labourers earned betueen $6 and $10 a day, a standard maintained in several instances by a labourers' agreement that they uould not accept less. While native remuneration seldom matched that granted their Caucasian counterparts, healthy, well-regarded Indian males earned from $4 to $8 each uorking day. 9 Although there uere occa- sional signs of r a c i a l l y motivated attempts to exclude the Indians from 7 Evidence on native labour is uidely dispersed. The account is draun from PAC, HG17, B2, Church Missionary Society (hereafter CMS), Bompas to C.M.S., 20 January 1893, May 1893, 15 May 1894; PAC, MG20, B22, Og- i l v i e Papers, f i l e 4, Bompas to Lt. Governor, 3 Dec. 1891; Report of Inspector C. Constantine, 20 January 1896, Annual Report of North West Mounted Police, 1896, YTA, Anglican Church (AC) New Series, f i l e 4, Constantine to Deputy Minister of the Interior, 19 November 1896; Og- i l v i e , Information Respecting the Yukon D i s t r i c t (Ottawa: Dept. of the Interior, 1897); Ogilvie, The Klondike O f f i c i a l Guide (Toronto: Hunter Rose Co. Ltd., 1898); G. Dawson, Report of an Exploration, PAC, MG29, C92, Bowen Papers, R. J. Bowen, "Incidents in the Li f e of R. J. Bowen," unpub1ished manuscr ipt. B Report of Inspector Constantine, 20 January 1896. 9 Ibid.; CMS, Bompas to CMS, 20 January 1893; Constantine to Deputy Min- ister of the Interior, 19 Nov. 1896; Bompas to Lt. Governor, 3 Dec. 1891. 52 the more lucrative work in the mines and to limit their wages? 1 0 those natives securing temporary positions improved on their former earnings. The restricted demand for native workers? however? prevented the Indians from more assertively controlling their labour? as they had done in the fur trade. In addition to employment in the mines or in related transportation activities? other Indians capitalized on a variety of additional oppor- tunities. The demand for foodstuffs? including salmon for dog meat? moose? caribou and other game for human consumption? improved dramati- cally over the fur trade era. With the major mining camps located close to the migratory t r a i l s of northern caribou herds and with moose readily available in the river valleys? the Indians easily harvested enough game to serve their own needs and those of the white population. 1 1 Natives outside the immediate v i c i n i t y of the mines carried the bulk of the pro- vision trade as those able to reach a closer accommodation with the min- ing economy found i t comparatively easy to satisfy their material or cash requirements without resorting to the hunt? except to f u l f i l l per- sonal needs. Natives occasionally took a more direct role in the mining activity? staking claims on promising or newly opened creeks and then s e l l i n g at a substantial profit to late a r r i v a l s . 1 2 Given the prospective return from the creeks? the prospectors paid seemingly unreasonable sums to secure a 1 0 PAC? RG10, Department of Indian Affairs (hereafter IA)? vol. 3962? f i l e 147? 654-1? pt. 2? Bompas to Indian Commissioner? 5 September 1896. 1 1 CMS. Bompas to CMS, 15 May 1894. 1 2 AC, New Series? f i l e 4, Constantine to Deputy Minister of the Interi- or, 19 Nov. 1896. 53 toe-hold on suitable property. Following the Rabbit Creek (Bonanza) discovery and before many realized the extent of the gold f i e l d * miners bought Indian cabins located nearby along the Yukon River, paying from $100 to $200 for each of the small structures. Vith hindsight and the intervention of Church of England missionary U. C. Bompas, the natives appealed for an extra payment in keeping with the rapid inflation of costs in the area. In this instance, the natives would have done well to have held onto their land, but the incident i l l u s t r a t e s the potential for a substantial return through the sale of native land holdings in this case cabins, but more often mineral claims. 1 3 The renowned discovery of gold in Bonanza Creek in August 1896, quickly galvinized a c t i v i t y in the Yukon River valley. Forty Mile and a l l other mining camps emptied as every miner in the area headed to grab a share of the new "Eldorado." Many of the natives who profited from the mining economy at Forty-Mile followed the migration to . Dawson City and re-established themselves in their newly accepted role as provision hunters and casual labourers. The Klondike Gold Rush which followed reshaped the economic and social fabric of the Yukon in a way few envisaged. It was a major find to be sure, but those on the scene foresaw room for only a few thousand extra miners on the creeks. No one anticipated the human deluge that followed. In the short term, before news of the strike reached "outside" in 1897, the Yukon economy contin- ued largely as before, with the natives secure in their role as a sup- plementary labour- force to the mining community. 1 3 Ibid.; Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND), f i l e 801-30-0-01, Bompas to Minister of the Interior, 28 October 1896, Extract from William Ogilvie's letter dated 8 November 1896. 54 Before turning to a detailed examination of the gold rush and attending transitions, however, an assessment of the impact of mining on the economic strategies of the Yukon Indians is in order. Limited p r i - marily to those in the west-central region between the Stewart River and Forty-Mile to 1896. this mining a c t i v i t y affected only about 10% to 20% of the Yukon River natives. Few Yukon Indians participated in the new economic order, staying instead with hunting, gathering and. to the ex- tent to which i t s t i l l operated, the fur trade. For those Indians drawn to the mines, the potential for change was great. A cash economy based on wage labour and re t a i l stores functioned on an expanded scale for the f i r s t time. The comparative s t a b i l i t y of the Hudson's Bay Company trade was gone. The American fur trade operated as something of an intermedi- ary stage between these apparent extremes, but i t had not functioned i n - dependently long enough to serve as a meaningful transitional phase. With higher wages and more competition for their business, those natives geographically located and personally disposed to participate in the mining economy found within i t a much easier way to satisfy their s t i l l limited material needs. Even with the considerable potential for change, the natives' role during the fur trade and the pre-Gold Rush mining interlude remained surprisingly consistent. Participants in both, the Fort Youcon natives worked during the fur trade as provision hunters, fishermen and as part-time labourers, assisting the Hudson's Bay Company by manning ca- noes or moving post supplies. Their function as middlemen for natives to the west and south, whom they prevented from trading directly with the fort, limited their actual trapping operations. The experience in 55 the early stages of the mining frontier differed l i t t l e . Wages and ma- te r i a l rewards rose, but the Indians continued to serve as provisioners, albeit for an expanded population, and as a readily available short-term labour force engaged primarily in transportation and packing. S i g n i f i - cantly, these same Indians continued to obtain furs for trade, not through their own trapping efforts, but via trade with distant bands de- nied access to the mining centres. 1 4 The onset of mining had not altered the natives' economic a c t i v i t i e s in a major, or unsettling way. In- stead, the Indians retained a role analogous to that attained during the Hudson's Bay Company era, a position which allowed them to earn s u f f i - cient money to purchase their requisites from the Euro-Canadians while interfering in only a limited way with the hunting and fishing c y c l e s . 1 5 The part-time and seasonal a c t i v i t i e s undertaken for both the fur traders and the miners conformed to rather than altered the Indians' an- nual pattern. Indeed, that the natives could provide for their own sub- sistence, provision an expanding white population and occasionally work in mine-related ventures underlines the comparative "affluence" of the Yukon Indians' way of l i f e . Supplying their own food requirements obvi- ously did not demand a l l their time and effort, leaving them free to perform a variety of other tasks for the miners. From an economic 1 4 The best description of this process i s in "Incidents in the Lif e of R. J. Bowen," 116-133. 1 5 In Constantine to Deputy Minister of the Interior, 19 November 1896, the Inspector claimed that the Indians imitated the whites, refusing to hunt and fish unless absolutely necessary. While a few temporari- ly adopted a more "white" mode of l i f e , his larger generalization i s misleading. Importantly, Constantine staunchly defended miners and had l i t t l e time for those, such as Bompas, who sought to preserve In- dians' rights. Constantine's comments on the Indians, appended to a refutation of Bompas' claims that the government should protect na- tive fishing and land rights, are of highly questionable v a l i d i t y . 56 standpoint, the mining a c t i v i t y did l i t t l e to alter the central basis of the Indians' l i f e s t y l e or their seasonal dependance upon the products of f i e l d and stream. The expanded opportunities for short-term employment made i t easier to satisfy an expanding but hardly voracious appetite for the retailers' wares. They purchased luxuries, including alcohol, more readily and those few items more f u l l y integrated into the natives' ma- t e r i a l culture (guns, knives and other iron goods being the prime exam- ples) could be acquired with less effort. The combination of seasonal wage labour plus a continued fur trade offered a new level of affluence for those natives able to participate. If the miners' arrival did not change native behaviour decisively, i t nonetheless introduced the rudimentary beginnings of an industrial econ- omy to the Yukon River basin. While the fur trade and the attending preconditions of racial accommodation and interdependance remained, the old order had certainly been relegated to the background. Though mining was geographically concentrated in the west-central Yukon, the new ac- t i v i t y attracted the majority of white interest. Gold, not fur, was now king and the requisites of the former industry determined the contours of regional economic development in the following decades. Since the natives were potential workers, the dynamics of the labour market held the key to the level of integration. The Indians' a b i l i t y and desire to work, a v a i l a b i l i t y of white workers, seasonal fluctuations in economic acti v i t y , the nature of the work performed, and the employers' wil l i n g - ness to hire natives worked together to form the framework of the mining labour market. While this market, a highly informal and f l u i d con- struct, remained of limited importance in the pre-Gold Rush years, the 57 system established la i d the basis for the natives' participation in the new economic order. The Yukon mines offered l i t t l e regular work on the creeks for anyone without a claim. Employment prospects came largely from the two main support industries* transportation and provisioning. The limited demand for labour was seasonal, requiring large numbers of workers in the sum- mer months and few for the remainder of the year. The need for assis- tance seldom included s k i l l e d labourers. Exceptions existed, such as the need for s k i l l e d technicians on the riverboats or trading post clerks, but most jobs required only a strong back and a so l i d constitu- tion. On the supply side, potential employers drew from a small, irreg- ular pool of white labourers or a larger, stable number of Indians. Drawn by high wages, a few whites came in each year s p e c i f i c a l l y to work in the mines. Given the location and the cost of reaching the west-central Yukon, this cadre of workers remained small. A second, and larger group of white labourers included those miners yet to strike pay d i r t or out of supplies. Often financially constrained due to unsuc- cessful mining efforts, yet unwilling to abandon the queBt for gold, these miners offered their services to raise funds for yet another foray onto the creeks. Uhile more numerous than the f i r s t group, this second body of men was a compressed and unstable work force with supply depen- dant upon the failure of prospectors already in the region. While the f i r s t to be employed, especially for work in the diggings, they could not be counted on as a steady pool of seasonal labour. That l e f t only the Indians. Self-supporting through fishing, hunting and fur trading, on-site due to the fortuitous juxtaposition of the gold fields and the 58 home t e r r i t o r i e s of the Kutchin and Han Indians, willing to accept lim- ited work in order to satisfy their material desires, the natives were ideally situated to meet the needs of the embryonic Yukon mining indus- try. The machinations of the local labour market accounted for the suc- cessful and renumerative adaptation of the west-central Indians to the expanding mining frontier. The situation before 1896, could be charac- terized as a casual, seasonal labour market, 1 6 a situation uniquely suited to the natives' needs and interests. As long as demand remained seasonal so as not to c o n f l i c t with hunting and fishing, as long as the mines supporting a c t i v i t i e s sought unskilled labourers rather than s k i l l e d technicians, and as long as the available pool of white manpower stayed small and variable, the local natives found a significant econom- ic role. Before the Gold Hush, the local economy allowed the natives to continue their harvesting pursuits while simultaneously providing short-term and renumerative employment. Since the demand for the native harvest of fish, meat and furs remained high and as the emerging economy required primarily unskilled workers, the regional order assured the In- dians a key role in the local economy. If the fur trade had offered the Yukon Indians a profitable entree into the western economy, the limited mining a c t i v i t y before the Klon- dike Gold Rush provided an even more advantageous economic situation for those natives positioned to participate in the new order. 1 7 Based on the 1 6 For an excellent description of the functioning of a casual, seasonal labour market in an industrial setting, see Garth Stedman Jones, Out- cast London, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971). Jones' work also i l - lustrates the importance of examining the structure and evolution of labour markets. 59 small number of much preferred white labourers and the limited technolo- gy of placer gold extraction, the benefits for the Indians were precari- ous. 1 8 The natives, however, achieved a successful accommodation with a small-scale, localized mining community; whether the balance achieved would stand up in the face of an onslaught of miners and a growing so- phistication in mining technology remained to be seen. Importantly, the miners made no attempt to draw the Indians to the centre of the new eco- nomic system. Instead, the now-dominant white community valued the In- dians' role as provisioners and seasonal labourers but sought to prevent any racial integration of the mines. They had, in effect, set up a ra- c i a l class system which assured a constant source of native labour. The natives seldom challenged the exclusiveness of the placer diggings, wel- coming the remunerative opportunity to combine preferred harvesting pur- suits with occasional wage labour. 1 7 Indians near the mining camps restricted the access of other natives to the markets and wage labour opportunities, a process reminiscent of attempts to preserve fur trade monopolies. See "Incidents in the Li fe of R. J. Bowen." 1 8 The natives' successful adaptation to the 19th Century mining fron- t i e r in the Yukon is not unique, although i t contrasts with most por- t r a i t s of the expansion of mining ac t i v i t y . See the rather different portrayals of the B.C. experience of Robin Fisher, Contact and Con- f1ict and Rolf Knight, Indians at Work: An Informal History of Na- tive Indian Labour in B r i t i s h Columbia, 1858-1930. (Vancouver: New Star, 1978). On a more positive adaptation, somewhat analagous to the Yukon, see J. Kay, "Indian Responses to a Wining Frontier," in W. Savage and S. Thompson, ed. The Frontier: Comparative Studies, Vol. 2 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979), 193-203. 60 CHAPTER FOUR NATIVES IN THE KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH ECONOMY The comparative quietude of the Yukon mining economy exploded in Au- gust, 1896, when "squaw man" George Carmacks and two Indians, Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie, discovered a major deposit of placer gold near the junction of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers. The i n i t i a l "rush" re- sembled any number of other stampedes in the region over the past decade and a half. At f i r s t hint of the find, miners throughout the Yukon Riv- er valley grabbed their tools, abandoned their diggings and headed for the new strike. Previous stampedes subsequently proved to be minor an- noyances, the discoveries shown to be either illusory or incapable of sustaining extensive mining ac t i v i t y . On this occasion, the discovery proved neither false nor limited. The story of the Klondike Gold has been oft-told and only the bare outlines need be sketched here. 1 News of the Yukon discovery reached the outside world in the summer of 1897 when miners carrying thousands of dollars worth of gold arrived in Seattle and San Francisco. The re- sponse throughout depression-ridden North America was instanteous. The great Klondike Gold Rush commenced. A few thousand prospectors made i t to the Yukon that same year, but the majority arranged their a f f a i r s so as to arrive in the gold f i e l d the following summer. Estimates as to the size of this human wave vary, but the number arriving in 1898 alone probably exceeded 50,000. Most of the would-be miners experienced shat- 1 The best treatment is M. Zaslow, The Opening of the Canadian North, 101-146. A. A. Wright, Prelude to Bonanza contains a good discussion of the discovery and i n i t i a l reaction. On Dawson City see H. Quest, "Dawson City", (Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Manitoba, 1982). 61 tered dreams* as the prime gold-bearing ground had been staked long before their a r r i v a l . Disgruntled and demoralized, many thousands l e f t for the south soon after completing the journey to Dawson City. This toun had sprung up on the fl a t s at the mouth of the Klondike River to service the mines. While the population in the area soon dropped from the heady heights of 1898-1899. the federal census of 1901 recorded over 27.000 people in the t e r r i t o r y . 2 Many continued to leave, an exodus en- couraged by the discovery of gold near Nome. Alaska in 1699. but the lure of the Yukon nonetheless continued to exert i t s magnetic appeal. Every year would-be prospectors, each believing that they could share in the bounty of the northern "Eldorado." found their way into the Yukon River basin. 3 By 1907. however, the gold rush had dwindled and a l l but died. Mammoth dredges replaced the placer miners in the creek beds and hydraulic mining operations stripped the banks and the h i l l sides of their wealth. The days of the individual miner, in the Klondike fields at least, were over. Large mining consortiums bought the rights to the major creeks and secured federal government leases to all-important wa- ter supplies. 4 As an economic force, the gold rush lasted less than a decade, giving way to the more systematic and more highly capitalized exploitation of the Yukon's mineral resources. This short duration belies i t s s i g n i f i - 2 Canada. Census 1901. 3 See Guest. "Dawson City" for a useful discussion of the transiency as- sociated with the Gold Rush. 4 L. Green, The Gold Hustlers (Vancouver: Douglas. 1975); D. J. Hall. C l i f f o r d Sifton: The Young Napolean (Vancouver: UBC, 1982); Ian Clarke. " C l i f f o r d Sifton In Relation to His Mines," unpublished paper presented to CHA, Montreal, 1980. 62 cance, for in short order the Gold Hush radically overturned the demographic* racial and economic balance in the Yukon River valley. Be- fore 1896, natives outnumbered whites by approximately four to one; the 1901 census, taken two years after the height of the rush, revealed a population of eight whites for every Indian. 5 For several decades, the natives had benefitted financially from the arrival of the whites, a prosperity tenuously founded on a shortage of white labour and the be- nign attitude of the new arr i v a l s to the native population. In the ag- gressive, indiv i d u a l i s t i c frenzy of the gold rush, the need for an ac- commodation with the Indians evaporated, any prior consideration for the natives' interest largely consumed by the lust for gold. At the same time, far more Indians throughout the region f e l t the ef- fects of the new order. Prospectors u t i l i z e d several corridors in com- ing to the Yukon, although the Chilkoot and White Passes from the Lynn Canal to the headwaters of the Yukon River remained the most favoured. Other routes, including the Dalton T r a i l in the southwest corner of the d i s t r i c t and a variety of branch routes connecting the supply centre of Edmonton with Dawson City offered access to the gold fields. Indians along each of these routes participated, i f often tangentially, in the gold rush economy. The Bennett Lake-Dawson corridor, however, remained the principle focus. (Hap 3) The mining a c t i v i t y i t s e l f centred on the tributaries of the Klondike River and while Indians throughout the territory f e l t the pull of the gold rush, the economic forces were strongest in the immediate hinter- land of the mines. A significant number of natives moved closer to Daw- 5 The earlier figure comes . from a DIA estimate of 2600 natives in 1896 and approximately 600-700 whites. Canada, Census, 1901. 63 M a p 3: Routes to the K lond ike G o l d F ie lds 0 150 I i ' ' • Miles 64 BOTI City to take advantage of perceived economic opportunities. A l - though decimated by disease, the local Fort Resolution (Han) Indians re- mained in the area, as did a number of former residents of the Forty- Mile d i s t r i c t who followed the miners' migration upstream. Natives from as far away as Fort McPherson on the Peel River and along the Porcupine River in the northern Yukon came to Dawson, drawn by the social and eco- nomic a c t i v i t y . 5 While the number of Indians actually attracted to the gold f i e l d s was comparatively small, the reordering attending the rush affected most of the Yukon natives. Vastly different in scale and shape from previous economic structures, the gold rush economy offered a v a r i - ety of prospects and restrictions to those Indians who attempted to par- ticipate. The most noticeable characteristic of the Yukon Indians in the Klon- dike period is their comparative anonymity. In previous years, the na- tives maintained a high p r o f i l e and the documentary record is replete with comments on their a c t i v i t i e s . The natives receive scant attention in the gold rush literature. The records reflect the fact that the gold rush was an overwhelmingly white phenomenon, with the Indians swiftly relegated to a peripheral position. A prodigious number of diaries, b i - ographies and travelogues appeared, but the Indians, i f they appear at a l l , emerged on the margins. The authors, and one suspects the reader- ship, of these tracts had l i t t l e interest in what many perceived to be 5 R. Slobodin, "The Dawson Boys," Polar Notes, vol. 5 (June 1963), 24-35; The Porcupine River was vi r t u a l l y deserted in this period as the Natives departed for Fort McPherson, Herschel Island or Dawson City, CMS, Bompas to CMS, 18 Nov. 1896; "Report of Inspector Starnes," NWMP, Annual Report 1902, pt. I l l , 57; "Report of Inspector Wood," ibid., p. 18; "Report of Inspector Routledge," NWMP, Annual Report 1903, 89. 65 the dying remnants of yet another group of Indians. The relentless pursuit of gold and the hardships awaiting those intrepid "Cheechakos" (newcomers) who ventured north held far greater interest. As a conse- quence, this volumnious body of literature offers very feu insights into the a c t i v i t i e s of the Yukon Indians. 7 Also, government agents and even most missionaries vieued the care and protection of the uhite population as their principal responsibility and as a result comments on the Indi- ans also appear irregularly from these sources. 8 Despite limited contem- porary comment, the natives of course had a role to play in the develop- ment of the gold fields and their experience represented an important phase in their adaptation to the changing Yukon economy. From the beginnings of the Klondike rush, the natives attempted to retain the functions they had performed at the Forty-Hile camps. A num- ber of them uorked as labourers, guides or uood-cutters. aluays on a short-term basis. 9 In addition. the demand for meat in the camps re- 7 For reasons presented here, no effort u i l l be made to l i s t the volumi- nous books, a r t i c l e s and typescripts uhich f i t this description. The reader i s referred to the useful uork by R. Friesen. The ChiIkoot Pass: A Literature Review (HRS #203; Parks Canada. 1977); H. Guest. Dawson City: San Francisco of the North or Boomtown In A Bog (HRS #241; Parks Canada. 1978); and Guest. "Dawson City." 8 The only noteable exception is the records of the R.C.H.P. (PAC. RG18). although even there comments on the Indians are sketchy. See also P. Berton. Klondike. S. D. Clark. The Developing Canadian Commu- nity (Toronto: UTP. 1962); H. A. Innis. Settlement and the Hining Frontier (Toronto: Hacmillan. 1936) uhich reflect the standard Euro- centric focus. 9 Zaslou, 144-146; NWHP. Annual Reports. 1896-1904. DIAND, f i l e 801-30-0-1. Bompas to Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 12 July 1899. RCHP. vol. 189. f i l e 339. S. Sergt. Pringle to O.C. "B." Division. 