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

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CI  BEST LEFT AS INDIANS : NATIVE-WHITE RELATIONS IN THE TUKON TERRITORY. 1840-1950 by KENNETH STEPHEN COATES B.A.i The University of B r 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  in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of History) Ve accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required standard.  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA MARCH 1984 fc) Kenneth Stephen Coatest 1984  In  presenting this  thesis  in partial  f u l f i l m e n t of  r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t of  British  it  freely  agree for  Columbia, available  I  agree that  for reference  the  University  the L i b r a r y  s h a l l make  and s t u d y .  I  that permission for extensive  copying of  understood that financial  copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of  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 1956 Main Mall V a n c o u v e r , Canada V6T 1Y3  6  (.3/81)  this It  this  g a i n s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t  permission.  Date  further thesis  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e h e a d o f my  d e p a r t m e n t o r by h i s o r h e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . for  the  Kor\\ vo, v s ^  Columbia  is thesis my w r i t t e n  ABSTRACT Native peoples form a v i t a l part of the s o c i a l and economic f a b r i c of the Canadian North. Though much neglected in the h i s t o r i c a l l i t e r a t u r e * 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 i n the context of Euro-Canadian developments, t r a c i n g nativewhite r e l a t i o n s in the Yukon T e r r i t o r y from f i r s t contact i n the 1840's to the establishment of a new socio-economic s t r u c t u r e in the 1950's. Economici s o c i a l and i n s t i t u t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s are examined separately, but each i l l u s t r a t e s the systematic placement of the natives on the margins of the regional order. Native workers found feu openings in the mining and s e r v i c e i n d u s t r i e s , relegated instead to seasonal, unskilled positions. A d i s t i n c t s o c i a l environment emerged in the towns and mining camps, characterized by a white-dominated population and firm res t r i c t i o n s on native entry. Sustained by a vibrant i f v a r i a b l e fur market, the fur trade d i s t r i c t s developed d i f f e r e n t l y . The natives found a more economically rewarding and s o c i a l l y integrated environment, one mirroring the s o c i a l and economic accommodation reached during the preGold Rush fur trade period. The major disruptions of the Klondike Gold Rush and the construction of the Alaska Highway and Canol P i p e l i n e during World War II did not change the pattern s i g n i f i c a n t l y , as the nat i v e s remained only casual p a r t i c i p a n t s in the white-dominated economy and s o c i e t y . These d i v i s i o n s between native and white were re-enforced through the p o l i c i e s and programmes of the Anglican Church and the federal government. Both held p e s s i m i s t i c views of the prospects for t e r r i t o r i a l development and. although they retained a desire to " c i v i l i z e . " C h r i s t i a n ize and a s s i m i l a t e the natives. they preferred to protect the natives' harvesting l i f e s t y l e u n t i l a more appropriate moment. The church and the government seconded public e f f o r t s to segregate the natives and sought in a very haphazard way to preserve t h e i r access to the region's natural resources. Though the actions, a t t i t u d e s and programmes of the white population strongly a f f e c t e d the natives' p o s i t i o n . native forces also influenced s o c i a l and economic developments. The natives maintained a s p e c i a l a f f i n i t y for the harvesting mode, p r e f e r r i n g 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 d i s c i p l i n e and insecuri t y of wage labour. With t h e i r r e l i g i o u s and s o c i a l values based on a continuing accommodation with the physical environment, the natives favoured the pursuit of game for c u l t u r a l as well as economic reasons. Nat i v e choice as much as Euro-Canadian exclusion d i c t a t e d the natives' pos i t i o n in the Yukon T e r r i t o r y .  TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE Abstract L i s t of Tables L i s t of F i g u r e s L i s t o f Maps Acknowledgements  i i iv v v vi  Preface Chapter  1 1.  Background  16  2.  Economic R e l a t i o n s i n the Fur Trade E r a  25  3.  N a t i v e s and the Pre-Gold  47  4.  Natives  5.  N a t i v e s i n the Twentieth  6.  Natives  7.  Native-White  8.  P o p u l a t i o n and D i s e a s e  9.  R e l i g i o n and the Yukon N a t i v e s  202  10.  E d u c a t i o n and the Yukon N a t i v e s  233  11.  The F e d e r a l Government and the N a t i v e s of the Yukon  277  Rush M i n i n g F r o n t i e r  i n the K l o n d i k e Gold Rush Economy Century  61  I n d u s t r i a l Economy  i n the H a r v e s t i n g Economy  ...  Social Relations  79 92 126  ;  174  Conclusion  324  Bibliography  335  iii  LIST OF TABLES TABLE 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.  ? PAGE Hudson's Bay Company Fur Returns. 1847-1893 43 Fur Returns By Region. Selected Years 101 Yukon Fur Returns. 1919-1950 102 Fur P r i c e s - Five Year Averages. 1920-1949 103 Father's Occupation as L i s t e d at Time of R e g i s t r a t i o n of Indian Births, 1930-1950 124 Yukon Population, 1901-1971 127 Sex Ratios, Yukon Population, 1901-1951 127 Average Age At F i r s t Recorded Marriage, Anglican Church Records, 1900-1950 155 Ages of Fathers and Mothers, F i r s t Recorded B i r t h , 1930- 1950 155 Conjugal Condition, Yukon Indians, 1941 156 Age At Marriage, Indian-White Marriages, Anglican Church Records, 1906-1928 .156 Native Rural/Urban Population, 1901-1951 168 Native Alcohol Related Convictions and P o l i c e Manpower, Southern Yukon, 1940-1949 170 Yukon Native Population Ratios 179 Pre-Contact Population Density 179 Recorded Native B i r t h s , Deaths and Natural Increase. 1931- 1950 188 Causes of Death, 1900-1949 193 Percentage of Total Deaths, By Age 197 Average and Median Age at Death, By Sex, 1900-1949 . . . 197 Yukon Indian Children Contacted By Day Schools, 1920-1954 244 Day School Attendance, Yukon Indians, 1900-1954 245 Status of Parents, New Registrants, Carcross R e s i d e n t i a l School, 1930-1950 258 Carcross School Enrollments, C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Students, 1930-1950 260 O r i g i n s of New Registrants, Carcross R e s i d e n t i a l School, 1930-1950 . . . 261 Residential Reserves, Yukon T e r r i t o r y , 1896-1958 . . . . 290 Crimes Involving Natives, Whitehorse P o l i c e Court, 1900-1949 313 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 D i s t r i b u t i o n  20  2.  Hudson's Bay Company Trading Posts, 1847-1893  3.  Routes to the Klondike Gold F i e l d s  64  4.  World War  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  II Construction Projects  V  ...  32  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Research on t h i s project has been graciously a s s i s t e d by many people. In p a r t i c u l a r ^ 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 L e s l i e and Robert A l l e n of the T r e a t i e s and H i s t o r i c a l Research Centre, and the s t a f f s of the Public Archives of Canada and the Hudson's Bay Company Archives provided much useful advice. I must also thank the Hudson's Bay Company and Bishop F e r r i s of the Anglican Church, Yukon Diocese for permission to consult t h e i r records. Finally, thanks are extended to George Brandak and Anne Yandle of the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Special C o l l e c t i o n s D i v i s i o n for providing an e s p e c i a l l y congenial work environment. Financial assistance was provided through an H.R. MacMillan Family Fellowship, an S.S.H.R.C. Doctoral Fellowship, and a s p e c i a l grant from the Department of Indian A f f a i r s and Northern Development's Northern Studies T r a i n i n g Grants Programme, administered through the U.B.C. A r c t i c and Alpine Research Committee. What q u a l i t i e s t h i s work may possess r e f l e c t s the work of the e x c e l lent h i s t o r i a n s I have had as teachers, colleagues and friends. At the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, my brother C o l i n , Duane Thompson and Dr. R. A. J. McDonald commented on my proposals and l i s t e n e d endlessly to new ideas and reports of a r c h i v a l d i s c o v e r i e s . Dr. A l l e n T u l l y ' s generous assistance, both in broadening my h i s t o r i c a l outlook and i n reminding me of the world outside the u n i v e r s i t y , i s g r a t e f u l l y acknowledged. Dr. Catherine LeGrand offered much important advice during my b r i e f f o r ays into L a t i n American h i s t o r y . Dr. A. J. Ray provided e x c e l l e n t c r i t icism of the various d r a f t s of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n . I owe my greatest academic debt to Dr. David Breen. Academic excellence, professionalism and compassion c h a r a c t e r i z e h i s work as teacher, advisor and h i s t o r i a n . I hope only that t h i s t h e s i s adequately r e f l e c t s h i s i n s i g h t f u l and f r e e l y - o f f e r e d advice. I owe the most to my wife. She has c h e e r f u l l y l i v e d with t h i s project for the past four years. That I have f i n a l l y reached the conclusion i s largely a r e f l e c t i o n of her dedication and encouragement. This one's for you, Cathy.  PREFACE For most Canadians.  the Yukon T e r r i t o r y  i s the land of the Klondike  Gold Rush, the route for the Alaska Highway, and more recently the l o c a tion of a s e r i e s of c o n t r o v e r s i a l tion of  these b r i e f occasions when  public's imagination, lence.  proposed p i p e l i n e s .  With the excep-  Canada's far north-west  the t e r r i t o r y seemingly  seized the  rested i n extended somno-  Largely removed from national view, the d i s t r i c t remained  little  more than a mecca for n o s t a l g i c t o u r i s t s and repository for prospectors' dreams of another mineral "Bonanza". This conception obscures far more than i t reveals. has a  vibrant past,  but  the vast  Klondike Gold Rush and World War ed  the underlying  upheaval  Indeed, the Yukon  and glamour  attending the  II construction p r o j e c t s has  c o n t i n u i t y of  the  region's h i s t o r i c a l  obliteratexperience.  From before the 1840's, when fur traders f i r s t pushed into the upper Yukon River v a l l e y ,  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 s i g n i f i c a n t re-  gional order developed forces.  i n response  The Yukon's s o c i a l and  to  a myriad of internal and external  economic environment has r e f l e c t e d the  transiency of the white population,  the s t a b i l i t y of native h a b i t a t i o n  and the varied nature of resource development. The  native  throughout.  population  remained  the  Prospectors entered by the  after their a r r i v a l .  single  most  thousands,  stable  element  but most l e f t soon  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 d e c l i n e , i t s perception of the north conditioned by a p e s s i m i s t i c .  1  though not inaccurate, assessment of the l i k e l i h o o d of sustained economic development.  With the exception of a feu government agents, several  dozen missionaries and a few were the  determined northern s e t t l e r s ,  only t r u l y permanent inhabitants.  the natives  Though they too  felt  the  disruptions and shared some of the opportunities attending the Gold Rush and subsequent  "booms," the natives  the d i s t r i c t and a harvesting The  retained t h e i r attachment  lifestyle.  Indian population c l e a r l y provided an  society noted for i t s i n s t a b i l i t y . economy and  society,  stant.  a consequence,  As  to both  element of c o n t i n u i t y i n a  Within the ever-changing t e r r i t o r i a l  the natives remained the assessment  almost the only  human con-  of Indian contact  with  the  Euro-Canadian order provides a useful means of charting the broad transformations  of the Yukon T e r r i t o r y .  nation are the cist) north,  C l e a r l y evident through t h i s exami-  comparative persistance of r a c i a l  attitudes,  varying government  the continued  v i a b i l i t y of the  (and o c c a s i o n a l l y r a -  and popular  perceptions of  the  fur trade,  the establishment  of  d i s t i n c t economic and s o c i a l sectors within the regional order, natives' commitment to t h e i r way more than r a c i a l  of l i f e .  and  the  The study therefore examines  i n t e r a c t i o n ; i t considers as well the evolution of t e r -  r i t o r i a l society. The Canadian North has seldom been the focus for t h i s form of regional h i s t o r y .  Addressing  the Royal Society of Canada i n 1970,  ton noted that Canadian h i s t o r i a n s had c o n s i s t e n t l y ignored — underestimated  —  the' psychological and  north on national developments.  1  1  Despite  environmental  W. L.  Mor-  and hence  impact of  the  the c l a r i t y of Morton's appeal  W. L. Morton, "The 'North' in Canadian Historiography," in A. B. McKillop, ed., Contexts of Canada's Past (Toronto: Macmillan, 1980),  2  and the p r o l i f e r a t i o n of regional studies elsewhere i n Canada, for the increased study of  2  the c a l l  northern h i s t o r y remains largely unanswered.  With the exception of Morton, Morris Zaslow and a small band of northern enthusiasts, few Canadian h i s t o r i a n s have turned t h e i r a t t e n t i o n s northward.  To date,  the north i s s t i l l  Canadian h i s t o r i o g r a p h y .  decidedly outside the mainstream of  3  Impeding the development of a  t r u l y "northern" historiography i s the  d i f f i c u l t y inherent i n d e f i n i n g the term "north".  W.  L.  Morton de-  s c r i b e d the north as the region beyond the l i m i t of a g r i c u l t u r a l  settle-  ment.  His d e f i n i t i o n r e f l e c t s h i s view of the north as a psychological  force,  but i t lacks an h i s t o r i c a l dimension.  Douglas Owram point out,  As both Morris Zaslow and  the "north" i s a v a r i a b l e term,  expectations and patterns of development. North-Vest,  4  changing with  The "northernness"  of the old  for example, was an a r t i f i c i a l construct, r e f l e c t i n g B r i t i s h  and Canadian perceptions more than environmental  realities.^  229-242. 2  Regional h i s t o r y has recently come under attack from several quarters. See J. M. S. Careless, "Limited I d e n t i t i e s — Ten Years Later," Manitoba History, 1/1981, 3-9.  3 See Morris Zaslow, "The North," i n J. L. Granatstein and Paul Stevens, eds. A Reader's Guide to Canadian History 2: Confederation to the Present (Toronto: U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Press, 1982); R. J . Diubaldo, "The North i n Canadian H i s t o r y : An Outline," Fram: The Journal of Polar History, v o l . 1, (Vinter 1984). * Morton, "The 'North'." s Morris Zaslow, The Opening of the Canadian North. 1870-1914. (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. 1971). XI—XII; Douglas Owram. The Promise of Eden (Toronto: U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Press. 1982).  3  In h i s major work. The Opening of the Canadian North. three d i f f e r e n t norths: (forested b e l t or definitions  the North-West ( p r a i r i e west),  sub-Arctic)  are both  Zaslow defines  and the A r c t i c  geographic  and  "north" i s both an environmental and  Middle North  ( t r e e l e s s tundra).  historic,  suggesting  His  that  the  temporal c r e a t i o n . The Yukon pro5  vides an e x c e l l e n t example of the u t i l i t y of Zaslow's d e f i n i t i o n s .  The  A r c t i c slope, p o l i t i c a l l y part of the Yukon T e r r i t o r y , 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 d i s -  t i n c t geographic character and a d i f f e r e n t h i s t o r i c a l heritage. of the two  regions' divergent t r a d i t i o n s ,  Because  the A r c t i c slope w i l l not  be  included i n t h i s study, which w i l l examine instead the upper Yukon River valley. The  "Middle North," of  which most of the Yukon T e r r i t o r y  has a t t r a c t e d few h i s t o r i a n s . i s dominated lesser extent,  Like the d i s t r i c t  by popular w r i t i n g the  on the Kondike  b u i l d i n g of the Alaska  itself,  the  i s a part, literature  Gold Rush and,  Highway.  7  A v a i l a b l e studies  consist of l i t t l e more than narrative,, often anecdotal, h i s t o r i e s . eral of these works,  including T.  Karamanski,  tion, B A. A. Wright, Prelude to Bonanza,3 P.  to a  Fur Trade and  Sev-  Explora-  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: Update 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 (Edmonton: Boreal, 1975).  B  T. Karamanski, 1982).  3  A. A. Wright, Prelude to Bonanza, (Sidney:  Fur Trade and  Exploration (Vancouver:  4  Grey's, 1976).  UBC  Press,  Rempley, The Crooked Road, ever,  1 1  are worthwhile pieces.  the l i t e r a t u r e c o n s i s t s of u n r e l i a b l e g l o r i f i c a t i o n s of the heady  Klondike days or equally favourable p o r t r a y a l s can and  In the main, how-  Canadian construction workers on  of the e f f o r t s of Ameri-  the various World War  II de-  fense c o n s t r u c t i o n p r o j e c t s . There are  signs that  past i s underway, largely  a more systematic  assessment of  the region's  although much of the material remains unpublished  inaccessible.  Government  commissioned research,  and  especially  through the federal agency Parks Canada, has provided a v a r i e t y of studies r e l a t i n g to national h i s t o r i c s i t e s . fers an  extensive survey of the  Similarly,  R.  1 2  Hal Guest's "Dawson C i t y " of-  c i t y ' s r i s e and  subsequent d e c l i n e .  Friesen's work on the Chilcoot Pass and Gordon  useful survey, Yukon Transportation:  1 3  Bennett's  A History provide d e t a i l e d analy-  ses of the development of the regional transportation s y s t e m .  14  Unfortu-  nately, the bulk of Parks Canada production, l i k e that of the T e r r i t o r i al Government's Department of Tourism,  Heritage and Cultural  r e l a t e s to s p e c i f i c h i s t o r i c s i t e reclamation s i g n i f i c a n t l y in understanding the Gold Rush p e r i o d .  1 5  i° P. Berton, Klondike,  Resources,  p r o j e c t s and does not a i d  larger developments, p a r t i c u l a r l y outside  Indeed, these studies, while very h e l p f u l ,  (Toronto:  McClelland and Stewart,  1972).  n  D. Rempley, The Crooked Road. (Toronto:  1 2  For a l i s t i n g of studies, see Parks Canada, 1983 Bibliography. tawa: Parks Canada 1983).  (Ot-  1  Hal Guest, "A History of the C i t y of Dawson, Yukon T e r r i t o r y , 1920," (Parks Canada, Microfiche Report Series #7).  1896-  3  McGraw-Hill,  have  1978).  i * R. J. Friesen, "The Chilkoot Pass and the Great Gold Rush of 1898", (Manuscript Report S e r i e s , No. 236, 1978)5 G. Bennett, Yukon Transp o r t a t i o n : A History (Ottawa: National H i s t o r i c Parks, 1978).  5  been compromised from the outset because foundation of a regional h i s t o r y  they were prepared without the  necessary to provide s a t i s f a c t o r y con-  text. P o t e n t i a l l y more valuable i s the Freed  from the  c o n s t r a i n t s of  work prepared by graduate  government-sponsored r e s e a r c h .  h i s t o r i a n s have been more w i l l i n g to site-oriented studies.  studentB. 16  these  push beyond the narrow confines of  Here again, the preponderant  influence of Morris  Zaslow i n shaping northern historiography i s evident.  Zaslou supervised  many of the theses and d i s s e r t a t i o n s prepared on northern and Yukon topi c s ; not s u r p r i s i n g l y , they share many of h i s pre-occupations and ests.  1  7  ducing  inter-  Other centres, p a r t i c u l a r l y the University of Manitoba, are prograduate  students  interested in  Canadian North remains far behind the  northern  topics,  rapid expansion  1 8  but  the  i n the h i s t o r i o g -  raphy on other regions of the country.  1 5  Two exceptions are the regional h i s t o r i e s . 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 were f i r s t prepared as government research p r o j e c t s . 1 7  Bennett,  See W. R. Morrison, "The Mounted P o l i c e on Canada's Northern Frontier", (Ph.D., U.W.O., 1971); G. E. G a r t r e l l , "The Work of the Churches i n the Yukon during the era of the Klondike Gold Rush", (M.A. thesis, U.W.O., 1970); W. K. Hubbard "The Klondike Gold Rush i n L i t e r a t u r e , 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., U n i v e r s i t y of Winnipeg, 1981); W. Ostenstat, "The Impact of the Fur Trade on the T l i n g i t , " (M.A. t h e s i s , University of Manitoba, 1978); A. Tanner, "The Structure of Fur Trade Relations," (M.A. thesis, Univ e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1966); S. Ugarenko, "The D i s t r i b u t i o n of the Kutchin and t h e i r S p a t i a l Patterns of Trade, 1700-1850," (M.A. thesis, York University, 1979); Ken Coates, "Furs Along The Yukon: Hudson's Bay Company - Native Trade i n 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 h i s -  t o r i c s i t e s research on the Yukon, unfortunately,  has not taken us much  beyond the t r a d i t i o n a l emphasis on the Klondike Gold Rush.  Mainly, they  have fleshed out e a r l i e r d e s c r i p t i o n s offered by Berton and others. notable exception i s Zaslow's The Opening of the Canadian North. f u l l y written and researched,  the volume  and because i t was  historiography.  But by v i r t u e of i t s sur-  prepared i n advance of  the book does not examine  in s u f f i c i e n t d e t a i l .  a significant  a number of important  an f r o n t i e r , the expansion of the l i m i t s of settlement, in these developments.  "southern" as they succumb to explorers, the focus of the study s h i f t i n g Zaslow's i n t e r e s t s  Zaslow i s  s e t t l e r s and developers,  casual treatment of  Other h i s t o r i a n s  t i v e s have not. however,  Indians and  processes of  have s i m i l a r l y offered h i s t o r y of the region.  gone unstudied.  aboriginal  limited The  na-  Beginning i n the 1930's eth-  anthropologists and archaeologists have undertaken  studies of the  with  In the Yukon context.  l i t t l e attention to the  commentary on the Indians' role i n the  nographers,  areas become  1 3  not alone i n paying  native-white contact.  Euro-Canadi-  and the federal  Many northern  ever northward.  resulted in a very  native-white r e l a t i o n s .  topics  Zaslow i s pre-occupied with the "opening" of the  north, which r e s u l t s in an emphasis on the unfolding of the  government's r o l e  Care-  provides a much needed i n t r o -  duction to the h i s t o r y of the Canadian north. vey character  The  inhabitants of the upper  numerous  Yukon River v a l l e y .  Cornelius Osgood (Han and Kutchin). Anne Acheson Welsh (Kutchin). Catherine McClellan (Southern Yukon). John Honigman (Kaska). Dominique Legros  i s Zaslow. Opening, pp. 144-146.  7  (Tutchone),  J u l i e Cruikshank  (mythology)  and  others have  combined  personal observations, native oral t r a d i t i o n and l i m i t e d documentary research to create s e n s i t i v e and s e n s i b l e p o r t r a i t s of indigenous c u l t u r e s in the Yukon. studies s t i l l  Though often exemplary within  20  do not o f f e r extensive  their discipline,  or systematic assessments  evolution of native-white r e l a t i o n s .  these of the  The Yukon natives, therefore, have  been studied i n d e t a i l , but narrowly.  