7 August 1900 discusses the HcQuesten area; RCHP. vol. 154. f i l e 445. Jarvis report re: Trip to Dalton Trading Post. 16 August 1898. de- scribes short-term uork in that area. Wages for guides and packers reached $4 a day. See also. Report of Superintendent Wood. NWHP. An- nual Report 1899. pt. I l l , 41. 66 mained high and a ready market existed for caribou or moose meat. Dur- ing the f i r s t months of the rush, demand for native labour exceeded a l l previous experience and high wages predominated. 1 0 As prospectors began to cross over the mountain passes and into the Yukon River basin. Indian residents near the routes found ready and renumerative employment as packers. The Chilkoot Pass provided most miners with their ingress to the Yukon. At the bottom of the pass, a number of Chilkat Indians of- fered to pack goods up the steep t r a i l s . Their prices had risen in step with demand. increasing from lc per pound in 1896 to 5c — 7c in 1897. The major onslaught of prospectors in 1898-1899 did not. however, bring greater rewards. Expanded use of tramways, packtrains and eventually the construction of the White Pass and Yukon Route railway connecting tidewater and Whitehorse undercut the Indians' packing enterprise. 1 1 Similar opportunities existed in the far north, along the passes con- necting the Mackenzie River basin and the Yukon River watershed. The number of prospectors was much smaller than in the south, but the Kutch- in found renumerative employment packing supplies across the Stony Creek Pass (joining the Peel and the Porcupine) and providing provisions for miners encamped along that route and the Peel-Wind River path to the Klondike. No white entrepreneur added transportation devices to these routes as the rush through the northern Yukon lasted for only two 1 0 YTA. AC. New Series. f i l e 4, Constantine to Deputy Minister of the Interior, 19 Nov. 1896; Archer. A Heroine of the North (London: Mac- mil lan, 1929), 160. 1 1 See R. Friesen, The Chilkoot Pass and the Great Gold Rush of 1898. . 72-95, 139-160. Most miners, themselves of moderate means, carried their own goods. Hence the famous photographs of the solitary string of bent-over men winding i t s way up the mountain pass. 67 years. 1 2 I n i t i a l l y * the Yukon Indians enjoyed a material prosperity greater than in the years of the Forty-Mile mines. Additionally, expansion of mining a c t i v i t i e s ensured that the benefits of the 1896 discovery were dispersed more widely than previously. Based on the scarcity of labour and lack of alternatives to Indian manpower, such rewards proved transi- tory. The arrival of tens of thousands of miners in 1898-1899 and the expansion of roads and r a i l lines between Dawson City and creeks elimi- nated much of the local need for native labour. 1 3 In short order, the technological advances spawned by the success of the gold fields re- stricted a number of former native occupations and severely limited the Indians' prospective role in the emerging economy. The provision trade continued to be the only section of the economy to provide consistent returns. This trade expanded geographically. Earlier efforts reached l i t t l e beyond the mining community market, sup- plemented in a small way through sales to missionaries and traders in the border region. With many thousands of miners, government o f f i c i a l s (especially the North Vest Mounted Police), and a few emerging s e t t l e - ments (Vhitehorse, Dawson, Carcross and Selkirk, being the most nota- ble), natives throughout the d i s t r i c t participated in the growing provi- sion trade. Uhile the market increased, there were nonetheless 1 2 Ken Coates, The Northern Yukon: A History (MRS #403, Parks Canada, 1979), 65-74; J. G. MacGregor, The Klondike Gold Rush Through Edmon- ton (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970), G. Graham, The Golden Grindstone (Toronto: Oxford, 1935); E. McAdam, From Duck Lake to Dawson City ed. R. G. Moyles (Saskatoon: Western Prairie Producer Books, 1977), H. Inman, Buffalo Jones' Forty Years of Adventure (Lon- don, 1899), 454. 1 3 Technological advances in transportation are well described in G. Bennett, Yukon Transportation: A History, 24-58. 68 significant limitations to the natives' a b i l i t y to develop the markets' f u l l potential. To prevent widespread starvation, the federal govern- ment decreed that each person entering the territory bring 1,000 pounds of foodstuffs, an estimated one year supply. 1 4 This strigently enforced government edict obviously lessened demand for native produce. That many of those entering the region decided to leave soon after arriving in Dawson compounded the impact of the supply regulations. To raise the money required for a fare to the "outside" and to exact some pecuniary benefit from the t o i l of packing the goods over the mountains, these disgruntled sojourners sold their outfits in the mining camps, adding to the available food stocks. The miners could not bring in fresh meat and fish, but as long as resources allowed, many relied on their own hunting and fishing s k i l l s to satisfy their needs, thereby further restricting the market for animal carcasses and increasing competition for local re- sources. To supply the considerable market that s t i l l remained, the na- tives went further a f i e l d in pursuit of caribou amd moose and occasion- a l l y had to compete with white fishermen for access to the Yukon River salmon run. 1 5 The expanding transportation infrastructure, especially the provision of a year-round r a i l link between the coast and Whit- 1 4 Zaslow, Opening provides a good description of administrative maneu- vers. See also Guest, "Dawson City", DIA, vol. 3962, f i l e 147, 6544 pt. 2, Bompas to Commissioner For Indian Affairs, 5 August 1696. 1 5 Ibid., Bompas to Indian Commissioner, 5 Sept. 1676; YTA, AC, New Se- ries, f i l e 4, Constantine to Deputy Minister of the Interior, 15 Nov. 1896. The government imposed game laws to protect resources, but ex- empted Indians. The decision reflected the government's desire to prevent natives from becoming public charges. DIA, vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12, J. Smart to Major Z. T. Wood, 17 October 1902. On decimation of game see Supt. "H" Division, 6 May 1902; "Report of Inspector Wood," NWMP Annual Report 1902, pt. I l l , 10; "Report of Supt. Wood," NWMP, Annual Report, 1903, 18. 69 ehorse. ensured a more reliable supply of foodstuffs from the south and a further reduction in demand for native supplies. Tales are legion about the gold miners' voracious appetites and the outrageous sums of- fered for specific foods, but this demand was normally restricted to such luxury items as fresh eggs, fresh milk and beef. In addition to supplying meat, several new avenues of employment opened up for the Indians. Feu offered regular or lasting income. Wo- men earned money manufacturing clothing for sale to the miners. There uas also a steady demand for other native products, including snoushoes and sleds, but the Indians' i n a b i l i t y and unwi11ingness to produce large quantities restricted the market. 1 6 Similarly, in the f i r s t days of the rush there seemed to be an insatiable demand for dogs, and those Indians u i l l i n g to part uith their animals earned sizeable sums of money. Since these same dogs uere essential to their hunting a c t i v i t i e s , the natives seldom surrendered the animals. Several unite entrepeneurs capitalized on the demand for dogs by heading to the northern reaches of the t e r r i - tory - the Porcupine River country and the Arctic slope - where they purchased dogs from Indians and Inuit. They then drove the animals back to Dauson and sold them for a handsome p r o f i t . 1 7 The a v a i l a b i l i t y of government r e l i e f also altered economic condi- tions and options. Prodded by Bishop Bompas and other members of the 1 6 Archer, A Heroine of the North, 162, suggests Indian uomen prospered during the Gold Rush. Many Native products, especially snoushoes, uere valued by the NWMP for s u i t a b i l i t y to Northern conditions. "Re- port of Supt. Wood," NWMP, Annual Report 1899. pt. I l l , 62. 1 7 W. Mason, The Frozen Northland (Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1910); Cody, Apostle of the North, 279 states prices for dogs reached $250 or, on a rental basis, $1 per dog each day. 70 Church Missionary Society to provide better care for the nat i v e s . 1 8 the federal government directed the North West Mounted Police to provide supplies for destitute Indians. Only those natives with access to the police p o B t s scattered along the Bennett to Dawson corridor could c a l l on the limited benefits. General prosperity, plus s t r i c t government regulations ensured, however, that few Indians called on the allotments. Government r e l i e f , u t i l i z e d by only the i l l and the aged in this period, served as an important counter-balance to the occasional insecurity of the hunting and gathering economy. particularly in those areas feeling the impact of combined native and white hunting pressure. 1 9 Though most natives continued to hunt for sustenance and market and trap furs for trade, others became more active participants. Several found semi-skilled employment. Work was available for deckhands on one of the many steamboats plying the waters of the Yukon and for woodcut- ters supplying cord wood for the same v e s s e l s . 2 0 The new economic pros- pects attracted a number of Indians to the mining camps. The Peel River Kutchin migrated almost en masse toward Dawson City. Like the area res- idents, they found a variety of seasonal and trapping employment oppor- tunities. Describing these "Dawson Boys." Richard Slobodin wrote: 1 9 DIA. vol. 4037, f i l e 317.050. J. D. McLean to T. W. Jackson. 28 Jan. 1902? DIA. vol. 4001, f i l e 207, 418, Longdon to Pedley, 28 May 1903, White to Smart, 1 January 1901, Accountant to Secretary, DIA, 1 May 1902. 1 9 "Report of Supt. Wood," NWMP, Annual Report 1899, pt. I l l , 55, RCMP, vol. 247, f i l e 92, Bompas to Wood, 6 July 1900; DIAND, f i l e 801-30-0-1. Bompas to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 12 July 1899; "Report of Inspector Jarvis," NWMP, Annual Report 1902, pt. I l l , 70-71; "Report of Inspector Snyder," NWMP, Annual Report 1903, 43. zo "Report of Inspector Routledge, 1 Dec. 1902," NWMP, Annual Report 1903, 89; "Report of Supt. Cuthbert," NWMP. Annual Report 1904, 43. 71 Sumner activites. however, opened up a new l i f e . Fourteen major summer occupations for this period have been recorded, of which ten were quite novel to these people. They included deckhand on steamboats, scow p i l o t , carpenter, motorboat me- chanic, pool-hall handyman, licensed trader, and, for women, laundress and mining camp cook. 2 1 Slobodin's study traced the Indians beyond the Gold Rush to the mid-1910's, and several of the noted occupations occured in the post- Klondike period. While a number of employment prospects existed, few of which uere neu to the Yukon Indians, they continued to be of a seasonal nature. Each uinter, the natives l e f t their summer positions and returned to their hunting camps and trap-lines. Importantly, the Indians accommodated most neu economic ventures within the contours of their hunting-gather- ing patterns. Summarizing the impact of the gold rush on the natives, anthropologist Alice Kehoe wrote: Dene, eager for cash or novelty, flocked to these touns, men s e l l i n g fish and meat or uorking as labourers on the steam- boats, at the river docks, and in the touns, women working as laundresses i f their husbands brought them along. The majori- ty of Dene men made excursions for wage labour on the pattern of hunting and trapping, leaving the wives and children in camp.22 Her description conforms closely to Michael Asch's characterization of the "mixed economy", with the natives able to readily accommodate var- ied, but transitory sources of wage labour into a regular seasonal cy- c l e . 2 3 2 1 Slobodin, "The Dawson Boys." 2 2 A. Kehoe, North American Indians, 500. 2 3 Asch, "Capital and Economic Development;" H. Asch, "Some Effects of The Late Nineteenth Century Modernization of the Fur Trade on the Economy of the Slavey Indians," Western Canadian Journal of Anthro- pology, vol. 6, no. 4 (1975), 7-15. 72 Since tuo Indians, Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie, participated in and profited from the discovery of the Bonanza claim, i t is not surpris- ing that a few natives continued to prospect. There i s , however, no i n - dication of the numbers. Several commentators agreed that after a na- tive staked a paying claim i t would be "bargained away from him by the cleverer white." 2 4 Before Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie returned to Carcross, where Charlie died in 1908, they combined with Jim Boss in an attempt to hit yet another big strike. Their efforts went unrewarded. 2 5 A few Indians put aside their harvesting practises (though seldom perma- nently) while joining the mining economy. While they enjoyed varying degrees of success, most shared the fate of Skookum Jim and Tagish Char- l i e . Rich men in their day, they, like many of the "successful" miners, lost most of their money in short order. The a c t i v i t i e s of a few entre- peneurs, a term that applies with special v a l i d i t y to Jim Boss — miner, trader and road house operator — indicates that there was no uniform "native" response to the expansion and evolution of the Yukon economy. Location, timing and personality a l l played a role in determining the response of individual Indians to the prospects and limitations posed by the expansion of mining. One of the most significant implications of the Klondike rush lay in the extension of Euro-Canadian economic interests throughout the t e r r i - tory. Before 1896-1899, white a c t i v i t y remained cloistered in the west-central Yukon, with only limited expansion elsewhere. As a result. 2 4 DIAND, 801-30-0-1, Bompas to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 12 July 1899. 2 5 RCMP, vol. 251, f i l e 262, Supt. "H" Division to Asst. Commissioner, 10 July 1903. 73 many natives had l i t t l e or no direct contact with whites. Their attempts to expand operations were often blocked by other natives pro- tecting a middleman position. Vhen the gold-rush unleashed i t s legions of would-be miners, old barriers broke down and engulfed previously l i t - t l e known areaB. The Copper Indians in the White River region had been prevented from contacting the whites near Forty-Mile by the Han and from reaching the Haines area to the south by the Tl i n g i t . When the f i r s t N.W.H.P. patrols reported back from the d i s t r i c t . the officers noted their reliance on out-dated guns, a lack of requisite supplies and their general backwardness.2 5 The isolation of the Copper. Kaska and eastern Tutchone bands dissolved as white prospectors and traders expanded oper- ations. For these natives. new economic opportunities included l i t t l e more than provisioning and fur trading, but improved acc e s s i b i l i t y to white traders made the acquisition of material goods far easier. As before, the economic prospects of the Yukon natives depended on their own interests and the structure of the t e r r i t o r i a l labor market. 2 7 Attempts by employers to match their needs with the available supply of able-bodied workers determined the number and type of positions availa- ble to Indians. The economy retained much of i t s seasonal character, 2 6 RCMP, vol. 155, f i l e 484, Insp. Jarvis to Comptroller, NWHP, 11 Au- gust 1898; RCMP. vol. 154, f i l e 445, Jarvis report re: t r i p to Dal- ton Trading Post, 15 August 1898; "Report of Inspector Jarvis," NWMP, Annual Report 1899, pt. I l l , 63. 2 7 NWMP officers offered glimpses of the Indians' a c t i v i t i e s . RCMP, vol. 295, f i l e 273, Cuthbert to Asst. Commissioner, 30 Sept. 1905; RCMP, vol. 251, f i l e 262, Supt. "H" Division to Asst. Comm., 7 Feb. 1903; RCMP, vol. 245, f i l e 62, Wood to Comptroller, 29 Dec. 1902, Cuthbert to Asst. Comm., 17 Dec. 1902; RCMP, vol. 231, f i l e 188, Insp. Horrigan to Asst. Comm., 3 Nov. 1902: RCMP, vol. 189, f i l e 339, Pringle to O.C. "B" Division, 7 August 1900; "Report of Inspector Sternes," NWMP Annual Report 1902, pt. I l l , 56-57. 74 with demand expanding in the summer and contracting dramatically as winter approached. The need for s k i l l e d workers grew rapidly, particu- larly in the Dawson City and Whitehorse service industries. Lacking re- quisite technicial and social s k i l l s labour. 2 8 the natives instead vied for available unskilled positions. The large number of white workers in the d i s t r i c t prevented any major native entry into the labour force. Each winter, thousands of men and women crossed over the Chilkoot and White Passes, and travelled downstream with the break-up of the river ice. arriving in Dawson as the demand for workers increased. Unable to find suitable or renumerative gold claims, these men often offered their services to others, working in the mines or in Dawson. The size of this labour pool allowed wage rates to actually decline, even in the face of uniformly high prices. Under such conditions, the Yukon labour market offered few openings for the less desirable Indians. 2 8 The labour sur- plus ensured that the natives. regarded as a labour source of last re- sort due to dominant white perceptions of their unwillingness to work, faded to the background. Their economic pursuits extended l i t t l e beyond those pursuits deemed suitable by Indians and whites alike to their "na- 2 8 Economic a c t i v i t y in the Yukon to 1918 is covered in Zaslow. Opening. See also Guest. "Dawson City." An indication of the limited a c t i v i t y in the North is found in Coates. The Northern Yukon. A wider per- spective i s gleaned from G. Bennett. Yukon Transportation. See also K. Rea. The P o l i t i c a l Economy of the Canadian North. For a conten- tious perspective on economic development, see R. Stuart. "The Under- development of Yukon 1840-1960: An Overview", unpublished paper pre- sented to CHA, Montreal, 1980. For a summary of a c t i v i t i e s in the southwest, see A. A. Wright, "The Kluane Region," copy in YTA. 2 3 Exclusionist policies kept natives out of the mines. Policies de- signed to prevent competition from cheap labour similarly barred the Chinese. Bishop Bompas and the police encouraged such exclusion. DIA, vol. 3962, f i l e 147, 654-1, pt. 2, Bompas to Indian Commission- er, 5 September 1896; CMS, Bompas to CMS, 2 March 1898. 75 tive" status. The natives' choice was a logical one. for they l i k e l y earned more from their hunting and trapping a c t i v i t i e s than was possible through temporary employment near the mines. Consequently, the Indians retained the position held before 1896 — fur trappers and meat harvest- ers — although even in these ventures they faced the new challenge of white competition. There was one rather ironic instance where the forces of labour sup- ply and demand worked to bar the Indians from a potentially remunerative source of income. In other gold rush and frontier settings, native wo- men earned regular incomes as p r o s t i t u t e s . 3 0 Given the overwhelmingly male composition of the incoming population many government agents and missionaries feared that the limited supply of women would similarly lead to native prostitution. There were, however, few recorded instanc- es of such activity, fewer even than in the early days of the Forty-Mile camps when native women frequently visited the miners' cabins. These early relations remained more social than financial, but the anticipated demand for female companionship in the wake of the gold rush promised to put such affections on a different footing. The extensive publicity at- tending the Gold Rush, however, ensured that women of a talent and in- clination to satisfy the miners' baser instincts quickly found their way north and began to reap their share of the gold diggings. 3 1 Because of the adequate supply of white women. native women found l i t t l e place in this financially rewarding, i f soc i a l l y and medically undesirable, pro- 3 0 Fisher. Contact and Conf1ict. 19-20, 101. 113. 128. describes B.C. native prostitution. In this instance he notes that Indian prostitu- tion ceased with the arrival of a white settler population. 3 1 Guest, "Dawson City', esp. chapter "Langourous Li H i e s of Soulless Love." 76 fession. The laws of supply and demand worked to protect Indian women from absorption into an unsavoury segment of the t e r r i t o r i a l workforce. The economic legacy of the gold rush was decidedly less positive than earlier mining developments. Previously profitable native incursions based on a scarcity of white labour gave way as the massive flood of would-be prospectors f i l l e d most available jobs and even s p i l l e d over into the native spheres. The Yukon Indians no longer occupied the cen- tre of the t e r r i t o r i a l labour pool. Pushed to the periphery, they har- vested a regionally threatened resource base for sale to a population with a growing number of alternative sources of food. The fur trade, however, continued to offer a respectable r e t u r n , 3 2 but for natives in the Dawson City hinterland, those resources appeared to be rapidly dwin- dling. At the opposite end, the emergence of native c a p i t a l i s t s , i n d i - viduals motivated by the search for profit and personal material gain, indicated the f u l l range of native response to the new r e a l i t i e s . In the final analysis, the gold rush indicated the precarious nature of the natives' link to the mining economy. White society did not encourage integration of Euro-Canadians and Indians. Instead, as members of a casual labour pool, the natives served to f i l l short term demands, but generally fended for themselves outside the economic mainstream. The natives accepted this emerging condition with equanimity, for with only 3 2 There i s l i t t l e detailed information available on the fur trade in this period. See R. McCandless, "Yukon Wild L i f e : A Social Histo- ry," copy in YTA; Also F. T. Congdon, "Fur-Bearing Animals in Canada, and How to Prevent Their Extinction," F i r s t Annual Report of the Com- mission on Conservation, 1910. On Dalton Post, RCHP, vol. 251, f i l e 262, Supt. "H" Division to Asst. Comm., 7 Feb. 1903; "Report of Supt. Wood," NWMP, Annual Report 1904, 12; "Report by McDonell, Dal- ton T r a i l , " NWMP, Annual report 1904, 72; Report of Inspector Jarvis, NWMP. 1900, pt. II, 59; Report of Insp. Jarvis, NWMP, Annual Report 1699, pt. I l l , 62-63. RCMP, vol. 231, f i l e 188. 77 a feu exceptions, most Indians willingly and ably maintained their high- ly valued hunting and gathering pursuits. The economic order presaged in the Forty-Mile and Stewart River gold camps did not come to pass. In i t s stead, the Yukon showed signs of de- veloping two separate economic systems, one based on the extraction and transportation of mineral resources, the other on fur trapping and the pursuit of game. Points of contact uere few. By the end of the Klon- dike Gold Rush. the Yukon economy had been set on yet another course, this one pulling native and white apart in contrast to the manner in which the pre-1896 mining frontier had drawn them together. 78 CHAPTER FIVE NATIVES IN THE 20TH CENTURY INDUSTRIAL ECONOMY From the arrival of the Hudson's Bay Company to the discovery of gold along Bonanza Creek in 1896, the natives of the Yukon had been closely integrated into the regional economic order. The Gold Rush altered that situation, establishing an economic order uhich offered only a peripher- al role for the Indians. With the decline of the gold rush? however, the future course of the t e r r i t o r i a l economy lay uncharted. No obvious successor emerged to the rich placer fields uhich had enjoyed such an intensive brief existence. That magnitude of economic act i v i t y would not be matched again until the Second World War when American military exigencies led to a series of major construction projects in the area. In the intervening years, the economy of the Yukon lacked clear direc- tion. 1 To 1904, the regional economy had been built on a single resource of a time, f i r s t furs then gold. The period after the gold rush saw the emergence of a more diversified, i f significantly smaller, order. The Indians had an important role in the emergent economic system, providing the most v i t a l link between two rather divergent sectors. The post-Gold Rush economy centred on a diversified mining industry and the selective harvesting of game. The continued exploitation of the Klondike gold fields, a revived search for new deposits, the opening of several new mines and a myriad of related transportation and supply a c t i v i t i e s formed the central core of the Yukon economy. Government attention, 1 For material on Twentieth Century economic a c t i v i t i e s , see footnote 28, preceeding chapter. 