Their contacts with the Euro-Can-  adian population and t h e i r role in the changing pattern of the Yukon soc i e t y and economy have received limited consideration. These gaps i n the Yukon  the l i t e r a t u r e on the Canadian  T e r r i t o r y i l l u s t r a t e the need  Indian-white  North and  for a thorough  r e l a t i o n s in the upper Yukon River v a l l e y .  questions raised i n t h i s regional context the rather narrow confines of northern  particularly  examination The  of  historical  should be of i n t e r e s t outside  history.  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 applying  international and  national i n i t i a t i v e s in a  The national a p p l i c a t i o n of federal C h r i s t i a n education  2 0  should also be  Indian p o l i c y ,  northern  including  c l a r i f i e d by reference  Betting.  secular and to regional  S. Krech, "The Eastern Kutchin and the Fur Trade, 1800-1860", EthnohiBtorv, 23/3 (Summer 1976), 213-235; C. Osgood, The Han Indians (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1971); C. Osgood, Contributions to the Ethnography of the Kutchin (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y , 1936); A. Welsh Acheson, "Nomads in Town: The Kutchin of Old Crow", (Ph.D. D i s s e r t a t i o n , Cornell U n i v e r s i t y , 1977); C. McClellan, My Old People Say: An Ethnographic Survey of Southern Yukon T e r r i t o r y 2 vols., (Ottawa: National Museum, 1975); J. Honigmann, The Kaska Indians, (New Haven: Yale University,1954); D. Legros, "Structure S o c i o - c u l t u r e l l e et rapparts de domination chez le Tutchone Septentrionaux du Yukon au: dixneuvieme s i e c l e , " (Ph.D., U n i v e r s i t y of B.C., 1981); J. Cruikshank, "Becoming a Woman i n Athapaska Society: Changing T r a d i tions i n the Upper Yukon River," Western Canada Journal of Anthropology, v o l . 5, no. 2, (1975, 1-14); The recent work i s l i s t e d and summarized i n June Helm, ed. Handbook of North American Indians, v o l . VI: Sub-Arctic, (Washington, Smithsonian, 1981).  8  activities. Similarly*  t h i s study addresses several noticeable gaps in the e x i s t -  ing Canadian l i t e r a t u r e on native-white of C.  relations.  With the exception  Bishop's ethnographic. The Northern 01ibwav and the Fur Trade  D. F r a n c i s and T. Morantz, Partners i n Furs, j e c t area  examine northern Canadian  adopts an  expanded chronological framework.  1840 to 1950.  and  few s t u d i e s i n t h i s sub-  2 1  settings.  The current covering the  work also period from  E x i s t i n g w r i t i n g by h i s t o r i a n s on Indian-white  relations  i s voluminous for the pre-Confederation period? but scanty t h e r e a f t e r . To date.  l i t t l e material e x i s t s  on the post-Confederation period,  s p i t e the obvious s i g n i f i c a n c e of  ing e x i s t s spanning the two periods,  ing  the e v o l u t i o n  transformations.  23  of  As well, v i r t u a l l y noth-  d e s c r i b i n g the d i f f e r e n c e i n con-  and post-Confederation eras and assess-  native-white contact  By bridging  de-  developments following the advance of  settlement and expanded resource developments.  tact r e l a t i o n s between the pre-  2 2  existing  through  the many  chronological and  crucial  geographic  gaps in the historiography, t h i s 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 i n Furs (Montreal: McGill - Queen's, 1983).  2 2  For a d i s c u s s i o n of the l i t e r a t u r e , see J. Walker, "The Indian i n Canadian H i s t o r i c a l Writing, 1971-1981," i n I. Getty and A. S. L u s s i er, As Long As the Sun Shines and the Water Flows (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1983), 340-357; Robin Fisher, " H i s t o r i c a l Writing on Native People i n Canada," History and Social Science Teacher, v o l . 17, no. 2 (Winter, 1982). 65-72.  2 3  The major exception i s C. Bishop, The Northern Oi ibway. Less systematic, but s t i l l useful i s Hugh Brody, Haps and Dreams (Vancouver: Douglas and Mclntyre, 1982).  9  Though  h i s t o r i a n s have  paid l i t t l e  a t t e n t i o n 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 i n d e t a i l . tory of  the north i s t y p i c a l l y  In these studies, the contact  divided between contact-stable  trade) and post-1945 government i n t e r v e n t i o n . i l l u s t r a t e s the importance of post-World  2 4  his-  (or fur  Though the Yukon example  War II changes,  the treatment  of the e a r l i e r period as a s i n g l e period i s less acceptable.  The d i v i -  sion assumes a s t a b l e fur trade economy, an assumption that does not account for industry reorganization following son's Bay  Company monopoly,  subsequent  competition  changes i n Indian technological c u l t u r e , northern  fur  trade i n the Twentieth  and  Century.  scures the impact of northern adventurers, s i o n a r i e s and 1945.  For  government agents,  "stable".  1896-1904,  for native trade,  a revived i n t e r e s t i n the This approach  also ob-  s c i e n t i s t s , prospectors, mis-  a l l active in  the Yukon i n p a r t i c u l a r ,  Klondike Gold Rush,  the termination of the Hud-  the area  long before  the d i s r u p t i v e influence  of the  b e l i e s any d e s c r i p t i o n of the region as  Charles Bishop, both i n h i s monograph on the Ojibway and l a t -  er i n an a r t i c l e with A. tive history,  J.  Ray, o f f e r s a d i f f e r e n t chronology for na-  and Indian-white contact,  appropriate d i v i s i o n  (Early Fur Trade,  Trading Post Dependency,  1821-1890,  i n the s u b - A r c t i c . Competitive  Trade,  Era of E a r l y Government  2 3  This more 1763-1821, Influence,  2 4  See Helm. Handbook. This chronology i s also applied i n Peter Usher, "The North: Metropolitan F r o n t i e r , Native Homeland," i n L. D. McCann. ed. Heartland and Hinterland (Scarborough: Prentice-Hall, 1982).  2 5  Bishop, Northern Oi ibwav, C. Bishop and A. J. Ray, "Ethnohistoric Research i n 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) fur  emphasizes the changing nature of  trade r e l a t i o n s , the preliminary impact of missionaries,  agents and new  government  technology, and the important changes associated with  poet-war period.  Though t h i s chronology, s p e c i f i c a l l y defined with  the ref-  erence to the central sub-Arctic and therefore of l i m i t e d d i r e c t use for the Yukon, w i l l not be applied, an acceptance of an evolutionary pattern of contact  is implicit.  Several basic considerations condition the natives' response  following a n a l y s i s of the  to changing socio-economic conditions.  stone i s a b e l i e f i n the e f f i c a c y and e f f i c i e n c y — t h e i r hunting and gathering a t i v e phrase. context  they  of t h e i r own  lifestyle.  corner-  to the Indians —  of  To use Marshall Sahlin's provoc-  were the " o r i g i n a l a f f l u e n t c u l t u r e and  The  s o c i e t y . " z s Within  the  the c o n s t r a i n t s of t h e i r  expectations,  harvesters r e a d i l y s a t i s f i e d t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l and material  requirements.  The nature of the hunting and  f i s h i n g existence ensured that the natives  maintained a p o s i t i v e attachment to t h e i r way l e i s u r e and mobility afforded by a as  an agreeable  viewed t h i s manner  focus for  of l i f e .  The  flexibility,  r e l i a n c e on natural resources  economic and  of l i v i n g with disdain,  s o c i a l behavior. considering  the more regular work patterns of the i n d u s t r i a l age.  served  Europeans  i t i n f e r i o r to Though many con-  temporary and s c h o l a r l y observers deemed aboriginal methods impractical, the natives c l e a r l y favoured  the harvesting way  of  life.  2 7  *  2 6  M. Sahlins. "Notes on the O r i g i n a l A f f l u e n t Society." i n Stone-Age Economics (London: Tavastock. 1974).  2 7  For an e x c e l l e n t a n a l y s i s of popular and academic a t t i t u d e s toward natives, see R. Berkhofer. The White Man's Indian Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (New York: Knopf. 1978).  11  This p o s i t i v e the v i t a l i t y systems.  environmental accommodation —  of the native l i f e  —  i t s e l f the  essence of  conditioned both b e l i e f  and s o c i a l  The a v a i l a b i l i t y of natural  determined h a b i t a t i o n  resources set population l i m i t s ,  patterns and influenced s o c i a l  structures.  continuing a b i l i t y of the Yukon Indians to hunt, trap and f i s h — tion they  retained through to 1950  As Hugh Brody demonstrated lumbia,  this  for the  —  i s therefore a  not an  central concern.  "aboriginal  f a c t . " but rather a p o s i t i v e , on-going adaption to economic Though anxious to preserve t h e i r hunting l i f e s t y l e .  key additions. gain these new  Once attained,  Co-  arti-  realities.  2 9  the Indians were  of European expansion.  technological improvements from the iron axe  The  an op-  natives of North-Eastern B r i t i s h  environmental accommodation i s  not b l i n d to the many advantanges  2 S  Material and  to the outboard motor were  they were not r e a d i l y surrendered.  To  items d i d not. however, require the abandonment of e x i s t -  ing economic and s o c i a l patterns.  Michael Asch described the Mackenzie  Indians' accommodation to the new Euro-Canadian  order as a "mixed econo-  my. " i n which natives by preference continued t h e i r harvesting.  As need  and i n c l i n a t i o n dictated, however, they p a r t i c i p a t e d in those sectors of the Euro-Canadian economy  —  from the fur trade to  necessary to s a t i s f y t h e i r material requirements.  30  hard-rock mining  —  Much as Asch has de-  2 8  Some anthropologists, notably Marvin Harris, take t h i s to an extreme, arguing for v e r i t a b l e b i o l o g i c a l determinism. David Riches and others emphasize the importance of human processes in determining native s o c i a l 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." i n D. Turner and G. Smith, eds. Challenging Anthropology (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson. 1979). 81-99; M. Asch,  12  scribed for the Mackenzie River Indians,  the Yukon natives did not se-  l e c t e i t h e r the harvesting or the i n d u s t r i a l economy; rather, they melded the two  into an acceptable and r a t i o n a l economic  system designed  to  an acceptance  of  provide for t h e i r material and c u l t u r a l needs. These considerations their a b i l i t y  of native  preference,  to respond p o s i t i v e l y  plus  to d i f f e r e n t  economic conditions,  provides the foundation for subsequent assessments of native a c t i v i t i e s . The main purpose,  however,  i s not  to focus on Indian a c t i v i t i e s ,  rather to examine native-white r e l a t i o n s in 1840  to 1950.  As suggested,  t h e i r own  culture.  the Yukon River v a l l e y from  the natives  c l e a r perception of s e l f - i n t e r e s t ,  of the Yukon operated with a  defined  of course with reference to  The Euro-Canadian population,  fur traders, missionaries, government workers, and s e t t l e r s ,  similarly  an odd c o l l e c t i o n of  prospectors,  approached the natives and the  framework etched by contemporary perceptions. often came to  s i m i l a r conclusions —  the Indians as harvesters of game  —  for  instance on the need  f i r s t and  Fundamental misunderstanding,  tent ioned or malevolent, in North America.  north within a  That natives and whites  foremost,  t a t i o n of c u l t u r e s and m e n t a l i t i e s , often incompatible, comprehended.  developers  for c o n f l i c t i n g reasons,  l u s t r a t e s that the meeting of races was,  but  to keep only  il-  a confron-  seldom  mutually  mutual or one-sided,  unin-  stands at the centre of i n t e r - r a c i a l encounter  The Yukon T e r r i t o r y i s no d i f f e r e n t .  "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 Recommendations of the Mackenzie V a l l e y P i p e l i n e Commission," Culture, v o l . 2, no. 3 (1982), 3-9.  13  In the Yukon's case, a v a r i e t y of economic, institutional races,  forces,  both native and  white,  social,  demographic and  combined to separate the  keeping the Indians on the margins of white s o c i e t y .  Indians inhabited the f r i n g e s does not,  however,  power of e x c l u B i o n i s t a t t i t u d e s and programmes. considerable strength,  That the  simply a t t e s t to the Though these proved of  natives seldom challenged the b a r r i e r s of preju-  dice.  Their continuing commitment to harvesting reduced, i f not e l i m i -  nated,  the d e s i r e to enter the i n d u s t r i a l and urban sectors of the t e r -  r i t o r i a l economy and s o c i e t y . The  late  and d i f f e r e n t i a l pattern of  development i n the Yukon sets  the region somewhat apart from other northern d i s t r i c t s . t h i s quarter,  however,  o f f e r i n s i g h t s into native-white  other non-settlement areas, many of which, bia,  northern  relations in  l i k e northern B r i t i s h Colum-  Ontario and the Mackenzie River v a l l e y ,  Euro-Canadian expansion.  Experiences i n  Despite the d i s r u p t i v e  faced s i m i l a r  influence of the gold  rush and war-time construction projects,  the Yukon Indians retained ac-  cess to land and resources up to  The continued v i a b i l i t y of the  harvesting economy, north,  1950.  a condition shared  strongly influenced  throughout much of the Canadian  native response  to  white expansion  and,  equally, Euro-Canadian reaction to the Indians. To address the aforementioned themes, into four sections.  A brief discussion  t h i s study has been organized of a b o r i g i n a l economic and so-  c i a l patterns serves as basis for further discussion of native response to Euro-Canadian advances.  The second s e c t i o n deals with economic t i e s  from the fur trade through World War II, broader t e r r i t o r i a l context.  placing the natives within the  An examination of s o c i a l contact, i n c l u d -  14  ing inter-personal r e l a t i o n s pansion,  and demographic consequences of  c o n s t i t u t e s the next d i v i s i o n .  institutional  white  ex-  The f i n a l chapters deal with  r e l a t i o n s , focusing a l t e r n a t i v e l y on r e l i g i o u s , education-  al and government programmes and t h e i r impact kon.  15  on the Indians of the Yu-  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 d i s t a n t continent.  Recent archaeological d i s c o v e r i e s have confirmed t h i s i n t e r p r e -  tation,  dating e a r l i e s t known occupations  B.C.  or e a r l i e r .  1  of the region at 30,000 years  Between that time and the a r r i v a l of the Hudson's Bay  Company fur traders i n the 1840'B, the Indians occupied and u t i l i z e d the e c o l o g i c a l l y diverse region now known as native l i f e  the Yukon.  An examination of  i n the region before f i r s t contact, with p a r t i c u l a r emphasis  on patterns of mobility, harvesting and s o c i a l organization i s therefore an appropriate place to begin. The geographic context tions.  i s important i n understanding  The environmental challenge  cantly from  facing the Indians d i f f e r e d  contemporary images of the  frozen and barren  current Yukon T e r r i t o r y (given i n s t i t u t i o n a l by a large c e n t r a l plateau,  flanked on  tains and the southwest by the formidable i s cut by  rivers,  form i n 1898)  St.  E l i a s Range.  p r i n c i p a l l y those of the Yukon  drains much  of the area.  watershed i s part  1  north.  The  i s dominated  The region  River network which, Stewart,  Several d i s t r i c t s  reach of the c e n t r a l r i v e r system.  signifi-  the east by the Mackenzie Moun-  through such t r i b u t a r i e s as the Porcupine, White, Teslin,  native adapta-  In the southeast,  Pelly,  and  f a l l outside the the Frances River  of the Mackenzie River drainage basin,  while to the  As J u l i e Cruikshank has i l l u s t r a t e d , native legend and s c i e n t i f i c a n a l y s i s are not as d i f f e r e n t as often imagined. J u l i e Cruikshank, "Legend and Landscape: Convergence of Oral and S c i e n t i f i c T r a d i t i o n in the Yukon T e r r i t o r y " , A r c t i c Anthropology, v o l . 18, No. 4 (1981), 17-28.  16  extreme southwest the Alsek River flows d i r e c t l y into the P a c i f i c Ocean. To the north, the Peel River b i s e c t s the t e r r i t o r y , draining to the east and j o i n i n g the  Mackenzie River s h o r t l y before the  the A r c t i c Ocean.  The climate i s  l a t t e r empties into  less than benign,  with a f r o s t - f r e e  period of only seventy days conspiring with c o n s i s t e n t l y cold winters to ensure that the waterways remain frozen much of the year. heavily forested,  although the  temperature and  permits only stunted tree growth.  The Yukon i s  limited precipitation  Animal resources are diverse and com-  p a r a t i v e l y abundant, with moose, caribou, mountain sheep, goat, bear a variety  of fur-bearers a v a i l a b l e  r i v e r s hardly teem  with f i s h ,  throughout  the region.  there are regular salmon  Yukon and Alsek Rivers and white-fish, grayling, species inhabit many of the lakes and r i v e r s . a barren wasteland  hardly a p p l i e s to the Yukon,  the region contains an inexhaustable similarly  untenable.  and  While the  runs along the  and several other f i s h  The image of the north as but the suggestion that  bounty of harvestable resources i s  2  Several problems emerge i n any attempt to describe native l i f e i n the Yukon River v a l l e y before the a r r i v a l of the Hudson's Bay Company. adequate or i n s i g h t f u l contemporary commentaries are a v a i l a b l e . intimately involved with the natives, t i v e i n the d i s t r i c t seldom recorded  2  Few Though  fur traders and missionaries acd e t a i l s of Indian s o c i e t y and  cus-  K. J. Rea, The P o l i t i c a l Economy of the Canadian North (Toronto! Univ e r s i t y 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.  17  Burpee, (Ot-  toms.  Fur traders A. H.  and missionaries W. W.  Hurray, Kirby.  3  Strachan Jones  V. C.  5  Sim  and William Hardistys  4  and T. H.  7  Canham  8  provided  comparatively useful p o r t r a i t s , but a l l focus on the Porcupine-Fort con region.  Subsequent d e s c r i p t i o n s by explorers,  and p o l i c e o f f i c e r s belong to a separate period — ing  era —  and are  of l i m i t e d  use i n  travellers,  You-  miners  the pre-Klondike min-  assessing native  l i f e in  the  mid-19th century. Ethnographic for d e f i n i n g  and anthropological reconstruction provide further t o o l s  the contours of  worked among the who  Indian s o c i e t y .  Han and the Kutchin  Cornelius  i n the 1930's and  studied the Kaska Indians the following decade,  maries based on extensive interviews  thought before the  have reconstructed  patterns of  a r r i v a l of the whiteman.  general l i t e r a t u r e on Athapaskan society, liminary d e s c r i p t i o n of native s o c i e t y .  tawa:  In  their  who  John Honigman,  o f f e r d e t a i l e d sum-  with native informants.  cently, Catherine McClelland, J u l i e Cruickshank, Dominique Legros  Osgood,  More re-  Anne Acheson Welsh and native existence  and  conjunction with more works allow for a pre-  9  Government P r i n t i n g , 1910).  4  S. Jones, "The Kutchin T r i b e s , " Smithsonian 1866, 303-310.  9  W. Hardisty, "The Loucheux Indians," i b i d . , 311-326.  6  W. W. Kirby, "The Indians of the Youcon," H. Y. Hind, Explorations i n the Interior of the Labradour Peninsula (London: Longmans, Roberts and Green, 1863), 254-257.  7  M. Wesbrook, "A Venture into Ethnohistory: 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  I n s t i t u t i o n Annual  Report,  The Journals of V.C.Sim,"  Six p r i n c i p a l  Indian groups,  l i n inhabited what i s now  the Kutchin, Han,  the Yukon T e r r i t o r y .  Kaska, Tagish and  (Hap 1)  Tes-  With the excep-  tion of the l a s t group, t i e d l i n g u i s t i c a l l y and c u l t u r a l l y to the coastal T l i n g i t , a l l the natives were Athapaskans. conformed i n  many c u l t u r a l  hunters of the  a t t r i b u t e s to  subarctic forest.  As a r e s u l t , the Indians  the larger  The area of h a b i t a t i o n  groups in the pre-contact period extended  Similarly,  ranged  from the lower  the Han  the  of a l l these  beyond the t e r r i t o r i a l bounda-  r i e s which c o n s t i t u t e the parameters of t h i s study. example,  patterns of  Kutchin bands, for  Mackenzie River to east-central Alaska.  Indians straddled the 141st  meridian (the eventual  Canada/United States border) along the Yukon River.  There i s very  lit-  t l e evidence that these ethnographic d i v i s i o n s were formalized i n extens i v e p o l i t i c a l organization or t r i b a l consciousness. ences  existed  characteristics.  as  distinctive  local  and  regional  differcultural  While s e n s i t i v i t y to s p e c i f i c native adaptation to ec-  o l o g i c a l conditions that the various  did  Linguistic  must be maintained,  James VanStone  Athapaskan c u l t u r e s represented "a  c a r r i e d on by a s e r i e s of  has  suggested  c u l t u r a l continuum  i n t e r l o c k i n g groups whose i n d i v i d u a l lifeways  d i f f e r e d only i n minor d e t a i l s from those of t h e i r most immediate neighbours."  10  While there i s then  s o c i o - c u l t u r a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n for t r e a t i n g  the Yukon Indians as a s i n g l e unit, such a d e s c r i p t i o n must be q u a l i f i e d by an acknowledgement of the importance  9  1 0  of regional v a r i a t i o n .  See Preface, footnotes 23-30; James VanStone, Athapaskan Adaptations: Hunters and Fishermen of the Subarctic Forest (Chicago: Aldine, 1975). James VanStone, Athapaskan Adaptations,  19  M a p 1: N a t i v e D i s t r i b u t i o n  20  Anthropologist VanStone describes the Yukon Athapaskans as conforming to a central-based wandering pattern, meaning that larger groups congregated on a regular basis, usually at a spring f i s h e r y . of harvesting and when demand for supply,  1 1  Upon  completion  food exceeded r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e local  the IndianB dispersed into smaller groups, usually family u n i t s .  The region's l i m i t e d  resources and the r e s u l t i n g  enforced mobility en-  sured that more compact and permanent settlement d i d not  occur.  The natives throughout the Yukon River basin hunted a v a r i e t y of a n i male and b i r d s , caught several species of f i s h ,  and c o l l e c t e d a v a r i e t y  of plants i n the course of t h e i r seasonal a c t i v i t y .  With important  re-  gional v a r i a t i o n s , the seasonal c y c l e s of a l l Yukon natives incorporated summer f i s h i n g ,  with much of the catch  d r i e d and stored for l a t e r  use.  Host hunting took place i n the f a l l , while r i v e r s remained open for navigation and before winter  limited travel.  Hunting continued  through the  winter months, although due to limited game stocks and truncated m o b i l i ty in  that season,  hardship o c c a s i o n a l l y  v i s i t e d upon those  who  were  i11-prepared. The  Indians adopted  a highly nomadic existence,  the r i v e r v a l l e y s and t r a v e l l i n g to the  staying l a r g e l y in  high country only i n pursuit of  s p e c i f i c 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  moose and site,  smaller game  migrations and salmon runs.  could not  be harvested  f o r c i n g regular camp movements.  to operate out of selected c e n t r a l pursuit of  1 1  game.  Regional  21  i n d e f i n i t e l y from  one  Although the Yukon natives tended  bases,  variations  Ibid.  