79 public expectations and investment capital focused almost exclusively on the prospects for mineral development. The harvesting sector, operating away from the Whitehorse-Dauson corridor, had markedly different charac- t e r i s t i c s . Based on a resurgent fur market and a growing interest in big game hunting, and reaching into v i r t u a l l y every corner of the Yukon, this segment attracted l i t t l e "outside" interest. The Indians had a role in both economic systems, circumscribed in the f i r s t , predominant in the second. Importantly, they provided almost the only linkage be- tween the two sectors. Mining remained the principle focus for the Yukon economy. While the slow death of the gold rush, as much a social phenomenon as an economic event, sapped the territory of much of i t s population base, mining ac- t i v i t y continued and even diversified. The gold fields near Dawson City remained in production, but the nature of that industry had changed dra- matically. The prospector's tools became obsolete, replaced by mammoth dredges which scoured the ground once again for gold l e f t behind by the inefficient methods of the earlier placer miners. With most of the creeks bound by large water-rights concessions or controlled by one of the mining firms formed to systematically exploit the resource, the i n - dividual miner was effectively shut out. While the arrival of the big companies had i n i t i a l l y created animosity, limited returns from the fie l d s convinced most prospectors to move on. The highly mechanized in - dustry continued to find gold, although in decreasing quantities. Fur- ther rationalization of the industry became economically essential, leading to the founding of the Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation, a consortium of the three largest dredging firms, in 1929. This new cor- 80 proration, aided by stable gold prices, continued operations through the 1930's and provided much of the territory's gold production. 2 In the gold fields, a new order had replaced the era of the pros- pector. Those individuals. characteristically dogged by their relent- less lust for gold and their irrepressible confidence, searched for new deposits. Turning away from Dawson City and i t s environs, they scoured the territory from the southern border to the Arctic coast, pushing without success into a number of previously unopened areas. Efforts in the last years of the 19th Century had uncovered gold at A t i i n in north- ern B r i t i s h Columbia but that find died quickly. Promising reports f i l - tered in from around the territory, as one prospector after another staked a discovery claim on yet another "Bonanza" creek. Only a few sites, such as the Livingstone Creek area in the central Yukon and the gold and s i l v e r deposits in the Kluane Lake d i s t r i c t attracted more than a cursory glance. Nonetheless, the quest continued. The most promising mineral activitycame not from gold, but from other ores detected in the search for placer deposits. Copper mines opened in the Uhitehorse area by the turn of the century. but high transportation costs limited the p r o f i t a b i l i t y of such enterprises. A major s i l v e r - lead deposit had been identified in the Mayo area by 1906. but the min- erals remained unclaimed for another decade. Once developed, the Mayo- Keho mines provided the major economic catalyst for the Yukon, and by the 1920's several mines combined with a concentrating mill were in op- eration. This development. the f i r s t significant exploitation of low grade ores in the territory. led to rapid changes in the transportation 2 L. Green. The Gold HuBtlers. and K. Rea. The P o l i t i c a l Economy of the Canadian North. 96-150. 81 infrastructure? including an upgrading of r a i l capacity and deployment of more suitable sternuheelers along the Yukon and Stewart Rivers. 3 A restructured Yukon mining economy emerged. but with an even more peripheral role for the Indians. Based on mechanized mining and s k i l l e d labour, this economy held feu openings for the natives. Demand for l a - bour, in contrast to the Klondike Gold Rush period. remained limited i f more stable. The more systematic extraction procedures required a pre- dominately s k i l l e d labour force, and the corporate management of the mines ensured that the required workers uere on s i t e . Seasonal demand for labour continued, although hard-rock mining in the Mayo area lacked a c y c l i c a l dimension. Because of improved transportation and communica- tion links to the "outside." principally the Vancouver market, that de- mand could be readily met uithout resorting to the native labour pool. Some Indians entered the uork market. A limited number uho found em- ployment in the mines. almost exclusively the smaller copper operations in the Vhitehorse area. Feu managers, however, substituted native l a - bour for the readily available. highly s k i l l e d . albeit more expensive uhite workers. 4 Although only a small number of natives challenged the barriers in an attempt to enter the uhite man's uorld. the industrial economy quite clearly had feu openings for the Indians. 5 3 G. Bennett. Yukon Transportation: A History, pp. 94-114. 4 "Report of Supt. Snyder". 30 Nov. 1904. RNWflP, Annual Report 1904. Several Indians mined for themselves. Northern Administration Branch. RG 85 (hereafter NAB), vol. 609. f i l e 2657; AC Neu Series, f i l e 2, Vo- wel 1 and Green to Secretary of Indian Dept., 14 August, 1908. 5 AC, Neu Series, f i l e 3, A. E. Green to Secretary, Indian Department, 16 April 1909. 82 If the Indians could not, or would not, meld into the evolving indus- t r i a l order, they did find reasonable remuneration in supplying the mines and in related transportation a c t i v i t i e s . 6 Several, for example, worked as deckhands on the riverboats. No figures are available on the number securing such positions, although i t i s li k e l y that the total seldom exceeded a feu dozen. Any attempted assessment i s thrown into doubt by a Department of Indian Affairs o f f i c i a l ' s observation that a group of Fraser River Indians from southern B r i t i s h Columbia came to the Yukon each summer to find uork on the vessels. Woodcutting continued to provide a steady source of income, an acti v i t y readily incorporated into the Indians' hunting-trapping economy. The Yukon River steamship fleet consumed vast quantities of uood each year, and a ready market for uood existed along the riverbanks. These opportunities were, houever, l i m i t - ed to those l i v i n g along rivers uith regular steamship service. By the mid-1920's, houever, small vessels plied most of the major navigable 6 The description of native activites in the industrial economy i s draun from RCMP, vol. 514, f i l e 530, Bell to 0. C. "B" Division, 2 Sept. 1916; RNWMP, Annual report 1908, 209; AC, Young f i l e , "Young to Stringer, 15 Oct. 1920; DIA, vol. 6478, f i l e 930-1 pt. 1, Particulars regarding Yukon Indians, Teslin Lake Band, June 1907, Stringer to Hauksely, 31 Jan. 1925; DIAND, 801-30-0-1, Taggart to Allen, 3 April 1940; AC, Selkirk Children reports, various letters; AC, Ashbee f i l e , Kirsey to Stringer, 5 Oct. 1927; AC, Misc. f i l e , Stringer to Welsh, 15 May 1916; AC, Ashbee f i l e , Ashbee to Stringer, 26 June 1926; AC, Wood f i l e , James Wood to Stringer, 15 June 1916; AC Field f i l e . Stringer to Field, 16 Jan. 1915; AC, Neu Series, f i l e 1, Particulars regarding Yukon Indians, c.1907; AC, Neu Series, f i l e 2, Vouell and Green to Secretary of Indian Dept., 14 August 1908, YRGI, Series 5, vol. 2, f i l e 198, Hitter to Controller, Mines, Lands and Yukon Branch, 6 Feb. 1917, McLean to Rouett, 10 March 1917, Mitter to Controller, Mines, Lands and Yukon Branch, 14 May 1917. See also, June Helm, Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 6 Subarctic C. McClellan, My Old People Say. During World War II, labour shortages led to the short-term employment of natives in the gold operations near Dauson. R. Stuart, "The Impact of the Alaska Highway on Dauson City," Paper presented to the Alaska Highuay Symposium, Fort St. John, 1982. 83 rivers. As in many other potentially profitable ventures, the natives soon found their predominance in this f i e l d challenged by small-scale European wood-cutting operations. 7 Through to the 1950's, however, sup- plying the steamers served as a major source of native income, particu- larly for those along the heavily travelled Yukon River route. Provision hunting for the mines and settlements proved even more re- munerative and drew the Indians closer to the white communities. In the three major centres, Dawson City, Mayo and Vhitehorse, the demand for wild game remained steady. With beef and pork hard to obtain, the local population turned to the less familiar, but less expensive, indigenous supplies. While many hunted for their own requirements, others relied on native and white provision hunters. 5 The natives found this a c t i v i t y particularly attractive as i t provided a comparatively high financial return and did not require a major reorientation of seasonal patterns. There are few s t a t i s t i c a l indications of the size of the provision market, although one recent estimate of the demand in Dawson City, a town of approximately 9,000, in 1904 suggests that residents required some 600 moose and 2300 caribou annually to supplement available meat stocks. 9 While a good portion would have been provided by private hunt- ers, particularly in the Dawson area where the Forty Mile caribou herd annually passed within several miles of the town, provision hunters s t i l l had a significant role. The market proved variable, being depen- dent upon the consumption habits of the local population, price and 7 An attempt to change to coal mined near Carmacks was abandoned due to the poor quality of the Yukon product. 5 YG, vol. 9, f i l e 1490, pt. J. Hawksley to Scott, 21 August 1931. a R. HcCandless, "Yukon Wildlife". 84 a v a i l a b i l i t y of alternative meats, competition from Euro-Canadian hunt- ers, and the a v a i l a b i l i t y of game near the touns. While the main focus of the provision trade remained on the major centres, an important sec- ondary market existed among fur traders in the back country. 1 0 The v a r i - ous traders, in a manner reminiscent of the similar trade in the H.B.C. period, readily accepted meat from the natives and often depended solely on uhat the natives sold. importantly, i t is only in this secondary and limited market that the Indians enjoyed even a modicum of security and freedom from uhite competition. 1 1 Government records provide limited evidence of the contours and p r i - f i t a b i l i t y of the provision trade. A l i s t of game licences issued in 1921 i l l u s t r a t e s the extent of uhite competition in this "native" f i e l d . Of the 53 licences recorded, only seven uent to natives (al l in the Mayo ar e a ) . 1 2 In no uay does this indicate the comparative participation of uhites and Indians, for natives seldom took out the licences formally required to market their harvests. It does, however, indicate that a substantial number of uhites engaged in uhat many sau as a native en- deavour. Statements of game purchased by the Waechter Brothers of Daw- son City in 1925 and 1927 i l l u s t r a t e the nature of competition and re- turns from the sale of meat. In both years, natives far outstripped uhites both in number offering produce for sale and quantity of meat sold. Prices ranged from 10c to 22c per pound, uith payment dependent 1 0 McCandless 1 1 See YTA, Codzou Papers, Account Book uhich l i s t s a number of meat purchases from natives. On sale of game in Whitehorse, see YRGI, Se- ries 3, vol. 4, f i l e 12-6A, Higgins to Percy. 25 August 1926. 1 2 RGI. Series 3. vol. 2. f i l e 12-14B. Game Hunters Licenses issued 1921. 85 upon the type of meat and manner in uhich i t was dressed. The associa- tion uith the Waechter Brothers Co. proved lucrative for several na- tives. B. Silas and J. Johns earned $236 and $565 respectively for meat sold in 1927. Since these figures relate to only one firm, i t is possi- ble that the men also sold to other retailers or. as i s most lik e l y , d i - rectly to consumers. 1 3 The market for game continued into the 1940's, ending only uhen heightened concern for w i l d l i f e conservation and a per- ceived increase in hunting pressure f i n a l l y convinced the t e r r i t o r i a l government to join other Canadian jurisdictions in banning the harvest- ing of ui l d game for r e t a i l s a l e . 1 4 The provision trade provided a profitable. i f irregular. source of income for those Indians in a position to participate. White hunters also recognized the potential profits from the enterprise, competing most e f f i c i e n t l y for available game stocks (especially close to the towns) and markets. Urban purchasers allegedly favoured the meat of- fered by uhite market hunters. George Jeckell. Commissioner of the Yu- kon, evoked the public's feeling toward the trade uhen he noted: In past years the uhite population uas small and the amount of game meat sold to the uhite population by the Indians uas i n - significant, and this uas particularly due to the fact that uhite people in general do not care to purchase game from In- dians because the game they take i s not slaughtered carefully and not kept clean and wholesome.15 1 3 RGI. Series 3. f o l . 12. f i l e 13-2A. Statement of Game Purchased by Waechter Bros. Co.. 1925; f i l e 13-28. Statement of Game Purchased by Waechter Bros. Co., 1927. 1 4 See, for example, RGI, Series 3, vol. 10, f i l e 12-20A. Gibson to Jeckell, 9 September 1942. 1 5 RGI, Series 3, vol. 10, f i l e 12-20C, Jeckell to Gibson, 13 January 1944. 86 The provision trade, in sum* was of only tangential importance to the Yukon economy. Alternative meat supplies existed, i f at higher cost, and the amount brought into the territory increased over time as trans- portation links improved. For the Indians, provisioning was a double- edged sword, offering a welcome i f inconsistent source of funds while simultaneously adding to pressure on available game stocks. Whether harvested by natives or white market hunters (the latter demonstrated l i t t l e interest in the long-term s t a b i l i t y of the trade), game supplies adjacent to major centres faced serious depletion. As well, since most hunters offered only the hind quarters for sale, the p o s s i b i l i t y of ex- tensive waste persisted. For many Indians, the provision trade and the similarly structured wood-cutting enterprise provided the only s i g n i f i - cant points of contact with the t e r r i t o r i a l cash economy. Neither ac- t i v i t y drew the Indians close to the mining industry; instead, through a combination of native choice and white-imposed limitations, the natives found themselves relegated to the economic periphery. In summarizing the natives' role in the industrial economy, two points stand out. White businessmen and mine operators clearly per- ceived l i t t l e benefit in hiring native labourers, except when labour market conditions made such practices essential. This reticence re- flected deeply embedded perceptions of the Indians' unwillingness to ac- cept industrial work discipline. At the same time, however, the natives rarely sought such employment, preferring harvesting to the r i g i d i t y of the industrial workplace. Native involvement in this sector seldom ex- tended beyond providing support services, principally wood-cutting, pro- vision hunting and working on river boats, and even those a c t i v i t i e s ad- 87 hered to Indian seasonal cycles. These tasks, importantly, did not force a repudiation of the natives' nomadic and c y c l i c a l patterns. In- stead, as Michael Asch has argued, they became key elements in the "mix- ed economy." Anxious for occasional infusions of cash to pay for re- quired or desired material goods, the natives sought some measure of accommodation with the cash economy (the fur trade also provided a major source of money, as will be detailed shortly). Such short-term p a r t i c i - pation, however, does not indicate that the natives wished to move out of their harvesting mode of production and into an industrial pattern. Instead, the very marginal nature of the Indians' accommodation suggests that they remained basically committed to the efficacy of the hunting and trapping l i f e s t y l e and, equally important, found the combination of hunting, fishing, trapping and occasional other work to be financially acceptable. From 1904 to 1942, native participation in the industrial sector of the Yukon economy retained this essential form. Based on the extraction of minerals and related services, this sector offered l i t t l e for the na- tives beyond part-time and peripheral employment. With the onset of World War II, the complexion of the regional economy changed dramatical- ly. The construction of the Alaska Highway and the building of the Ca- nol Pipeline from Norman Wells, North West Territories to Vhitehorse dominated the new a c t i v i t i e s . (Map 4) Proposals to build a highway through the Yukon to Alaska had been debated for many years, but the threat of a Japanese assault on Alaska and Pacific coast revived inter- est in the project. The U.S. army decided to proceed with construction. Thousands of men, accompanied by tons of equipment, descended on the Yu- 88 Map 4: World War II Construction Projects i i i Miles M D 89 kon in the spring of 1942. More than 34.000 men eventually participated in the highway construction, with a smaller group working on the pipe- line at the same time. By October 1943. a usable military road was in place and work commenced on improving to highway standard. 1 5 Obviously, this massive infusion of capital and manpower and the construction of a transportation route through the previously unopened southern Yukon had significant implications for the t e r r i t o r i a l economy.17 While most of the workforce consisted of labourers imported from southern Canada and the United States, local residents found some oppor- tunities. A number of natives joined in the new enterprise, hiring on as guides for survey crews, as labourers and. in a very few instances, as equipment operators. Employment prospects for women were more li m i t - ed, but some li v i n g near construction camps found work taking in laun- dry, sewing and house cleaning. The government attempted to spur an ob- vious demand for native handicrafts by sponsoring a program to encourage native women to make souvenirs and clothing for soldiers. The lack of enough young women with the requisite s k i l l s to participate in the po- ten t i a l l y lucrative undertaking ultimately forced an abandonment of the pr o j e c t . 1 8 Positions existed and many natives took advantage of the short-term prospects. Most Indians, however, saw the new opportunities is David Remley. Crooked Road; The Story of the Alaska Highway (Toron- to: McGraw H i l l , 1976). 1 7 See Ken Coates, "The Alaska Highway and the Indians of the Southern Yukon, 1942-1950: A Study in Native Adaptation to Northern Develop- ment," paper presented to Alaska Highway Symposium, Fort St. John, 1982. 1 8 DIA, vol. 7553, f i l e 41-166-1, Gibbon to Indian Affairs Branch, 10 April 1943. The f i l e contains further details on the undertaking. See in particular ibid., Lowe to Hoey, 15 June 1943. 9 0 for uhat they uere — short-term entrees into the regional industrial economy, not markedly dissimilar from the positions natives held in the mining/transportation sector in the previous half-century. They readily returned to the bush to hunt and trap uhen the transitory but lucrative opportunities passed. Throughout the period of Highuay construction and indeed up to 1946. fur prices remained high, serving as an attractive enticement to stay uith the uork they kneu and liked the best. (See Table 4) The construc- tion of the Alaska Highuay. Haines Road. Canol Pipeline and related pro- jects had a variety of implications for the Yukon Indians, but the neu a c t i v i t i e s did not spur an immediate or lasting alteration of native ec- onomic patterns. The type of uork available to Indians — unskilled and temporary — resembled the position they held since the gold rush. The ready a v a i l a b i l i t y of s k i l l e d . non-Indian (many of the uorkers and ser- vicemen uere Amerian Negroes) labour ensured that project organizers treated the local natives as a casual labour pool. As before, natives uere called upon uhen required. especially uhen they needed special In- dian s k i l l s . They uere not expected to carry out a major portion of the uork. While the scale of the American-Canadian invasion in 1942-1944 came close to matching the earlier Klondike Gold Rush, the construction phase did not reshape native economic activity. As before, most natives sought and found only peripheral and temporary employment in the indus- t r i a l sector, thus allowing a continuation of hunting/trapping practis- es. Importantly, most of those seeking an accommodation uith the neu economy soon returned to their former pursuits. 91 CHAPTER SIX NATIVES IN THE HARVESTING ECONOMY From 1896 to 1950, the Yukon Indians made only a peripheral accommo- dation with the industrial sector. Barred by personal choice and man- agement decision from a deeper integration into the mining and transpor- tation industries, the Indians opted almost as a group for the second sector of the t e r r i t o r i a l economy. Despite extensive mining develop- ment, the natives retained an option shared by few other Indian groups in North America — that of maintaining a hunting/trapping l i f e s t y l e through the f i r s t half of the Twentieth Century. Due to the small size of the white population, which dropped as low as 2700 in the 1920's and 1930's, and with a concentration in the Dawson, Mayo and Uhitehorse are- as, the natives faced l i t t l e challenge to their use of the land through- out the d i s t r i c t . Whites primarily sought minerals, alienating only an insignificant amount of land from general use. Throughout most of the Yukon, the pursuit of game remained the major economic act i v i t y . Given their s k i l l s and habits, the Yukon Indians were well-placed and predisposed to harvest, or assist in harvesting, animal resources. They were seldom completely alone, their a c t i v i t i e s intertwined with those of white fur traders, their prosperity determined in large measure by the v o l a t i l e fur markets of North America and Europe, and their hunting pro- cedures subject to fluctuating pressure from white men drawn into the hunt by potentially high returns. While a fur trade somewhat different from i t s 19th Century predecessor served as the mainstay of this second sector, other ventures including fishing and big-game guiding also at- tracted the natives' attention. These latter two pursuits, small both 92 in scale and economic impact, will be examined before turning to the larger and more important fur trade. An irreplaceable part of the aboriginal seasonal cycle, fishing s e l - dom enjoyed much success as a marketing venture. Natives around the territory, but particularly along the Yukon River and in the extreme southwest corner of the region, harvested salmon during annual runs. 1 Natives also caught other fish species. particularly whitefish and trout, uhen available and required, usually in the spring as stored food stocks ran lou. Native fishing also provided an adequate supply of dog food to sustain the canine helpers so crucial to northern Indian l i f e . Host fishing. therefore. served primarily to satisfy personal needs, uith only occasional surpluses offered for sale. The government permit- ted the Indians free access to the fishery, stepping in uhenever uhites threatened native harvest. 2 Some natives attempted to s e l l their catch, particularly in Dauson City. but these uere only small. i l l i c i t ven- tures. In one instance, a Hoosehide Indian named Silas enjoyed short- lived success marketing his catch to a Dauson restaurant. The p r o f i t - able operation ceased uhen a uhite fisherman protested the unlicensed incursion. The investigating officer noted that previous fish sales in toun had passed unchallenged, but faced uith the fisherman's complaint 1 Osgood. The Han Indians. Osgood, Contributions. Honigmann. The Kaska Indians. YG» vol. 9. f i l e 1490. pt. J. Hauksley to McLean, 9 January 1929; DIA, vol. 4081, f i l e 478, 700, J. Hauksley report on Mayo Band of Indians, 28 August 1917; YG, vol. 9, f i l e 1490, pt. J, Hauksley to Scott, 18 Hay 1926. 2 Tuo examples appear in the records: a 1902 debate over rights on L i t - t l e Salmon Lake and a 1939 argument over Watson Lake. YRGI, series 3, vol. 1. f i l e 2019, Wood to Steuart, 2 July 1902; Ibid., vol. 17, f i l e 28798, Sandys-Wunsch to Secretary, Department of Indian Affairs, 28 April 1939, Gibson to Jackell, 6 October 1943. 93 he had no option but to prevent the natives from s e l l i n g their catch. 3 The Yukon River fishery remained small, serving l i t t l e more than person- al needs, as indicated by the Indians' reluctance to take out the l i - cences required to legally market their harvests. 4 While the Yukon River fishery provided few prospects, conditions in the Alsek River drainage area were more favourable. In the southwest corner of the territory, larger fish runs ensured that the harvesting of salmon remained a v i t a l part of the natives' food production. Because of the limited local market, fishing uithin the territory consisted solely of supplying personal needs. Vigourous local competition existed for available fish stocks, with loud protests following any infringement of fishing grounds or attempted government interference in the harvest- ing. The opportunity to participate in the Haines, Alaska salmon f i s h - ery was of even greater significance. While i t remained impossible to market Yukon-caught fish, natives in the southwest exported their labour to take advantage of high wages on the coast. For generations, Yukon Indians had made annual treks to the Pacific coast for trade and social gatherings. They easily adapted this cycle to incorporate a short stin t in the fisheries, where high prices for the natives' catch (8c per dog salmon and 30c for each Coho and Sockeye in 1918) ensured a regularly profitable return. Even in this instance, commercial fishing was a cas- ual rather than regular occupation, resorted to only when a specific need or desire dictated. 5 On a territory-wide basis, and even in the A l - 3 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 1, f i l e 2019, Silas to Dear Sir, n.d.; McCarvill to OC "B" Division, 17 July 1909. * YG, vol. 9, f i l e 1490, pt. J., Hawksley to Mackenzie, 15 Nov. 1933. 5 RCMP, vol. 539, f i l e 2, Sergt. Mapley to O.C. Whitehorse Sub-district, 94 sek drainage basin, fishing had only a limited market function, serving more as a regular source of food than income.6 While only technological improvements and a small cash market sepa- rated the fishery from aboriginal practises, big-game guiding represent- ed more of a departure from the natives' l i f e s t y l e . The industry took shape in the early years of the Twentieth Century. increasing slowly in scale as the Yukon came to be recognized as a world class preserve of trophy sheep, moose, and caribou. Throughout this period, however, the guiding business remained small and geographically compact, most of the acti v i t y focused on the southern territory. Fewer than twenty hunters per year entered the territory in pursuit of trophies and memories. While the individuals spent considerable sums on equipment and guides' wages, the industry was of limited economic consequence.7 The vast majority of guides were whites, the most notable exception being Johnny Johns, an enfranchised Indian and the most famous of a l l t e r r i t o r i a l operators. The Yukon T e r r i t o r i a l Game Ordinance of 1923, however, barred natives from serving as Chief Guides, limiting them to lower status positions as assistant guides and camp helpers. 6 The gov- ernment later eased that provision by giving the Commissioner of the Yu- 7 February 1917; AC Champagne f i l e , "L. G. Chappell report on mission- ary work undertaken in Champagne Di s t r i c t , Summer 1934. The extremely exploitive American fishery, both along the Alaska Panhandle and at the mouth of the Yukon River, had serious implication for upper Yukon and Alsek River fish stocks. AC, Stuck F i l e , Hudson Stuck to Isaac Stringer, 29 March 1920. 6 Ibid.: RCMP, vol. 549, f i l e 109, Inspector Bell to O.C. "B" Division, 24 October 1918. 7 See R. McCandless, "Yukon Wildlife," for a description of the indus- try's development. 6 Yukon Territory, Ordinances 1923, Chapter 5. 95 kon discretionary powers to decide i f the Indian requesting approval could carry out the anticipated responsibilities. In 1941, B i l l y Hall applied for a license to guide a party into the L i t t l e A t i i n region. The government delegated an R.C.M.P. officer to investigate Hall's per- sonal and financial well-being. The policeman's report offered a posi- tive character reference, but questioned Hall's a b i l i t y to provide the required equipment. Commissioner Jeckell refused the licence applica- t i o n . 9 There is l i t t l e doubt that the government, supported by other guides, worked to keep the Indians out of this potentially profitable enterprise. Their discriminatory actions stemmed from a belief that In- dians could not adequately serve the hunters and would thereby harm the region's image in the industry. There was also a fear of allowing too many guides into the small guiding market. The limited number of tou- r i s t hunters could not support an overly large guiding infrastructure, and most "guides" worked regularly as trappers or traders. Experience in the industry typically proved rewarding, with wages for assistant guides reaching as high as $10 a day in the early 1940's. 1 0 Only a few natives, primarily in the Kluane and Southern Lakes (Car- cross, Tagish and L i t t l e Atiin) regions had access to these irregular employment opportunities. While guiding enjoyed a high pr o f i l e , i t did not represent a major economic departure before 1950, offering only a 9 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 10. f i l e 12-19B, Hall to Jeckell, 12 Nov. 1941; Jeckell to Hall, 9 Oct. 1941, Grennan report re: William Hall (Indi- an), 10 Nov. 1941. George Johnston of Teslin encountered similar d i f - f i c u l t i e s , YRGI, Series 3, vol. 7, f i l e 12-13B, Jeckell to OC, "B" Di- vision, 20 June 1934, Irvine to O.C. 1 "B" Division, 18 May 1934. Constable Irving's report was strikingly positive, but Commissioner Jeckell nonetheless rejected the application. 1 0 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 4, f i l e 12-7, Higgins to Commissioner, 12 August 1927. 9 6 few Indians yet another part-time source of income. Importantly. like most other of the opportunities available to the Indians. i t called on those talents deemed to be particularly "native", primarily the a b i l i t y to hunt and track game.11 In contrast to the peripheral nature of the fishery and the big game guiding business, the fur trade was a v i t a l , often expansive, enterprise through the f i r s t half of the century. If not the most remunerative ac- t i v i t y in the Yukon (mining led significantly gross receipts), the fur trade was more geographically diverse. Natives in a l l corners of the territory participated directly, with a trading post located near most major aggregations of native population. (Haps 5. 6 and 7) In 1921. for example, the government issued licenses for twenty-seven separate estab- lishments owned by eighteen different companies or individuals. The only area not directly served in that year — and i t was a major excep- tion — was the Old Crow-Porcupine d i s t r i c t . Nine years later, when the fur trade neared i t s zenith, the industry expanded even more widely with forty-six posts operated by thirty different vendors (Taylor and Drury Ltd. ran eleven of the locations) in operation. The number of estab- lishments varied on a yearly basis according to changing world prices for furs and the p r o f i t a b i l i t y of individual establishments. During most years, natives throughout the Yukon could select from several posts 1 1 There were. for example, only 3 licensed guides in the territory. YRGI. Series 3. vol. 10. f i l e 12-19B. Jeckell to S. D. Slaughter. 9 Oct. 1941. Numerous hunters wrote accounts of their northern adven- tures. H. Aver. Campfires in the Yukon (Commonwealth. 1916); T. Har- tindale. Hunting in the Upper Yukon (Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs. 1913)» F. C. Selous. Recent Hunting Trips in B r i t i s h North America (New York: Charles Scribner's and Sons. 1907); N.A.D. Armstrong. Af- ter Big Game In The Upper Yukon (London: John Long. 1937); James Bond. From Out of the Yukon. (Portland: Binsfords and Host. 1948). 97 98 M a p 6: Fur T r a d e Posts, 1930 99 Map 7: Fur Trade Posts, 1939 non-Taylor-Drury posts at that location.) Miles MO 100 within a reasonable travelling radius. (Table 2) In the v o l a t i l e markets of the late 1920's and 1930's» the option was of obvious competitive benefit to the native traders. Table 2 FUR RETURNS BY REGION SELECTED YEARS ($) Uhitenorse(1) Dauson Central(2) North 1920 1922 1924 1939 1943 104,951 100,556 129,690 143.109 170,025 79,634 33,806 41,217 82,958 67,998 48,488 18,273 53,005 23,073 45,982 125,643 55,223 70,901 69,563 90,056 (1) Includes Liard d i s t r i c t , 1939, 1942. (2) Includes Selkirk-Carmacks and Upper Steuart d i s t r i c t s . Source: YRGI, Series 4, vol. 17, f i l e 336A, Regional Breakdoun of Num- ber of Pelts, Maltby to Mackenzie, 31 August 1920; Ibid., Maltby to Tel- ford, 28 November 1922; Ibid., vol. 18, f i l e 336B, Maltby to Reid, 7 January 1925; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 10, f i l e 12-19B. Statement re: Fur Production, Trapping Season 1938-39; Ibid., f i l e 12-20C, statement re: Support tax collected for year ending March 31, 1943 in different dis- t r i c t s . The above provide a breakdoun of number of furs. Prices uere taken from Canada Year Book, 1919-1944. The eagerness uith uhich the traders entered the market i s indicative of general fur trade prosperity. From 1920 to 1950, traders exported a yearly average of $304,060 uorth of pelts from the t e r r i t o r y . 1 2 Markets fluctuated uidely as the Yukon returns varied according to the caprices of the international fur markets. Totals of over $600,000 uere attained in 1927-28, 1944-45 and 1945-46. At the opposite end, the market bot- 1 2 For comparative purposes, Yukon gold production never f e l l belou $529,000 in any one year, reaching as high as $3,205,000 in 1942. 101 tomed at a low of $78,000 in 1920, with a secondary branchmark of $123,000 set in 1933. The fur trade economy operated like most commodi- ty markets, ranging e r r a t i c a l l y over the years. The trade peaked in the 1924-28 period, dropped noticeably the following five years, then re- gained previous form in the 1939-1948 period. Table 3 YUKON FUR RETURNS - 1919-1950 Number of Pelts Value of Pelts ($) 1919-20 55,354 323,467 1920-21 16.125 78,189 1921-22 69,796 203,402 1922-23 46,198 199,522 1923-24 50,070 347,079 1924-25 36.616 309,549 1925-26 35,767 320,803 1926-27 25,991 382,261 1927-28 64,375 610,348 1928-29 35,736 484,919 1929-30 108,632 295,492 1930-31 61,832 145,224 1931-32 57,679 132,268 1932-33 52.282 146,055 1933-34 43,803 122,999 1934-35 41,309 230,074 1935-36 42,768 276,946 1936-37 50,308 347,558 1937-38 67,655 295,857 1938-39 77,475 267,721 1939-40 80,617 288,292 1940-41 70.953 373,399 1941-42 66.700 398,132 1942-43 52,897 338,035 1943-44 78.005 467,188 1944-45 87,292 669,217 1945-46 107.252 677,495 1946-47 58.777 373,176 1947-48 131.227 230,117 1948-49 151.969 143,810 1949-50 153,574 199,086 Source: K. Rae, P o l i t i c a l Economy of the Canadian North, 386-387. 102 While the overall market went through i t s gyrations, so too did the price of individual pelts. Yukon trappers fortunately lived in a region that supported a variety of fur bearing animals in harvestable quanti- ties, the most important of which were marten, beaver (uhen not protect- ed by government edict), lynx, muskrat. and several species of fox. But even this variety did not totally insulate the local market from the va- garies of international demand. Muskrat prices. for instance. ranged from a lou of only $.53 in 1931-32 to over $3.00 a pelt in 1946. Among the higher priced furs, the s i l v e r fox uas particularly vulnerable to changing demand. uith the national market price dropping from a 1919 figure of $246 to s l i g h t l y over $12 thirty years later. Seldom gradual or easy to forecast, these fluctuations originated largely in the chang- ing trends of high fashion. In one particularly traumatic period. 1947-1950. prices f e l l from 60% to 75% in three years. (Table 4) Table 4 FUR PRICES — FIVE YEAR AVERAGES. 1920-1949 Beaver Lynx Silver Fox Marten Mink Muskrat White Fox 1920- •24 17.81 21.38 152.91 24.47 9.78 1.56 38. 12 1925- •29 23.85 31.69 94.38 24.72 15. 11 1.49 41.47 1930- •34 13.12 23.86 44. 17 14.57 9.15 .70 22.98 1935- •39 11.35 30.60 27.73 22. 10 11.05 1.05 13.75 1940- •44 26. 15 42.89 23.76 38.47 12.12 2.01 22.80 1945- •49 33.93 27.16 19.37 35.99 20.19 2.40 38.47 Source: Canada Year Book. 1920-1950. Since the prices quoted here represent final and average market val- ue, they indicate only in a general uay the amount of money actually tendered for furs in the Yukon River basin. With high costs for trans- 103 portation and supplies combined uith Yukon businessmen's eagerness to protect themselves from the vagaries of the fluctuating market* i t i s obvious that the traders offered substantially louer prices than those attainable in southern markets. At the same time and as a result of the area's extreme uinter climate* the Yukon offered a prime product. In consequence* many of the Yukon furs uould have been valued at substan- t i a l l y above the national average. Unfortunately* no traders' records are knoun to be extant uhich uould allou for an analysis of prices of- fered to nativ e s . 1 3 Several comments in the records* houever* suggest the prices offered* as uell as the fierce competition for the Indians' furs. Anglican missionary* Chas. Johnson* noted from Carcross in 1920 that tuo local traders had bought 300 muskrats from trapper John Johns for $1,000 and that the price subsequently rose to $5 a pelt. The na- tional price for muskrat pelts that year averaged only $2.54. 1 4 E s t i - mates made by Corporal Thorntuaithe of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of the value of furs traded in the Porcupine River area in 1928 seem closer to the mark. Cross fox he liste d at $40 sold nationally for an average of $75 and lynx estimated at $30 per skin brought the wholesaler around $47. 1 3 Similarly. in 1930 muskrats bought near Old Crou for 20-25c each sold in the southern markets for around 84c. 1 6 1 3 Dan Cadzou of Rampart House l e f t portions of an account book for 1907-1912 uhich reveal that trappers received substantially less than that paid in southern markets. The source (YTA. Cadzou Papers. Ac- count Book) i s very incomplete and unreliable. On Cazdou. see. T. Riggs, "Running the Alaska Boundary." Beaver* Outfit 276 (Sept. 1945), 40-43. 1 4 AC, C. F. Johnson f i l e 2, Johnson to Stringer, 7 April 1920. 1 3 NAB, vol. 797, f i l e 6535, Maclean to Cory, 12 October 1928. 1 6 AC, Rampart House, Fort Yukon and Old Crou f i l e , McCullum to String- 104 Estimating prices paid to the Indians for furs i s , in reality, a fu- t i l e task, both due to the lack of systematic evidence and, even more importantly, because most trade operated on a barter and credit system. Traders could manipulate prices simply by increasing the cost of their trade goods, thus reducing the real value of the trappers' returns. Everyone anticipated lower prices as traders, shippers and auctioneers a l l expected their share of the returns. Acknowledging that the traders took a healthy segment of the value of each fur, evidence nonetheless suggests that the fur trade offered a renumerative source of income to successful trappers, both uhite and Indian. The variable returns and the high cost of securing supplies for a uinter's trapping led to the extensive use of credit or, in the trade vernacular, "jaubone". The granting of credit had, of course, been a prominent feature of the Yukon River fur trade from the earliest years of Hudson's Bay Company operations, although the practise extended l i t - t l e beyond the Fort Youcon-Porcupine River corridor. As traders fanned out throughout the territory during and after the Gold Rush, they adopt- ed the practise of supplying a trapper in advance of payment.17 The sys- tem had as many variants as i t had practitioners, uith terms changing according to market conditions and the level of regional competition. Traders spared no effort in their attempts to t i e the individual trap- per, particularly those uith recognized s k i l l s , to a single post. Sev- eral of the larger firms, especially Taylor and Drury Ltd., paid for er, 23 July 1930. 1 7 The topic is covered in HcCandless, "Yukon Wildlife", and A. Tanner, "The Structure of Fur Trade Relations". Both suffer from the lack of useful records covering the Tuentieth Century fur trade. 105 their furs with tokens redeemable only at company stores. Competition uas occasionally fierce, particularly in the halcyon, days of the 1920's and 1930's. In 1928, for example, six traders vied for the Porcupine River trade, uith tuo establishments at Rampart House, three at Old Crou and a final one at LaPierre's House. The returns that year, estimated to be in excess of $133,000, j u s t i f i e d the vigourous battle for the trappers' business. 1 8 Under such circumstances, traders eagerly granted debt to any competent trapper, expecting in return to have right of re- fusal to his catch. The competition had the related impact of forcing fur prices up (and commodity prices doun). The natives, uell versed in competitive trade, sought the best market for their furs. If a local trader offered acceptable prices and extended credit, he could l i k e l y count on a sizeable portion of the local trade. 1 9 At the same time, hou- ever, natives willingly travelled considerable distances to alternative markets i f the traders in their home areas were perceived as demanding exhorbitant prices for goods. This eagerness to search for competitive trade expanded greatly following the introduction of the motor pouered boat in the 1920's, thereby making traders even more cognizant of the need to respond quickly to changes in market conditions. z a Though far from compliant pauns in the fur trade, the natives were vulnerable to price changes and to the potential uithdraual of credit. The Indians quickly became accustomed to a yearly cycle uhich included the securing of supplies on credit in the f a l l and the repayment of debt 1 8 NAB, vol. 797, f i l e 6535, Maclean to Cory, 12 October 1928. * 9 NAB, vol. 609, f i l e 2657, extracts from report of Constable Young, 18 March 1925. 2° AC, Morris f i l e , Morris to Stringer, 24 June 1928. 106 in the winter or spring. Any sudden or unexpected alteration in the a v a i l a b i l i t y of credit, be i t for market or punitive reasons, would se- verely upset the trappers' plans and prospects. Rampart House trader Dan Cadzow, an ardent Anglican who saw his role extending far beyond his basic economic function, used the withholding of credit to encourage na- tives to act responsibly (according to his definition of the market of course). 2 1 Altering the pattern of credit disbursement typically lacked such philosophical overtones. In 1914, C. C. Brett of Teslin noted that "The Indians will be in need of r e l i e f about Xmas. Taylor and Drury have cut off their credit entirely, as they conduct business to suit themselves and as Hr. Drury told me that 'they weren't running a benev- olent society for the Indians'." 2 2 As Adrian Tanner demonstrated in an extensive study of more recent trading practises, the granting of credit varied markedly from monopoly to competitive situations, with the latter of obvious benefit to the Indians. 2 3 Improvements in transportation technology, high prices and a consistently large number of traders ac- tive in the f i e l d ensured that from the 1920's, the natives found credit generally available either in their immediate v i c i n i t y or within a rea- sonable distance. The structural outline of the fur trade remained intact throughout the period from 1900 to 1950. Prices varied on a yearly basis (not to mention according to the quality of the fur), but available credit and competition ensured an equitable return for the fur trapper. The pur- 2 1 AC, Cadzow f i l e , Cadzow to Stringer, 20 Harch 1917. 2 2 AC, Brett f i l e , Brett to Stringer, 16 October 1914. 2 3 Tanner, 44-72. 1 0 7 suit of fur bearing animals provided a reasonable, at times lucrative income, but not without major variations causing short term and lo c a l - ized distress. Natural cycles in the a v a i l a b i l i t y of game remained an integral part of the natives' hunting-trapping economy and could be readily accepted and accommodated. Price fluctuations and changes in market demand proved more d i f f i c u l t , but long-standing experience in the fur trade, credit disbursements, and the traders' and trappers' faith in the s t a b i l i t y of the industry carried both groups through lean years. Government regulations proved more d i f f i c u l t to accommodate, principally because they functioned largely oblivious to market conditions. Host government intervention in the fur trade came in the form of ex- port taxes targetted at the marketing end of the industry. In the 1920's and 1930's. however, growing concern over the depletion of re- sources led the Yukon government to impose a series of trapping r e s t r i c - tions in an attempt to rebuild w i l d l i f e stocks. The t e r r i t o r i a l govern- ment's decision to regulate the harvesting of game had. in each instance, noticeable repercussions for those involved in the fur trade economy. The seasonal cycles of the Indians and their white counter- parts involved the regular harvesting of species, depending on location. Government moves to prevent the taking of a particular type of fur-bear- er disrupted routines and schedules, throwing into question the trap- pers' a b i l i t y to repay their debts. Similarly, traders faced the unwel- come prospect of being unable to supply an eager external market. There were several major trapping closures before 1950. including beaver (1918-1924, 1928-1931. 1946-49), marten (1924-26)2* and a series of sea- 24 YRGI, Series 4, vol. 10, f i l e 241A, T e r r i t o r i a l Secretary to Const. C. D. Tidd, 30 August 1918; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 3. f i l e 12-5B, Gold 108 sonal closures relating to other species. 2 5 While granting short-term concessionSf such as allowing traders to export furs caught before the neu regulations had been explained to trappers* the government enforced i t s legislation uith some care. Trappers typically accepted the various restrictions without prolonged argument, suitching their traps to other game. The government eased the transition someuhat by imposing only seasonal closures, uith the period set aside for harvesting often coin- ciding uith the prime trapping times. Beaver. for example, uere of greatest value uhen taken in mid-uinter. When the total closure on bea- ver uas l i f t e d in 1924. the government imposed a shortened season stretching from January 1 to Hay 15. 2 6 Since most trapping of beaver for market occurred in the uinter months, this particular restriction caused l i t t l e inconvenience. 2 7 A series of government regulations barring non-Yukon Indians from hunting uithin the territory had a more direct impact. The various game laus did not e x p l i c i t l y intend to exclude the Indians. Rather. poor planning and limited knowledge on the part of t e r r i t o r i a l o f f i c i a l s led Commissioner to J. H. Mervyn, 5 July 1924. Gold Commissioner to M.R. Jackson. 30 June 1924; YRGI. Series 3. vol. 4. f i l e 12-7B. Proclama- tion dated 1 Sept. 1928; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 3, f i l e 12-5B. Cadzou to Gold Commissioner. 20 July 1924. 2 5 See, for example. YRGI, Series 3, vol. 10, f i l e 12-19B, R. A. Gibson to G. A. Jackell, 9 June 1941 uhich deals uith restrictions on the Old Crou muskrat season. 2 6 YRGI, Series 4, vol. 10, f i l e 241A, T e r r i t o r i a l Secretary to Const. C. B. Tidd, 30 August 1918. Furs trapped outside the territory but traded in the Yukon received exemptions. Ibid., Isaac Taylor to Geo. Mackenzie, 10 July 1918, Affadavit by Wm. Drury, 24 Nov. 1919. 2 7 Since some fur bearers uere harvested for food, these restrictions had considerable impact. Game caught for sustenance generally es- caped the regulations, YTA, Teslin Band Collection, Hauksley to Dear Sir, 8 Nov. 1923. 109 to the inadvertent closure of traditional hunting t e r r i t o r i e s . The Yu- kon Game Ordinance of 1927 required a payment of $100 from a l l persons not resident in the territory in return for a grant of hunting p r i v i l e g - es. 2 9 The new regulations severely affected natives hunting in the Por- cupine River area. Alaskan natives had long entered the d i s t r i c t to trade and avoid export taxes? 2 9 and Indians from Fort McPherson contin- ued their long-standard practise of hunting in the Peel River basin and on the western slopes of the Richardson Mountains. Federal government o f f i c i a l s , particularly 0. S. Finnie. urged the t e r r i t o r i a l government to remove the restriction on natives from the North West T e r r i t o r i e s . 3 0 Citing allegations of over-hunting by the Fort McPherson Indians, the Yukon government was reluctant to comply. They f i n a l l y gave in and on September 3. 1929. made the necessary revisions to the Game Ordinance. 3 1 No similar provisions were forthcoming for the Alaskan natives, a s i t u - ation applauded by the Canadian Indians along the Porcupine. due prima- r i l y to the direct threat they posed to the economic v i a b i l i t y of the 2 9 YRGI. Series 3. vol. 4, f i l e 12-BA, Insp. Caulkin to P. Reid, 2 Au- gust 1926; ibid., f i l e 12-6B. Thornthwaite to Gold Commissioner. 31 January 1927. 2 9 DIA. vol. 6761. f i l e 420-12. O.S. Finnie to G. J. MacLean. 28 Dec. 1928; YRGI, Series 3. vol. 5, f i l e 12-8B. Urquhart to 0. S. Finnie, 10 August 1929; Const. A. S. Wilson to O.C., R.C.M.P. Edmonton, 10 August 1929; Ibid., f i l e 12-8A, Thornthwaite to O.C. RCMP, Dawson, 26 Feb. 1929, Hawksley to McLean, 3 January 1929; DIA, vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12, Insp. Wood to Commissioner, RCMP, 5 August 1929. Fur- ther attempts to res t r i c t native harvesting across t e r r i t o r i a l or provincial boundaries met similar resistance, Ibid., Ralph Parsons, HBC Fur Trade Commissioner to Dr. H. W. McGill, 17 Dec. 1937. 3 ° YRGI, Series 3, vol. 5, f i l e 12-8A, Maclean to Finnie, 6 Feb. 1929. 3 1 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 7, f i l e 12-14B, G. A. Jeckell to J. Lome Turn- er, 16 April 1935. 110 regional fur trade.32 To the south, the Yukon-British Columbia border region posed similar problems as residents from both jurisdictions read- i l y crossed the border to hunt or trade. However, an amicable relation- ship between Yukon Indian Agent John Hawksley and his Stikine Agency counterpart Harper Reed ensured that no government regulations prevented natives from hunting and l i v i n g where they wished. Both agreed, how- ever, that the natives had to observe a l l provincial and t e r r i t o r i a l game laws. 3 3 While not exclusively tied to the fur trade, the various re s t r i c t i v e measures imposed and accommodations reached by the Yukon government regulated access to the fur resources of the territory. Through to the 1940's, however, the government continued to pursue an essentially open policy, with a l l residents and approved non-residents able to compete equally for available fur bearing animals. The f i r s t proposals that the government find some means of regulating individual accesB to w i l d l i f e came from native trappers. Joe Squam, an Indian "chief" of dubious standing from Teslin requested in 1932 that an area he described as "my hunting and trapping ground" be granted for his permanent personal use. 3 4 The government rejected his appeal for fear that, as Yukon Comptroller G. Jeckell phrased i t , "such actions would greatly hamper the exploration and development of the mineral resources 32 DIA, vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12, Thornthwaite to OC, RCHP, Dawson, 9 April 1929; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 5, f i l e 12-8A, Gold Commissioner to O.S. Finnie, 3 January 1929. Eagle, Alaska natives, closely related to those at Moosehide, were accorded more li b e r t i e s . YRGI, Series 3, vol. 6, f i l e 10A, Hawksley to Gold Commissioner, 14 Hay 1931. 