Equally,  they wandered extensively i n  in climate,  geography  and  the  availability  of game  also  River  areas,  Peel-Porcupine herds,  forced the  s i g n i f i c a n t adaptations. Kutchin exploited  using c i r c u l a r enclosures c a l l e d "surrounds"  ing a n i m a l s .  Along the Yukon River,  12  g i l l nets to harvest the salmon r u n . zadeash Lake  the  game, stream and  suppli menting  defined, men  which  al-  natives har-  varying according to the tasks  limited the  A rough band system evolved,  limited structural significance.  Often one man  i n turn  met each summer. Leadership  But even these remained  vaguely  involved and the s k i l l s of the  functioned as the trading c h i e f while  exerted considerable power through  derstand and manipulate the s p i r i t u a l  Shamans,  or medicine  t h e i r perceived a b i l i t y to un-  world,  l i e f s lacked r i g i d i t y or regional coherence.  but general  r e l i g i o u s be-  In the place of the c o d i -  f i e d s t r u c t u r e European missionaries would soon o f f e r ,  the Indians held  i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s 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  and  The  fauna.  De-  t h e i r food supplies with small  another led the band during hunting expeditions.  imprecise,  stocks,  In a l l areas,  1 4  of t h e i r s o c i a l organization.  i n the group.  men,  migrat-  Han b u i l t f i s h traps or used  extensive mobility,  based upon the groups of natives that groups had  to trap the  lake f i s h i n g , and berry picking.  Harvesting required complexity  caribou  heavily on salmon  though t h e i r harvesting methods d i f f e r e d .  the  the large  Natives i n the Alsek-River -  1 3  district similarly relied  vested moose and caribou,  In  natural surroundings,  larger native groups, however, d i d not have a systematic  1 2  C. Osgood, Contributions to the Ethnography of the Kutchin.  1 3  C. Osgood, The Han  1 4  C.  ttcClellan,  forest  Indians  Hy Old People Say.  22  or shared  assessment of  These amorphous b e l i e f s  the s i g n i f i c a n c e and  power of  those s p i r i t s .  were highly functional as they  formed an  gral part of the natives' r e l a t i o n s h i p with the animal world* upon and c o n t r o l l i n g the pursuit of sustenance. The essence  of Athapaskan  a b i l i t y to adapt to human religious  beliefs,  s o c i e t y i n the  patterns and  Yukon was  i t s consistent  S o c i a l organization*  mobility were  throughout the region only i n t h e i r ultimate f l e x i b i l i t y . t i a l differences reflected the impact of a harsh, tered nature of  The substan-  unforgiving northern s e t t i n g .  animal resources,  limited regenerative  consistent  not only environmental d i v e r s i t y ,  often  annual freeze-ups  capacity of  f l o r a and  impinging  15  and e c o l o g i c a l change.  harvesting  inte-  of  but a l s o The s c a t -  r i v e r s and  fauna exacted  their  the  toll.  The environment s i m i l a r l y required that the people function p r i m a r i l y in the smallest  v i a b l e s o c i a l unit —  r e s t r i c t e d the prospects  for a more i n c l u s i v e s o c i a l  This family-oriented, of Indian s o c i e t y i n son's Bay Company  threads  explorers i n the 1840's.  running  organization.  the Yukon River v a l l e y before the  i d e n t i f i c a t i o n represented  which again  nomadic subsistence s t r u c t u r e formed the basis  tions in harvesting patterns,  mon  the extended family —  seasonal  comparatively  Important regional v a r i a -  movements, minor  through native existence  a r r i v a l of Hud-  language and  tribal  deviations from the comin the Yukon River v a l l e y .  The environmental r e l a t i o n s h i p , a d e l i c a t e , o c c a s i o n a l l y u n r e l i a b l e b a l ance between man and economic  1 5  and  resources,  behaviour.  Native  defined the contours adaptation  following  of Indian s o c i a l the a r r i v a l  of  This general d e s c r i p t i o n comes from i b i d . ; Kehoe, North American Indians 487-504; NcClellan, My_ Old People Say and e s p e c i a l l y June Helm, Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. VI: Subarctic.  23  Euro-Canadians derived from the Indians' pre-contact c o n d i t i o n .  Despite  the comments of  the na-  fur traders and missionaries to the  contrary*  t i v e s ' 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 s u r v i v a l and  lei-  sure which the natives accepted as a comparatively " a f f l u e n t " existence. Reactions to s o c i a l and economic portantly,  o r i g i n a t e d in  change attending white expansion,  the Indians' b e l i e f in the  im-  e f f i c a c y of t h e i r  system and t h e i r commitment to maintaining a hunting-gathering existence as a preferred form of economic a c t i v i t y .  24  CHAPTER  TWO  ECONOMIC RELATIONS IN THE FUR  TRADE ERA  Inhabitants of the upper Yukon River v a l l e y f e l t  the impact of an  panding European fur trade long before the a r r i v a l of the f i r s t Traders of the  Russian American Fur Company,  active  Coast and on the lower reaches of the Yukon River, panded operations upstream, change t h e i r trade  but through  whites.  along the  had not a c t u a l l y  ex-  the medium of i n t e r - t r i b a l  ex-  goods passed into the i n t e r i o r .  rival,  1  Pacific  When the Hudson's  Bay Company began to expand into the NorthweBt following the 1821 with i t s long-time  ex-  merger  the North-West Company, explorers found numer-  ous signs along the L i a r d and Mackenzie Rivers of the extensive reach of the Russian trade.  John B e l l , the f i r s t white man  to cross the Richard-  son Mountains and reach the Porcupine River, and John MacLeod, of the upper reaches Russian trading goods  of the L i a r d system,  both noted  among the Indians well inside  to be the Hudson's Bay Company's  trading sphere.  2  explorer  the existence of what they believed  Similarly,  when John  F r a n k l i n t r a v e l l e d along the A r c t i c Coast west of the mouth of the Mackenzie River i n  1  2  1826,  he commented that the Inuit  near Herschel  Island  K. Coates, "Furs Along the Yukon: Hudson's Bay Company - Native,Trade in the Yukon River Valley, 1830-1893," (M.A. Thesis, U n i v e r s i t y 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. Susan Ugarenko, "The D i s t r i b u t i o n 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 Tanner, "The Structure of Fur Trade Relations," (MA Thesis, UBC, 1966); Hudson's Bay Company Archives (HBCA), D. 5/6 f o l . 341, B e l l to Simpson, 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  p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the Russian trade through i n t e r - t r i b a l exchange with the Kutchin Indians to the s o u t h .  3  Regular native trade within and between regions pre-dated an fur trade.  Groups possessing an abundance of a p a r t i c u l a r  commodity, such as salmon, copper or caribou, of t h e i r  the Europe-  requirements  f o r goods not  indigenous  traded s u p p l i e s i n excess  available in their  region.  This  regular, though not extensive, trade encouraged the development of a ser i e s of i n s t i t u t i o n a l arrived.  arrangements u t i l i z e d a f t e r European  As F r a n k l i n , and l a t e r explorer Thomas Simpson,  A r c t i c coast,  formal  trading partnerships existed between  Inuit traders  to f a c i l i t a t e exchange.  This was of  fur traders noted on the Kutchin and  p a r t i c u l a r 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 ments conditioned south and  groups.  interruptions.  S i m i l a r arrange-  exchange between the coastal T l i n g i t  t h e i r inland trading  structures operated  without  partners and less  to expedite trade  These native  pean traders appeared.  formal  to the  institutional  among the various i n t e r i o r native  trading networks and i n s t i t u t i o n s  pre-contact period assumed even greater  Indians  formed i n the  importance when the f i r s t Euro-  4  3  J. F r a n k l i n , T h i r t y Years i n A r c t i c Regions (New York: D. W. Evans, 1860), 448. Thomas Simpson and Peter Varren Dease observed s i m i l a r trading t i e s when they t r a v e l l e d i n the area i n 1837. A. Simpson, The L i fe and Travels of Thomas Simpson (Toronto: Baxter. 1963), 119-20.  4  Ugarenko, "The D i s t r i b u t i o n 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  Yukon River natives' trading networks — B r i t i s h and Canadians to the east — exchange  altered  a r r i v e d European  Russians to the west and south,  the extent of e x i s t i n g patterns of  significantly.  nonetheless remained in  fringes of the  Earlier  institutional  arrangements  place to f a c i l i t a t e the d i s p e r s a l  of the newly  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 external native group to secure such inland trading operations.  a source,  Indians,  the f i r s t  to g r e a t l y expand  Acting through intermediary t r i b e s ,  ing the Han and the Tutchone,  their  includ-  the T l i n g i t s drew much of the upper Yukon  basin into t h e i r trading sphere. Such pre-eminence was conditional upon 5  other native goods.  groups' i n a b i l i t y to locate  The s i t u a t i o n could, and did,  west company,  and l a t e r the  change r a p i d l y .  Hudson's Bay Company,  along the lower Mackenzie River in bands of  the Kutchin Indians found  v i s - a - v i s the  of European  Vhen the North-  expanded  the early 19th Century,  operations the eastern  themselves with a Becure  desired commodities and soon established man p o s i t i o n  t h e i r own supply  source of  themselves in a strong middle-  western Kutchin and  the Han  Indians. A l 6  though the pre-contact i n s t i t u t i o n s and trading networks remained in existence a f t e r  the a r r i v a l  of European traders  actual patterns of trade proved to  on the  the  be highly v a r i a b l e with considerable  s T. Kamouriski, Fur Trade and Exploration: North-West, 1821-1852 (Vancouver: UBC, 1983).  The Opening  s S. Krech, "The Eastern Kutchin and the Fur Trade, h i s t o r v , 23/3 (Summer 1976), 213-235.  27  periphery,  of the Far  1800-1860," Ethno-  r e o r i e n t a t i o n occuring as native groups moved  to e x p l o i t new sources of  European supplies. Native trading patterns and i n s t i t u t i o n s proved v i t a l Bay Company's expansion plans and, equally important, r e l a t i o n s between  the firm  and the people of  Following the discovery of the C o l v i l l e ter Warren Dease  i n 1837,  pronged exploration  of the of the  influenced trading  the Yukon  River basin.  River by Thomas Simpson and Pe-  the Hudson's  7  to the Hudson's  Bay Company  launched a  two-  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.  R e a l i z i n g the importance  of main-  t a i n i n g a monopoly over e i t h e r a source of supply or a trading d i s t r i c t , the Indians attempted  to prevent  Hudson's Bay  natives acted from a p o s i t i o n of some  strength,  Company expansion.  and were able to l i m i t  or r e s t r a i n access to the fur reserves of the Yukon River basin. same time, they always possessed facturers through the T l i n g i t  The  At the  an a l t e r n a t i v e supply of European manu-  (Chilcat) Indians or the natives along the  lower Yukon. The  f i r s t thrust of the Company's  on Peel's River Post,  e f f o r t to expand westward centered  opened i n 1840 by John B e l l  cessful attempt to cross the Richardson l i s h e d i n a middleman p o s i t i o n ,  7  Kamouriski,  8  Only recently estab-  the Peel River Kutchin d i d t h e i r utmost  to hinder attempts to push west. assistance i n h i s quest,  Mountains.  following an unsuc-  The natives offered B e l l v i r t u a l l y no  frequently misrepresenting  the d i f f i c u l t y of  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 t e r r a i n  and the concomitant problems  S i m i l a r l y , i n d i v i d u a l natives agreed abandon them long before they reached occasions, courage  expansion  into  1 0  Encouraged  t h e i r area  t h e i r o b j e c t i v e s . On at least tuo 3  Govenor George Simpson,  of the prospects for  b a r r i e r i n 1842, only  Bell  prodded by  provided home are-  Hudson's Bay Company  self-interest did  not c o n f l i c t with  f i n a l l y reached Although  once a g a i n .  on Simpson's recommendation,  who knew nothing  1 2  trade i n t h e i r  to be abandoned by h i s guide  Indian a s s i s t a n t s  to be the C o l v i l l e .  River and  f i n a l l y succeeded i n c r o s s i n g the mountain  solved the problem i n 1845 when,  that year. B e l l  Mountains anxious to en-  reached Peel's  by the reports and  transport.  to guide the Company's men, only to  Indians from west of the Richardson  flattering descriptions as.  of transmountain  of the area  to the west  the purposes of  1 1  Bell  he hired and whose  exploration.  In  the "Youcon" River, believed at the time the Peel River Kutchin u l t i m a t e l y f a i l e d  to hold the Hudson's Bay Company i n the Mackenzie River basin, t h e i r act i v e interference  postponed the firm's  expansion  into the Yukon River  watershed for seven years. With B e l l ' s discovery  and the opening of an  believed to be a "New Athabasca,"  the Company moved quickly to incorpo-  rate the region into i t s trading system. pany b u i l t a small outpost,  area somewhat w i s t f u l l y  In 1845 the Hudson's Bay Com-  Lapierre's House,  on the west side of the  a HBCA, D5/7, f o l . 250, B e l l to Simpson, 11 Sept. 1842; HBCA, D5/8, 421, B e l l to Simpson, 10 August 1843.  fol.  1 0  HBCA, D5/5, f o l . 377, Lewes to Simpson, 20 Nov. B200/b/13, f o l . 14, B e l l to Lewes, 26 August 1840.  1 1  HBCA. D5/7, f o l . 250, B e l l to Simpson, 11 Sept. 1842.  1 2  HBCA, D4/31, f o l . 93, Simpson to B e l l , 3 June 1844; HBCA, D5/14 f o l . 212-215, B e l l to Simpson, 1 August 1845.  29  1840, HBCA,  Richardson Mountains and the following a contingent of men to the j u n c t i o n where they erected Fort Youcon.  13  year Alexander  Hunter Murray led  of the Porcupine and Youcon Rivers,  This expansion,  however,  did not per-  manently destroy native trading patterns extant before the company headed west.  The eastern Kutchin lost  a valuable trading  bands around the new post assumed the r o l e of middlemen. inter-tribal  networks had  'leap-frogged' one link  not occurred;  i n the chain.  instead.  position,  but  E l i m i n a t i o n of  the trade  simply  The Kutchin near  the new post,  formerly dependent upon other natives for t h e i r supplies,  now possessed  a secure source of European manufacturers. the Hudson's Bay Company's expansion, doned t h e i r former  the post Indians.  role as fur trappers  fur traders and p r o v i s i o n h u n t e r s .  Aware of the implications of i n part,  and assumed the new  aban-  mantle of  14  The second phase of the Hudson's Bay Company's westward movement, by Robert Campbell  along the L i a r d and P e l l y  Rivers,  serious d i f f i c u l t i e s with native trading networks. t h i s instance proved markedly d i f f e r e n t b e l l ' s e a r l y trade, Frances Lake and the Indians —  encountered  The consequences i n  from B e l l ' s experience.  Camp-  which centred on the sparcely populated area around  the upper P e l l y River,  encountered  few problems with  and also a t t r a c t e d very l i t t l e trade.  As he extended h i s  operations toward the Yukon River, trade into  also  led  however,  c o n f l i c t with the i n t e r i o r  he  brought the Company's  exchange network of  the C h i l c a t  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 P r i n t i n g 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 north,  t h e i r inland  partners.  15  As  Campbell's native tripmen forced  had him  happened  to B e l l  to conclude an  in the  exploratory  voyage prematurely when they refused  to continue, ostensibly for fear of  "savage" Indians downstream  a f t e r f i v e years of p r o c r a s t i n a t i o n  16  and questionable management,  When,  Campbell f i n a l l y opened a post.  kirk, at the junction of the Lewes (Yukon) a n t i c i p a t e d returns Continuing a  f a i l e d to (Hap  long-established  t r a v e l l e d inland to trade, Indians' furs turn.  ties.  outbidding  1852,  the  C h i l c a t traders Hudson's Bay  from achieving  Campbell had  only  long-  regularly  Company for the  a  p r o f i t a b l e re-  from a trading f o r -  two  having been dispatched on p r o v i s i o n i n g  When the coastal  the  1 7  C h i l c a t traders returning  at Fort S e l k i r k .  the rest  P e l l y Rivers,  materialize.  practise,  preventing Campbell  On August 21,  ay a r r i v e d post,  and  2)  and  Fort S e l -  other men and  Indians ransacked the f o r t , he was  at  the  trading  du-  powerless.  While Campbell must bear a healthy portion of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the isode,  the attack  indicated a larger c o n f l i c t in progress.  whose actions overturned trading arrangements  The  Hudson's Bay  ep-  Bell,  of r e l a t i v e l y short dura-  t i o n , Campbell i n t e r f e r e d with a much more established and c a l l y v i a b l e network.  Unlike  18  Company  more economi-  o f f i c e r 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  1 7  In f i v e years at Fort S e l k i r k , Campbell never achieved a p r o f i t , let alone begin to repay the accumulated debt. HBCA, Df/34, f o l . 71, Anderson to Simpson, 10 July 1852. See also P e l l y Banks and Fort S e l 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 P e l l y and Lewes, July 3-9.  31  1843.  32  that the  C h i l c a t ' a knowledge of the  customs and premacy  language  t e r r a i n and  allowed the coastal  Indians to  Other, more p r a c t i c a l considerations,  13  supply and liance.  the  interior  natives'  maintain t h e i r su-  including r e l i a b i l i t y of  lower p r i c e s also served to s o l i d i f y the e x i s t i n g trading a l The  inconsistent receipt of  supplies,  a s i t u a t i o n created  by  t h e i r r e l i a n c e upon the turbulent waters of the Vest Branch of the L i a r d River as a  supply route,  t h e i r opposition. tariff, fered by trade,  hindered the Hudson's Bay  They also adhered  a pricing  to the Mackenzie  the coastal  2 0  Participants  Indians offered  and s u b s t a n t i a l l y lower p r i c e s .  regular supply,  21  never proved economical  and  trade.  2  HBCA, B200/b/29, f o l . 235, October 1851.  ex-  ensured the Chi l e a f s conP e l l y Banks and  following the destruction of  Company did not attempt to re-  Instead,  the Company concentrated  i t s e f f o r t s on the c o n s i s t e n t l y p r o f i t a b l e operation  1 3  comparable q u a l i t y  i t s predecessors,  the Hudson's Bay  vive the southern Yukon fur  maritime fur  Even more than the longevity of the  Fort S e l k i r k and  the former post in 1852,  District  with that of-  in the competitive  i s t i n g trading networks, these considerations  Frances Lake,  River  s t r u c t u r e which compared unfavourably  the C h i l c a t s .  tinuing supremacy.  Company traders in  at Fort Youcon.  Campbell to Gent in Charge R. D i s t r i c t ,  ° HBCA, B200/b/24, f o l . 60, Campbell to McPherson, 24 July 1850; D.5/22, f o l . 162, Campbell to Simpson, 22 A p r i l 1848.  22  18  HBCA  2 1  Ostenstat, "The Impact of Fur Trade." For a discussion of T l i n g i t trade along the S t i k i n e River, see S. Johnson, "Baron Wrangel and the Russian American Company," (Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , U. of Manitoba, 1978).  2 2  Though a post operated at Lapierre's House, trade was not permitted. The firm d i r e c t e d natives to take t h e i r furs to e i t h e r Fort Youcon or Peel's River, HBCA, B220/b/29, f o l . 34, Anderson to Peers, 25 January 1852.  33  Suffering  intitially  from an  insufficient  c e r t a i n s p e c i f i c items i n high demand,  outfit  and a  lack  of  the firm's o f f i c e r s attempted to  use native trading i n s t i t u t i o n s , as they perceived them, to organize the trade.  Aware of the function of partnerships i n i n t e r - t r i b a l exchange,  the traders erroneously trading chief would allow group.  In times  23  goods as  assumed that forging an a l l i a n c e  with a band's  them to d i c t a t e terms of trade  to the e n t i r e  of shortage,  guns and beads only  chief d i d not, however,  the o f f i c e r s traded  with these " p r i n c i p a l men."  enjoy the status with  ascribed by the Hudson's Bay Company employees. lected the trading chief post, bers.  such highly valued  to represent t h e i r  but arrangements thus concluded  h i s band  A group of natives sei n t e r e s t s at  to a c h i e f ,  Bay Company o f f i c e r s often found the trade of the remaining  That  so r e a d i l y  the trading  were not binding on the band mem-  A f t e r granting p r e f e r e n t i a l treatment  elsewhere.  The trading  the Hudson's natives went  24  the Hudson's  Bay Company's  men misjudged  the importance  and  function of a native i n s t i t u t i o n a l s t r u c t u r e i s somewhat s u r p r i s i n g g i v en the firm's long and extensive experience  i n the fur trade and,  d i r e c t l y , i n dealing with the Athapaskan Indians.  more  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 s i t u a t i o n ,  that trade functioned upon ample experience  under a monopoly. i n highly  cers i n d i r e c t control  Although  the firm could c a l l  competitive trade elsewhere,  of the Yukon trade  but  had been  the o f f i -  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 p r i m a r i l y i n  the Hudson's Bay Company-dominated  basin a f t e r 1821.  This background led several o f f i c e r s  impose  inappropriate conditions  trade.  For example,  and  regulations  the Company had  Mackenzie River to attempt to  on the  Fort  Youcon  a long standing p o l i c y that such  high demand goods as guns and beads.  were traded only for the most va-  luable furs.  natives tendered the  thus ensuring  that the  valued p e l t s such as prime beaver plement of trading goods Company traders decided a n t i c i p a t e d that the  natives would now  decided  in  1865  Chief  demand that  but guns and  Factor in Charge of  to impose an  Youcon suggests that the p r a c t i s e of future r e c e i p t s of furs  trade.  impose new  not  the r e l a t i o n s h i p be  beads.  25  Similarly.  Mackenzie River D i s t r i c t ,  immediate r e s t r i c t i o n on the  ed to implement the change throughout  attempt to  They had  of trade." meaning that the Indians refused to  supplies on account (credit) to the Indians.  t i o n of  the Hudson's Bay  to temporarily abandon the p o l i c y .  better furs for anything  William Hardisty.  Lacking a complete com-  in many of the f i r s t years.  maintained as a "standard trade t h e i r  and marten.  most highly  granting of  Although the firm attempt-  the d i s t r i c t ,  evidence from Fort  advancing trade goods i n a n t i c i p a -  continued.  or unfavourable  25  The natives  conditions on  r e s i s t e d any  the Fort  Youcon  2 7  2 5  HBCA, B200/b/23. f o l . 35, Murray to McPherson, 12 Nov.  2 5  HBCA, B200/b/35. f o l . 94, C i r c u l a r 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 i n the fur trade i s well-accepted in recent h i s 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  1848.  This apparent c o n f l i c t between the a t t i t u d e s at  firm's d i s t r i c t - w i d e p o l i c i e s and  Fort Youcon r e f l e c t e d the  Yukon River trade. Hudson's Bay  more competitive nature  of the  The natives hesitated to accept the d i c t a t e s of the  Company and played a  nature of the regional fur trade.  