3 3 For the best statement of this ongoing arrangement, see YG, vol. 9, f i l e 1490, pt. J, John Hauksley to Harper Reed, 25 Feb. 1933. 3 4 DIA, vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12, Squam to Indian Department, 22 Aug. 1932. I l l of the t e r r i t o r y . " 3 5 While authorities ignored this suggestion for trap-line designation, increasing tensions in the 1940*s between uhite and Indian trappers over access to valued lands brought the issue to the fore once again. South of the border in Bri t i s h Columbia, registered traplines had been in place since 1926 and uere generally conceded to have been effective in protecting native access to game.35 By 1947, the Yukon government uas compelled to consider a similar system. Launched primarily by Indian Agent R. J. Meek and supported by a nascent conser- vationist movement in the territory, this appeal originated in the per- ceived need to protect the natives from uhite encroachment. 3 7 Meek sought to protect native access to game. He suggested that traplines be granted f i r s t to Indians, then half-breeds and "old-timers" and lastly to uhite trappers draun into the business by the abnormally high prices of the decade. 3 5 With widespread support for the program, including Meek's assurance that the Indians backed the system, the government be- gan the registration of traplines in 1950. 3 5 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 6. f i l e 12-UB, Jeckell to Hume, 21 Nov. 1932. An earlier effort by Harper Reed to re s t r i c t trapping hardly repre- sented an attempt to impose traplines. It was simply a temporary re- sponse to poor trapping returns. YTA, Teslin Band Collection, Reed to Chief B i l l y Johnston. 16 July 1930. 3 5 YTA. Teslin Band Collection. Stikine Agency Inspection Report no. 3. 31 July 1935. Simpson to Chief B i l l y JohnBton. 1 October 1942. 3 7 YRGI. Series 3, vol. 11, f i l e 12-22, Gibson to Gibben, 19 May 1947, DIA. vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12-2-2, Meek Report, 28 February 1947; Ibid., f i l e 420-12-2-RT-l. Meek to D. J. Allen. 27 Nov. 1947, Conn to Meek, 4 Dec. 1947. 3 5 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 11, f i l e 12-22, Extract from Indian Agent R. J. Meek's Quarterly Report, 10 October 1947. 112 When unveiled, the registration program included an unpopular sur- prise. Yukon Game Commissioner Thomas Kjar imposed a $10 annual fee per trapline. With fur prices at lou ebb, many feared the Indians uould be unable to meet the expected payments. Again, Indian Agent Meek support- ed the natives, arguing that the payment uas excessive, that Br i t i s h Co- lumbia imposed no such fees for Indian trappers, and that lou fur prices already threatened to make trapping uneconomical. 3 3 Although Week's ap- peal garnered considerable support uith the federal bureaucracy 4 0 and among the Indians, 4 1 i t failed. Registration proceeded in the f a l l of 1950 uith the $10 charge i n t a c t . 4 2 The registration program came into effect just as fur prices entered a strong downward slide and as a lim- ited, but grouing, number of alternative employment prospects came available. The registration program proved both economically and so- c i a l l y disruptive after 1950. Government agents encountered serious d i f f i c u l t i e s getting the natives to identify their personal trapping areas. Even more important, the Euro-Canadian insistence on male owner- ship and inheritance challenged the natives' matrilineal social struc- ture and threatened the s t a b i l i t y of social relations in many native camps. Trapline registration capped an expanding series of legislative i n i t i a t i v e s designed to regulate the fur harvest. While the registra- 3 3 DIA, vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12-2-RT-l, Meek to Hugh Conn, 17 Jan. 1950; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 11, f i l e 12-23B, Week to Gibson, 27 Sept. 1950. 4 0 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 11, f i l e 12-23B, Director to R. A. Gibson, 14 Feb. 1950. 4 1 Ibid., Chief Peter Hoses, Councillor MoseB Tizya and Councillor Jo- seph Netro to R. J. Heek, 24 July 1950, Chief Wm. A. Johnston et. a l . (petition), 7 July 1950. 4 2 Ibid., Gibson to Heek, 4 Nov. 1950. 1 1 3 tion program contributed to a steady decline in the fur trade after 1950, government intervention before that date had minimal impact. Government regulations only added to the uncertainty and irregularity of the fur trade. With market prices varying widely, the a v a i l a b i l i t y of credit subject of the traders' caprices, and an inconsistent supply of fur-bearing animals, the trappers often found themselves in precari- ous p o s i t i o n s . 4 3 Compounding their d i f f i c u l t i e s , the Indians faced in- creasing competition from white trappers. Typically less committed to trapping as a full-time occupation, whites usually entered the f i e l d as prices rose, dropping out at the f i r s t sign of a major decline. Any suggestion that white and native trappers co-existed harmoniously i s not supported by available evidence, 4 4 although i t i s equally incorrect to suggest that the traplines provided a forum for inter-racial violence. Indians frequently complained of white incursions into their trapping t e r r i t o r i e s 4 5 and they opposed the government's decision to allow whites (but not natives) to use poison to k i l l wolves. 4 6 Similarly, government agents and R.C.M.P. officers regularly commented on inter-racial ten- sions, pointing out almost in unison that the white participants exhib- 4 3 DIA, vol. 4081, f i l e 478, 698, John Hauksley, Report of Forty Mile Band of Indians, 29 March 1917; AC, McCull urn f i l e . Wood to Stringer, 14 April 1926; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 4. f i l e 12-6B, Thornthwaite to Gold Commissioner, 26 April 1927; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 5, f i l e 12-8C, Thornthwaite to Gold Commissioner, 31 Dec. 1929. 4 4 This i s repeatedly suggested in McCandless, "Yukon Wildlife". 4 5 DIA, vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12, Squam to Indian Department, 22 August 1932; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 4, f i l e 12-A, Clyde Thompson to Mr. Hawk- sley, 20 October 1927. 4 6 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 6, f i l e 12-10A, Squam to Department of Indian Affairs, 26 March 1931; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 10, f i l e 12-19A, Const. Harrington to O.C., RCMP, Aklavik, 26 March 1940. 114 ited l i t t l e regard for native rights and uere endangering game supplies uith their exploitative h a b i t s . 4 7 Uhite trappers occasionally expressed similar sentiments about the Indians, blaming them for any marked de- crease in trapping returns. 4 9 Government records reveal n© instances of violence over trapping rights, but i t is apparent that tranquility did not characterize relations in the uoods. The Indians outlasted most of their uhite competitors because the Euro-Canadians could not overcome the ir r e g u l a r i t i e s of the fur trade. Throughout the f i r s t half of the century, and excepting those feu uho accepted a more complete accommodation uith the industrial/extractive economy, the Yukon natives continued to follou a pattern of subsistence hunting, gathering and fishing. Indeed, even many of those uho uorked as woodcutters or day labourers did so only seasonally, devoting much of their time to the pursuit of game.49 The natives uere not indifferent to the fur trade, for they developed a taste for — even a dependance upon 4 7 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 5, f i l e 12-8C, Thornthuaite to Gold Commission- er, 31 Dec. 1929; ibid., vol. 3, f i l e 12-5B, Gold Commissioner to Nelson, 30 June 1924; DIA, vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12-2-2, Meek Report, 28 Feb. 1947; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 11, extract from Indian Agent Meek's Quarterly, 10 October 1947; DIA, vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12. Har- per Reed to Sir, 1 Sept. 1934; "Report of Supt. Knight," NWMP, Annual Report 1917, 306. 4 9 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 9, f i l e 12-1BB, Boyerchuck to Dear Sir, 20 June 1939! YRGI, Series 3, vol. 2, F i l e 12-3B, Lloyd to Mackenzie re: complaint by Game Warden T. A. Dickson, 20 May 1920; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 10, f i l e 12-16B, Dahl to Supt. T. B. Caulkin, 5 Sept. 1936, Const. T. Henderson to OC, RNWMP, "A" Division, 26 October 1910; RCMP, vol. 393, Supt. Snyder to Asst. Commissioner, RNWMP, 11 July 1910, Jim Thompson et. a l . to Major Snyder, 4 July 1910; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 11, f i l e 12-22, Bond to Gibben, 23 June 1943. 4 9 For an excellent series of descriptions on this mingling of a c t i v i - ties very much like M. Asch's "mixed economy," see AC, Selkirk C h i l - dren Reports f i l e s uhich detail movements and economic undertakings at Fort Selkirk. 115 — the products of the trading post but neither were they irrevocably wedded to i t . Lou prices or insufficient demand, forced the natives to postpone trapping ventures until markets recovered or they developed an acute need for particular material goods. 5 0 In extreme cases, natives abandoned the trade for several seasons, usually because of decreases in regional food supplies. Importantly, the natives could and occasionally did survive uithout the fur trade. This f l e x i b i l i t y and the a b i l i t y to survive the vagaries of the market place through a reliance on subsis- tence hunting (in turn based on the natives acceptance of limited ma- t e r i a l abundance) 5 1 assured the Indians of a pre-eminent role in the Yu- kon fur trade. The Twentieth Century fur trade stood in stark contrast to the com- parative s t a b i l i t y of the Hudson's Bay Company era. Even after the ar- rival of American traders along the Yukon River after 1869, the trade focused on a few posts uith the H.B.C. and the Alaska Commercial Company attracting most of the furs. Competition uas vigourous, but controlled, uith both firms looking to the long-term interests of the industry. Af- ter the turn of the century, and particularly beginning in the 1920's, conditions changed. Although several large firms led by Taylor and Dru- ry Company maintained a commanding presence, the trade included a plethora of small entrepeneurs. The fur rush replaced the search for gold and as prices remained high through to the end of the 1940's trad- ers competed vigorously for the natives' pelts. Price fluctuations, 5 0 See, for instance, Sergeant Clay to OC. "B" Division, 5 March 1915, RNWMP, Annual Report 1916, 200; YRGI, Series 7, vol. 33, f i l e 33937, pt. 9, Report - Patrol from Dauson to Snag, Vellesley Lake, etc. 19 Feb. 1931. 5 1 Again, see Sahlins, "The Original Affluent Society." 116 government regulation, competition from white trappers, frequent altera- tions in trading patterns, improvements in harvesting techniques (in- cluding better r i f l e s , canvas tents, and improved traps) and differen- t i a l credit systems added to the growing complexity of the fur trade. These changes affected the natives most strongly. As before, compe- t i t i o n worked to their short-term benefit, forcing up prices for furs, lowering commodity costs and encouraging more flexible credit arrange- ments. The expansion in the number of location of posts doubtlessly aided Indian trappers, allowing primarily for a more regular manipula- tion of fur trade competition. New credit arrangements which encouraged natives to transfer allegiances as market forces dictated, and the i n - troduction of a monied trade (even i f only in Company tokens) represent- ed a substantial s h i f t from the comparatively inflexible trade of the H.B.C. before their 1893 withdrawal. Technological innovations espe- c i a l l y motorized boats (introduced in the 1920's) added to the ease of trapping and enabled a more rapid exploitation of resources over a broader range than ever before. That the trapping — both by whites and Indians — may have been excessive in the face of high fur prices is suggested by the t e r r i t o r i a l government's decision to regulate hunting patterns. The revitalization and expansion of the fur trade in the Twentieth Century clearly benefited the trappers of the Yukon, particularly those Indians well-placed and conditioned to respond to the new opportunities. Far from being forced into the fur trade through exclusion from the i n - dustrial sector, the natives choose the industry for i t s exemplary f l e x i b i l i t y , i t s s u i t a b i l i t y to preferred seasonal and cultural patterns and for i t s comparatively profitable returns. 117 Even uith a v i t a l fur trade, subsistence hunting contained i t s draubacks. The natives' reaction to poor hunting conditions reveals that the harvesting of fish and game served as the cornerstone for par- ticipation in the fur trade. Securing an adequate supply of game obvi- ously remained pre-eminent. The pursuit of fur-bearers became feasible only uhen required amounts uere set aside. Whenever meat supplies f e l l low, the Indians lacked the resources to pursue smaller game. Until they solved this fundamental problem, trapping operations uere typically held in abeyance. There are a number of recorded instances, particular- ly in the Old Crou are a , 3 2 uhere poor meat harvests forced indefinite postponement of trapping. 5 3 As trader Dan Cadzou reported from Rampart House in 1917 uhen meat and fish supplies f e l l perilously lou, "there is quite a l i t t l e fox and martin (sic) but no lynx but the trapping is at a s t a n d s t i l l . " 3 4 The interdependance of hunting and trapping uorked both uays, keeping the Indians in the bush uhen markets declined, but con- versely preventing them from participating in a potentially lucrative harvest uhen faced uith food shortages. The hunting-trapping economy relied on a ready and consistent supply of ungulates and fur-bearing animals. Throughout the Tuentieth Century, houever, many charged that uhite and native overhunting had significant- 5 2 AC, Amos Njootli f i l e , Njootli to Stringer, 1 April 1917; AC, Gold- rich f i l e , Cadzou to Stringer, 14 Dec. 1919; AC, Rampart House, Fort Yukon and Old Crou f i l e , H. Anthony to Stringer, 16 Nov. 1925; NAB, vol. 609, f i l e 2657, Thornthuaite to O.C., RCMP, Dauson, 17 Nov. 1928; DIA, vol. 6478, f i l e 932-1 pt. 1, extract from report of G. Binning, 17 July 1935. 5 3 AC, Moosehide F i l e , Sarah Eseau to Bishop Stringer, 31 August 1919; AC, Leigh f i l e , Leigh to Bishop, 24 Oct. 1927. 5 4 AC, Cadzou f i l e , Cadzou to Stringer, 23 Dec. 1917. 118 ly depleted t e r r i t o r i a l animal resources. While there is l i t t l e doubt that the influx of gold seekers during the Klondike Gold Rush put abnor- mal pressure on game stocks, particularly in the Whitehorse-Dauson cor- r i d o r , 5 5 the territory-uide impact is less clear. Numerous allegations surfaced that the Indians, upset over uhite incursions, engaged in wan- ton destruction of game in an attempt to drive out the miners. Several miners levelled repeated charges against the natives in the Kluane-Bur- uash area in 1911 and again in 1920. The Indians'apparent disregard for the entreaties of the R.C.M.P. officer sent to settle the dispute, only served (in the minds of some) to confirm the reported destruction. 5 5 Not a l l so readily accused the Indians. 5 7 In an o f f i c i a l report on the pres- ervation of game in the Yukon, Supt. R. E. Tucker of the R.C.n.P. not- ed, "Some time ago the Indians did slaughter game ruthlessly, but nou the export of hides is forbidden there is no object to k i l l i n g more than they require for food." Tucker, uhose experience in the territory dated from 1898, also commented that big game uas more plentiful in 1920 than tuenty years e a r l i e r . 5 5 The question of over-hunting is d i f f i c u l t to re- solve adequately, although i t is important to note that subsequent sur- 5 5 DIA, vol. 3462, f i l e 147, 654-1, pt. 2, Bompas to Secretary, Depart- ment of Indian Affairs, 25 May 1906. 5 5 RCMP, vol. 409, f i l e 109, Const. C. H. H i l l to OC, Sub-Div. "B", 25 Jan. 1911; RCMP, vol. 599, f i l e 1343, Supt. Commanding "B" Division to Commissioner, RCMP, 15 March 1920. Attached to the letter are dispositions by T. A. Dickson, former RCMP officer, and Ole Dickson (no relation) attesting to the slaughter; see also YRGI, Series 3, vol. 2, f i l e 12-3B, Gold Commissioner to Lloyd, 14 June 1920. 5 7 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 2, f i l e 12-4A, Report of Major N.A.D. Armstrong concerning Game Conditions in the Yukon Territory, 29 Nov. 1920. 5 5 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 2, f i l e 12-4A, Supt. R. E. Tucker to Commission- er, RCMP, 20 April 1921. 119 veys of the Yukon turned up feu signs of unwarranted destruction of game . When confirmed depletion uas encountered, i t uas generally at- tributed to uolves. 5 9 A more uidely accepted assessment of native hunt- ing habits uas offered by R.C.M.P. Constable McCormick uho commented, "The Indians are careful about k i l l i n g the game, having had lots of ex- perience of being on short rations, indeed almost starving some years." B O The construction of the Alaska Highuay, discussed ear l i e r in relation to the industrial sector of the Yukon economy, also affected hunting and gathering. The major impact came from hunting along the neuly opened corridor. C i v i l i a n and military personnel uorking on the highuay re- ceived special hunting permits. Numerous allegations surfaced that Americans k i l l e d animals solely for sport and that great uastage of game occurred. 6 1 Though doubtlessly exaggerated, the comments convinced the government to pass regulations prohibiting the discharge of firearms uithin one mile of the highuay. Of more serious consequence to the In- dians in the Buruash-Kluane Lake region uas the 1942 decision to set aside much of the land betueen the highuay and the Alaska-Yukon border 6 9 YRGI, Series 3, vol. 2, f i l e 12-14B, Supt. Tucker to Gold Commission- er, 20 March 1922; YRGI, Series 4, vol. 27, f i l e 408-4, E. Jacquot to G. A. Jeckell, n.d.; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 10, f i l e 12-20A, J. E. Gibben to R. A. Gibson, 17 Dec. 1942. 6 0 Const. McCormick to OC, RCMP, Dawson, 1 August 1924, (NAB, vol. 609, f i l e 2657). A complaint by T. A. Dickson that natives near Kluane used meat for dog food uas supported by RCMP investigation. D i f f i - c ulties of enforcement made action impossible. YRGI, series 3, vol. 9, f i l e 12-18A, Report re: Complaint of T. A. Dickson — General Game Conditions, 26 Sept. 1938. 6 1 See McCandless, "Yukon Wildlife"; YRGI, Series 3, vol. 11, f i l e 12-21A, Bostock to Gibson, 28 Nov. 1946. 120 as a game preserve. 6 2 The government declared the Kluane Game Sanctuary, later a national park, o f f - l i m i t s to a l l hunting and trapping, barring local natives from a we11-used and well-stocked hunting ground. Appeals on behalf of the Indians by Indian Agent Meek and local Catholic mis- sionary Rev. E. Morisset 6 3 did convince the government to make limited muskrat trapping concessions within the park. 6 4 The opening of the Alaska Highway did not dramatically alter occupa- tional patterns. The natives of the southern Yukon, the area most af- fected by the new construction, remained primarily as hunters and trap- pers, participating in the industrial sector in a limited and impermanent fashion. An Anglican missionary at Champagne in the summer of 1949 summarized the situation: The white population is occupied exclusively in connection with the maintenance of the Alaska Highway . . . . Many of the Indians are similarly occupied, though spasmodically. in more menial capacities. Hunting and trapping in winter, and f i s h - ing in summer, are the principal interests of the Indians gen- erally, the young men being employed by the various Highway authorities occasionally. Few of the Indians accept, or are suited for. regular employment.65 6 2 YRGI. Series 3, vol. 11, f i l e 12-22, Summary of the Game and Fishing Regulations, Yukon Territory, 1947; Ibid., f i l e 12-23B, Gibson to Simmons, 22 April 1950. 5 3 Ibid., Morisset to Simmons. 13 April 1950; Morisset to Indian Affairs Branch, 11 April 1950, Gibson to Simmons, 22 April 1950. 6 4 DIA, vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12-2-RT-l, Conn to Meek, 22 May 1950; YRGI, Series 3, f o l . 11, f i l e 12-23B, Gibben to Gibson, 19 June 1950; DIA, vol. 6761, f i l e 420-12-2-RT-l, Meek to Conn, 20 June 1950. 6 5 YTA, AC, Champagne f i l e . Report to the Diocese of Yukon upon the present state of the Champagne (Y.T.) Mission Field, Summer 1949 by Anthony Guscoyne. 121 It is d i f f i c u l t to ascertain with any precision the extent of native involvement in the mining and harvesting sectors. The argument has been advanced that movement toward the mining sector was temporary in nature, limited by reduced long-term employment prospects, white employers' preference for Euro-Canadian workers, and a general native preference for the "hunting way." The natives of the Yukon made short-term adjust- ments, in their economic patterns, on a seasonal and occasionally annual basis, to take advantage of new economic opportunities. They had done so in the early fur trade, during the expansion of mining in the 19th Century and throughout the gold rush years. Their occupational f l e x i - b i l i t y was then maintained up to 1940. The construction of the Alaska Highway similarly f i t into this pattern, offering temporary opportuni- ties for unskilled labourers. Uhen those positions ended, as most did after the i n i t i a l construction phase, the Indians returned to their trap lines. Indeed, even the few more regular opportunities, such as highway maintenance, f i t into a seasonal cycle which, while centering on the pursuit of game, had long accommodated short-term, season specific em- ployment in the industrial s e c t o r . 5 6 It i s d i f f i c u l t to assess with precision native participation in the two sectors of the Yukon economy as limited census material on the area offers few insights. One set of documents, registrations of native births, provides some imprecise indications of native economic patterns. The registration of native births dates from the 1930's, but only began e s For a somewhat contrary view, see J. Cruikshank, "The Gravel Magnet: The Impact of Alaska Highway Construction on the Yukon Indians," pa- per presented to Alaska Highway Symposium, June, 1982. Importantly, Cruikshank pushes her study through to 1980, examining a rather d i f - ferent set of variables than the ones discussed here. 122 to be collected systematically after the introduction of Mother's Allowance in 1945. 6 7 As part of the registration process, the recording agent (usually the t e r r i t o r i a l Indian Agent) noted the father's occupa- tion. A sample of registration entries (approximately 30% of total cas- es) indicates that even in the aftermath of the construction of the Alaska Highway the vast majority of Indian males continued to consider themselves trappers. There are as well two weaknesses in the data base which suggest an understatement of the number thus occupied. Because of Indian Agent Meek's own interest in encouraging industrial employment, i t i s l i k e l y that he and other recording agents over-emphasized non-tra- ditional economic practises, even i f the individual worked as a woodcut- ter, section hand or labourer only part-time. Similarly, the continuing inconsistency of the registration process often meant that inaccessible areas (where trapping would obviously predominate) were not incorporated systematically in the sample. Once again, the likelihood i s that non- trapping occupations were over-represented. The following table none- theless i l l u s t r a t e s that among the active male population, trapping con- tinued to be the predominant occupational pursuit through to 1950. (Table 5) B 7 Records are found in Yukon T e r r i t o r i a l Government, Vital S t a t i s t i c s Branch, active f i l e s . The materials could only be examined on the condition that they be sampled and that no names be recorded in data notes. 123 Table 5 FATHER'S OCCUPATION AS LISTED AT TI HE OF REGISTRATION OF INDIAN BIRTHS, 1930-1950 Occupation 1930-1935 1936-1941 1942-1950 Trappers Labourers Section Hands Woodcutters Not Given/Dead 40 (87%) 4 (9%) 63 (85%) 6 (8%) 14 (9%) 4 (3%) 12 (8%) 7 (5%) 113 (75%) 2 (4%) 2 (3%) 3 (4%) 46 (100%) 74 (100%) 150 (100%) Source: Random Sample (Approximately 30% of total cases) From Native Birth Registrations, Vital S t a t i s t i c s Branch, Yukon T e r r i t o r i a l Govern- ment. A noticeable decrease followed the construction of the Alaska Highuay, but even then three quarters of the lis t e d males considered themselves trappers. While by no means conclusive, the data suggests the prepon- derant importance of the hunting-gathering sector to the Yukon Indians as late aB the 1950's. Although i t is clear that the Indians continuously opted for the har- vesting sector, a decision conditioned both by uhite economic exclusion- i s t policies and native choice, any i d y l l i c notion of natives co-exist- ing in b l i s s f u l harmony with their environment is out of place. The inconsistency of supply caused by uhite competition, natural game cycles and decreases in salmon stocks due to American fisheries on the louer Yukon injected serious insecurities into the lives of the Yukon Indians. The hunting-gathering economy held out a number of prospects. Some, like the fur trade, uere f a i r l y lucrative. The opportunity to continue subsistence hunting allowed for a persistence of preferred practises and customs. While occasional hardship remained part of the Indians' ac- cepted lot, thoBe natives opting for the pursuit of game normally found their economic expectations realized. 