s i g n i f i c a n t role i n The  determining  Indians' e x p l o i t a t i o n of  the  competi-  t i o n between European traders c l e a r l y  demonstrates t h e i r a b i l i t y to i n -  fluence  favourable  c o n d i t i o n s of  trade  under  economic  conditions.  Through t h e i r extended, i f i n d i r e c t , contact with Europeans, the natives had developed trading furs  an obvious  understanding  and awareness of the  traders' p r o f i t s and,  of  the whites'  motivation for  implications of competition  more importantly,  for the  for t a r i f f s and trading stan-  dards. That the Yukon natives would take advantage of competitive opportunit i e s in the 1880's, ing.  when numerous traders vied for furs i s not s u r p r i s -  Native i n t e r e s t i n competitive trade,  when the firm f i r s t expanded to Fort Youcon. the Indians exploited the Europeans' fear  however,  appeared i n  1847  As soon as Murray a r r i v e d  of competition.  At the time  the only legitimate a l t e r n a t i v e to the Hudson's Bay Company was a small, i r r e g u l a r l y maintained  outpost of the  Russian American Fur  Company at  Nulato, about seven hundred miles downstream from the B r i t i s h e s t a b l i s h ment.  The  Indians q u i c k l y 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  same s e a s o n .  planned  stood inside  to  return that  Russian t e r r i t o r y  28  i n contervention  Aware that of an  e x p l i c i t trade  agreement with the R.A.F.C., Hurray feared that the apparent  2 8  Murray, Journal of the Yukon. 1847-1848, 45-69.  36  h i s post  competition  would destroy any p o s s i b l e v i a b i l i t y of the Fort Youcon t r a d e . t i v e s continued  gifts,  na-  r i v a l s had o u t f i t t e d t h e i r boat with  that they offered a more favourable t a r i f f and dispensed many  and  Company.  The  to provide Murray with "information" on a regular basis,  claiming at various times that h i s a cannon,  2 3  30  that they spread V h i l e the  inflammatory rumours about the Hudson's Bay  natives' information did not  r e f l e c t the a c t i v i t i e s of the Russian ans' appreciation of the value of distance meant that t h e i r best to  appear to accurately  firm, i t does i l l u s t r a t e the Indi-  European trade r i v a l r y .  only minimal competition existed,  make the most of  Even though  the natives did  the s i t u a t i o n and t r i e d  to present  the  Russians as a serious threat to the Fort Youcon trade. The  Indians' encouragement of competitive  responses from Hudson's Bay Company o f f i c e r s , natives.  Fear of Russian expansion led  t i v e requests,  i f at a l l p o s s i b l e ,  In p a r t i c u l a r , ties.  the firm met  the  trade e l i c i t e d a number of not a l l favourable to the  them to respond quickly to na-  in order to prevent  t h e i r defection.  natives' demands for s p e c i f i c commodi-  Fort Youcon traders requested  that the company's P a c i f i c D i v i s i o n  c o l l e c t some coastal s h e l l s and send them to the Youcon, where they were a highly valued tariff,  item of t r a d e .  3 1  In  c a l l i n g for the adjustment  in contrast, the natives enjoyed less success.  used to act,  of the  The Company r e f -  r e a l i z i n g that the high costs of trading in the area could  be p r o f i t a b l y 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 3 0  HBCA, B240/2/1, f o l . 45, Youcon Journal, 27, Nov. May 1848.  3 1  HBCA, E37/9 f o l . 40, Anderson to C o l v i l l e ,  37  16 March  1849.  1847; 1852.  f o l . 76,  24  formed of conditions to the west. they threatened 1862,  to resort en  masse to the  the Hudson's Bay Company  Russian competition  existed  and  Fort Youcon to  1847  to 1863,  however,  the Fort  oft-repeated  de-  the o f f i c e r s of the Hud-  to respond aggressively.  boats downstream cut  considerable portion of  In  Russian American Fur  on the natives*  s c r i p t i o n s of the nature of the Russian trade,  annual trading  3 2  B e l i e v i n g the event s i g n a l l e d Russian  33  basing t h e i r actions  son's Bay Company decided  trade.  f i n a l l y received tangible evidence that  when a servant of the  Company a r r i v e d at Fort Youcon. expansion,  If the exchange rates were relaxed,  The d e c i s i o n to send  Youcon Indians out  t h e i r jealousy guarded middleman the "manufacturing" of competitive  trade.  3 4  of a From  circumstances  worked to the natives' b e n e f i t . The natives did  not r e l y s o l e l y upon e x p l o i t a t i o n  press t h e i r demands.  in the  midst of  heavily on the  the post  The apparent v u l n e r a b i l i t y of the Com-  an i s o l a t e d i s l a n d f o r t r e s s of l e s s than twenty  several thousand  natives of  Hudson's Bay Company men,  On several occasions,  weighed  e s p e c i a l l y Alexander Hurray.  more favourable conditions  of Campbell's Fort  Company'B refusal to  dubious l o y a l t y  men  the natives spoke openly of t h e i r plans to attack  unless the firm offered  In the aftermath  to  Indeed, they found a number of means to encourage  Hudson's Bay Company compliance. pany establishment,  of competition  retaliate,  of trade.  S e l k i r k fiasco and the Hudson's Bay  the Indians' threats  became even more  3 2  HBCA, B220/b/37, f o l . 277,  Hardisty to Council, 30 Nov.  3 3  HBCA, B200/b/34, f o l . 136,  Jones to Hardisty, 23 June  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  1870. 1803.  incessant. nous,  33  When native threats became p a r t i c u l a r l y p e r s i s t e n t and omi-  the senior  o f f i c e r of the Mackenzie River  Fort Youcon trader to v i s i t a l l the  natives in h i s area and explain the  economic advantages of a continuation of to l o y a l t y .  or friendship —  value of the  trading post.  m i l i t a r y threat and  D i s t r i c t d i r e c t e d the  merely  the firm's t r a d e .  3 5  a r e c i t a t i o n of the  The Hudson's Bay  attempted to meet i t  No appeals  function and  Company acknowledged the  through an appeal to  the  na-  t i v e s ' economic p r i o r i t i e s . Not a l l native schemes were of such b e l l i g e r e n t tone. or actual withholding demands.  The  of furs remained the primary means  The natives resorted to the  threatened  used to press  t a c t i c whenever the Hudson's Bay  Company did not provide goods in the quantity or q u a l i t y d e s i r e d . ert Campbell was  convinced  to protest trading  that the Indians had  conditions at Fort S e l k i r k .  formed a "combination" The  refused to bring e i t h e r furs or meat to the p o s t .  Rob-  3 7  3 5  natives,  as  one.  The e f f e c t i v e n e s s of  these boycotts should not be underestimated  for they proved a very pow-  e r f u l means of ensuring  R e s t r i c t i o n of trade  other purposes prices.  On one  rapid  than securing  compliance. a modification  occasion a group of  Indians  Hudson's Bay Company trader. Strachan Jones.  of the  served  firm's o u t f i t  forced the removal  or  of an  from Fort Youcon by refus-  3 5  HBCA. B200/b/32. f o l . 24, Hardisty to Anderson, HBCA, B.200/b/33, f o l . 15, Ross to Council, 29 Nov.  3 5  HBCA, B200/b/32, f o l . 42, Anderson to Hardisty, 1 January  3 7  For Fort S e l k i r k , see PAC MG19, D13, P e l l y and Lewes Forks Journal, v o l . 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  i s repeated  39  15 October 1858.  1853;  1854.  several times thereafter.  ing  to trade u n t i l the i n d i v i d u a l was  reassigned.  39  The Hudson's Bay Company encountered l i t t l e serious European competition during the Yukon works?  the f i r s t quarter century River basin.  the a r t i f i c a l  boycotts, however.  of d i r e c t native-white  Through the  use of i n t e r - t r i b a l  c r e a t i o n of competition.  trade i n  trading net-  i n t i m i d a t i o n and trading  the native overcame an apparent monopoly and  secured  more favourable conditions for trade. With the 1867  t r a n s f e r of control of Alaska from Russian to the Unit-  ed States of America, on a  the economy of  the upper Yukon River v a l l e y took  markedly d i f f e r e n t complexion.  American traders moved  onto the  lower reaches of the Yukon River soon a f t e r the announcement of the purchase of Alaska.  Encouraged and a s s i s t e d by a sympathetic  U.S.  ment. "Yankee" traders reached Fort Youcon two years l a t e r . to  reports  territory.  that the the  Hudson's Bay Company  federal government  United States Navy  in 1869  the p r e c i s e l o c a t i o n  traded well  dispatched Captain  to survey  of Fort Youcon.  His  Responding  within American Raymond of  the Yukon River and 40  govern-  the  to a s c e r t a i n  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  British  (soon to be Canadian)  the regional  economy.  removal of the Hudson's  Bay Company to  t e r r i t o r y and to a rapid r e s t r u c t u r i n g of  The Hudson's  Bay Company opened  Rampart House  3 9  HBCA, B200/b/35, f o l . 99. Hardisty to Jones, 1 A p r i l 1865. J. Dunlop, an apprentice c l e r k also l e f t a f t e r 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 A f f a i r , 1809," Alaska Journal v o l . 7, no. 1 (Winter, 1977), 14; Charles Raymond, "Reconnaissance of the Yukon River," U.S. Government, Compilation of Narratives of Explorations i n AlaBka (Washington: Gov't P r i n t i n g O f f i c e . 1900).  40  along the Porcupine  River in 1870.  moved further upstream firm opened a new  burned  to Lapierre's House.  i t down that same 41  The  year and  following year,  Rampart House a short distance upstream from the f i r s t  and remained at the  site until  1890.  t h i s post was also on American s o i l  42  The discovery in  that year that  led to i t s abandonment and the con-  s t r u c t i o n of a t h i r d Rampart House j u s t east of the 141st meridian ada-United  the  States border) along the Porcupine River.  (Can-  This establishment  remained open for only three years, as the Hudson's Bay Company withdrew from the area completely  i n 1893^  (Hap  less e r r a t i c as i n i t i a l l y a number of believed to be closed,  new  small companies vied for what a l l  a highly p r o f i t a b l e trade.  Posts  r e g u l a r l y opened and  companies formed as competitors merged operations in an a t -  tempt to counter trict.  2) The American traders were no  By 1874,  the high cost of  doing business in the  the Alaska Commercial Company  isolated d i s -  dominated the Alaskan ,  portion of trade, regularly running a steamboat along the Yukon River to supply an expanding s t r i n g of p o s t s . firm did not eliminate competition, traders s t i l l  competed for business.  Even the dominance of t h i s s i n g l e  4 4  as  a number of small, This f l u i d ,  independent  i r r e g u l a r framework  stood i n stark contrast to the comparatively s t a b l e pre-1869 trade.  4 1  Asen B a l i k e i , Vinta Kutchin Social Change (Ottawa: Northern Co-ordination 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,  4 3  HBCA, A74/1, f o l . 38, Chipman to Camsell, 7 January  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.  Camsell  41  to Wrigley, 29 March  1890.  1893.  The natives, e s p e c i a l l y Youcon.  those Indians d i r e c t l y attached  responded negatively  i n i t i a l l y refused to  to the Americans' a r r i v a l .  trade furs or provisions with  to Fort  The  natives  the i n t e r l o p e r s and  frequently pledged t h e i r a l l e g i a n c e to the Hudson's Bay Company.  As the  Company withdrew  of the  up the Porcupine River,  Fort Youcon Indians joined the exodus.* throughout the region and applied  t a i n i n g native  arrival.  support,  This animosity  5  was  i f declining,  i n i t i a l l y attributed  success  to the q u a l i t y  goods and the f a i r n e s s of the trade, appears to have been due  respected by the Indians. t i v e s abandoned The  Indians'  general  middleman p o s i t i o n  The Hudson's Bay Company's  the presence of James HcDougall,  not  almost e x c l u s i v e l y to the "homeguard"  Indians eliminated from a p r o f i t a b l e , by the Americans'  a s u b s t a n t i a l number  a  i n re-  of t h e i r l a r g e l y to  long-time Fort Youcon trader highly  When he l a t e r l e f t the area, many of the  the Hudson's  Bay Company in  remonstrances of support  Fort Youcon proved tenuously  based.  American trade became more apparent, a l l e g i a n c e to the Hudson's Bay  favour of  the Americans.  accompanying the  expulsion from  As  the economic advantages of the  the Indians quickly dropped t h e i r  Company.  45  4 5  HBCA, B200/B/38, f o l . 15, HcDougall to Hardisty, 3 January  4 5  HBCA, B200/b/37, f o l . 255,  Hardisty to Council, 2 August,  42  na-  1870. 1870.  Table 1 HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY FUR RETURNS, 1847-1893 (Averages  inLHll  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/; B.200/d/; Rampart House Accounts, B.173/d/. Due to problem of the  the inherent  d i f f i c u l t i e s of  the Peel River Indians'  west of the Richardson Mountains,  few options i n s e l e c t i n g competitive  Fort Simpson Accounts,  supply and  the aforementioned  awareness of trading  conditions to  the Hudson's Bay Company enjoyed strategies.  The Company expanded  e x i s t i n g competitive measures, granting greater debt to r e l i a b l e natives and o f f e r i n g r e l a t i v e l y long-term employment (3 tempt to t i e i n d i v i d u a l  Indians to the f i r m .  4 7  to 6 months) For the  i n an a t -  most part,  Company r e l i e d on the a t t r a c t i o n of c e r t a i n of i t s trading goods, c i a l l y blankets and tobacco, the  Yukon River basin  which  remained  Company of at  4 5  4  7  HBCA, B200/b/40, f o l . 74, Hardisty to S i n c l a i r , B.200/b/37, f o l . 272, Hardisty to Smith, 30 Nov. 1870.  4  5  Coates, "Furs Along the Yukon, " 152-75.  43  espe-  i n great demand throughout  and which assured the Hudson's Bay  least a small share of the Yukon fur t r a d e .  the  1871:  HBCA,  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 a r ray of techniques to a t t r a c t the t r a d i t i o n a l  native traders.  I n i t i a l l y these followed  l i n e s of granting generous g r a t u i t i e s ,  o f f e r i n g better rates  for Indians' furs,  travelling  lowering p r i c e s , to trade d i r e c t l y  with native bands, and incorporating competitors' trade goods into t h e i r outfits.  4 9  Finding these methods only marginally s u c c e s s f u l ,  the Ameri-  cans resorted to other methods, focusing p r i m a r i l y on the use of natives to encourage other techniques long  Indians to a l t e r t h e i r  used with  Americans hired native solicit trade. saw  the  5 0  success by the  Hudson's Bay  Adopting  Company,  runners to travel to d i s t a n t t r i b e s  some  i n order to  Later attempts to compete with the Hudson's Bay Company  Alaska Commercial Company set  up Indians as "free  the immediate v i c i n i t y of Rampart House, complement of  trading patterns.  goods and  encouraging  better p r i c e s to secure t r a d e .  traders" in  supplying them with a generous  t h e i r proteges  to o f f e r  debt  and  5 1  Whatever the measure adopted,  each attempt to e n t i c e native trappers  and traders away from a European r i v a l worked to the economic b e n e f i t of the Indians,  o f f e r i n g a new  trading source,  a l t e r n a t i v e employment,  wider range of trade goods, or a more advantageous p r i c i n g p o l i c y .  a The  4 9  Ibid. HBC blankets were p a r t i c u l a r l y valued as trade goods. The Company was most concerned i n 1881 when the "Yankees" began trading Engl i s h trade goods at lower p r i c e s . 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 (Toronto: Hunter, Rose, 1898), p. 48.  5 0  HBCA, B200/b/37, f o l . 272, Hardisty to Smith, 30 Nov. B200/b/39, f o l . 35, McDougall to Hardisty, 20 Dec. B200/b/40, f o l . 120, Hardisty to Wilson, 30 March 1875.  5 1  PAC, MG29, A l l , MacFarlane Papers, v o l . MacFarlane, 10 January 1877.  44  1870; 1873;  HBCA, HBCA,  1, f o l . 607-08, McDonald to  natives quickly exploited favourable circumstances,  a l t e r i n g patterns of  trade to take advantage of the best p o s s i b l e conditions. ing t i e s with the Hudson's Bay Company. of natives i n the upper Porcupine efits.  Even maintain-  an option selected by a number  River area.  included noticeable ben-  While the p r i c i n g arrangements were only marginally  competitive,  the ready a v a i l a b i l i t y of c r e d i t and the limited p o s s i b i l i t y of securing comparatively enticements. lized,  long 52  term employment with  the firm served  as a t t r a c t i v e  As well, the natives always retained, and frequently u t i -  t h e i r option of r e s o r t i n g to competitive traders whenever condi-  t i o n s warranted. Somewhat s u r p r i s i n g l y , the expansion of commercial whaling operations to the Herschel  Island region i n the l a t e 1880's also a l t e r e d the Yukon  River basin fur trade.  While t h e i r primary  concern remained whaling,  the A r c t i c mariners quickly discovered that the fur trade offered an avenue for quick and l u c r a t i v e p r o f i t s . ture of the i n t e r i o r  B l i s s f u l l y ignorant of the s t r u c -  exchange of both the Hudson's Bay  more agressive American r i v a l s , measures to a t t r a c t the natives. regularly traded such goods as  the whalers In  Company and i t s  adopted a v a r i e t y of novel  t h e i r lust for furs.  the whalers  alcohol and Winchester repeating  rifles,  both banned for trade with the Indians by the Canadian government. s o c i a l extravaganza which characterized the Herschel  53  The  Island trading ses-  52 i b i d . , v o l . 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 A r c t i c , 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 exchange.  served as an a t t r a c t i v e  a l t e r n a t i v e to the  sedate  interior  The Hudson's Bay Company trader at Rampart House* John F i r t h *  watched h e l p l e s s l y as the whalers siphoned  away the remnants of the once  f l o u r i s h i n g corporate trade in the Yukon River v a l l e y . By the e a r l y 1890's> the fur trade had in the d i s t r i c t .  5 4  lost i t s economic pre-eminence  American traders continued to encourage the natives to  trap and trade* but the embryonic development of an a l t e r n a t i v e economy* based on  the e x t r a c t i o n of  mineral  resources*  most of the business i n t e r e s t i n the  area.  increasingly attracted  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  to the  developments i n  the industry.  Their subsistence  creatively economy had  r e a d i l y accommodated demands for time to trap* dress furs and* larly*  to undertake the numerous*  t h e i r harvest.  The  particu-  often lengthy t r i p s required to trade  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 t h e i r harvesting economy. the natives' would  It was unclear as to  adapt to the emerging r e a l i t i e s of  the mining fron-  tier.  5 4  HBCA, B200/b/43, f o l . 755.  46  Camsell  how  to Chipman, 30 March  1892.  CHAPTER THREE NATIVES AND The departure of the  THE PRE-GOLD RUSH MINING FRONTIER Hudson's Bay Comany i n 1893 d i d  end of the Yukon fur trade. gave  way  1880's.  to  an i n c i p i e n t  But but  the  although the fur trade continued.  it  expanding mining  there would no longer be  the region's marketable  not signal  wealth came from two sectors,  must take into account the c o n f l i c t s  Instead, har-  Any assessment of the of the miners  and accommodations between the  economic sectors.  Manpower requirements,  t i v e s t a b i l i t y of  markets and the ascribed in combination  the  mining and  the Yukon Indians following the a r r i v a l  d i f f e r e n t sectors,  From  a singular Yukon "economy."  vesting, with only tenuous l i n k s between the two. economic role of  industry.  two  demand for resources, comparar o l e of the natives  i n the  with the Indians' d e f i n i t i o n of t h e i r  s e l f - i n t e r e s t , determined the extent and nature of the Indians' involvement i n the mining economy.  Consequently, extra a t t e n t i o n must be paid  to the functioning of the labour market on the mining f r o n t i e r ,  for the  demand and a v a i l a b i l i t y  of labour set l i m i t s  for native involvement.  As well, the r e l a t i v e v i a b i l i t y of what had  come the Indian mode and trapping  of l i f e —  hunting for both  furs for market —  natives' response to the new  and defined opportunities  subsistence and  remained a c r u c i a l determinant  be-  trade of the  economic order.  Hudson's Bay Company o f f i c e r s and Church Missionary Society clergymen knew of the existence of s i z e a b l e  q u a n t i t i e s of gold i n the t r i b u t a r i e s  of the Yukon River for some time.  Anxious to r e t a i n the region as a fur  preserve,  the traders  missionaries who  kept the information to themselves,  as d i d the  wished to protect t h e i r native charges from the a n t i c i -  47  pated  ravages of a mining f r o n t i e r .  successful as the lure of gold to  California in  the 1840's  1  which had drawn thousands of and to  pulled miners inexorably northward. i t s in the Cassiar  D i s t r i c t in 1872  much smaller than i t B predecessors. over,  prospectors  a decade  later  The discovery of major gold deposset o f f yet  another "rush." a l b e i t  When those diggings had been worked By the e a r l y 1880's pros-  the creeks of the Yukon though  without  much suc-  2  Two kon,  B r i t i s h Columbia  would-be miners continued northward.  pectors were scouring cess.  Such e f f o r t s u l t i m a t e l y proved un-  streams, the Stewart and Forty Mile, both in the weBt-central  Yu-  a t t r a c t e d p a r t i c u l a r a t t e n t i o n and small mining communities formed  at both l o c a t i o n s . of Canada who  George Dawson, an o f f i c i a l  of the Geological Survey  inspected the upper Yukon River v a l l e y in 1887.  the mining population at less than 250.  3  estimated  That number increased slowly i n  subsequent years, as reports f i l t e r e d out of the region of gold i n "paying"  q u a n t i t i e s i n the Yukon streams.  widely as disenchanted only to  f i n a n c i a l l y - r u i n e d prospectors  be replaced by those  remained to ershed.  and  The mining population fluctuated  be found beneath  l e f t the area,  o p t i m i s t i c enough to b e l i e v e the c o l d waters  of the Yukon  that riches River wat-  S i m i l a r l y , the population was extremely v o l a t i l e as the miners  1  F. Whymper. Travels i n Alaska and the Yukon (London: 1869). 227; Beckles Willson. The L i fe of Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal (Toronto. 1915). p. 427.  2  This i s based on George Dawson. Report on an Exploration i n the Yukon District. (Ottawa: Queen's P r i n t e r . 1898); A. Wright. Prelude to Bonanza. A. Cooke and C. Holland. The Exploration of Northern Canada (Toronto: A r c t i c History Press. 1970); L. N. McQuesten. R e c o l l e c t i o n s of Leroy McQuesten. YTA. Pamphlet. 1952-53.  3  Dawson. Report, p.  182.  48  eagerly abandoned one stream and headed to another at the s l i g h t e s t hint that a new  gold f i e l d had been uncovered.  To 1896* Forty-Mile remained  the most p r o f i t a b l e and consistent of the creeks, more than $14 a day for t h e i r e f f o r t s , the high costs count.  at the i s o l a t e d outpost  the discovery of gold  touched o f f the Klondike Gold Rush.  realizing  a s i z e a b l e sum even a f t e r taking  of goods and s e r v i c e s  Before  with miners  on Rabbit Creek,  into ac-  which  in turn  the Yukon mining community  remained  small and geographically concentrated,  content with the remunerative i f  unspectacular returns* yet ever v i g i l a n t for a new  or larger s t r i k e .  4  The actual mining operations offered few employment prospects for Indians i n the area.  Natives seldom staked claims, apparently seeing  t l e a t t r a c t i o n in  the extensive work undertaken with no  p r o f i t a b l e return.  Those few who  the ideology of placer mining  ducted operations on three men.  guarantee of a  followed the miners to the f i e l d s usu-  a l l y s o l d t h e i r claims within a short time. important*  lit-  a small s c a l e .  The technology and. just as ensured that most miners con-  rarely involving more  than two or  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,  winter, from s h a f t s dug lying a  creek bed.  usually during the  (often through permafrost) to the bedrock under-  Miners s t o c k p i l e d  d i r t u n t i l spring  run-off.  at  4 Descriptions of the Forty-Mile Camp are found i n W. Ogilvie* Informat i o n Respecting the Yukon D i s t r i c t (Ottawa: Gov't P r i n t i n g Bureau* 1897). 9-155 F. Schwatka. Report of a M i l i t a r v Reconnaissance (Washington: Government P r i n t i n g Office* 1885); P i e r r e Berton. Klondike* (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. 1972); W. R. Hunt North of 53: The Wild Days of the Alaska-Yukon Mining F r o n t i e r . 1870-1914 (New York: Macmillan. 1974).  49  which time  the stream would be  diverted through a sluice-box  narrow trough with a r i f f l e d bottom designed and nuggets). the s l u i c e .  (a long,  to trap the heavy gold dust  The accumulated d i r t was mixed with water and run through At an appropriate time,  and the r i f f l e s checked. seasonal and, i n d i v i d u a l s or  the flow of the water was stopped  The operation  of the placer mines was highly  because of the small s i z e of the claims, partnerships.  Additional  normally  labour requirements  run by usually  came only during the spring run-off when the care had to be taken to ensure that a l l the c a r e f u l l y gathered p l i e s lasted. bourer on mine.  d i r t was "washed" while water sup-  Each miner t y p i c a l l y handled h i s own claim; to have a l a -  hand was a  luxury affordable only  by those with  a "proved"  Characterized by a small population and u t i l i z i n g an i n d i v i d u a l -  ized,  e x t r a c t i v e technology,  the placer mining operations i n the Yukon  River v a l l e y i n the 1880's nonetheless on those  had a s i g n i f i c a n t economic impact  Indians resident near the mines.  While the border  (Forty-Mile)  5  region f e l t the p r i n c i p a l e f f e c t ,  a  lesser number of natives i n o u t l y i n g . d i s t r i c t s came into the new economy,  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, mountain d i v i d e River.  connecting Lynn Canal and  The coastal C h i l c a t  the inland Tagish bands, the mountains.  (Tlingit)  earned  the headwaters of  Indians,  the Yukon  and to a lesser degree  money by transporting supplies through  Many of the prospectors and t r a v e l l e r s  t h i s route found the Indians' charges usurious, ously protected monopoly of the passes had  5  a small  Ibid.  50  who t r a v e l l e d  but the C h i l c a t s '  jeal-  to be respected and most paid  rather than face the prospect of  packing t h e i r own  pectors' w i l l i n g n e s s to r i s k the usually p l a c i d ,  s u p p l i e s . The pros6  occasionally treacher-  ous, waters of the Yukon River i n h a s t i l y b u i l t scows and r a f t s an extension of t h i s a c t i v i t y into r i v e r t r a v e l . mercial Company sternwheelers p l i e d the waters can t e r r i t o r y well  up into Canada,  Alaska Com-  of the Yukon from Ameri-  bringing in the  and supplies required by the miners. of work along the r i v e r as guides,  As well,  thwarted  bulk of provisions  Natives d i d f i n d a limited amount pilots,  and packers,  but the pros-  pectors' generally limited f i n a n c i a l means r e s t r i c t e d t h i s avenue to occasional work. There was camps,  considerable demand  p a r t i c u l a r l y at Forty-Mile where  extensively in  the emerging economic  highly remunerative, able through  labour around  the mining  the local natives p a r t i c i p a t e d  order.  The new  ventures proved  o f f e r i n g material gain far i n excess of that a v a i l -  trade with  the Hudson's Bay  The limited development of white labourers. most men  for Indian  Company or  of the d i s t r i c t severely  Whenever miners uncovered  i n the d i s t r i c t worked t h e i r own  i t s competitors.  r e s t r i c t e d the supply  paying q u a n t i t i e s of gold  claims.  With white workers at  a premium, i f a v a i l a b l e at a l l , would-be employers turned, i f r e l u c t a n t ly, to the a v a i l a b l e pool of natives. ing the  mines often needed  more importantly,  assistance unloading  these vessels required a  wood in order to ply the waters and temporary chores, Most of  e  R e t a i l e r s and wholesalers supply-  steady supply of  of the Yukon.  the role of packer f e l l  the mines in the  sternwheelers.  cut cord  Like the other seasonal largely  Forty-Mile d i s t r i c t were a  to the Indians. considerable d i s -  R. Friesen, The Chilkoot Pass, Manuscript Record Series, #236, Canada, 1978.  51  Even  Parks  tance from the Yukon River. tions e i t h e r  Miners attempting to p r o v i s i o n t h e i r opera-  c a r r i e d in t h e i r  hired a packer to do the work. The natives seldom w i l l i n g to h i r e out. a pound,  own supplies or.  as most chose  to do,  Most of t h i s work went to the n a t i v e s .  received the remuneration offered  7  the feu uhites  Packers in the Forty-Mile area received up to $.30  for carrying the goods as far as 85 miles from the settlement.  Winter rates f e l l to approximately a t h i r d of the summer stipend, but in that season dog teams could be used u i t h a concommitant time and e f f o r t .  8  Wage rates in the mines and  cording to the season and the o f f e r i n g s r e f l e c t e d the on that season.  elseuhere fluctuated ac-  number of labourers a v a i l a b l e .  shortness of the summer uhich  White labourers earned betueen  standard maintained in several instances they uould not  accept l e s s .  reduction in the  Monetary  placed a premium  $6 and $10 a  day,  a  by a labourers' agreement that  While native  remuneration seldom matched  that granted t h e i r Caucasian counterparts, healthy, well-regarded Indian males earned from $4  to $8 each uorking day.  s i o n a l signs of r a c i a l l y motivated attempts  9  Although there uere occa-  to exclude the Indians from  7  Evidence on native labour i s uidely dispersed. The account i s 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, Ogi l v i e Papers, f i l e 4, Bompas to L t . Governor, 3 Dec. 1891; Report of Inspector C. Constantine, 20 January 1896, Annual Report of North West Mounted P o l i c e , 1896, YTA, Anglican Church (AC) New Series, f i l e 4, Constantine to Deputy Minister of the Interior, 19 November 1896; Ogilvie, Information Respecting the Yukon D i s t r i c t (Ottawa: Dept. of the I n t e r i o r , 1897); O g i l v i e , 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 L i f e of R. J. Bowen," unpub1ished manuscr i p t .  B  Report of Inspector Constantine, 20 January  9  Ibid.; CMS, Bompas to CMS, 20 January 1893; Constantine to Deputy Mini s t e r of the Interior, 19 Nov. 1896; Bompas to L t . Governor, 3 Dec. 1891.  52  1896.  the more l u c r a t i v e work  i n the mines and to l i m i t  natives securing temporary p o s i t i o n s improved  t h e i r wages?  10  those  on t h e i r former earnings.  The r e s t r i c t e d demand for native workers? however? prevented the Indians from more a s s e r t i v e l y c o n t r o l l i n g t h e i r labour?  as they had done i n the  fur trade. In addition to activities? tunities. moose?  employment in the mines or  in related transportation  other Indians c a p i t a l i z e d on a v a r i e t y of a d d i t i o n a l opporThe demand  for foodstuffs?  including salmon  caribou and other game for human consumption?  c a l l y over the fur trade era.  for dog meat?  improved dramati-  With the major mining camps located c l o s e  to the migratory t r a i l s of northern caribou herds and with moose r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e i n the r i v e r valleys? to serve  t h e i r own  needs and  the Indians e a s i l y harvested enough game those of the white  population.  11  Natives  outside the immediate v i c i n i t y of the mines c a r r i e d the bulk of the prov i s i o n trade as those able to reach a c l o s e r accommodation with the mining economy  found i t  comparatively easy to  satisfy their  cash requirements without r e s o r t i n g to the hunt?  material or  except to f u l f i l l  per-  sonal needs. Natives occasionally took a more d i r e c t  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 p r o f i t to l a t e 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 A f f a i r s (hereafter IA)? f i l e 147? 654-1? pt. 2? Bompas to Indian Commissioner? 1896.  1 1  CMS.  1 2  AC, New Series? f i l e 4, Constantine to Deputy Minister of the or, 19 Nov. 1896.  Bompas to CMS,  15 May  v o l . 3962? 5 September  1894.  53  Interi-  toe-hold on  s u i t a b l e property.  Following  the Rabbit  Creek (Bonanza)  discovery and before many r e a l i z e d the extent of the gold f i e l d * bought Indian cabins located nearby along $100  to $200 for each of the  the Yukon River,  small s t r u c t u r e s .  intervention of Church of England missionary U. appealed for  an extra payment  costs i n the area.  in keeping  In t h i s instance,  miners  paying  V i t h hindsight and C.  from the  Bompas, the natives  with the rapid  i n f l a t i o n of  the natives would have done well  to have held onto t h e i r land, but the incident i l l u s t r a t e s the p o t e n t i a l for a s u b s t a n t i a l return through the  s a l e of native land holdings  t h i s case cabins, but more often mineral The  renowned discovery  of gold  in  claims.  1 3  Bonanza Creek  quickly g a l v i n i z e d a c t i v i t y in the Yukon  in  i n August  River v a l l e y .  1896,  Forty Mile and  a l l other mining camps emptied as every miner in the area headed to grab a share of the  new  the mining economy Dawson C i t y and  "Eldorado."  Many of the natives  at Forty-Mile followed the migration  re-established themselves in t h e i r  as p r o v i s i o n hunters and casual labourers. followed reshaped the economic few envisaged.  who  profited  from  to .  newly accepted  role  The Klondike Gold Rush which  and s o c i a l  fabric of the Yukon  It was a major find to be sure,  in a  way  but those on the scene  foresaw room for only a few thousand extra miners on the creeks.  No  a n t i c i p a t e d the human deluge that followed.  before  news of the s t r i k e reached "outside" in 1897, ued  largely as before,  with the natives  In the short term,  one  the Yukon economy c o n t i n -  secure i n t h e i r role as a sup-  plementary labour- force to the mining community.  1 3  Ibid.; Department of Indian A f f a i r s and Northern Development (DIAND), f i l e 801-30-0-01, Bompas to Minister of the Interior, 28 October 1896, Extract from William O g i l v i e ' s l e t t e r dated 8 November 1896.  54  Before  turning  to a  detailed  examination  of  the gold  rush  and  attending t r a n s i t i o n s , however, an assessment of the impact of mining on the economic s t r a t e g i e s of the Yukon Indians i s i n order. marily to those i n the west-central Forty-Mile to 1896.  Limited p r i -  region between the Stewart River and  t h i s mining a c t i v i t y a f f e c t e d only about 10% to 20%  of the Yukon River natives.  Few  Yukon Indians p a r t i c i p a t e d in the  economic order, staying instead with hunting, gathering and. tent to which i t s t i l l to  operated,  the fur trade.  For those  the mines, the p o t e n t i a l for change was great.  on wage labour and f i r s t time. was gone.  new  to the  ex-  Indians drawn  A cash economy based  r e t a i l stores functioned on an expanded s c a l e for the  The comparative s t a b i l i t y of the Hudson's Bay Company trade 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  With higher wages and more competition geographically located  and personally  mining economy found within i t a much  a meaningful  t r a n s i t i o n a l phase.  for t h e i r business, disposed to easier way  those natives  p a r t i c i p a t e in  to s a t i s f y t h e i r  the still  limited material needs. Even with the during the  considerable p o t e n t i a l for change,  fur trade  and the pre-Gold  s u r p r i s i n g l y consistent. worked during part-time  the fur  labourers,  the west  trade as  the f o r t ,  p r o v i s i o n hunters,  a s s i s t i n g the Hudson's  and south,  i n t e r l u d e remained  P a r t i c i p a n t s in both, the Fort Youcon natives  noes or moving post supplies. to  Rush mining  the natives' role  Their  and  as  Bay Company by manning ca-  function as middlemen for natives  whom they prevented  from  trading d i r e c t l y  l i m i t e d t h e i r actual trapping operations.  55  fishermen  with  The experience  in  the e a r l y stages of the mining f r o n t i e r d i f f e r e d l i t t l e . terial  Wages and ma-  rewards rose, but the Indians continued to serve as p r o v i s i o n e r s ,  a l b e i t f o r an expanded population, and as a r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e short-term labour force engaged p r i m a r i l y i n transportation and packing. cantly,  these  same Indians  continued to obtain  Signifi-  furs f o r trade,  not  through t h e i r own trapping e f f o r t s , but v i a trade with d i s t a n t bands denied access to the mining c e n t r e s . the natives' economic  The onset of mining had not a l t e r e d  1 4  a c t i v i t i e s i n a major,  stead, the Indians retained a r o l e analogous Hudson's Bay Company era, c i e n t money to  purchase  a position  or  u n s e t t l i n g way.  In-  to that attained during the  which allowed them to earn s u f f i -  t h e i r r e q u i s i t e s from  the Euro-Canadians while  i n t e r f e r i n g i n only a l i m i t e d way with the hunting and f i s h i n g c y c l e s . The part-time  and seasonal  a c t i v i t i e s undertaken  f o r both  1 5  the fur  traders and the miners conformed to rather than a l t e r e d the Indians' annual pattern.  Indeed, that the natives could provide for t h e i r own sub-  sistence, p r o v i s i o n an  expanding  in mine-related ventures  underlines the comparative  Yukon Indians' way of l i f e . ously d i d not perform a  white population and  "affluence"  of the  Supplying t h e i r own food requirements o b v i -  demand a l l t h e i r time  v a r i e t y of  o c c a s i o n a l l y work  other tasks  and e f f o r t ,  leaving them  for the miners.  From  free to  an economic  1 4  The best d e s c r i p t i o n of t h i s process i s i n "Incidents i n the L i f 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 f i s h unless absolutely necessary. While a few temporarily adopted a more "white" mode of l i f e , h i s larger g e n e r a l i z a t i o n 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 Indians' r i g h t s . Constantine's comments on the Indians, appended to a r e f u t a t i o n of Bompas' claims that the government should protect nat i v e f i s h i n g and land r i g h t s , are of highly questionable v a l i d i t y .  56  standpoint, the mining a c t i v i t y d i d l i t t l e to a l t e r the central basis of the Indians' l i f e s t y l e or t h e i r 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 s a t i s f y an expanding but hardly voracious appetite for the r e t a i l e r s ' wares.  They purchased  r e a d i l y and those few items more t e r i a l c u l t u r e (guns, ples)  luxuries, including alcohol, more  f u l l y integrated into the natives' ma-  knives and other iron goods being the prime exam-  could be acquired with less e f f o r t .  wage labour plus a continued fur trade  The combination  offered a new  of seasonal  level of affluence  for those natives able to p a r t i c i p a t e . If the miners' a r r i v a l d i d not change native behaviour d e c i s i v e l y , i t nonetheless  introduced the rudimentary  omy  Yukon River basin.  to the  beginnings of an i n d u s t r i a l econ-  While  the fur trade and  preconditions of r a c i a l accommodation and interdependance  the attending remained,  old order had c e r t a i n l y been relegated to the background. was geographically concentrated i n the  king and the  r e q u i s i t e s of the former industry  of regional economic  the dynamics  the key to the l e v e l of i n t e g r a t i o n . work,  the new  ac-  Gold, not fur, was  now  determined  development i n the following  natives were p o t e n t i a l workers,  Though mining  west-central Yukon,  t i v i t y a t t r a c t e d the majority of white i n t e r e s t .  The  a v a i l a b i l i t y of white workers,  the  decades.  the contours Since the  of the labour market held  Indians' a b i l i t y and d e s i r e to  seasonal f l u c t u a t i o n s i n economic  a c t i v i t y , the nature of the work performed,  and the employers' w i l l i n g -  ness to h i r e natives worked together to form the framework of the mining labour market. struct,  While t h i s market,  a  highly informal and  f l u i d con-  remained of l i m i t e d importance in the pre-Gold Rush years,  57  the  system e s t a b l i s h e d l a i d the basis for new  the natives' p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the  economic order. The Yukon mines offered l i t t l e regular  without a claim. support  Employment prospects came largely from  industries* transportation and p r o v i s i o n i n g .  for labour  few for the remainder  tance seldom included s k i l l e d need for  clerks, tion.  The  the two main l i m i t e d demand  was seasonal, r e q u i r i n g large numbers of workers in the sum-  mer months and  the  work on the creeks for anyone  of the year.  labourers.  s k i l l e d technicians  on  The need for a s s i s -  Exceptions existed, the riverboats  such as  or trading  post  but most jobs required only a strong back and a s o l i d c o n s t i t u On the supply side, p o t e n t i a l employers drew from a small, i r r e g -  ular pool of white labourers or a larger, s t a b l e number of Drawn by high wages, work i n  the mines.  a few whites  Given  Indians.  came in each year s p e c i f i c a l l y to  the location and  the cost of  reaching the  west-central Yukon, t h i s cadre of workers remained small. larger group of white labourers included d i r t or out  of supplies.  cessful mining  efforts,  A second, and  those miners yet to s t r i k e pay  Often f i n a n c i a l l y constrained yet u n w i l l i n g to  abandon the  due to unsuc-  queBt  for gold,  these miners offered t h e i r s e r v i c e s to r a i s e funds for yet another onto the creeks. body of men  Uhile more numerous than the f i r s t group, t h i s second  was a compressed and  unstable work force with supply depen-  dant upon the f a i l u r e of prospectors f i r s t to be employed,  e s p e c i a l l y for  not be counted on as a steady the Indians. on-site due to  foray  already in the region.  While the  work i n the diggings,  they could  pool of seasonal  labour.  That l e f t only  Self-supporting through f i s h i n g , hunting and the f o r t u i t o u s j u x t a p o s i t i o n of the gold  58  fur trading,  f i e l d s and  the  home t e r r i t o r i e s of the Kutchin and Han ited work i n order to s a t i s f y  Indians,  w i l l i n g to accept  t h e i r material d e s i r e s ,  i d e a l l y s i t u a t e d to meet the needs  lim-  the natives were  of the embryonic Yukon mining  indus-  try. The machinations  of the l o c a l labour  cessful and renumerative expanding mining t e r i z e d as  for  adaptation of the west-central  frontier.  a casual,  market accounted  The s i t u a t i o n before 1896,  seasonal  labour  market,  s u i t e d to the natives' needs and i n t e r e s t s .  16  a  Indians to the could be charac-  s i t u a t i o n uniquely  As long as demand remained  seasonal so as not to c o n f l i c t with hunting and f i s h i n g , mines  supporting  activities  the suc-  sought u n s k i l l e d  as long as the  labourers  rather  than  s k i l l e d technicians, and as long as the a v a i l a b l e pool of white manpower stayed small and v a r i a b l e , the l o c a l natives found a s i g n i f i c a n t economic r o l e .  Before the Gold Hush, the local economy allowed the natives to  continue  their  harvesting  short-term and renumerative harvest of f i s h , meat and  pursuits employment.  while  simultaneously  providing  Since the demand for the native  furs remained high and as the emerging economy  required p r i m a r i l y u n s k i l l e d workers, the regional order assured the Indians a key r o l e in the l o c a l economy. If the  fur trade had o f f e r e d  into the western economy,  the Yukon Indians a  the l i m i t e d  p r o f i t a b l e entree  mining a c t i v i t y before the Klon-  dike Gold Rush provided an even more advantageous economic s i t u a t i o n for those natives positioned to p a r t i c i p a t e in the new  1 6  order.  1 7  Based on the  For an e x c e l l e n t d e s c r i p t i o n of the functioning of a casual, seasonal labour market in an i n d u s t r i a l s e t t i n g , see Garth Stedman Jones, Outcast London, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971). Jones' work also i l l u s t r a t e s the importance of examining the s t r u c t u r e and evolution of labour markets.  59  small number of much preferred white labourers and the l i m i t e d technology of placer gold e x t r a c t i o n , the b e n e f i t s for the Indians were p r e c a r i ous.  1 8  The natives, however,  small-scale,  achieved a successful accommodation with a  l o c a l i z e d mining community;  would stand up i n  whether the balance achieved  the face of an onslaught of miners  p h i s t i c a t i o n in mining technology  remained to be seen.  and a growing soImportantly,  miners made no attempt to draw the Indians to the centre of the new nomic system.  the eco-  Instead, the now-dominant white community valued the In-  dians' role as p r o v i s i o n e r s and seasonal labourers but sought to prevent any r a c i a l  integration of the mines.  They had,  in e f f e c t , set up a r a -  c i a l c l a s s system which assured a constant source of native labour.  The  natives seldom challenged the exclusiveness of the placer diggings, welcoming the remunerative  opportunity to combine preferred harvesting pur-  s u i t s with occasional wage labour.  1 7  Indians near the mining camps r e s t r i c t e d the access of other natives to the markets and wage labour opportunities, a process reminiscent of attempts to preserve fur trade monopolies. See "Incidents i n the L i fe of R. J. Bowen."  1 8  The natives' successful adaptation to the 19th Century mining front i e r i n the Yukon i s not unique, although i t contrasts with most port r a i t s of the expansion of mining a c t i v i t y . See the rather d i f f e r e n t p o r t r a y a l s of the B.C. experience of Robin Fisher, Contact and Conf 1 i c t and Rolf Knight, Indians at Work: An Informal History of Nat i v e Indian Labour in B r i t i s h Columbia, 1858-1930. (Vancouver: New Star, 1978). On a more p o s i t i v e adaptation, somewhat analagous to the Yukon, see J. Kay, "Indian Responses to a Wining F r o n t i e r , " i n W. Savage and S. Thompson, ed. The F r o n t i e r : Comparative Studies, Vol. 2 (Norman: U n i v e r s i t y of Oklahoma Press, 1979), 193-203.  60  CHAPTER FOUR NATIVES IN THE KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH ECONOMY The comparative quietude of the Yukon gust,  1896,  when "squaw man"  Jim and Tagish C h a r l i e ,  mining economy exploded in Au-  George Carmacks and two  discovered a  the junction of the Yukon and  Indians,  Skookum  major deposit of placer gold near  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 h a l f . er  At f i r s t hint of the f i n d , miners throughout  v a l l e y grabbed  the new  strike.  