124 The natives' lack of interest in the aggressive, accumulative materi- alism of the industrial sector ensured that few crossed over to the dis- cipline and control of the industrial work place. Instead, the fur trade and provision hunting, both of which readily conformed to the cy- cles and practices of their subsistence l i f e s t y l e , provided for the c i r - cumscribed material needs of the Yukon Indians. Though pushed to the margins of the larger Yukon society. particularly as viewed from the white, industrial perspective, the natives generally accepted the c u l - tural and material benefits of their mixed economy. Despite significant economic change in the territory, the natives avoided gradual or rapid integration into the industrial order. preferring a tangential and pe- ripheral accommodation which permitted and even valued a continuation of harvesting practises. Within the framework and constraints of their ec- onomic outlook, a perception which the whites found d i f f i c u l t to under- stand and accept, the hunting-trapping economy offered the natives a re- a l i s t i c , even appealing, alternative to the uncertainty of wage labour. From the expansion of mining in the 1880's through to the construction of the Alaska Highway in the early 1940's the attractions of the indus- t r i a l economy could not overcome the special appeal of the harvesting l i f e , which meant everything to the Indians and v i r t u a l l y nothing to the whites. 125 CHAPTER SEVEN NATIVE-WHITE SOCIAL RELATIONS Canadian historians have paid remarkably l i t t l e attention to the evo- lution of northern society. A pre-occupation with explorers, government scientists and Euro-Canadian mining a c t i v i t i e s has diverted attention from this important subject. The prevailing notion of the Yukon as a "temporary" society has led to several detailed studies of social condi- tions during the Klondike Gold Rush 1 but very l i t t l e on previous or subsequent developments. This emphasis obscures both the long-term changes in the t e r r i t o r i a l order and the evolution of native-white so- c i a l relations. The central threads running through the social history of the Yukon are native permanence and Euro-Canadian transiency. T e r r i t o r i a l popula- tion fluctuated widely over time in keeping with the c y c l i c a l nature of the northern economy. The natives commercially dominated the fur trade period, despite a major decline in population caused by the introduction of new diseases. The arrival of thousands of gold seekers during the Klondike Gold Rush upset the comparative equilibrium of the early mining frontier. By 1900. whites far outnumbered the dwindling native popula- tion. The number of non-natives declined thereafter as the gold economy a l l but collapsed. The natives slowly regained their numerical impor- tance, constitutinga/bout 40% of the population in 1931, but in real num- 1 Morris Zaslow, The Opening of the Canadian North, Chapter 6; P. Ber- ton, Klondike (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1972). A recent study, rich in detail but largely inaccessible due to Parks Canada's questionable circulation procedures. i s H. Guest. "A History of the City of Dawson. Yukon Territory. 1896-1920". Parks Canada, Microfiche Report Series #7. 126 berB their population remained stagnant (Table 6). Table 6 YUKON POPULATION, 1901-1971 Total Yukon Native X Native 1901 27,219 3,322 12.2 1911 8,512 1,489 17.5 1921 4, 157 1,390 33.4 1931 4,230 1,638 38.7 1941 4,914 1,508 30.7 1951 9.096 1,563 17.2 1961 14,628 2,207 15. 1 1971 18,385 2,580 14.0 Source: Canada Census, 1901-1971. The number of uhites expanded rapidly after 1940, as World War II con- struction projects brought thousands of temporary, and hundreds of per- manent, workers into the Yukon. The demographic inbalance, including both early native dominance and subsequent uhite numerical superiority, strongly influenced the evolu- tion of the regional social order. A continuing sexual imbalance in the uhite population, uith men far outnumbering uomen (Table 7), led many males to seek the affections of native uomen, i f only temporarily. Table 7 SEX RATIOS, YUKON POPULATION, 1901-1951 (Males per 100 Females) 1901 572 1911 325 1921 211 1931 202 1941 179 1951 150 Source: Canada Census, 1901-1951 As important as the shortage of uhite females, houever, uere attitudes concerning the d e s i r a b i l i t y of native-uhite social contact. Beginning 127 with the fur trade and continuing through to 1950. racist attitudes dom- inated by negative appraisals of native social and moral behaviour lim- ited social contact. The region's dual nature, therefore, re-emerged in social patterns. The fur trade provided a comparatively integrated set- ting, while white exclusionist policies ensured that towns and mining camps remained largely segregated. Social interaction i l l u s t r a t e d most graphically the distances between native and white in the Yukon. Relegation of Indians to physically pe- ripheral reserves. restricted native access to hospitals and schools, and the frequent observation of unhealthy or inebriated Indians high- lighted the native marginalization and points to a central theme in the social history of the Canadian north. Contemporary northern communi- ties, consisting typically of demarked native reserves and carefully protected Euro-Canadian subdivisions, are creations of the past, demon- strating the continued importance of segregationist attitudes from the Gold Rush to the present. Social contact obviously began with the fur trade and the opening of trading posts in the Yukon River valley. The nature of fur trade social relations has recently attracted considerable attention, particularly in the work of Sylvia Van Kirk and Jennifer Brown.2 Documenting the exten- sive and variable relations between native women and white traders, their work focuses on an elusive search for a definition of fur trade "society". Van Kirk's study is of particular importance here for. a l - though she does not deal e x p l i c i t l y with the Yukon d i s t r i c t , her argu- 2 Sylvia Van Kirk. Many Tender Ties: Women In Fur Trade Society. 1670-1870 (Winnipeg: Watson and Dwyer. 1980); Jennifer Brown, Strang- ers in Blood (Vancouver: UBC Press. 1981). 128 merit concerning changes in the pattern of selecting marital partners is challenged somewhat by the practises of the northern fur trade. Focus- ing primarily on the southern d i s t r i c t s and especially Red River. Van Kirk argues that by the 1840's fur traders opted for uhite women over half-breeds and natives as their marital partners. By the time the Hud- son's Bay Company opened Fort Youcon in 1847, the long-entrenched pat- tern of taking a native or "country-born" wife had, she argues, ended. Uhite women increasingly dominated Red River society; the development of long-term liaisons with non-white uomen remained no longer the accepted practise for high rank company employees. Vhile Van Kirk amply demonstrated her thesis in the context of the Red River area, analysis of social contact in the Yukon fur trade puts some of her generalizations regarding fur trade society/ into question. Because of changes in attitude in the upper echelons of the company's service, i t uas no longer appropriate by the late 1840's to discuss l i - aisons uith native uomen in company correspondence. As a consequence, after that time the typically insightful records of the Hudson's Bay Company offer l i t t l e on inter-personal relations betueen the fur traders and Indians. At the opposite extreme the f i r s t commanding offi c e r at Fort Youcon, Alexander H. Murray, brought his uhite uife uith him to the north. 3 From this example, i t might appear that Van Kirk's argument holds for the Yukon. If this uere indeed true, then the social impact of the fur trade in the Yukon uould have been very limited. 3 Murray, Journal of the Yukon, HBCA, B240/2/1, f o l . 27, Youcon Jouranl, 31 August 1847. 129 Despite corporate disapproval and contrary to Van Kirk's suggestion, however, liaisons with native and half-breed women continued once the Hudson's Bay Company expanded into the Yukon River valley. The firm clearly deterred officers from cavorting. with the " i n f e r i o r " Indians and half-breeds. Such upper level restrictions dissuaded upwardly mo- bi l e young men from establishing public liaisons with native women. These restrictions had less effect on the company's lower ranks. En- gaged servants and minor o f f i c i a l s , especially those who acknowledged their limited prospects for personal advancement, enjoyed open sexual contact with the Indians. Again, evidence is sparce, with the normally valuable corporate record v i r t u a l l y barren on the topic. Scattered com- ments by travellers in the area, however, point to f a i r l y systematic l i - aisons. Antoine Houle, half-breed interpreter at Fort Youcon, frequent- ed Indian camps and allegedly supported several wives. 4 John Firth, who eventually became postmaster at Rampart House, married a Fort McPherson "Loucheux" Indian. 5 Such alliances appeared frequently in the d i s t r i c t . W. Dall, who visited Fort Youcon in 1867, f e l t that the Hudson's Bay Company actually'encouraged relationships. As he phrased i t . Every effort is made, to make these men (company servants) marry Indian wives; thus forcing them to remain in the country by burdening them with females whom they are ashamed to take back to c i v i l i z a t i o n and cannot desert. 5 4 U. Dall, Alaska and Its Resources (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1970), 106. 5 HBCA. B200/b/43, f o l . 209. Camsell to Grahame, 24 March 1884. Firth's wife may have been a half-breed, K. Crowe, Original Peoples of North- ern Canada (Montreal: Arctic Institute, 1976). 5 Dall, Alaska, 104. 130 Dall's comments must be approached uith caution. An American unfamiliar uith Company-servant relations, he found the labour system at the post archaic, almost feudal in i t s oppression of the workers. Nevertheless, the observation suggests that personal inter-racial relations uere a fa- miliar feature at Fort Youcon. Further confirmation i s provided by Rob- ert Kennicott, a scientist attached to the Smithsonian Institution, uho passed the uinter of 1861 at LaPierre's House. He thought l i t t l e of the traders' choice of uives, pointing out that they "uere by no means fa i r to look upon, one uas fat and the other forty, [ s i c ] age sixty, for that matter." He further noted that post officer James Flett and at least one other employee had native uives. 7 Numerous questions remain unanswered and, for the most part unanswer- able. There is no indication as to uhat happened to the Indian uives uhen their husbands l e f t the d i s t r i c t . It i s l i k e l y that they stayed behind i f the trader departed for a distant post or for Red River. Sim- i l a r l y , there i s no evidence to suggest hou the native uomen re-entered Indian society, although i t is expected that the pattern of easy and rapid re-integration common elseuhere held true for the Yukon. There is l i t t l e evidence to indicate uhy native uomen accepted uhite traders as mates, beyond the again typical assertions that they did so for personal gain and to s o l i d i f y trading relations betueen the Company and the band.e 7 R. Kennicott, "The Journal of Robert Kennicott, 19 Bay 1859, 11 Feb. 1862," in J. A. James, The F i r s t S c i e n t i f i c Explorations of Russian America and the Purchase of Alaska (Evanston: Northuestern Universi- ty, 1947). B Van Kirk, p. 75-94 expands on the notion of Indian uives as "uomen in betueen" in the context of trade relations. 131 This picture of fur trade social relations is admittedly incomplete. Native men came into contact uith uhite society almost exclusively through their economic a c t i v i t i e s , particularly the limited trading cer- emonies. As well, the fur traders dreu an indeterminate number of Indi- an uomen to the fur trade posts as sexual partners. 9 Since many of those taking uives, like John Firth, remained in the region and as the number of uhites involved uas small, the social dislocations uere limited. At the same time, the lack of social approval ensured that the liaisons re- mained uithin the lower ranks of the Hudson's Bay Company and that ap- proval for such a c t i v i t i e s remained unwritten. Though the upper ech- elons had, as Van Kirk suggests, restricted their relations with native women, their model uas not being adopted at the louer ranks. The fur trade "society" of the Canadian west and north included far more men and women than this select group. The continuation of past marital practis- es among the lower echelons suggests that the inter-racial nature of the regional society — and of fur trade d i s t r i c t s in general — continued long after uhite uomen drew the affections of corporate officialdom. The failure to secure the approval of the white social e l i t e i r o n i - c a l l y became the major legacy of social relations in the fur trade era. While the company allowed, i f not encouraged, their men to keep native uives, the simple fact that the officer class maintained their social distance implied a degree of disapprobation. To the e l i t e fur traders, 9 Experience elsewhere in North America i l l u s t r a t e s that when white wo- men were not available males enthusiastically turned to women of other racial backgrounds for sexual release. Regarding whites and blacks, see Winthrop Jordan's White Over Black - American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812 (Chapel H i l l : University of North Carolina, 1968), 140; G. Nash. Red, White and Black (Englewood C l i f f s : Prentice Hall, 1974) deals with the issue more broadly. M. Horner, Race Mixture in the History of Latin America (Boston: L i t t l e , Brown, 1967). 132 missionaries and explorer/travellers, marriage to an Indian remained unacceptable. Characterized as "lazy", "aggressive". "turbulent" and. in V. C. Bompas' phrase, "the lowest of a l l people." the natives clear- ly stood apart from the "better" class of whites. 1 0 As Bompas' comment suggests. the whites readily applied the evolution-based theories of cultural superiority then current in western intellectual c i r c l e s , and obviously found the Yukon Indians wanting. 1 1 This negative stereotype of the Yukon Indians, devoid of any conception of the "noble savage", sub- sequently provided the intellectual basis for further attempts at social segregation which also conditioned their attitudes about the natives' economic u t i l i t y . Such concerns remained for the moment the preserve of the established classes. For the miners who followed the fur traders, consideration of racial character and the snobbish disapproval of inter-racial sexual contact held limited significance. The image often expressed of the early Yukon mining frontier i s of a rapacious group of prospectors uho. when not scouring the creeks for gold. eagerly debauched the local na- tives. 1 2 There i s a great deal of missionary hyperbole in such assess- ments, for the clergymen of the Church Missionary Society sought signs of the degeneration of the Indian in the face of advancing white c i v i l i - 1 0 S. Jones. "The Kutchin Tribes." W. Hardisty. "The Loucheux Indians" HBCA. B200/b/33, f o l . 15. Ross to Council, 29 Nov. 1858; HBCA. B200/b/34, f o l . 130. Jones to Hardisty. 23 June 1863; HBCA, B200/b/35, f o l . 106, Hardisty to McDougall, 4 April 1865; PAC, MG19 D13. Pelly and Lewes Journal, vol. 1, 9 June 1848, PAM, AEPR, MG7, Al, Box 4001, "Rev. W. W. Kirby's journey to Fort Youcon;" CMS, Bom- pas to Secretaries, CMS, 6 Dec. 1872; Coates, Northern Yukon, p. 43. 1 1 See R. Berkhofer, White Man'a Indian, for the broader context sug- gested here. 1 2 H. A. Cody, An Apostle of the North, 253-272. 133 z a t i o n . 1 3 Unfortunately, these same missionaries offered the only de- tailed descriptions of relations betueen whites and natives. Sexual contact increased markedly in this period and relationships thus consumated differed strikingly from those of the earli e r fur trade era. In the virtual absence of white women in the area, native females provided the only readily available sexual solace. As the Reverend R. J. Bowen commented on the border region mining campsi the white prospectors . . . had been thoughtless enough to lure the Indian squaws into their home(s) and into the dance h a l l . The results of such action was seen in the number of half-breed c h i l d r e n . 1 4 Missionary correspondence is replete with accounts of systematic de- bauchery, of native women lured unwittingly into the miners' tents, of Indian men "s e l l i n g " young daughters to avaricious prospectors and of the widespread use of alcohol. Liquor figured prominently in the mis- sionaries' rhetoric, typically being described a B an irresistable lure for native women or as a reliable method for placating native men.15 Similar relations characterized native-white contact at Herschel Is- land, off the Yukon's northern coast. American whalers entered the area in 1890 and quickly established an extensive land-based fur trade that attracted many Indians from the Porcupine River d i s t r i c t . The trading ceremonies were lusty social events. Native women clambered on board 1 3 J. Usher, "Social Program." 1 4 PAC, Bowen Papers, "Incidents in the Lif e of R.J. Bowen." 1 3 Cody, Apostle of the North, Archer, Heroine of the North, CHS, Bompas to S ec, 24 May 1895, Bompas to Dear Sirs, 2 March 1895; Bompas to CMS, 15 May 1894; Bompas to CMS, 26 July 1895, Bompas to CMS, 3 Janu- ary 1894; diocese of Selkirk by U. C. Bompas, c 1893; Bompas to CMS, 20 January 1893; DIA, vol. 3906, f i l e 105, 378, Bompas to Minister of the Interior, 5 June 1894, Deputy Supt. General to Hon. T. Wayne Daly, 18 Sept. 1893. 134 the s a i l i n g vessels into the arms of long-deprived sailors, and the con- sumption of seemingly endless supplies of liquor ensured a constant state of inebriation. A marked contrast to the sedate exchanges in the interior, the coastal trading events served as an attractive enticement for inland Indians. 1 6 As Charles Constantine reported from his vantage point at Fort Cudahy. several hundred miles to the south. "This liquor i s sold or traded to the natives for furs, walrus ivorybone and their young g i r l s who are purchased by the officers for their own foul purpos- e s . " 1 7 While these comments and other descriptions of the Herschel Is- land trade refer primarily to the coastal Inuit. many Porcupine River Kutchin also participated. Along the Yukon River and off Herschel1 Is- land there appears, therefore, to be evidence to support the missionar- ies' claims concerning the debauching of the natives and the deleterious social impact of the arrival of miners and whalers. The miners and whalers sought out the sexual favours of the native women, and such relationships became the major point of contact between Indians and whites. The frequency and significance of these liaisons, however, is less clear. While half-breed children appeared as a logical consequence of miscegenation, a distinctive cross-cultural social group did not appear. The missionaries saw the children as deserving of spe- c i a l consideration and attempted to draw them out of the native world 1 6 Peter Usher. "Canadian Western Arctic: A Century of Change." Anthro- pologica 13, No. 1/2 (1971), 169-83; I. Warner, "Herschel Island," Alaska Journal, vol. 3, no. 13 (1973), 130-143; K. Coates, The North- ern Yukon, 55-65. 1 7 PAC, MG30 E55, Constantine Papers, Constantine to 0. C. Regina, 20 Nov. 1896; See also RCHP. vol. 336, f i l e 254-07, Whittaker to Col. White, c. 1905! CHS, Bompas to CHS, 24 Hay 1895. 135 and place them under the wing of resident c l e r g y . 1 8 For the most part, however, the half-breed offspring of impermanent liaisons remained uith the Indians. The small and geographically isolated number of such c h i l - dren ensured that there uould be no ready institutionalization of half- breed status. Unlike the southern plains, uhere a sizeable Metis popu- lation uith a distinctive identity evolved, in the Yukon River valley half-breeds remained members of native society, barred by colour and culture from a permanent place uithin the mining community. It i s particularly d i f f i c u l t to determine the extent of the alleged debauchery. Uhite miners made liquor available for their native "friends", either in their oun cabins or in native camps. In many i n - stances, these gatherings provided an opportunity for the miners to e l i - c i t sexual favours from inebriated native uomen. Endless appeals by the missionaries to put a stop to the liquor trade led, in 1894, to the establishment of a North-Uest Mounted Police pres- ence in the area. The police officers remained pessimistic about their chances of effecting a noticeable change in social relations. Inspector Charles Constantine noted in 1896 that ue cannot expect that a mining country u i l l become polished and in a high state of c i v i l i z a t i o n in the course of a feu months, but has to (be) done gradually more persuasively at f i r s t than by forcing i t . 1 8 Constantine's superiors shared his reluctance to impose s t r i c t controls on social behavior. N.V.M.P. Comptroller Fred Uhite echoed a uidely held vieu uithin the force uhen he urote, "It is d i f f i c u l t to convince 1 8 PAC, Bowen Papers, "Incidents and the Life of R. J. Bouen"; Archer, Heroine, Cody, Apostle. 1 8 PAC, Constantine Papers, vol. 4, f o l . 120-121. Constantine to Macin- tosh, 25 June 1896. 136 the goody-goody people that in the development and settlement of a neu country, allowances must be made for the excesses of human behaviour." 2 0 The institutionalization of the inter-racial drinking party stands as the major legacy of the pre-Gold Rush mining era. With the natives spending most of their time auay from the mining camps, these brief, i n - tense celebrations became the principal medium through uhich the tuo groups came together. From the uhite perspective, and this i s evident for the miners, missionaries and policemen, the natives' social a t t r i - butes came to be vieued largely in light of their party behaviour. The uomen's lack of " c i v i l i z e d " morals and the men's i n a b i l i t y to control the effects of liquor (desires and actions uhich, incidentally, mirrored those of the miners and uhalers) became the dominant images of the na- tives. For the Indians, however, these parties l i k e l y represented l i t - t l e more than brief flings, a decided change from the routine of the bush and a sought-after component of the regular trading excursions. Very quickly, houever, these parties provided unintended evidence to confirm the North American Nineteenth Century stereotype of the drunken and morally lax Indian. 2 1 White commentators, particularly C.M.S. missionaries, decried the uidespread a v a i l a b i l i t y of alcohol and feared the consequences of con- tinuing consumption. Their concern, born as much out of a s e l f - i n t e r - ested anxiety about uncontrollable, inebriated natives as concern for the Indians' well-being, reflected the uidespread stereotype of the de- 2° Quoted in W. R. Morrison, "The Mounted Police in Canada's Northern Frontier," 144. 2 1 R. Berkofer, White Man's Indian. One of the best examples of this attitude i s Report of John Hauksley, DIA, Annual Report, 1915/16, 117. Hauksley came to the Yukon in the period in question. 137 b i l i t a t i n g impact of alcohol. Accepting the common images and fears, the Canadian government imposed a permanent interdiction on native drinking. Importantly, when Inspector Charles Constantine led the f i r s t North Vest Mounted Police detachment to the area in 1894. he carried ex- p l i c i t instructions to address the problem of native drinking. Though the NWMP modified law enforcement practises to conform to the wider t o l - erances of the mining frontier, police officers placed particular empha- si s on restricting Indian access to alcohol. Much of the early efforts concentrated on white suppliers, with fines beginning at $100 imposed on anyone caught s e l l i n g or providing liquor to na t i v e s . 2 2 These government imposed restrictions actually served to shape the structure of native drinking in the d i s t r i c t . Legal barriers blocking access to legitimate suppliers forced those natives desiring liquor to turn to the less satisfactory options of manufacturing homebrew or pur- chasing through white bootleggers. The i l l i c i t trade became particular- ly important, both in the early mining phase and thereafter, spreading quickly throughout the territory despite RNWMP vigilance. Legal prohib- itions similarly forced the natives to consume their liquor either in their camps or. as was particularly common before the Gold Rush. in the miners' cabins. Ironically, the law brought natives and whites together in the presence of alcohol, simultaneously placing Indians in the role of supplicants dependent upon others for their pleasures, precisely what the government designed i t s legislation to prevent. 2 3 2 2 The courts, however, refused to accept native testimony. The d i f f i - culty this entailed in securing convictions did not however dampen the policemen's ardour. RCMP. vol. 485. f i l e 221. Moodie to Commis- sioner. 4 August 1918. See also RCMP. vol. 549. f i l e 109. Report of Serg. Maple. 28 September 1918. 138 While commentaries on native a c t i v i t i e s in this period are replete uith discussions of Indians' drinking, the precise context and s i g n i f i - cance of that consumption is d i f f i c u l t to assess. The role of alcohol in native societies has draun considerable attention — but l i t t l e con- sensus — among anthropologists and historians. Donald Horton's argu- ment that liquor served to reduce anxiety dominated much of the early discussion. He suggested that, acting as a power disinhibitor, alcohol allowed the relaxation of aggressive and sexual tensions to a tolerable l e v e l . 2 4 Numerous scholar s , 2 5 including ethnographers I. and J. Honig- mann working among the Kaska, 2 5 applied Horton's analysis to a variety of "primitive" groups, offering slight modifications of the central theory. Later studies questioned Horton's interpretation. 2 7 Many, particular- ly those focusing on contemporary situations, emphasize "socio-economic deprivation" as the prime determinant of native d r i n k i n g . 2 5 Others ar- 2 3 As this relates to contemporary American context, see P. Hay, "Ar- rests, Alcohol and Alcohol Legalization Among An American Indian Tribe," Plains Anthropologist 26 (1975), 129-134. 2 4 D. Horton, "The Function of Alcohol in Primitive Societies: A Cross-Cultural Study," Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 3 (1943), 119-220. 2 5 C. Wasburne, Primitive Drinking: A Study of the Uses and Functions of Alcohol in Pre-1iterate Societies, (Neu Haven, 1961), G. H. Le- nient, "The Use of Alcohol in Three Salish Indian Tribes," QJSA 9 (1958), 90-107. 2 5 I. Honigmann and J. Honigmann, "Drinking in an Indian-White Communi- ty", QJSA 5, (Harch 1945), 575-619. 2 7 P. Field, "A Neu Cross-Cultural Study of Drunkenness," D. Pittman and C. Snyder, eds.. Society, Culture and Drinking Patterns, (Neu York: John Wiley and Sons, 1962). 2 5 E. P. Dozier, "Problem Drinking Among American Indians: The Role of Socio-economic Deprivation," QJSA, 27 (1966), 72-87. For a series of 139 gued that the natives' apparent lust for alcohol originated in liquor's u t i l i t y in assisting the attainment of dreams, a most valued experi- ence. 2 3 Alternate explanations suggest that drunkenness served as a sub- stitute for institutionalized social interaction uith uhites or. as Nan- cy Lurie suggests, as an assertion of Indianness. 3 0 The various theories accounting for the natives' apparent a f f i n i t y for alcohol share a common i n f l e x i b i l i t y . They assume a uniform "Indian" response to liquor. More useful, particularly in understanding conditions in the Yukon, is the approach advocated in Edgerton and MacAndreu'B Drunken Comport- ment. Arguing that there is no uniform physiological response to alco- hol, they suggest that drinking behaviour has to be learned. In native societies, uhere feu models for intoxicated behaviour existed, patterns came from the uhite man. At the f i r s t stage at least, the response of specific native groups came from lessons offered by the uhites bringing the a l c o h o l . 3 1 Edgerton and MacAndreus also point out, supported by a contemporary study of Indian d r i n k i n g , 3 2 that social scientists t y p i c a l - a r t i c l e s dealing uith contemporary native drinking in the north, see John Homer and Jack Steinbring, eds., Alcohol and Native Peoples of the North (Boston: University Press of American, 1980). 2 3 R. C. Daly, "The Role of Alcohol Among North American Indian Tribes as Reported in the Jesuit Relations," Anthropologica 10 (1968), 45-57. 3 ° Nancy Lurie, "The World's Oldest On-Going Protest Demonstration: North American Indian Drinking Patterns," Paci f i c Historical Review vol. 40 (1971), 311-32. Lurie's argument i B supported by a major uork on Indians in Neu France, C. Jaenan, Friends and Foe: Aspects of French-Amerindian Cultural Contact in the 16th and 17th Centuries. (Toronto: McClelland and Steuart, 1976), 114-116. 3 1 R. Edgerton and C. MacAndreus, Drunken Comportment: A Social Expla- nation (Chicago: Aldine, 1969). 3 2 J. Levy and S. Kunitz, Indian Drinking: Navaho Practise and Anglo-A- merican Theories, (Neu York, 1974). 140 ly ascribe a l l deviant behaviour to post-conquest consequences of alco- hol consumption, missing the obvious observation that violent, aberrant actions uere a part of native l i f e before the arrival of the uhites. The Yukon provides a useful case study for the Edgerton-MacAndreu ap- proach. Natives greeted the introduction of alcohol enthusiastically and imbibed regularly. The demand, bouever, had f i n i t e limits, and there uas l i t t l e violence associated uith consumption. The many "Hootch" parties remained peaceable, uith feu beatings, no murders be- fore the tuentieth century and l i t t l e destructiveness. The police and missionaries, however, refused to acknouledge the possible peaceful role of alcohol, l i v i n g in dread of intoxicated violence. That natives failed to act as expected reflected the social context uithin uhich na- tive drinking began. The crucial preliminary exposure to alcohol came, for most of the Yu- kon Indians, in the form of "spree" drinking. Miners returning from their diggings, often burdened uith the results of a winter's uork, and the whalers anchored off Herschel Island engaged in regular and raucous celebrations. Despite the missionaries' remonstrances, Indians joined in the parties, obviously enjoying the recreational value of liquor. While drinking, the uhite men uere not noticeably violent, even before the arrival of the North West Mounted Police. The behaviour the Indians aassociated uith the consumption of alcohol did not generally include violence or u i l d debauchery. Instead, liquor uas typically consumed in small groups, uith the emphasis on uhat a native uoman from Teslin re- ferred to as a "hi-you" time. 3 3 3 3 RCMP, vol. 514, f i l e 521, A. C. Bell to QC "B" Division, 12 August 1916. 141 Alcohol consumption in Yukon society, for both uhites and Indians, uas recreational and drinking uas normally associated uith pleasure, sexual or otheruise, and partying. Not surprisingly, the natives readi- ly integrated alcohol into the potlatchs held to celebrate funerals, to trade or exchange g i f t s . Equally important, alcohol became closely tied to sexual relations betueen native uomen and uhite men. Short-term l i - aisons normally revolved around the inter-racial drinking party. The Indians accepted drinking and sexual behaviour as a standard social re- sponse both to the use of alcohol and relations uith uhite men. This period also sau the emergence in the Yukon of a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r - ent European type, typically (and derogatorily) referred to as a "squau man." Commonly used throughout Canada and the United States, the pejo- rative term described those uhite men who lived uith Indians. 3 4 These individuals uent further than simply taking a native uife, although that alone uas a socially questionable choice by the North American standards of the 1880's. They also opted to li v e in the hunting-trapping manner. But the squau men did not completely separate themselves from uhite so- ciety, often preserving their materialistic points of vieu and an auare- ness of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s for personal profit through the fur trade or prospecting. They remained men in betueen, not f u l l y integrated into the Indian uay of l i f e , yet significantly divorced from uhite society. Importantly, uith feu exceptions they did not f u l f i l l the role of "pa- trons" or intermediaries betueen the two groups. To those in the mining communities, men uho "descended" to live uith the Indians became margi- nal men, only tangentially connected to the larger society and deemed 3 4 Again, see Nash, Red, White and Black, Morner, Race Mixture. 142 l i t t l e different from the n a t i v e s . 3 5 The natives had less d i f f i c u l t y ac- cepting the squaw men. allowing them into their camps, recognizing their liaisons uith native uomen, and encouraging their participation in the hunting economy. There is no precise indication of the size of this particular social group before 1896, although the comparatively small number of half-breed children recorded by the missionaries suggests that i t uas not large. Whereas before 1896 social contacts remained geographically and demo- graphical ly circumscribed, the Klondike Gold Rush and the attending i n - flux of miners radically altered the demographic balance. In short or- der, uhites numerically suamped the natives as thousands of prospectors poured over the mountain passes into the Yukon River valley. The l i m i t - ed social contacts of the earlier period f e l l into d i s a r r a y . 3 5 Large scale mining frontiers are seldom kind to indigenous populations. Given the magnitude of the population s h i f t , the most remarkable characteris- t i c of the Klondike period is the surprisingly limited amount of inter- racial contact. With feu exceptions, natives stayed socially distinct from the gold rush community, placed by choice, encouragement and regu- lation on the margins of t e r r i t o r i a l s o c i e t y . 3 7 Part of the explanation for the racial exclusiveness of Gold Rush so- ciety l i e s in the efforts of the Church of England missionaries and the North West Mounted Police. Bishop Bompas' main task involved separating 3 5 George Carmacks, co-discoverer of the Klondike fields, uas a "squaw man" and encountered significant discrimination as a result. A. A. Wright. Prelude to Bonanza discusses the problems he encountered af- ter locating gold on Rabbit Creek. 3 5 Fisher. Contact and Conf1ict. 95-118. 3 7 Pierre Berton. Klondike. Hal Guest. "Dauson City". 143 uhites and natives. To Bompas, the rationale uas obvious: To abandon them nou that the place i s overrun by miners uould involve their destruction by more than a relapse to heathe- nism, namely in their being swallowed up in the miners' temp- tations to drink, gambling and immorality. 3 8 Anxious to protect the Indians from their oun "weaknesses", Bompas urged the natives in the Dauson City area to remain on the Moosehide reserve, some three miles dounstream from the mining centre. The federal con- stabulary seconded Bompas' efforts, particularly as regards alcohol uhich uas acknouledged to be the greatest evil facing the Indians. The presence of a sizeable police force added substance to earlier proscrip- tions and the N.U.n.P. spared l i t t l e effort in pursuing uhites accused of distributing liquor to the na t i v e s . 3 8 Once again, alcohol emerged as the principal social intermediary. The natives' willingness to pay high prices for liquor ensured a consis- tent supply. The consensus uas that efforts to stop the use of liquor had been unsuccessful. Euro-Canadians readily agreed that avaricious uhites easily led the natives, uith their insatiable demand for intoxi- cants, touard inebriation and corruption. Since most uhites saw drunk- enness as a sign of demoralization, the general public readily accepted Bompas' conclusion that "their habits are deteriorating through too much contact with the whites."* 0 The liquor parties hardly reflected native l i f e s t y l e and customs. It appears that for most Indians parties contin- ued to be occasional, often seasonal events. They il l u s t r a t e d not that the natives had sunken into depravity through contact with the whites, 3 8 CMS, Bompas to CMS, 4 May 1898. 3 8 Report of Supt. Wood, NWMP, Annual Report 1902, pt. I l l , 10-11. *° CMS, Bompas to CMS, 23 August 1898. 144 but rather that they continued to be so c i a l l y distinct. Beyond these occasional forays into the uhite man's world. feu opportunities existed for extended social contact. Host of the Yukon Indians uere physically isolated from the Gold Rush, and the preponderance of uhites ensured that the geographic segre- gation uas replicated in social distance. This separation often re- flected Indian choice. The N.W.M.P. officer at McQuesten noted in 1900 that a number of natives l e f t the area as a result of uhite encroach- ments and alleged thefts of Indian goods. 4 1 Living in the shadou of Dau- son City. Moosehide residents tended to stay in their place, maintaining only irregular contacts uith the toun. Even here there uere feu at- tempts, or opportunities, to breach social barriers, and the natives limited their intervention to a small number of peripheral economic ac- t i v i t i e s . The high incidence of disease in the Moosehide community also restricted attempts by the local Indians to enter Dauson's social sphere. Perceived economic opportunities attracted other natives to the mining community, but i t is doubtful that they shared uidely in the myr- iad of social a c t i v i t i e s . 4 2 In the pre-Gold Rush period, the miners' sexual desires and the lim- ited number of uhite uomen ensured a regular desire for the sexual fav- ours of Indian uomen. During the Klondike Gold Rush the demand remained surprisingly limited. There are several explanations. including the presence of the North-West Mounted Police, and the efforts of other gov- ernment o f f i c i a l s and missionaries to prevent such contact. More impor- 4 1 RCMP. vol. 189. f i l e 339. Davis to OC, Dauson, 2 Oct. 1900. 4 2 Slobodin. "The Dauson City Boys," R. Knight Indians at Work, 174-176. 145 tarit, however, was the a v a i l a b i l i t y of prostitutes to service the miners. Recognizing the sexual imbalance in the territory (men outnum- bered women by more than 5 to 1 in 1901) and the likelihood of unrest i f prostitution was prohibited, the government and police decided to allow the "lascivious ladies of soulless love" to ply their trade, although under s t r i c t regulations. Uith a readily available supply of "profes- sionals," the miners resorted less often to the "socially undesirable" Indian women.43 For a l l i t s grandeur, the Klondike Gold Rush did not significantly alter patterns of social relations. The process of marginalization re- mained more one of disregard than callous action on the part of the whites. The natives stayed close by, performing minor though valuable seasonal functions, but integration into the larger society did not f o l - low. Liquor parties moved from the mining centres and dance halls to the Indian camps. Social and legal proscriptions removed prior public sanction for such events, with severe punishment for any whites caught in the act. Previously the medium for much of the interaction, native women no longer attracted as much attention as sexual partners. In- stead, as stereotypes of the Indians as "drunken", "dirty", and "dis- eased" took firmer root, even temporary cohabitation with a native be- came cause for social disapproval. 4 3 Hal Guest, "Dawson City" has the best discussion of this topic. On the N.U.H.P. generally, see the provocative a r t i c l e , Thomas Stone, "The Mounties as Vigilantes: Reflections of Community and The Trans- formation of Law in the Yukon, 1885-1897," Law and Society Review, vol. 4, no. 1 (Fall, 1979). 146 A major indication of the Indians' social marginality during the Klondike Gold Rush is their virtual i n v i s i b i l i t y in the vast literature generated by this event. The gold rush attracted a great deal of media attention and in the era of "yellow journalism" writers earned sizeable sums by feeding an insatiable southern demand for information. Living in the Yukon, but not soc i a l l y part of i t , the Indians appeared in this material more as part of the physical environment than of the elaborate social m i l i e u . 4 4 It is significant that the only major published pieces dealing exclusively with the natives, two short a r t i c l e s by the well-re- garded journalist Tappan Adney, described moose hunting techniques among the northern Indians. 4 5 The Gold Rush developed around and amongst the Indians, but seldom incorporated them in anything more than a marginal way. This exclusiveness reflected native choice in part. Uith the ex- ception of the "Dawson Boys" from Peel River, few Indians moved toward the gold fields. Uith few jobs available, other native groups physical- ly separated themselves from the mining camps. Excepting the missionar- ies and the N.U.M.P., most whites simply ignored the natives. Uhat lim- ited accommodation occurred resulted from economic considerations, and the nature of those ties ensured that social integration did not follow. 4 4 See Hal Guest, "San Francisco of the North", and R. Friesen, "Chil- koot: A Literature Survey" for discussions of available materials. P. Berton, Klondike, i l l u s t r a t e s the predominantly white character of the Gold Rush. See also M. Zaslow, The Opening of the Canadian North. 4 5 T. Adney, "The Indian Hunter of the Far Northwest: On the Tra i l to the Klondike," Outing, 39, no. 6 (1907). 623-633; Adney, "Moose Hunt- ing With the Tro-Chu-Tu" Harpers New Monthly Magazine, 100 (1900), 495-507. 147 The outmigration of uhites following the gold rush gave the Indians a reneued numerical importance. The period from 1904 to the construction of the Alaska Highuay did not, houever, see significant alterations in existing patterns of social integration. Instead, institutionalization of distinctiveness, and r i g i d exclusion of natives from the dominant uhite society characterized this forty year period. The separateness of the races derived in large measure from the tuo-sector form of the re- gional economy. Because of the exclusiveness of the mining economy, there uas l i t t l e in that environment to drau natives and uhites togeth- er. In contrast, any uhites uho participated in the trapping business, as trappers, traders or in related transportation a c t i v i t i e s , found con- siderable cause to reach a social accommodation uith the Indians. The same motivation did not exist for the majority of the uhites, carefully cloistered in protected residential environments or uorking in the uhite dominated mining industry. A more complete integration of native and uhite occurred auay from the Dawson-Whitehorse corridor. In those instances uhere uhites uorked and lived amongst the Indians and uhere economic prosperity hinged on interdependence betueen trappers and traders, harmonious relations ex- isted. As Reverend C. C. Brett commented concerning the Teslin area in 1914, The uhites generally speaking, are rather exceptional here. I heard the trapper say that during his eight years here, he has not heard a native uoman complain of a uhite saying anyhting (sic) to insult them. 1 don't uish to infer that the uhites there pretend to be saints, but they are a pretty good croud of men on the uhole. 4 S 4 6 Letter from Rev. C. C. Brett, Across the Rockies, vol. V, No. 7 (July 1914). 148 Although the Teslin natives apparently resented the occasional derogatory reference to themselves as "Siwashes," they appeared well sa t i s f i e d with the inter-racial accommodation.47 In the back country d i s t r i c t s , like Teslin, relations extended beyond trade and friendship. It i s in these back country d i s t r i c t s that squaw men became particularly prevalent. Dan Cadzow, trader at Rampart House after the turn of the century, is perhaps the most prominent example. Committed to the Porcu- pine River fur trade, he took a native wife soon after his arrival and remained a prominent figure in the area until his death. Cadzow was unique in that he eschewed the Indian way, building a handsome cabin for himself and his wife, which he furnished with the best he could buy from southern r e t a i l e r s . 4 8 Men such as Cadzow, Poole Field at Ross River, Eu- gene Jacquot at Burwash, Del Vangorder at Ross River and others around the territory committed themselves to their respective areas. Their ac- ceptance of the Indian way for themselves or, as in Cadzow's case, the people they chose ' as neighbours obviously led them to more complete re- lationships with the Indians. Marriages did not always follow. The men often sought short-term l i - aisons, especially i f they intended only a brief stay. This was partic- ularly true in the 1920's and 1930*s, when the p r o f i t a b i l i t y of the northern fur trade brought a number of short-term operators into the business. Although over-stated, the contention by Grafton Burke, physi- cian at the Hudson Stuck Memorial Hospital at Fort Yukon that "traders in these isolated places vie with each other as to who can 'swell the 4 7 RCMP, vol. 387, f i l e 181, Macdonald to Asst. Comm., 1 Sept. 1910; RCMP, vol. 549. f i l e 109. Report of Sergt. Mapley, 28 Sept. 1918. 4 8 T. Riggs, "Running the Alaska Boundary." 149 population'." 4 3 demonstrates that many traders did not share the commit- ment of Cadzou and others to the Yukon Indians. The general population continued to disdain or at least question the squau man. N.A.D. Armstrong's reaction to the marriage of his friend Couard to a "dusky bride" named Alice i s not untypical. "What a pity." he urote in his diary. "that the fine specimen of a man should have fallen so lou as to marry a full-blooded squau — such i s l i f e . " 5 0 The indictment offered by such men as N.W.M.P. Assistant Commissioner Z. Uood i s no less striking. Referring to the Whitehorse area, he comment- ed. "These (squau) men purchase liquor and reta i l i t to the Indian, and ue have also reason to believe they allou their squaus to cohabit uith other uhite men and Indians." 5 1 Those uho opted for an Indian bride faced ostracism from the "better" elements of uhite society. Laura Ber- ton described the case of one young man. the son of a Dauson c i v i l ser- vant, uho had married a half-breed uoman uhile his parents uere "out- side." As Berton urote: She uas a pretty l i t t l e thing. bright and neat, and I think could have made him a good uife. but the parents uere BO shocked they uould neither see nor speak uith him. This a t t i - tude drove him from the toun and back into the bush, uhere his l i f e uas spent among the Indians, hunting and cutting uood for a li v i n g . Nou here he uas. standing by the river uith his dark, uiry children clustered about him. the fish uheel in the background turning slouly uith the current, the salmon smoking under the trees. In a l l intents and purposes he uas a na- t i v e . 5 2 4 3 AC, Fort Yukon f i l e , Grafton Burke to J. Hauksley. 21 May 1926. 5 0 PAC. MG30. EZ. vol. 3. N.A.D. Armstrong Papers. Diary 1921. 8 July, 2 Sept. 5 1 Report of Asst. Comm. Wood, RNWMP, Annual Report 1909, 209. 5 2 L. Berton, l_ Married the Klondike, 169. 150 Selecting a native wife forced d i f f i c u l t choices* for in so doing an individual cut many bonds uith uhite society. Occasionally* those uho stayed uith their Indian uives used their knouledge of white society to the benefit of their native friends and family. Such men uere excep- tions, however* as the squaw men did not automatically assume a role as intermediaries between the races. Instead* they were more often shunned i f not ostracized* their morals and taste questioned by the upright res- idents of Uhitehorse and Dawson. The disdain for the squaw men was particularly evident during at- tempts to provide school f a c i l i t i e s for half-breed children in Dawson and Uhitehorse. Although public schools were available in both centres* as late as 1947 i t was noted that " i t is not denied that these children (natives and half-breeds) are not welcome there." 5 3 Mission schools for half-breed children were established in response. full-blooded natives already being served through Anglican day schools and the Carcross Indi- an Residential School. The Anglican church built St. Paul's Hostel in Dawson in 1920. and in 1946 the Reverend E. Lee opened a similar f a c i l i - ty in Uhitehorse. In both instances. the public opposed the schools, although few accepted the alternative of allowing the children into the t e r r i t o r i a l establishments. 5 4 The opening of such schools did not as- suage public anger. Instead. the fact the federal government provided financial assistance only added to the h o s t i l i t y . 5 5 Opposition to the 5 3 DIA, vol. 6477, f i l e 929-1 pt. 1, Meek to IAB, 25 Oct. 1947. 5 4 DIA, vol. 6479, f i l e 940-1, pt. 1, Stringer to DIA, 5 March 1912; AC, Johnson f i l e 1, Stringer to C. F. Johnson; AC, Contributions: St. Paul's Hostel F i l e , St. Paul's Hostel, 14 Feb. 1947. 5 5 DIA, vol. 6481, f i l e 941-1 pt. 1, Duncan Scott to Sir James Lougheed, 2 May 1921. 151 founding of St. Paul's Hostel revealed the general disapproval of the squau men. As the Mayo-Keno Builetin noted in September 1925? Why should the people's money be used to house, feed and clothe the someuhat p r o l i f i c progeny of able bodied men uho have mated uith native uomen . . . . Does the Federal Govern- ment realize that the result of i t s misplaced generosity is to encourage a certain class knoun as 'squaumen' to s h i f t their parental responsibilities on the shoulders of an unwilling p u b l i c . 5 S While the regularity and permanence of several of these relationships cannot be denied, there i s no accurate means of assessing their number and longevity. Commenting in 1909 on the situation around Whitehorse, Superintendent Snyder of the Royal North West Mounted Police urote, There are in this d i s t r i c t a number of uhite men uho are l i v - ing uith Indian uomen . . . . While some of these men profess to regard these uomen as their uives, I do not think any of them seriously intend to live uith them for l i f e — as other- uise there is nothing to prevent their being married to them in the usual manner l e g a l l y . 5 7 Three years later, Bishop Stringer noted that there uere only "about half a dozen" men in the Yukon li v i n g permanently uith native uomen. Given the far reaching tentacles of the Anglican church and the mission- aries' familiarity uith local conditions, i t i s li k e l y that his estimate uas not far urong. The legality of these informally constituted mar- riages, usually r a t i f i e d only according to Indian custom, uas an impor- tant issue. Any woman so marrying lost her legal status as an Indian, as did her c h i l d r e n . 5 8 Census materials and even t e r r i t o r i a l marriage 5 8 AC, St. Agnes Hostel f i l e , Extract from Mayo-Keno Bulletin, 8 Sept. 1925. 5 7 RCMP, vol. 369, f i l e 133, Snyder to Asst. Comm., 29 Jan. 1909. 5 8 This issue uas not adequately resolved before 1950. As long as there uas no formal marriage, the government considered uomen to be na- tives. Children remained native unless their fathers assumed f u l l and public responsibility. See RCMP, vol. 369, f i l e 133, Pedley to 152 registers do not offer much insight; the incidence of mixed marriages and those involving half-breeds largely escaped bureaucratic purview. 