noyances,  t h e i r tools,  abandoned  t h e i r diggings and headed for  Previous stampedes subsequently proved to be minor an-  the d i s c o v e r i e s  shown to be e i t h e r i l l u s o r y  sustaining extensive mining a c t i v i t y . proved neither f a l s e nor The story of  the Klondike Gold has  On t h i s occasion,  in the summer of  d o l l a r s worth  of gold a r r i v e d in  been o f t - t o l d and only  1897 when miners carrying  great Klondike Gold Rush commenced. the Yukon that same year,  The re-  instanteous.  The  A few thousand prospectors made i t  but the majority arranged t h e i r a f f a i r s so  the gold f i e l d  the following summer.  the s i z e of t h i s human wave vary,  1  the bare  thousands of  S e a t t l e and San Francisco.  sponse throughout depression-ridden North America was  probably exceeded 50,000.  the discovery  News of the Yukon discovery reached the  1  outside world  as to a r r i v e in  or incapable of  limited.  o u t l i n e s need be sketched here.  to  the Yukon Riv-  Estimates as to  but the number a r r i v i n g in 1898 alone  Most of the would-be miners experienced shat-  The best treatment i s 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 C i t y see H. Quest, "Dawson C i t y " , (Ph.D. D i s s e r t a t i o n , University of Manitoba, 1982).  61  tered dreams*  as the prime gold-bearing ground  before t h e i r a r r i v a l . for the south  had been  staked long  Disgruntled and demoralized, many thousands  soon a f t e r completing the journey to Dawson C i t y .  toun had sprung  up on the f l a t s at  s e r v i c e the mines.  left This  the mouth of the Klondike River to  While the population  i n the area soon dropped  from  the heady heights of 1898-1899. the federal census of 1901 recorded over 27.000 people i n the t e r r i t o r y . couraged by the discovery lure of  2  Many continued to leave,  of gold near Nome.  the Yukon nonetheless continued  an exodus en-  Alaska i n 1699. but the  to exert i t s magnetic  appeal.  Every year would-be prospectors, each b e l i e v i n g that they could share i n the bounty  of the northern "Eldorado."  River b a s i n . By 1907. 3  died.  however,  found t h e i r way into  the Yukon  the gold rush had dwindled and a l l but  Mammoth dredges replaced the placer miners i n the creek beds and  hydraulic mining t h e i r wealth.  operations stripped  The days of the i n d i v i d u a l miner,  at least, were over.  the h i l l  s i d e s of  i n the Klondike f i e l d s  Large mining consortiums bought the r i g h t s to the  major creeks and secured federal ter s u p p l i e s .  the banks and  government leases to all-important wa-  4  As an economic force, the gold rush lasted less than a decade, g i v i n g way  to the more systematic and more highly  the Yukon's mineral resources.  c a p i t a l i z e d e x p l o i t a t i o n of  This short duration b e l i e s i t s s i g n i f i -  2  Canada. Census 1901.  3  See Guest. "Dawson C i t y " for a useful discussion of the transiency associated with the Gold Rush.  4  L. Green, The Gold Hustlers (Vancouver: Douglas. 1975); D. J . H a l l . Clifford Sifton: The Young Napolean (Vancouver: UBC, 1982); Ian Clarke. " C l i f f o r d S i f t o n In Relation to His Mines," unpublished paper presented to CHA, Montreal, 1980.  62  cance,  for i n  short  order the  Gold  Hush  r a d i c a l l y overturned  the  demographic* r a c i a l and economic balance in the Yukon River v a l l e y .  Be-  fore 1896,  the  natives outnumbered whites by approximately four to one;  1901 census,  taken two years a f t e r the  population of eight whites for every natives had  height of the rush,  Indian.  benefitted f i n a n c i a l l y from the  prosperity tenuously founded  5  revealed a  For several decades, a r r i v a l of the  whites,  the a  on a shortage of white labour  and the be-  nign a t t i t u d e of the new a r r i v a l s to the native population.  In the ag-  gressive,  i n d i v 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 p r i o r consideration for the natives' i n t e r e s t largely consumed by the lust for gold. At the same time, far more Indians throughout the region f e l t the e f f e c t s of the new  order.  ing to the Yukon, Canal to the  Prospectors u t i l i z e d several c o r r i d o r s i n com-  although the Chilkoot  and White Passes from the Lynn  headwaters of the Yukon River remained  Other routes,  including the Dalton T r a i l  d i s t r i c t and a v a r i e t y of branch Edmonton with Dawson  the p r i n c i p l e focus.  in the southwest  corner of the  routes connecting the supply centre of  C i t y offered access to the  along each of these routes p a r t i c i p a t e d , gold rush economy.  the most favoured.  gold f i e l d s .  i f often t a n g e n t i a l l y ,  The Bennett Lake-Dawson c o r r i d o r , however, (Hap  Indians in the remained  3)  The mining a c t i v i t y i t s e l f centred on the t r i b u t a r i e s of the Klondike River and gold rush,  while Indians throughout the the economic forces were  land of the mines.  5  t e r r i t o r y f e l t the p u l l  of the  strongest i n the immediate h i n t e r -  A s i g n i f i c a n t number of natives moved c l o s e r to  Daw-  The e a r l i e r figure comes . from a DIA estimate of 2600 natives i n 1896 and approximately 600-700 whites. Canada, Census, 1901.  63  M a p 3: R o u t e s to the K l o n d i k e G o l d F i e l d s  0 I  64  i  '  Miles  '  150 •  BOTI C i t y  to take advantage  of perceived economic  opportunities. A l -  though decimated by disease, the local Fort Resolution (Han) mained i n the area,  as d i d a number of former residents  Indians re-  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 i n the northern Yukon came to Dawson, drawn by the s o c i a l and nomic a c t i v i t y .  5  While  the number of Indians a c t u a l l y  gold f i e l d s was comparatively small, a f f e c t e d most of the Yukon natives.  eco-  a t t r a c t e d to the  the reordering attending the rush Vastly d i f f e r e n t i n s c a l e and shape  from previous economic s t r u c t u r e s , the gold rush economy o f f e r e d a v a r i ety of prospects and r e s t r i c t i o n s to those Indians who attempted to participate. The most noticeable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the dike period i s t h e i r comparative t i v e s maintained  anonymity.  a high p r o f i l e and  with comments on t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s . in the gold rush l i t e r a t u r e .  Yukon Indians in the KlonIn previous years, the na-  the documentary record  i s replete  The natives receive scant a t t e n t i o n  The records r e f l e c t the fact that the gold  rush was an overwhelmingly white phenomenon,  with  the Indians s w i f t l y  relegated to a peripheral p o s i t i o n .  A prodigious number of d i a r i e s , b i -  ographies and travelogues appeared,  but the Indians,  a l l , emerged on the margins. ship,  5  i f they appear at  The authors, and one suspects the reader-  of these t r a c t s had l i t t l e i n t e r e s t  i n what many perceived to be  R. Slobodin, "The Dawson Boys," Polar Notes, v o l . 5 (June 1963), 24-35; The Porcupine River was v i r t u a l l y deserted in t h i s 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, p t . 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  pursuit of gold (newcomers)  of Indians.  and the hardships awaiting  The r e l e n t l e s s  those i n t r e p i d "Cheechakos"  who ventured north held far greater i n t e r e s t .  As a conse-  quence, t h i s volumnious body of l i t e r a t u r e o f f e r s very feu i n s i g h t s 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 p r o t e c t i o n of the uhite population as t h e i r p r i n c i p a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and as a r e s u l t comments on the Indians also appear i r r e g u l a r l y from these sources.  8  Despite l i m i t e d contem-  porary comment, the natives of course had a role to play i n the development of the gold f i e l d s and  t h e i r experience represented  an important  phase i n t h e i r adaptation to the changing Yukon economy. From the beginnings  of the Klondike rush,  the natives attempted to  r e t a i n the functions they had performed at the F o r t y - H i l e camps. ber of them  uorked as labourers,  short-term b a s i s .  9  In a d d i t i o n .  guides or uood-cutters. the demand  for meat i n the  A num-  aluays on a camps re-  7  For reasons presented here, no e f f o r t u i l l be made to l i s t the voluminous books, a r t i c l e s and t y p e s c r i p t s uhich f i t t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n . The reader i s referred to the useful uork by R. Friesen. The ChiIkoot Pass: A L i t e r a t u r e Review (HRS #203; Parks Canada. 1977); H. Guest. Dawson C i t y : San Francisco of the North or Boomtown In A Bog (HRS #241; Parks Canada. 1978); and Guest. "Dawson C i t y . "  8  The only noteable exception i s 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 Commun i t y (Toronto: UTP. 1962); H. A. Innis. Settlement and the Hining F r o n t i e r (Toronto: Hacmillan. 1936) uhich r e f l e c t the standard Euroc e n t r i c focus.  9  Zaslou, 144-146; NWHP. Annual Reports. 1896-1904. DIAND, file 801-30-0-1. Bompas to Commissioner of Indian A f f a i r s . 12 July 1899. RCHP. v o l . 189. f i l e 339. S. Sergt. P r i n g l e to O.C. "B." D i v i s i o n . 7 August 1900 discusses the HcQuesten area; RCHP. v o l . 154. f i l e 445. J a r v i s report re: T r i p to Dalton Trading Post. 16 August 1898. des c r i b e s short-term uork in that area. Wages for guides and packers reached $4 a day. See a l s o . Report of Superintendent Wood. NWHP. Annual Report 1899. pt. I l l , 41.  66  mained high and a ready market existed for caribou or moose meat. ing  the f i r s t  months of the rush,  Dur-  demand for native labour exceeded a l l  previous experience and high wages  predominated.  As prospectors began  10  to cross over the mountain passes and into the Yukon River basin. Indian residents near packers.  the routes  found ready  and renumerative  The Chilkoot Pass provided most  the Yukon.  employment as  miners with t h e i r ingress to  At the bottom of the pass,  a number of C h i l k a t Indians of-  fered to pack goods up the steep t r a i l s .  Their p r i c e s had r i s e n i n step  with demand.  increasing from l c per pound in  1896  to 5c —  7c in  The major onslaught of prospectors i n 1898-1899 d i d not. however, greater rewards.  Expanded use of  the construction  of the White Pass  tidewater  and Whitehorse  undercut  Similar opportunities e x i s t e d necting the Mackenzie  tramways,  bring  packtrains and eventually  and Yukon Route the  1897.  railway connecting  Indians' packing  i n the far north,  River basin and the Yukon  along  enterprise.  1 1  the passes con-  River watershed.  The  number of prospectors was much smaller than in the south, but the Kutchin found renumerative  employment packing supplies across the Stony Creek  Pass ( j o i n i n g the Peel and the miners encamped Klondike. routes  1 0  1 1  Porcupine)  along that route  and the  No white entrepreneur added  as the  rush  through the  and providing provisions for Peel-Wind River path  to the  transportation devices to these  northern Yukon  lasted  for only  two  YTA. AC. New Series. f i l e 4, Constantine to Deputy M i n i s t e r of the Interior, 19 Nov. 1896; Archer. A Heroine of the North (London: Macmil lan, 1929), 160. See R. Friesen, The Chilkoot Pass and the Great Gold Rush of 1898. . 72-95, 139-160. Most miners, themselves of moderate means, c a r r i e d t h e i r own goods. Hence the famous photographs of the s o l i t a r y s t r i n g of bent-over men winding i t s way up the mountain pass.  67  years.  1 2  Initially*  the Yukon  Indians enjoyed a material  than in the years of the Forty-Mile mines. mining a c t i v i t i e s ensured  Additionally,  that the b e n e f i t s of the  dispersed more widely than previously. and  prosperity greater  1896  expansion of  discovery were  Based on the s c a r c i t y of labour  lack of a l t e r n a t i v e s to Indian manpower, such rewards proved t r a n s i -  tory.  The a r r i v a l of tens of thousands  expansion of roads and r a i l nated much of the  lines  of miners i n 1898-1899 and  between Dawson C i t y and creeks e l i m i -  local need for native l a b o u r .  technological advances  the  spawned by  13  the success of  s t r i c t e d a number of former native  In  short order,  the gold  the  f i e l d s re-  occupations and severely l i m i t e d the  Indians' prospective r o l e i n the emerging economy. The p r o v i s i o n trade to  provide consistent  continued  to be the only s e c t i o n  returns.  This  trade expanded  of the economy geographically.  E a r l i e r e f f o r t s reached l i t t l e beyond the mining community market, plemented i n  a small way  the border region.  through  s a l e s to missionaries and  traders i n  With many thousands of miners, government o f f i c i a l s  ( e s p e c i a l l y the North Vest Mounted P o l i c e ) , ments (Vhitehorse,  sup-  Dawson,  and a few emerging s e t t l e -  Carcross and S e l k i r k ,  being the most nota-  ble),  natives throughout the d i s t r i c t p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the growing p r o v i -  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 Edmonton (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970), G. Graham, The Golden Grindstone (Toronto: Oxford, 1935); E. McAdam, From Duck Lake to Dawson C i t y ed. R. G. Moyles (Saskatoon: Western P r a i r i e Producer Books, 1977), H. Inman, Buffalo Jones' Forty Years of Adventure (London, 1899), 454.  1 3  Technological advances in transportation are well Bennett, Yukon Transportation: A History, 24-58.  68  described in  G.  s i g n i f i c a n t l i m i t a t i o n s to the natives' full potential.  To prevent widespread s t a r v a t i o n ,  ment decreed that each person entering of  foodstuffs,  the federal  the t e r r i t o r y bring 1,000  an estimated one year s u p p l y .  government e d i c t many of those  a b i l i t y to develop the markets'  obviously lessened demand  14  for native  produce.  fare to the "outside" and to  the t o i l  of packing  That  soon a f t e r a r r i v i n g  in Dawson compounded the impact of the supply regulations.  benefit from  pounds  This s t r i g e n t l y enforced  entering the region decided to leave  money required for a  govern-  To r a i s e the  exact some pecuniary  the goods over the  mountains,  these  disgruntled sojourners s o l d t h e i r o u t f i t s in the mining camps, adding to the a v a i l a b l e food stocks.  The miners could not bring i n fresh meat and  f i s h , but as long as resources allowed, many r e l i e d on t h e i r own hunting and f i s h i n g s k i l l s to s a t i s f y  t h e i r needs,  thereby further  restricting  the market for animal carcasses and increasing competition for l o c a l resources.  To supply the considerable market that s t i l l  t i v e s went further a f i e l d in pursuit a l l y had to compete salmon r u n .  1 5  the p r o v i s i o n  of a  of caribou amd moose and occasion-  with white fishermen for access to  The expanding  transportation  year-round r a i l  remained, the na-  the Yukon River  infrastructure,  link between  the coast  especially and Whit-  1 4  Zaslow, Opening provides a good d e s c r i p t i o n of a d m i n i s t r a t i v e maneuvers. See also Guest, "Dawson C i t y " , DIA, v o l . 3962, f i l e 147, 6544 pt. 2, Bompas to Commissioner For Indian A f f a i r s , 5 August 1696.  1 5  Ibid., Bompas to Indian Commissioner, 5 Sept. 1676; YTA, AC, New Ser i e s , f i l e 4, Constantine to Deputy Minister of the Interior, 15 Nov. 1896. The government imposed game laws to protect resources, but exempted Indians. The d e c i s i o n r e f l e c t e d the government's desire to prevent natives from becoming public charges. DIA, v o l . 6761, f i l e 420-12, J. Smart to Major Z. T. Wood, 17 October 1902. On decimation of game see Supt. "H" D i v i s i o n , 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 r e l i a b l e supply of foodstuffs from the south and  a further  reduction in demand for  about the gold fered for  native supplies.  miners' voracious appetites and the  s p e c i f i c foods,  but t h i s  Tales  are legion  outrageous sums o f -  demand was normally  r e s t r i c t e d to  such luxury items as fresh eggs, fresh milk and beef. In addition  to supplying  opened up for the Indians.  meat,  several  new avenues  of employment  Feu offered regular or l a s t i n g income.  men earned money manufacturing c l o t h i n g for  s a l e to the miners.  uas also a steady demand for other native products,  including  and sleds, but the Indians' i n a b i l i t y and unwi11ingness q u a n t i t i e s r e s t r i c t e d the market.  16  Similarly,  WoThere  snoushoes  to produce  large  i n the f i r s t days of the  rush there seemed to be an i n s a t i a b l e demand for dogs, and those Indians u i l l i n g to part u i t h t h e i r animals earned s i z e a b l e sums of money. these same dogs uere e s s e n t i a l to t h e i r hunting a c t i v i t i e s , seldom surrendered the animals.  the Porcupine River  to the northern reaches of the t e r r i -  country and the  purchased dogs from Indians and Inuit.  A r c t i c slope -  tions and options.  where they  They then drove the animals back  to Dauson and s o l d them for a handsome p r o f i t . The a v a i l a b i l i t y  the natives  Several unite entrepeneurs c a p i t a l i z e d  on the demand for dogs by heading tory -  Since  of government r e l i e f  1 7  also a l t e r e d  Prodded by Bishop Bompas and other  economic condimembers of the  1 6  Archer, A Heroine of the North, 162, suggests Indian uomen prospered during the Gold Rush. Many Native products, e s p e c i a l l y snoushoes, uere valued by the NWMP for s u i t a b i l i t y to Northern conditions. "Report of Supt. Wood," NWMP, Annual Report 1899. pt. I l l , 62.  1 7  W. Mason, The Frozen Northland ( C i n c i n n a t i : Jennings and Graham, 1910); Cody, Apostle of the North, 279 states p r i c e s for dogs reached $250 or, on a rental basis, $1 per dog each day.  70  Church Missionary Society to provide better federal government  directed the  supplies for d e s t i t u t e Indians. police  poBts  scattered  on the limited  care for the n a t i v e s .  the  North West  Mounted P o l i c e  Only those  natives with access to the  along the Bennett to Dawson  benefits.  1 8  General prosperity,  to provide  c o r r i d o r could c a l l  plus  s t r i c t government  regulations ensured, however, that few Indians c a l l e d 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 i n t h i s period, served as an important counter-balance to the  occasional i n s e c u r i t y of  the  hunting and gathering economy.  the  impact of combined native and white hunting p r e s s u r e . Though most natives  trap furs for trade,  continued to hunt for sustenance others  the many steamboats  p l y i n g the waters of the Yukon  Several  same v e s s e l s .  2 0  and for woodcut-  The new economic pros-  pects a t t r a c t e d a number of Indians to the mining camps. Kutchin migrated almost en masse toward Dawson C i t y .  tunities.  and market and  Work was a v a i l a b l e for deckhands on one  ters supplying cord wood for the  idents,  19  became more a c t i v e p a r t i c i p a n t s .  found s e m i - s k i l l e d employment. of  p a r t i c u l a r l y in those areas f e e l i n g  The Peel River  Like the area res-  they found a v a r i e t y of seasonal and trapping employment opporDescribing these "Dawson Boys." Richard Slobodin wrote:  1 9  DIA. v o l . 4037, f i l e 317.050. J. D. McLean to T. W. Jackson. 28 Jan. 1902? DIA. v o l . 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, file 801-30-0-1. Bompas to Commissioner of Indian A f f a i r s , 12 July 1899; "Report of Inspector J a r v i s , " NWMP, Annual Report 1902, p t . Ill, 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 a c t i v i t e s . however, opened up a new l i f e . Fourteen major summer occupations for t h i s 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 mechanic, p o o l - h a l l handyman, licensed trader, and, for women, laundress and mining camp c o o k . 21  Slobodin's  study  traced  mid-1910's, and several  the  Indians beyond  of the noted  the  Gold  Rush  occupations occured in  to  the  the post-  Klondike period. While a number of employment prospects existed, few of which uere neu to the Yukon Indians, uinter,  the natives  hunting camps  they continued to be of a seasonal nature. l e f t t h e i r summer p o s i t i o n s and  and t r a p - l i n e s .  Importantly,  most neu economic ventures within ing patterns.  the  returned to t h e i r  Indians accommodated  the contours of t h e i r  Summarizing the impact of  Each  hunting-gather-  the gold rush on the natives,  anthropologist A l i c e Kehoe wrote: Dene, eager for cash or novelty, flocked to these touns, men s e l l i n g f i s h and meat or uorking as labourers on the steamboats, at the r i v e r docks, and in the touns, women working as laundresses i f t h e i r husbands brought them along. The majority of Dene men made excursions for wage labour on the pattern of hunting and trapping, leaving the wives and c h i l d r e n in camp. 22  Her d e s c r i p t i o n conforms the "mixed economy", ied, cle.  c l o s e l y to Michael Asch's  with the natives  but t r a n s i t o r y sources of wage  c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of  able to r e a d i l y accommodate varlabour into a regular seasonal cy-  2 3  2 1  Slobodin, "The Dawson Boys."  2 2  A. Kehoe, North American Indians,  2 3  Asch, "Capital and Economic Development;" H. Asch, "Some E f f e c t s of The Late Nineteenth Century Modernization of the Fur Trade on the Economy of the Slavey Indians," Western Canadian Journal of Anthropology, v o l . 6, no. 4 (1975), 7-15.  72  500.  Since tuo Indians,  Skookum Jim  and Tagish C h a r l i e ,  participated in  and p r o f i t e d from the discovery of the Bonanza claim, i t i s not s u r p r i s ing that a few natives continued to prospect. d i c a t i o n of the numbers. t i v e staked a paying cleverer w h i t e . "  Several commentators  Jim and  Carcross, where C h a r l i e died i n 1908, attempt  agreed that a f t e r a na-  claim i t would be "bargained away Before Skookum  24  There i s , however, no i n -  from him by the  Tagish C h a r l i e  returned to  they combined with Jim Boss in an  to h i t yet another b i g s t r i k e .  Their e f f o r t s went unrewarded.  25  A few Indians put aside t h e i r harvesting p r a c t i s e s (though seldom permanently)  while j o i n i n g the mining  economy.  While they enjoyed varying  degrees of success, most shared the fate of Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie.  Rich men  i n t h e i r day, they, l i k e many of the " s u c c e s s f u l " miners,  lost most of t h e i r money i n short order.  The a c t i v i t i e s of a few entre-  peneurs, a term that applies with s p e c i a l v a l i d i t y to Jim Boss — trader and  road house operator —  "native" response to Location,  timing and  response of i n d i v i d u a l  indicates that there was  miner,  no uniform  the expansion and evolution of  the Yukon economy.  personality a l l played a r o l e  i n determining the  Indians to the prospects and l i m i t a t i o n s posed by  the expansion of mining. One of the most s i g n i f i c a n t implications the extension of Euro-Canadian tory.  Before  1896-1899,  economic  white  of the Klondike rush lay i n  i n t e r e s t s throughout  a c t i v i t y remained  the t e r r i -  c l o i s t e r e d in  west-central Yukon, with only l i m i t e d expansion elsewhere.  