5 9 The impermanent nature of most of these liaisons would distort any sta- t i s t i c s thus garnered, making i t impossible to accurately assess the in- cidence of such relationships. That these informal and transitory liaisons formed a significant part of the social landscape is suggested by strong demographic pressures within white society. Because of i t s northern isolation and economic in s t a b i l i t y , the Yukon remained a frontier society through to 1950. Few long-term settlers came north, the work force sustained instead by a continuous circulation of transient workers. Typically unaccompanied by wife or family, these men found few outlets for their romantic and sex- ual desires within the white community, except as could be assuaged through heartless trysts with prostitutes. With a massive imbalance in favour of males among the uhite community, (Table 7), a large number of young men sought out Indian women. Originating more in lust than ro- mance, contracted by men with l i t t l e intention of remaining long in the north, these liaisons were typically short-lived, sexually-oriented and often related to the consumption of alcohol. Functioning without the restrictions on sexual behaviour dominant among white females. Indian women accepted the status, pleasure and occasional material returns from such liaisons. White, 3 March 1909; YG, vol. 9, f i l e 1490 pt. J.. Meek to Gibben, 28 May 1947, Gibben to Hoey, 4 June 1947, Gibben to Hoey, 20 June 1947, McCrammon for Supt. Reserves and Trusts to Gibben, 19 August 1947. 5 9 YTG, Vital S t a t i s t i c s Branch, marriage registrations to 1950 did not indicate ethnicity. 153 These frequent liaisons carried significant social cost. Largely because of the Euro-Canadian competition? Indian males found themselves unable to attract suitable partners until they uere comparatively old. Anglican Church records of native marriages point to a fundamental tran- s i t i o n in patterns of union betueen 1900 and 1950. Females consistently married younger than males? uith the gap uidening significantly over time. Betueen 1925 and 1950? the average age d i f f e r e n t i a l betueen na- tive partners uas tuelve years? almost three times the value for the preceding tuenty-five year period. (Table 8) Other evidence substanti- ates this observation. Native birth registrations recorded the ages of fathers and mothers? permitting another survey of the age differences of partners. Again? the age di f f e r e n t i a l increased over time? although the change uas not as dramatic as that suggested by the church materials. (Table 9) A tabulation of conjugal condition in the 1941 federal census points in the same direction. Of uomen betueen the ages of 15 and 24? for example? 42% uere married compared to less than 13% of males of the same age. In the 25 to 44 cohort? feuer than 6% of females remained un- attached? uhile the percentage of males yet to marry stood three times as high. (Table 10) The evidence cumulatively suggests that females readily found a uhite or native partner at around tuenty years of age (see Table 11) (and documentary materials indicate that sexual activity began even earlier)? but Native males on average could not find a mate until they reached 29 years. 6 0 B O This represented a marked change from pre-contact conditions. See McClelland? My_ Old People Say? June Helm? Handbook. 154 Table 8 AVERAGE AGE AT FIRST RECORDED MARRIAGE, ANGLICAN CHURCH RECORDS, 1900-1950. 1900-1924 1925-1950 Females Males Females Males Fort Selkirk 25.9 (29)(1) 27.5 (33) 22.2 (13) 28.3 (14) Rampart House 17.9 (15) 22.0 (13) 18.0 (27) 36.5 (25) Moosehide 20.5 (44) 25.6 (44) n/a n/a Total Yukon 22.1 (95) 26.2 (95) 19.7 (51) 32.1 (51) (1) Number in bracket indicates number of cases. Source: Parish Records, Anglican Church, Diocese of Yukon. Table 9 AGES OF FATHERS AND MOTHERS, FIRST RECORDED BIRTH, 1930-1950 Males Females 1930-34 23.7 21.3 1935-39 27.5 18.9 1940-44 28.3 20.7 1945-50 28.6 20.6 Source: Birth Registrations, Vital S t a t i s t i c s Branch, Government of kon. 155 Table 10 CONJUGAL CONDITION, YUKON INDIANS, 1941 15-24 25-44 45-65 Males Females Males Females Males Females Total 142 137 167 173 144 137 Single 123 74 30 10 9 1 Married 18 58 126 149 114 86 OtherU) 1 5 11 14 21 50 (1) Other refers to separated, divorced or widowed. Source: Canada Census, 1941. Table 11 AGE AT MARRIAGE, INDIAN-WHITE MARRIAGES, ANGLICAN CHURCH RECORDS, 1906-1928. Age At Husbands Wives Marriage (White) (Native) Less than 20 0 5 20-29 1 8 30-39 9 2 40-49 2 1 50+ 4 0 Average Age 40.4 24.4 Source: Parish Records, Anglican Church, Diocese of Yukon. While competition limited the Indians males' a b i l i t y to locate a wife, the impermanence of most relationships frequently hurt the fe- males. The transitory nature of such contacts led to frequent misunder- standings. Native uomen often found themselves pregnant by a uhite man uho l e f t the d i s t r i c t before claim could be made on his financial re- sources. Short-term liaisons, usually brief encounters in the aftermath of drinking parties, served to re-enforce notions of Indian uomen as promiscuous, even amoral. To many uhites, the native uomen served as 156 playthings? not partners? to be discarded when no longer required. In- ter-racial sexual relations re-emphasized the marginality of the Yukon Indians? pointing once again to the natives' causal u t i l i t y and the whites' continuing refusal to offer the Indians permanent status within their communities. Internally destructive and functioning without the approbation of white society? such liaisons remained an important feature of the Yukon social environment? especially outside the Dawson-Whitehorse corridor. The fur trade economy once again constructed i t s special version of na- tive-white social relations. Anglican Church records of inter-racial marriages suggest that such liaisons maintained a special character. Husbands averaged 16 years older than their native wives? most of whom married under twenty years of age. (Table 11) Most were well-established traders or hunters uho had decided to remain permanently in the t e r r i t o - ry. Sanctioned alliances remained the exception? houever? as short-term relationships dominated native-uhite interaction in the fur trade envi- ronment. In those areas removed from the mines and the Yukon River transportation system? especially the Kluane? Teslin? Pelly River and Porcupine River districts? mixed marriages? formalized or not? of short and long duration? remained an indelible part of the social fabric. Tuo dis t i n c t social environments can therefore be seen to have exist- ed in the territory? one encompassing the scattered fur trading popula- tion? the other oriented around Dauson? Vhitehorse and the mining camps. The natives dominated the former. The only uhites uere a feu R.C.II.P. officers? a small number of fur traders and uhite trappers? and several missionaries. In each instance? occupation and purpose brought the 157 whites into close contact with the natives, resulting in generally har- monious relations. Numerically, the natives far outnumbered the whites. In the isolated Old Crow d i s t r i c t in 1928, there were fewer than twenty- five whites in the midst of more than 200 Indians. When the fur trade declined in the late 1940's, the number of Europeans dropped to less than t e n . B 1 Under such conditions, and in a manner reminiscent of rela- tions during the Hudson's Bay Company era, natives and whites reached a mutually acceptable social accommodation, although impermanence contin- ued to typify most relationships. In the more densely populated Whitehorse-Dawson corridor, the reverse held true. The towns and mining camps remained white enclaves for the most part. Whites exerted considerable effort to ensure that the set- tlements retain their essentially Euro-Canadian character. Aided by the government and missionaries, the white communities attempted to keep the towns clear of Indians. Accomplishing this task seldom proved easy. The a v a i l a b i l i t y of occasional work enhanced the attractiveness of the towns to the natives. Abundant liquor supplies, medical f a c i l i t i e s and government offices also added to the drawing power of what passed for urban places. The number of Indians residing near and in the c i t i e s fluctuated according to the a v a i l a b i l i t y of work and wages. Similarly, as government r e l i e f for indigents and health care for the infirm became available, Whitehorse and Dawson in particular attracted a steady number of the i l l and the aged. The white population responded negatively to any influx to the margins of the towns, urging government to maintain s i NAB, vol. 797, f i l e 6535, G. J. McLean to W. W. Cory, 26 Sept. 1928; AC, Old Crow, P.E. Moore to H. A. Alderwood, 17 Dec. 1946. 158 social segregation. 5 2 Federal government o f f i c i a l s . including Indian agent John Hauksley and various Royal North West Mounted Police officers, agreed uith the residents' concerns. Investigating possible sites for an Indian r e s i - dential school in 1910, School Inspector T. Bragg echoed the uidely held vieu that natives be kept out of toun because immoral influences are generally found in uhite com- munities., and such social conditions generally exist as u i l l afford bad examples to Indian children and put temptation in their uay . . . .1 think, houever, that i t is safer to keep them auay from places where liquor i s sold and uhere Indians are known to procure i t and from places uhere Indian g i r l s are knoun to be livin g in amoral relations uith uhite men.63 From the government's paternalistic perspective, the touns uere complex social environments from uhich the "chi l d l i k e " natives had to be pro- tected. While saving the Indians from the ravages of uhite debauchery provided the o f f i c i a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n for the attempted exclusion of Indi- ans, there is no doubt that uhite residents pressured the government to enforce the desired racial segregation. The government adopted several approaches to prevent or regulate na- tive incursions into uhite residential space. The physical segregation of the races proved the most popular and successful. The government es- tablished special native reserves outside the touns. Given that many of the Indians lived near the touns on a seasonal basis, the best option 6 2 On Indians near touns, see RCMP. vol. 352, f i l e 128, Supt. "H" Div i - sion to Asst. Comm., 3 March 1908, 1 May 1908; RCMP, vol. 316, f i l e 241, Cuthbert to OC, RNWMP, 30 April 1906; RCMP, vol. 192, f i l e 995, Primrose to O.D., 1 Nov. 1902; RCMP, vol. 335, f i l e 191, Supt. "H" Division to Asst. Comm., 6 May 1907; RCMP, vol. 315, f i l e 228, Supt. "H" Division to Asst. Comm., 7 Aug. 1906. 6 3 DIA, vol. 3962, f i l e 147, 654-1, T. Bragg to Sec, DIA, 23 June 1910. See also Dept. of Supt. Moodie, RNWMP, Annual report 1914, 274. 159 seemed to be to isolate them close to, but decidedly auay from, the urban centres. This maneuver had the added benefit of working both ways. Not only did i t keep natives out of towns, but because the gov- ernment could legally control access to the Indian reserves, i t also en- sured that few whites entered the native camps.54 In a l l major popula- tion centres, Dawson City (Moosehide reserve), Mayo, Fort Selkirk, Carmacks, Carcross and Whitehorse, the government opened small reserva- tions to keep the Indians outside of white settlements. In most instances, white protests over natives s e t t l i n g within the towns in i t i a t e d the process. In Whitehorse, the Indians' construction of a series of ramshackle huts among the white homes convinced the gov- ernment of the need to establish a reserve. 5 5 John Hawksley noted re- garding Carmacks, "Last year the white residents complained to me of the Indians camping within the limits of the village of Carmacks. Action was at once taken, authority was obtained from the Department of Indian Affairs for surveying a reserve." 5 5 Practical considerations conditioned the town of Hay's insistence that the Indians be removed: Some rich s i l v e r mines have been discovered and there is con- siderable a c t i v i t y in the v i c i n i t y . . . . It is thought that owing to the above the town will develop and the land which the Indians now occupy will be needed. 5 7 5 4 YG vol. 29, f i l e 13014, W. C. Bompas to Commissioner of Y.T., 29 Nov. 1904. 5 5 The reserve issue is discussed in a different context in the last chapter. 5 5 YG. vol. 9, f i l e 1490, pt. J, Hawksley to Black, 23 October 1916. 5 7 DIA, vol. 4081, f i l e 478, 700, Hawksley to J. D. IlcLean, 7 April 1915. 160 There was obviously more than just the need for land behind the subse- quent decision to relocate the natives two miles downstream from Mayo — and on the opposite side of the river. The Indians were physically, though not forceably, removed from residential proximity and placed un- der the theoretical protection of a government reserve. 6 3 Creating a residential reserve solved few problems, for the natives seldom remained within i t s confines. With no treaty between the govern- ment of Canada and the Yukon Indians and with small reserves that could barely suffice as seasonal homes, the authorities had no legitimate means of forcing the Indians to stay on si t e . While the government en- couraged the natives to leave the reserves to hunt and trap, every ef- fort was made to keep them out of the towns. As Superintendent Hoodie reported in 1913, "They are kept out of town as much as possible, but i t is o n l y by b l u f f . " B 3 Lack of legal authority to block native access proved to be l i t t l e impediment. Indian Agent Hawksley regularly imposed curfewB, demanding that a l l natives vacate the towns each night (around 5 p.m. i n the w i n t e r and 7 p.m. i n the summer).70 The program occasion- a l l y lapsed, and at one p o i n t Hawksley despaired over his i n a b i l i t y to prevent the Indians from settling amongst the white population. 7 1 With the assistance of the police, however, Hawksley expanded his curfew pro- E a See also YG, vol. 29, f i l e 13014, F. J. A. Demeres to Asst. Comm., RNWHP, 6 Jan. 1905; YG, vol. 46, f i l e 29967, McDonald to Black, 23 July 1915. 6 3 Report of Supt. Moodie, RNWMP, Annual Report 1914, 274. 7 0 DIA, vol. 4081, f i l e 478, 700, John Hawksley Report on Mayo Band of Indians, 27 July 1916. 7 1 YG, vol. 9, f i l e 1490, pt. J., Hawksley to E. A. Packett, 29 Dec. 1927. 161 gram in 1929. establishing a nightly limit of 8 p.m. (the end of the Dauson picture show), after uhich time a l l natives had to leave toun. The i n i t i a t i v e remained in force even though acknouledged to be "ultra v i r e s . " 7 2 Such legal barriers to regular interaction uere eventually ex- panded. By 1933. Hauksley allowed natives to reside in Dauson only uith a special temporary permit granted only for employment purposes. 7 3 As late as 1947. R. J. Meek adopted similar tactics to keep the natives on their reserves and away from Dauson. 7 4 Supported by the RNWMP. the Indi- an Agent established a series of r i g i d impediments in the uay of Indians uishing to enter the touns. Coupled uith the residential reserve pro- gram, these undertakings ensured the Indians' continuing physical and social segregation. Such efforts did not. houever. completely achieve their goals. En- franchised Indians, the feu that there uere. could not be barred from the touns. and several even managed to secure regular employment. Pre- venting the native ministers of the Anglican Church from residing in the touns posed particularly sensitive d i f f i c u l t i e s . Mrs. Robert McDonald, native uife of the respected northern Yukon missionary, remained in Dau- son for a number of years after her husband's death, sustained by church and government pensions. Likeuise. Anglican synod meetings and other ecclesiastical gatherings often brought such native missionaries as J u l - ius Kendi and his uife into the touns for short periods. While uhites 7 2 Ibid., Hawksley to McLean, 17 April 1929; DIA. vol. 7155. f i l e 801/-3-10 pt. 1. Hawksley to McLean. Notice by John Hawksley. 1929. 7 3 YG. vol. 9. f i l e 1490. pt. J.. Hawksley to A. F. Mackenzie. 16 Nov. 1933. 7 4 DIA. vt.6477. f i l e 927-1. pt. 1, Meek Report. 28 February 1947. 162 tolerated these selected and trained exceptions, toleration remained far removed from acceptance. 7 5 Even those tolerated temporarily within the urban societies uere there on sufferance, in this instance because of their ecclesiastical significance. That the uhite population did not uish any close accommodation, or even familiarity, uith the Indians is further revealed in the debate over native involvement uith schools and hospitals. Institutions uhich may have provided a meeting ground became instead the most v i s i b l e sym- bols of racial segregation. The Indians and uhites had separate school systems, a situation encouraged by the Anglican clergy. Uith a number of natives and half-breeds residing close to each of the touns, houever, i t seemed that some accommodation uith the t e r r i t o r i a l ! public school system uas desirable. Any such attempted integration uas sternly re- sisted and as late as 1 9 4 9 , Teslin offered the only integrated school in the Yukon. 7 6 As Indian Agent R. J. Meek recorded that year, the Yukon School Ordinance does not discriminate against Indi- ans, but the several times Indian children were placed in Ter- r i t o r i a l Schools i t ended as a fiasco. A case as recent as 1 9 4 7 happened at Mayo. Neither the administration nor the teachers would discourage admitting Indians to T e r r i t o r i a l Schools, i t is always a few parents who raise a violent objec- t i o n . 7 7 As mentioned earlier, the rancour led to the establishment of d i s t i n c t l y "Indian schools" in Dawson (St. Paul's hostel for half-breeds) and Uhi- tehorse (Reverend Lee's school for Indians and half-breeds). Once again, significant impediments to native-white interaction had been 7 5 Berton, J_ Married the Klondike, 5 9 - 6 0 . 7 6 DIA, vol. 6 4 7 3 , f i l e 9 3 0 - 1 , pt. 1, extract from report submitted by Supt. R. J. Meek, April 1 - June 3 0 , 1 9 4 9 . 7 7 DIA, vol. 6 4 7 8 , f i l e 9 2 9 - 1 1 , pt. 1, Meek to IAB, 2 4 Nov. 1 9 4 9 . 163 erected. Further evidence of discriminatory barriers can be seen in the treat- ment offered to the natives by the t e r r i t o r i a l medical fraternity. As uith the schools, Indians encountered tuo separate standards of health care, one for themselves and one for the uhite population. In most cen- tres, the people consistently demanded the segregation of hospital fa- c i l i t i e s . Uhites in Dauson, Mayo and Whitehorse repeatedly refused to share hospital uards uith native p a t i e n t s . 7 5 The riayo hospital, funded by the local Treadgold Mining Company, refused to admit natives to i t s general uards. Instead, Indians received treatment in a tent to the rear of the main structure, even in winter. 7 3 The medical professionals apparently shared the general attitude, although they continued to serve their native p a t i e n t B . In 1939, a number of doctors refused to offer their services to Indians at the same rates charged to uhites. The De- partment of Indian Affairs argued that i t uas "not prepared to admit that sick Indians are less desirable patients than uhite people" 5 0 but the prevailing feeling in the d i s t r i c t defeated the Department's opposi- tion. As Yukon Controller G. A. Jeckell urote concerning hospitaliza- tion practises, They (uhite residents) most decidedly object in maternity cas- es to have their uives and infants share a maternity uard uith an Indian mother and infant and the management of St. Mary's Hospital at Dauson is compelled to defer to this opinion. 5 1 7 s RCMP, vol. 296, f i l e 274, Supt. "A" Division to Asst. Comm., 6 March 1905. 7 3 YRGI, Series 4, vol. 24, f i l e 403-2, G. I. MacLean to 0. S. Finnie, 16 Ausgust 1928. ao YRGI, Series 7, vol. 7, f i l e 1490-19, pt. 1, G. A. Jeckell to E. L. Stone, 25 Oct. 1939. 164 Discriminatory attitudes did not abate significantly over time. During a 1947 tuberculosis survey in Uhitehorse, white residents opposed the request that they share hospital gowns with "diseased" Indians. Alter- natives were hastily found. 8 2 Medical care, like the schools and even the touns, became a bastion of segregation, providing graphic evidence of the continuing social distance betueen uhite and Indian in the Yukon. The image of the Indian in the public mind both derived from, and provided a j u s t i f i c a t i o n for, these policies of social segregation. The fur trade portrayal of the native lasted but a short time. The natives' assertive role in the Hudson's Bay Company trade contributed to a uidely held vieu of the Indians as assertive, self-interested and aggressive, 8 3 but that perception died uith the coming of the Gold Rush. Most of the new arrivals saw l i t t l e u t i l i t y in the native way of l i f e , and disdained Indian standards and customs. The emergent images reflected actual c i r - cumstances, but also i l l u s t r a t e d a general tuentieth century deprecia- tion of the v i t a l i t y of Indian s o c i e t y . 8 4 "Dirty" and "diseased" ap- peared frequently in connection with the Indians, an indication of the impact of epidemics and disapproval of native standards of c l e a n l i - ness. 8 5 Whites similarly challenged the Indians' perceived i n a b i l i t y to B I Ibid. 8 2 YG, vol. 65, f i l e 813, Report of a Tuberculosis Survey in the Yukon Territory, cl947. 8 3 PAC, Pelly and Lewes Journal, vol. 1, 9 June 1848; HBCA, B200/b/33, f o l . 15, Ross to Council, 29 Nov. 1858; HBCA, B.200/b/34, Jones to Hardisty, 23 June 1803; HBCA, B200/b/35, f o l . 106, Hardisty to McDougall, 4 April 1865; Hardisty, "The Loucheux Indians", Jones "The Kutchin Indians". 8 4 Berkhofer, The White Man'a Indian, On the function of changing white images of the Indian, see F. Jennings, The Invasion of America. 165 work and their apparent lack of morality. Several commentators ex- pressed hope for their possible improvement, provided of course that they could be kept from alcohol and whites. 8 6 In general, houever. a less positive perception of the natives prevailed. While i t is risky to extrapolate from the scattered comments of missionaries, policemen, and Indian agents to the vieus of the general population, there appears to have been a marked s h i f t in popular attitudes over time. The natives' peripheral economic and social position, the evident impact of disease, and the frequent appearance of inebriated Indians near population cen- ters contributed to the formation of a decisively negative image. Based on incomplete knouledge and antipathy for native cultural forms, the stereotype of the Indians as drunken, s h i f t l e s s and uneducable contrib- uted si g n i f i c a n t l y touard the process of social segregation. To the uhite population, the Indians belonged on a different, someuhat degrad- ed, intellectual plane. Acting through the government. the uhite population remained deter- mined to keep the races apart. Indians had their uorld — in the bush — and i t served both groups i f they remained amongst the trees and the animals. The touns and the mining camps, on the other hand, remained as uhite preserves. Given the impressive efforts to keep native and uhite segregated, the question arises as to the success of the government and uhite population in achieving the goal. The evidence, draun largely from census data, is contradictory and incomplete. Although there is no BS YRGI, Series 2. vol. 44, f i l e 36496; J. Loche to J. G. Gibben, 28 Sept. 1949; RCHP. vol. 295, f i l e 273, H. Cuthbert to Asst. Comm., 20 June 1905; PAC, NAD Armstrong Papers, vol. 3, Diary 1920, f o l . 47, 20 June 1920. 8 6 Report of Supt. Snyder, RNWHP, Annual Report 1909, 223. 166 information as to how census takers compiled their data, i t is li k e l y that Indians in the v i c i n i t y of population centres, even i f on residen- t i a l reserves, were incorporated into urban totals. In 1931. for i n - stance, the national census l i s t e d 158 Indians as liv i n g in towns. Two years later. Indian Agent John Hawksley noted that no Indians lived in Dawson, none in Mayo and only four families comprising less than twenty individuals resided in Whitehorse. 8 7 To further complicate matters. In- dians often camped or erected cabins near towns on a seasonal basis, while spending most of their time on the traplines and hunting grounds. Recorded population data therefore, decisively overstated the number of Indians permanently resident in the towns and did not account for local patterns of segregation and seasonal mobility. Limited data suggests that the process of social isolation succeeded. (Table 12) In Dawson in particular* white efforts to keep the Indians on the Moosehide reserve seem to have worked. The figures for Whitehorse suggest otherwise* although population s t a t i s t i c s do not l i s t those on the reserve near the town separately. Here* as in Dawson* the Indians resided primarily on the reserve and not in the white settlement. The urban centers held out numerous attractions for the nativesijobs* alco- hol* government services* r e t a i l stores* health care and occasionally educational f a c i l i t i e s . Those Indians who insisted upon li v i n g near the towns* most of whom did so only on a seasonal basis* found themselves on the physical and social margins. Exclusionist policies and public a t t i - tudes worked to keep them there. To World War II* those programs suc- ceeded to a considerable degree. 8 7 YG* vol. 9, f i l e 1490. pt. J. Hawksley to Mackenzie. IB Nov. 1933. 167 Table 12 NATIVE RURAL/URBAN POPULATION. 1901-1951 Rural Urban 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 3,322 1, 152 1,382 1,469 1,362 1,320 337 8 158 276 230(1) (1) Indians in WhitehorBe only. Source: Canada, Census 1901-1951. The construction of the Alaska Highuay, begun in 19