As a r e s u l t .  2 4  DIAND, 801-30-0-1, Bompas to Commissioner of Indian A f f a i r s , 1899.  2 5  RCMP, v o l . 251, 10 July 1903.  f i l e 262, Supt.  73  "H" D i v i s i o n to Asst.  the  12 July  Commissioner,  many  natives had  attempts to expand  little  or no d i r e c t  with whites.  Their  operations were often blocked by other natives pro-  t e c t i n g a middleman p o s i t i o n . of  contact  Vhen the gold-rush unleashed  i t s legions  would-be miners, old b a r r i e r s broke down and engulfed previously l i t -  t l e known areaB. prevented  The Copper Indians i n the White River region had been  from contacting the whites near Forty-Mile by the Han and from  reaching the Haines area N.W.H.P.  to the south by the T l i n g i t .  p a t r o l s reported  t h e i r r e l i a n c e on out-dated general backwardness.  25  back from the d i s t r i c t .  When the f i r s t the o f f i c e r s noted  guns, a lack of r e q u i s i t e supplies and t h e i r  The i s o l a t i o n of the Copper.  Kaska and eastern  Tutchone bands dissolved as white prospectors and traders expanded operations.  For these natives.  more than p r o v i s i o n i n g  new economic opportunities included l i t t l e  and fur trading,  but improved a c c e s s i b i l i t y to  white traders made the a c q u i s i t i o n of material goods far e a s i e r . As before,  the economic prospects of the Yukon  natives depended on  t h e i r own i n t e r e s t s and the s t r u c t u r e of the t e r r i t o r i a l Attempts by employers to match t h e i r  to Indians.  27  needs with the a v a i l a b l e supply of  able-bodied workers determined the number ble  labor market.  and type of p o s i t i o n s a v a i l a -  The economy retained much of i t s seasonal character,  2 6  RCMP, v o l . 155, f i l e 484, Insp. J a r v i s to Comptroller, NWHP, 11 August 1898; RCMP. v o l . 154, f i l e 445, J a r v i s report re: t r i p to Dalton Trading Post, 15 August 1898; "Report of Inspector J a r v i s , " NWMP, Annual Report 1899, pt. I l l , 63.  2 7  NWMP o f f i c e r s 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, v o l . 251, f i l e 262, Supt. "H" D i v i s i o n to Asst. Comm., 7 Feb. 1903; RCMP, v o l . 245, f i l e 62, Wood to Comptroller, 29 Dec. 1902, Cuthbert to Asst. Comm., 17 Dec. 1902; RCMP, v o l . 231, f i l e 188, Insp. Horrigan to Asst. Comm., 3 Nov. 1902: RCMP, v o l . 189, f i l e 339, P r i n g l e to O.C. "B" D i v i s i o n , 7 August 1900; "Report of Inspector Sternes," NWMP Annual Report 1902, pt. I l l , 56-57.  74  with  demand expanding  winter approached.  i n the  summer and  contracting dramatically  The need for s k i l l e d workers grew rapidly, p a r t i c u -  l a r l y i n the Dawson C i t y and Whitehorse s e r v i c e i n d u s t r i e s . q u i s i t e t e c h n i c i a l and s o c i a l s k i l l s for  available unskilled positions.  the  district  prevented any  Each winter,  thousands  White Passes, ice.  and  as  labour.  28  Lacking re-  the natives instead vied  The large number of white workers in  major native entry  into the  of men and women crossed over  labour force.  the Chilkoot and  t r a v e l l e d downstream with the break-up  a r r i v i n g i n Dawson as the demand for workers increased.  of the r i v e r Unable to  find s u i t a b l e or renumerative gold claims, these men often offered t h e i r s e r v i c e s to others, working i n the mines or in Dawson. labour pool allowed wage rates to a c t u a l l y decline, uniformly high p r i c e s . offered few openings  Under such conditions,  sort due to  even i n the face of  the Yukon labour market  for the less d e s i r a b l e I n d i a n s .  plus ensured that the natives.  regarded as  28  The labour sur-  a labour source of l a s t r e -  dominant white perceptions of t h e i r  faded to the background.  The s i z e of t h i s  unwillingness to work,  Their economic pursuits extended l i t t l e  beyond  those pursuits deemed s u i t a b l e by Indians and whites a l i k e to t h e i r "na-  2 8  Economic a c t i v i t y in the Yukon to 1918 i s covered i n Zaslow. Opening. See also Guest. "Dawson C i t y . " An i n d i c a t i o n of the limited a c t i v i t y in the North i s found i n Coates. The Northern Yukon. A wider perspective 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 contentious perspective on economic development, see R. Stuart. "The Underdevelopment of Yukon 1840-1960: An Overview", unpublished paper presented to CHA, Montreal, 1980. For a summary of a c t i v i t i e s i n the southwest, see A. A. Wright, "The Kluane Region," copy i n YTA.  2  E x c l u s i o n i s t p o l i c i e s kept natives out of the mines. P o l i c i e s designed to prevent competition from cheap labour s i m i l a r l y barred the Chinese. Bishop Bompas and the p o l i c e encouraged such exclusion. DIA, v o l . 3962, f i l e 147, 654-1, pt. 2, Bompas to Indian Commissioner, 5 September 1896; CMS, Bompas to CMS, 2 March 1898.  3  75  t i v e " status.  The natives' choice was  a l o g i c a l one. for they l i k e l y  earned more from t h e i r 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 p o s i t i o n held before 1896 — fur trappers and meat harvesters —  although even  i n these ventures they faced the new challenge of  white competition. There was one rather i r o n i c instance  where the forces of labour sup-  ply and demand worked to bar the Indians from a p o t e n t i a l l y remunerative source of income. men earned  In other gold rush and f r o n t i e r s e t t i n g s , native wo-  regular incomes as p r o s t i t u t e s .  3 0  Given  male composition of  the incoming population many  missionaries feared  that the limited supply  lead to native p r o s t i t u t i o n . es of such a c t i v i t y , camps when native  the overwhelmingly  government agents and  of women  would s i m i l a r l y  There were, however, few recorded instanc-  fewer even than i n the early days of the Forty-Mile  women frequently v i s i t e d the miners' cabins.  These  early r e l a t i o n s remained more s o c i a l than f i n a n c i a l , but the a n t i c i p a t e d demand for female companionship  i n the wake of the gold rush promised to  put such a f f e c t i o n s on a d i f f e r e n t footing. tending the Gold Rush,  however,  The extensive p u b l i c i t y a t -  ensured that women of a talent and i n -  c l i n a t i o n to s a t i s f y the miners' baser i n s t i n c t s quickly found t h e i r way north and began to  reap t h e i r share of the gold  the adequate supply of white women.  diggings.  3 1  Because of  native women found l i t t l e place i n  t h i s f i n a n c i a l l y rewarding, i f s o c i a l l y and medically undesirable, pro-  3 0  Fisher. Contact and Conf1ict. 19-20, 101. 113. 128. describes B.C. native p r o s t i t u t i o n . In t h i s instance he notes that Indian p r o s t i t u t i o n ceased with the a r r i v a l of a white s e t t l e r population.  3 1 Guest, Love."  "Dawson C i t y ' ,  esp. chapter "Langourous L i H i e s of Soulless  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 p o s i t i v e than e a r l i e r mining  developments.  Previously p r o f i t a b l e  native incursions  based on a s c a r c i t y of white labour gave way as the massive would-be prospectors  f i l l e d most a v a i l a b l e  into the native spheres. tre  of the t e r r i t o r i a l  vested a  s p i l l e d over  The Yukon Indians no longer occupied the cen-  labour pool.  Pushed to the periphery, they har-  r e g i o n a l l y threatened resource base  with a growing however,  jobs and even  flood of  for s a l e to a population  number of a l t e r n a t i v e sources of food.  continued to o f f e r a respectable  return,  3 2  The fur trade, but for natives i n  the Dawson C i t y hinterland, those resources appeared to be r a p i d l y dwindling.  At the opposite end,  the emergence of native c a p i t a l i s t s ,  indi-  v i d u a l s motivated by the search for p r o f i t 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 f i n a l a n a l y s i s , the gold rush indicated the precarious nature of the natives' link to the mining economy. integration of Euro-Canadians casual labour pool, generally fended for  White s o c i e t y  and Indians.  Instead,  the natives served to f i l l  did not encourage as members of a  short term demands, but  themselves outside the economic  mainstream.  natives accepted t h i s emerging c o n d i t i o n with equanimity,  3 2  The  for with only  There i s l i t t l e d e t a i l e d information a v a i l a b l e on the fur trade i n t h i s period. See R. McCandless, "Yukon Wild L i f e : A S o c i a l History," copy i n YTA; Also F. T. Congdon, "Fur-Bearing Animals i n Canada, and How to Prevent Their E x t i n c t i o n , " F i r s t Annual Report of the Commission on Conservation, 1910. On Dalton Post, RCHP, v o l . 251, f i l e 262, Supt. "H" D i v i s i o n to Asst. Comm., 7 Feb. 1903; "Report of Supt. Wood," NWMP, Annual Report 1904, 12; "Report by McDonell, Dalton T r a i l , " NWMP, Annual report 1904, 72; Report of Inspector J a r v i s , NWMP. 1900, pt. II, 59; Report of Insp. J a r v i s , NWMP, Annual Report 1699, pt. I l l , 62-63. RCMP, v o l . 231, f i l e 188.  77  a feu exceptions, most Indians w i l l i n g l y and ably maintained  t h e i r high-  ly valued hunting and gathering p u r s u i t s . The economic order presaged i n the Forty-Mile and Stewart River gold camps d i d not come to pass.  In i t s stead, the Yukon showed signs of de-  veloping two separate economic systems, transportation of mineral pursuit of game. dike Gold Rush. t h i s one  resources,  one based on the e x t r a c t i o n and  the other  Points of contact uere few.  on fur trapping and the By the end of the Klon-  the Yukon economy had been set on  p u l l i n g native and  yet another  white apart i n contrast to the manner i n  which the pre-1896 mining f r o n t i e r had drawn them together.  78  course,  CHAPTER FIVE NATIVES IN THE 20TH CENTURY INDUSTRIAL ECONOMY From the a r r i v a l of the Hudson's Bay Company to the discovery of gold along Bonanza Creek i n 1896,  the natives  of the Yukon had been c l o s e l y  integrated into the regional economic order.  The Gold Rush a l t e r e d that  s i t u a t i o n , e s t a b l i s h i n g an economic order uhich offered only a periphera l r o l e for the Indians.  With the  decline of the gold rush?  the future course of the t e r r i t o r i a l economy lay uncharted. successor emerged  to the r i c h placer  intensive b r i e f existence. not be matched  That magnitude of economic  the economy  such an  a c t i v i t y would  when American m i l i t a r y  a s e r i e s of major construction p r o j e c t s  In the intervening years, tion.  No obvious  f i e l d s uhich had enjoyed  again u n t i l the Second World War  exigencies led to  however,  i n the area.  of the Yukon lacked c l e a r d i r e c -  1  To 1904, a time,  the regional economy had been b u i l t on a s i n g l e resource of  f i r s t furs then gold.  emergence of a more d i v e r s i f i e d ,  The  period a f t e r the gold rush saw the  i f s i g n i f i c a n t l y smaller,  order.  The  Indians had an important r o l e i n the emergent economic system, providing the most v i t a l  link between two rather divergent sectors.  Rush economy centred on a d i v e r s i f i e d harvesting of fields, mines  The continued  a revived search and a  formed the  1  game.  myriad  for new  of r e l a t e d  c e n t r a l core of  post-Gold  mining industry and the s e l e c t i v e e x p l o i t a t i o n of the  deposits,  Klondike  gold  the opening of several new  transportation  the Yukon economy.  and supply  activities  Government a t t e n t i o n ,  For material on Twentieth Century economic a c t i v i t i e s , 28, preceeding chapter.  79  The  see footnote  public expectations and investment  capital  the prospects for mineral development.  focused almost e x c l u s i v e l y on  The harvesting sector, operating  away from the Whitehorse-Dauson c o r r i d o r , had markedly d i f f e r e n t characteristics.  Based on  a resurgent fur market and a  growing i n t e r e s t i n  big game hunting, and reaching into v i r t u a l l y every corner of the Yukon, t h i s segment  a t t r a c t e d l i t t l e "outside"  r o l e i n both economic systems, in the second.  Importantly,  interest.  The  Indians  circumscribed i n the f i r s t ,  had a  predominant  they provided almost the only linkage be-  tween the two sectors. Mining remained the p r i n c i p l e focus for the Yukon economy. slow death of the gold rush, event,  While the  as much a s o c i a l phenomenon as an economic  sapped the t e r r i t o r y of much of i t s population base,  t i v i t y continued and even d i v e r s i f i e d .  mining  ac-  The gold f i e l d s near Dawson C i t y  remained in production, but the nature of that industry had changed dramatically.  The prospector's t o o l s became obsolete, replaced by mammoth  dredges which scoured the ground once again i n e f f i c i e n t methods creeks bound by the mining  of the  for gold l e f t behind by the  e a r l i e r placer miners.  With most  large water-rights concessions or c o n t r o l l e d  by one of  firms formed to s y s t e m a t i c a l l y e x p l o i t the resource,  d i v i d u a l miner was e f f e c t i v e l y shut out. companies had  i n i t i a l l y created  of the  the i n -  While the a r r i v a l of the big  animosity,  f i e l d s convinced most prospectors to move on.  limited  returns from  The highly mechanized i n -  dustry continued to find gold, although i n decreasing q u a n t i t i e s . ther  r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of  leading to the consortium  the  industry  became economically  founding of the Yukon Consolidated  of the three largest dredging  80  the  Fur-  essential,  Gold Corporation,  firms, i n 1929.  This new  a  cor-  proration, aided by s t a b l e gold p r i c e s ,  continued operations through  1930's and provided much of the t e r r i t o r y ' s gold p r o d u c t i o n . In the gold pector.  fields,  a new  Those i n d i v i d u a l s .  order  had replaced the era  deposits.  2  of the pros-  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y dogged by t h e i r  less lust for gold and t h e i r i r r e p r e s s i b l e confidence,  the  searched  relentfor new  Turning away from Dawson C i t y and i t s environs, they scoured  the t e r r i t o r y  from the  southern border to  the A r c t i c  coast,  without success into a number of previously unopened areas.  pushing  Efforts in  the l a s t years of the 19th Century had uncovered gold at A t i i n in northern B r i t i s h Columbia but that find died quickly. tered i n  from around  staked a  discovery claim on yet  sites,  the t e r r i t o r y ,  as  Promising reports f i l -  one prospector  another  "Bonanza" creek.  such as the Livingstone Creek area  after Only  another a few  in the central Yukon and  the  gold and s i l v e r deposits i n the Kluane Lake d i s t r i c t a t t r a c t e d 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. the Uhitehorse area by the turn of the century. costs l i m i t e d the p r o f i t a b i l i t y  Copper mines opened in but high transportation A  major s i l v e r -  lead deposit had been i d e n t i f i e d i n the Mayo area by 1906.  but the min-  e r a l s remained unclaimed Keho mines provided  of such e n t e r p r i s e s .  for another decade.  the major economic c a t a l y s t for the  the 1920's several mines combined with eration.  This development.  grade ores i n the t e r r i t o r y .  2  Once developed,  the f i r s t  the Mayo-  Yukon,  and by  a concentrating m i l l were i n ops i g n i f i c a n t e x p l o i t a t i o n of low  led to rapid changes i n the transportation  L. Green. The Gold HuBtlers. and K. Canadian North. 96-150.  81  Rea. The P o l i t i c a l Economy of the  infrastructure?  including an upgrading of  r a i l capacity and deployment  of more s u i t a b l e sternuheelers along the Yukon and Stewart R i v e r s . A restructured Yukon  mining economy emerged.  peripheral r o l e for the Indians.  but with  bour, in contrast to the Klondike Gold Rush period. more s t a b l e .  labour force,  and  mines ensured that the required workers labour continued,  a c y c l i c a l dimension.  Demand for l a -  remained l i m i t e d i f  although  the corporate management uere on s i t e .  hard-rock mining in the Mayo area lacked  Because of improved transportation and communica-  mand could be r e a d i l y met  ployment i n the mines.  A limited number uho  found  em-  almost e x c l u s i v e l y the smaller copper operations  in the Vhitehorse area.  Feu managers, however,  bour for the r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e .  b a r r i e r s in an  that de-  uithout r e s o r t i n g to the native labour pool.  Some Indians entered the uork market.  4  of the  Seasonal demand  t i o n l i n k s to the "outside." p r i n c i p a l l y the Vancouver market,  uhite workers.  skilled  The more systematic e x t r a c t i o n procedures required a pre-  dominately s k i l l e d  for  an even more  Based on mechanized mining and  labour, t h i s economy held feu openings for the natives.  3  Although  highly s k i l l e d .  only a small number of  attempt to enter the uhite man's  economy quite c l e a r l y had  feu openings for the  s u b s t i t u t e d native l a a l b e i t more expensive natives challenged uorld.  Indians.  the  the  industrial  5  3  G. Bennett. Yukon Transportation:  4  "Report of Supt. Snyder". 30 Nov. 1904. RNWflP, Annual Report 1904. Several Indians mined for themselves. Northern Administration Branch. RG 85 (hereafter NAB), v o l . 609. f i l e 2657; AC Neu Series, f i l e 2, Vowel 1 and Green to Secretary of Indian Dept., 14 August, 1908.  5  AC, Neu Series, f i l e 3, A. 16 A p r i l 1909.  E.  A History, pp. 94-114.  Green to Secretary,  82  Indian Department,  If the Indians could not, or would not, meld into the evolving indust r i a l order,  they d i d  f i n d reasonable  mines and i n related transportation  activities.  worked as deckhands on the riverboats. number securing  such p o s i t i o n s ,  seldom exceeded a doubt by  feu dozen.  remuneration i n supplying the 6  Several,  No figures are a v a i l a b l e on the  although i t i s l i k e l y that Any attempted assessment  a Department of Indian  for example,  the t o t a l  i s thrown into  A f f a i r s 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 a c t i v i t y r e a d i l y incorporated into the  Indians' hunting-trapping economy.  The Yukon River steamship f l e e t  consumed vast q u a n t i t i e s of uood each year, existed along the riverbanks. ed  These opportunities were, houever,  to those l i v i n g along r i v e r s u i t h regular steamship s e r v i c e .  mid-1920's,  6  and a ready market for uood  houever,  small  vessels p l i e d most of  limitBy the  the major navigable  The d e s c r i p t i o n of native a c t i v i t e s i n the i n d u s t r i a l economy i s draun from RCMP, v o l . 514, f i l e 530, B e l l to 0. C. "B" D i v i s i o n , 2 Sept. 1916; RNWMP, Annual report 1908, 209; AC, Young f i l e , "Young to Stringer, 15 Oct. 1920; DIA, v o l . 6478, f i l e 930-1 pt. 1, P a r t i c u l a r s regarding Yukon Indians, T e s l i n Lake Band, June 1907, Stringer to Hauksely, 31 Jan. 1925; DIAND, 801-30-0-1, Taggart to A l l e n , 3 A p r i l 1940; AC, S e l k i r k Children reports, various l e t t e r s ; 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 F i e l d f i l e . Stringer to F i e l d , 16 Jan. 1915; AC, Neu Series, f i l e 1, P a r t i c u l a r s 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, H i t t e r to C o n t r o l l e r , Mines, Lands and Yukon Branch, 6 Feb. 1917, McLean to Rouett, 10 March 1917, Mitter to C o n t r o l l e r , Mines, Lands and Yukon Branch, 14 May 1917. See also, June Helm, Handbook of North American Indians, v o l . 6 Subarctic C. McClellan, My Old People Say. During World War II, labour shortages l e d to the short-term employment of natives i n the gold operations near Dauson. R. Stuart, "The Impact of the Alaska Highway on Dauson C i t y , " Paper presented to the Alaska Highuay Symposium, Fort St. John, 1982.  83  rivers.  As i n many other p o t e n t i a l l y p r o f i t a b l e ventures,  soon found  t h e i r predominance in  European wood-cutting  operations.  t h i s f i e l d challenged  the natives  by small-scale  Through to the 1950's, however,  7  plying the steamers served as a major source of native income,  sup-  particu-  l a r l y for those along the heavily t r a v e l l e d Yukon River route. Provision hunting for the mines and  settlements proved even more re-  munerative and drew the Indians c l o s e r to the white communities. three major centres,  Dawson C i t y ,  wild game remained steady.  Mayo and Vhitehorse,  but less expensive,  While many hunted for t h e i r own  on native and white p r o v i s i o n hunters. particularly attractive  the demand for  With beef and pork hard to obtain, the l o c a l  population turned to the less f a m i l i a r , supplies.  In the  requirements,  indigenous  others r e l i e d  The natives found t h i s a c t i v i t y  5  as i t provided  a comparatively  high f i n a n c i a l  return and d i d not require a major r e o r i e n t a t i o n of seasonal patterns. There are market,  few s t a t i s t i c a l  although one  town of approximately some 600 stocks. ers,  9  i n d i c a t i o n s of  recent estimate of the demand i n 9,000,  in 1904 suggests  moose and 2300 caribou  p a r t i c u l a r l y in the Dawson area within several  s t i l l had a s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e . dent upon  the consumption  the p r o v i s i o n Dawson C i t y ,  a  that residents required  annually to supplement  While a good portion would  annually passed  the s i z e of  a v a i l a b l e meat  have been provided by p r i v a t e huntwhere the Forty Mile caribou herd  miles of  the town,  p r o v i s i o n hunters  The market proved v a r i a b l e , being depen-  habits of the  local population,  p r i c e and  7  An attempt to change to coal mined near Carmacks was abandoned due to the poor q u a l i t y of the Yukon product.  5  YG, v o l . 9,  f i l e 1490,  pt. J. Hawksley to Scott, 21 August  a R. HcCandless, "Yukon W i l d l i f e " .  84  1931.  a v a i l a b i l i t y of a l t e r n a t i v e meats, ers, of  competition from Euro-Canadian hunt-  and the a v a i l a b i l i t y of game near the touns.  While the main focus  the provision trade remained on the major centres,  an important sec-  ondary market existed among fur traders i n the back c o u n t r y . ous traders,  10  The v a r i -  i n a manner reminiscent of the s i m i l a r trade i n the H.B.C.  period, r e a d i l y accepted meat from the natives and often depended on uhat the natives sold. limited market that  importantly, i t i s only i n t h i s secondary and  the Indians enjoyed even a modicum  freedom from uhite c o m p e t i t i o n .  of s e c u r i t y and  11  Government records provide limited evidence fitability  of the provision trade.  of the contours and p r i -  A l i s t of game  licences issued i n  1921 i l l u s t r a t e s the extent of uhite competition i n t h i s "native" Of the 53 licences recorded, only seven uent to natives ( a l l area).  1 2  In no  substantial number of  uhites engaged  It does, i n uhat  however,  indicate that a  many sau as a  native en-  Statements of game purchased by the Waechter Brothers of Daw-  son C i t y i n 1925  and 1927 i l l u s t r a t e the nature of  turns from the s a l e of meat. uhites both  1 0  i n the Mayo  for natives seldom took out the licences formally  required to market t h e i r harvests.  sold.  field.  uay does t h i s indicate the comparative p a r t i c i p a t i o n of  uhites and Indians,  deavour.  solely  In both years,  i n number o f f e r i n g  competition and r e -  natives far outstripped  produce for s a l e and quantity  P r i c e s ranged from 10c to 22c per pound,  of meat  u i t h payment dependent  McCandless  1 1  See YTA, Codzou Papers, Account Book uhich l i s t s a number of meat purchases from natives. On s a l e of game i n Whitehorse, see YRGI, Ser i e s 3, v o l . 4, f i l e 12-6A, Higgins to Percy. 25 August 1926.  1 2  RGI. S e r i e s 3. 1921.  v o l . 2.  f i l e 12-14B.  85  Game Hunters Licenses issued  upon the type of meat and manner i n uhich i t was dressed. tion uith tives.  the Waechter Brothers Co.  proved  The a s s o c i a -  l u c r a t i v e for  several na-  B. S i l a s and J. Johns earned $236 and $565 r e s p e c t i v e l y for meat  s o l d i n 1927. Since these figures r e l a t e to only one firm, i t i s p o s s i ble  that the men also s o l d to other r e t a i l e r s or. as i s most l i k e l y , d i -  r e c t l y to consumers.  13  The market f o r game continued into  ending only uhen heightened concern ceived increase  ing  of u i l d game for r e t a i l  also recognized most  f i n a l l y convinced  sale.  1 4  profitable.  i f irregular.  Indians i n a p o s i t i o n to p a r t i c i p a t e . the p o t e n t i a l p r o f i t s  e f f i c i e n t l y for a v a i l a b l e game  towns)  and markets.  stocks ( e s p e c i a l l y  source of  White hunters  from the e n t e r p r i s e ,  Urban purchasers  fered by uhite market hunters.  the t e r r i t o r i a l  j u r i s d i c t i o n s i n banning the harvest-  The p r o v i s i o n trade provided a income for those  for w i l d l i f e conservation and a per-  i n hunting pressure  government to j o i n other Canadian  the 1940's,  competing  c l o s e to the  a l l e g e d l y favoured the meat o f -  George J e c k e l l . Commissioner of the Yu-  kon, evoked the p u b l i c ' s f e e l i n g toward the trade uhen he noted: In past years the uhite population uas small and the amount of game meat s o l d to the uhite population by the Indians uas i n significant, and t h i s uas p a r t i c u l a r l y due to the fact that uhite people i n general do not care to purchase game from Indians because the game they take i s not slaughtered c a r e f u l l y 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, S e r i e s 3, J e c k e l l , 9 September 1942.  1 5  RGI, S e r i e s 3, v o l . 1944.  v o l . 10,  10, f i l e 12-20C,  86  f i l e 12-20A.  J e c k e l l to Gibson,  Gibson to 13 January  The p r o v i s i o n trade, i n sum* was of only tangential importance to the Yukon economy. and  A l t e r n a t i v e meat supplies  existed,  i f at higher cost,  the amount brought into the t e r r i t o r y increased over time as trans-  portation l i n k s improved. edged sword, simultaneously harvested by little  offering adding  For the Indians,  p r o v i s i o n i n g was a double-  a welcome i f inconsistent source to pressure on  natives or white  a v a i l a b l e game  of funds while  stocks.  market hunters (the l a t t e r demonstrated  i n t e r e s t i n the long-term s t a b i l i t y of the trade),  adjacent  to major centres faced serious depletion.  hunters offered only the hind quarters for s a l e , tensive waste p e r s i s t e d .  Whether  game supplies  As well, since most the p o s s i b i l i t y of ex-  For many Indians, the p r o v i s i o n trade and the  s i m i l a r l y 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 c l o s e to the mining industry; instead, through a combination of native choice and white-imposed l i m i t a t i o n s ,  the natives  found themselves relegated to the economic periphery. In  summarizing the natives' role  points stand ceived l i t t l e  out.  White businessmen  benefit i n h i r i n g  market conditions  i n the i n d u s t r i a l economy, and mine operators  native labourers,  made such p r a c t i c e s  essential.  except This  clearly  two per-  when labour reticence r e -  f l e c t e d deeply embedded perceptions of the Indians' unwillingness to accept i n d u s t r i a l work d i s c i p l i n e . rarely sought such employment, the i n d u s t r i a l workplace.  At the same time, however, the natives p r e f e r r i n g harvesting to the r i g i d i t y of  Native involvement i n t h i s sector seldom ex-  tended beyond providing support s e r v i c e s , p r i n c i p a l l y wood-cutting, prov i s i o n hunting and working on r i v e r 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. stead, as Michael ed economy." quired or  In-  Asch has argued, they became key elements in the "mix-  Anxious for occasional infusions  desired material goods,  the  of cash to pay  natives sought some  for re-  measure of  accommodation with the cash economy (the fur trade also provided a major source of money, as w i l l be d e t a i l e d s h o r t l y ) . pation,  however,  mode of production and  into  an i n d u s t r i a l  pattern.  the very marginal nature of the Indians' accommodation suggests  that they  remained b a s i c a l l y committed to  and trapping l i f e s t y l e and, hunting,  partici-  does not i n d i c a t e that the natives wished to move out  of t h e i r harvesting Instead,  Such short-term  fishing,  the e f f i c a c y of  equally important,  the  hunting  found the combination of  trapping and occasional other work to be  financially  acceptable. From 1904  to 1942,  native p a r t i c i p a t i o n  in the i n d u s t r i a l sector of  the Yukon economy retained t h i s e s s e n t i a l form. of minerals and t i v e s beyond World War ly.  Based on the e x t r a c t i o n  related s e r v i c e s , t h i s sector offered l i t t l e for the  part-time and peripheral  employment.  With the  na-  onset of  II, the complexion of the regional economy changed dramatical-  The construction of the Alaska Highway and the b u i l d i n g of the  nol P i p e l i n e dominated the  from Norman Wells, new  activities.  through the Yukon  (Map  to Alaska had been  threat of a Japanese assault on est in the p r o j e c t . Thousands of men,  North West T e r r i t o r i e s  The U.S.  4)  Proposals  to  Vhitehorse  to b u i l d  a highway  debated for many years,  Alaska and P a c i f i c coast revived  army decided  but  the  inter-  to proceed with construction.  accompanied by tons of equipment, descended on the  88  Ca-  Yu-  Map 4: World War II Construction Projects  i  i  i  Miles M D  89  kon i n the spring of 1942.  More than 34.000 men eventually p a r t i c i p a t e d  in the highway construction, l i n e at the same time.  with a  By October  place and work commenced on  smaller group working on the pipe-  1943.  a usable m i l i t a r y road was i n  improving to highway s t a n d a r d .  15  Obviously,  t h i s massive infusion of c a p i t a l and manpower and the construction of a transportation route through the previously s i g n i f i c a n t implications for the t e r r i t o r i a l While  most of  the workforce  unopened southern Yukon had economy.  consisted of  17  labourers imported  from  southern Canada and the United States, l o c a l residents found some opportunities.  A number of natives joined i n the new e n t e r p r i s e ,  as guides for survey crews, as equipment operators. ed,  as labourers and.  h i r i n g on  i n a very few instances,  Employment prospects for women were more l i m i t -  but some l i v i n g near construction  dry, sewing and house cleaning.  camps found work taking i n laun-  The government attempted  to spur an ob-  vious demand for native h a n d i c r a f t s by sponsoring a program to encourage native women to make souvenirs and c l o t h i n g for s o l d i e r s . enough young women  with the r e q u i s i t e s k i l l s to p a r t i c i p a t e  t e n t i a l l y l u c r a t i v e undertaking ultimately forced project.  1 8  P o s i t i o n s existed  short-term prospects.  and many  The lack of i n the po-  an abandonment of the  natives took  advantage of the  Most Indians, however, saw the new opportunities  is David Remley. Crooked Road; to: McGraw H i l l , 1976).  The Story of the Alaska Highway (Toron-  1 7  See Ken Coates, "The Alaska Highway and the Indians of the Southern Yukon, 1942-1950: A Study i n Native Adaptation to Northern Development," paper presented to Alaska Highway Symposium, Fort St. John, 1982.  1 8  DIA, v o l . 7553, f i l e 41-166-1, Gibbon to Indian A f f a i r s Branch, 10 A p r i l 1943. The f i l e contains further d e t a i l s on the undertaking. See i n p a r t i c u l a r i b i d . , Lowe to Hoey, 15 June 1943.  90  for uhat  they uere —  economy,  not markedly d i s s i m i l a r from the p o s i t i o n s natives held i n the  mining/transportation  short-term  entrees into the  regional  sector in the previous half-century.  returned to the bush to hunt and  industrial  They r e a d i l y  trap uhen the t r a n s i t o r y but l u c r a t i v e  opportunities passed. Throughout the period of Highuay construction fur p r i c e s remained  high,  u i t h the uork they kneu and  and  indeed up to  serving as an a t t r a c t i v e l i k e d the best.  enticement to stay  (See Table 4) The  t i o n of the Alaska Highuay. Haines Road. Canol P i p e l i n e and j e c t s had a v a r i e t y of implications for  1946.  the Yukon Indians,  construc-  r e l a t e d probut the  neu  a c t i v i t i e s d i d not spur an immediate or l a s t i n g a l t e r a t i o n of native economic patterns. temporary —  The type of uork a v a i l a b l e to Indians —  u n s k i l l e d and  resembled the p o s i t i o n 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 s e r -  vicemen uere  labour  Amerian Negroes)  treated the l o c a l natives as a casual uere c a l l e d upon uhen required. dian s k i l l s . uork.  ensured that labour pool.  project organizers As before,  e s p e c i a l l y uhen they needed s p e c i a l In-  They uere not expected to carry out a major portion of the  While the  scale of the American-Canadian  invasion i n 1942-1944  came close to matching the e a r l i e r Klondike Gold Rush, phase did not reshape native economic a c t i v i t y . sought and  found only peripheral and  t r i a l sector, es.  natives  the construction  As before, most natives  temporary employment i n the  thus allowing a continuation of hunting/trapping  Importantly,  most of those seeking  practis-  an accommodation u i t h the  economy soon returned to t h e i r former p u r s u i t s .  91  indus-  neu  CHAPTER SIX NATIVES IN THE HARVESTING ECONOMY From 1896  to 1950,  the Yukon Indians made only a peripheral accommo-  dation with the i n d u s t r i a l sector.  Barred  by personal choice and man-  agement d e c i s i o n from a deeper i n t e g r a t i o n into the mining and t a t i o n industries, sector of the ment,  the  Indians opted almost as a group  t e r r i t o r i a l economy.  Despite extensive  the natives retained an option  in North  America —  that of  for the second mining  develop-  shared by few other Indian groups  maintaining a  through the f i r s t half of the Twentieth of the white population,  transpor-  hunting/trapping  Century.  Due  lifestyle  to the small s i z e  which dropped as low as 2700 i n the 1920's and  1930's, and with a concentration in the Dawson, Mayo and Uhitehorse areas, the natives faced l i t t l e challenge to t h e i r use of the land out the d i s t r i c t .  through-  Whites p r i m a r i l y sought minerals, a l i e n a t i n g only an  i n s i g n i f i c a n t amount of land from general  use.  Throughout most of the  Yukon, the p u r s u i t of game remained the major economic a c t i v i t y . Given t h e i r s k i l l s and habits, the Yukon Indians were well-placed and predisposed to harvest, or a s s i s t i n harvesting, animal were seldom completely white fur traders,  resources.  alone, t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s intertwined with those of  t h e i r prosperity determined  in large measure by the  v o l a t i l e fur markets of North America and Europe, and t h e i r hunting cedures subject  to f l u c t u a t i n g pressure from  hunt by p o t e n t i a l l y high returns. from i t s 19th Century predecessor sector,  other ventures  They  92  drawn  into the  While a fur trade somewhat d i f f e r e n t served  including fishing  tracted the natives' a t t e n t i o n .  white men  pro-  as the mainstay of t h i s second and big-game guiding a l s o a t -  These l a t t e r two p u r s u i t s ,  small  both  in s c a l e  and economic impact,  larger and more important  will  be examined before turning  fur trade.  An i r r e p l a c e a b l e part of the a b o r i g i n a l seasonal cycle, dom  enjoyed  territory,  much success as a but  Natives  marketing venture.  p a r t i c u l a r l y along the Yukon  southwest corner of  the region,  also caught  to the  other f i s h  species.  Natives  River and  harvested salmon  fishing s e l -  in  around the the extreme  during annual  runs.  p a r t i c u l a r l y whitefish  1  and  trout, uhen a v a i l a b l e and required, usually in the spring as stored food stocks ran lou.  Native f i s h i n g a l s o provided an adequate supply of dog  food to s u s t a i n Host f i s h i n g .  the canine helpers so c r u c i a l to therefore.  served p r i m a r i l y to s a t i s f y  u i t h only occasional surpluses offered for s a l e . ted  the Indians free access to the fishery,  threatened native h a r v e s t . p a r t i c u l a r l y in Dauson tures.  In one  instance,  2  Some natives  City.  a Hoosehide  incursion.  The  ceased uhen a  Indian  life.  personal needs,  The government permit-  stepping in uhenever uhites  attempted to s e l l t h e i r catch,  but these uere only  l i v e d success marketing h i s catch to able operation  northern  small.  i l l i c i t ven-  Indian named S i l a s enjoyed shorta Dauson restaurant.  uhite fisherman protested  The  profit-  the unlicensed  i n v e s t i g a t i n g o f f i c e r noted that previous f i s h s a l e s in  toun had passed unchallenged,  but  faced u i t h the fisherman's  complaint  1 Osgood. The Han Indians. Osgood, Contributions. Honigmann. The Kaska Indians. YG» v o l . 9. f i l e 1490. pt. J. Hauksley to McLean, 9 January 1929; DIA, v o l . 4081, f i l e 478, 700, J. Hauksley report on Mayo Band of Indians, 28 August 1917; YG, v o l . 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 r i g h t s on L i t t l e Salmon Lake and a 1939 argument over Watson Lake. YRGI, s e r i e s 3, vol. 1. f i l e 2019, Wood to Steuart, 2 July 1902; Ibid., v o l . 17, f i l e 28798, Sandys-Wunsch to Secretary, Department of Indian A f f a i r s , 28 A p r i l 1939, Gibson to J a c k e l l , 6 October 1943.  93  he had no option  but to prevent the natives from  s e l l i n g their catch.  The Yukon River fishery remained small, serving l i t t l e more than al needs,  as indicated  by the Indians' reluctance to take  cences required to l e g a l l y market t h e i r h a r v e s t s . While the Yukon River f i s h e r y the Alsek River  drainage area were more favourable.  salmon remained a v i t a l part of of  the  limited local  market,  s o l e l y of supplying personal needs. for of  out the l i -  conditions in  In the southwest  that the harvesting of  the natives' food production. fishing  u i t h i n the  ing.  Vigourous local competition existed  government interference i n the harvest-  of even greater s i g n i f i c a n c e .  While i t remained impossible to  market Yukon-caught f i s h , natives in the southwest exported take advantage of high wages  on the coast.  Indians had made annual treks to the gatherings.  salmon and 30c  for  p r o f i t a b l e return. rather  their  labour  For generations,  Yukon  P a c i f i c coast for trade and s o c i a l  They e a s i l y adapted t h i s c y c l e to incorporate a short s t i n t  in the f i s h e r i e s ,  ual  infringement  The opportunity to p a r t i c i p a t e in the Haines, Alaska salmon f i s h -  ery was  to  Because  t e r r i t o r y consisted  a v a i l a b l e f i s h stocks, with loud protests following any f i s h i n g grounds or attempted  person-  4  provided few prospects,  corner of the t e r r i t o r y , larger f i s h runs ensured  3  where high p r i c e s for  the natives' catch (8c per  each Coho and Sockeye in 1918)  ensured  dog  a regularly  Even i n t h i s instance, commercial f i s h i n g was a cas-  than regular occupation,  resorted  to only when  a specific  need or desire d i c t a t e d . On a t e r r i t o r y - w i d e basis, and even in the A l 5  3  YRGI, S e r i e s 3, v o l . 1, f i l e 2019, to OC "B" D i v i s i o n , 17 July 1909.  * YG, 5  v o l . 9, f i l e 1490,  RCMP, v o l . 539,  S i l a s to Dear S i r , n.d.; McCarvill  pt. J., Hawksley to Mackenzie, 15 Nov.  f i l e 2, Sergt. Mapley to O.C. 94  1933.  Whitehorse S u b - d i s t r i c t ,  sek drainage basin, f i s h i n g had only a limited market function, more as a regular source of food than income. While only technological  6  improvements and a small  cash market sepa-  rated the f i s h e r y from a b o r i g i n a l p r a c t i s e s , big-game guiding ed more of a departure  from  the natives' l i f e s t y l e .  shape i n the e a r l y years of the Twentieth Century. scale as the Yukon came to be  recognized as a world  trophy sheep, moose, and caribou.  per year  increasing slowly i n c l a s s preserve of  Throughout t h i s period, however, the  territory.  trophies and memories.  While the i n d i v i d u a l s spent considerable sums on  equipment and guides'  wages, the industry was of limited economic consequence. The vast majority of guides were an enfranchised  t e r r i t o r i a l operators. however,  whites,  7  the most notable  Indian and the most  exception  famous of a l l  The Yukon T e r r i t o r i a l Game Ordinance  barred natives from serving as Chief Guides,  lower status p o s i t i o n s  most of the  Fewer than twenty hunters  entered the t e r r i t o r y i n pursuit of  being Johnny Johns,  represent-  The industry took  guiding business remained small and geographically compact, a c t i v i t y focused on the southern  serving  as a s s i s t a n t guides and camp  of 1923,  l i m i t i n g them to helpers.  6  The gov-  ernment l a t e r eased that p r o v i s i o n by g i v i n g the Commissioner of the Yu-  7 February 1917; AC Champagne f i l e , "L. G. Chappell report on missionary work undertaken i n Champagne D i s t r i c t , Summer 1934. The extremely e x p l o i t i v e American fishery, both along the Alaska Panhandle and at the mouth of the Yukon River, had serious i m p l i c a t i o n for upper Yukon and Alsek River f i s h stocks. AC, Stuck F i l e , Hudson Stuck to Isaac Stringer, 29 March 1920. 6  Ibid.: RCMP, v o l . 549, f i l e 24 October 1918.  109, Inspector B e l l to O.C.  7  See R. McCandless, t r y ' s development.  6  Yukon T e r r i t o r y , Ordinances 1923,  "B" D i v i s i o n ,  "Yukon W i l d l i f e , " for a d e s c r i p t i o n of the indus-  95  Chapter 5.  kon d i s c r e t i o n a r y  powers to  decide i f  the Indian  could carry out the a n t i c i p a t e d r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . applied for  a license to  The government delegated sonal and  reference,  required equipment. 9  There  guides,  an R.C.M.P.  f i n a n c i a l well-being.  t i v e character  tion.  guide a party  enterprise.  into the L i t t l e  B i l l y Hall  Atiin  region.  o f f i c e r to investigate H a l l ' s per-  but questioned  Commissioner J e c k e l l  H a l l ' s a b i l i t y to provide  keep the Indians out of  supported  by  other  this potentially profitable  Their discriminatory actions stemmed from a b e l i e f that  image in the industry.  r i s t hunters could and most "guides"  In-  hunters and would thereby harm the  There was  many guides into the small guiding  the  refused the l i c e n c e a p p l i c a -  the government,  dians could not adequately serve the region's  In 1941,  approval  The policeman's report o f f e r e d a p o s i -  i s l i t t l e doubt that  worked to  requesting  also a fear of allowing  market.  not support an overly  The  too  l i m i t e d number of tou-  large guiding i n f r a s t r u c t u r e ,  worked r e g u l a r l y as trappers or traders.  Experience in the industry t y p i c a l l y proved rewarding, with wages for a s s i s t a n t guides reaching  as high as $10  Only a  few natives,  primarily in  cross,  Tagish and L i t t l e A t i i n )  employment opportunities. not represent  9  1 0  a  a day  in the  e a r l y 1940's.  the Kluane and Southern regions  10  Lakes (Car-  had access to these i r r e g u l a r  While guiding enjoyed a high p r o f i l e ,  major economic departure before  1950,  i t did  o f f e r i n g only a  YRGI, Series 3, v o l . 10. f i l e 12-19B, Hall to J e c k e l l , 12 Nov. 1941; J e c k e l l to H a l l , 9 Oct. 1941, Grennan report re: William Hall ( I n d i an), 10 Nov. 1941. George Johnston of T e s l i n encountered s i m i l a r d i f f i c u l t i e s , YRGI, Series 3, v o l . 7, f i l e 12-13B, J e c k e l l to OC, "B" D i v i s i o n , 20 June 1934, Irvine to O.C. 1 "B" D i v i s i o n , 18 May 1934. Constable Irving's report was s t r i k i n g l y p o s i t i v e , but Commissioner J e c k e l l nonetheless rejected the a p p l i c a t i o n . YRGI, Series 3, v o l . 4, 1927.  f i l e 12-7,  96  Higgins  to Commissioner, 12 August  few  Indians yet another part-time source of income.  most other of the opportunities a v a i l a b l e  to the Indians.  those t a l e n t s deemed to be p a r t i c u l a r l y "native", to hunt and track game.  Importantly.  like  i t c a l l e d on  p r i m a r i l y the a b i l i t y  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, e n t e r p r i s e through the f i r s t half of the century. t i v i t y i n the Yukon (mining led trade was more  If not the most remunerative  s i g n i f i c a n t l y gross r e c e i p t s ) ,  geographically diverse.  territory participated directly,  Natives in a l l  ac-  the fur  corners of the  with a  trading post located near most  major aggregations of native population.  (Haps 5. 6 and 7) In 1921. for  example, the government issued l i c e n s e s for twenty-seven separate establishments owned  by eighteen d i f f e r e n t  companies or  only area not d i r e c t l y served i n that year tion —  was  the Old Crow-Porcupine d i s t r i c t .  fur trade neared  for furs  on a yearly basis  and the p r o f i t a b i l i t y  most years, natives throughout  1 1  and i t was a major excepNine years l a t e r , when the  by t h i r t y d i f f e r e n t vendors  ran eleven of the locations)  lishments varied  The  i t s zenith, the industry expanded even more widely with  f o r t y - s i x posts operated Ltd.  —  individuals.  i n operation.  (Taylor and  The number of estab-  according to changing  of individual  Drury  world p r i c e s  establishments.  During  the Yukon could s e l e c t from several posts  There were. for example, only 3 licensed guides in the t e r r i t o r y . YRGI. S e r i e s 3. v o l . 10. f i l e 12-19B. Jeckell to S. D. Slaughter. 9 Oct. 1941. Numerous hunters wrote accounts of t h e i r northern adventures. H. Aver. Campfires in the Yukon (Commonwealth. 1916); T. Hart i n d a l e . Hunting in the Upper Yukon (Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs. 1913)» F. C. Selous. Recent Hunting T r i p s i n B r i t i s h North America (New York: Charles Scribner's and Sons. 1907); N.A.D. Armstrong. After 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: F u r T r a d e P o s t s , 1930  99  Map 7: Fur Trade Posts, 1939  non-Taylor-Drury posts at that location.)  Miles MO  100  within a reasonable t r a v e l l i n g 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 ($)  1920 1922 1924 1939 1943  Uhitenorse(1)  Dauson  Central(2)  North  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 L i a r d 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, S e r i e s 4, v o l . 17, f i l e 336A, Regional Breakdoun of Number of P e l t s , Maltby to Mackenzie, 31 August 1920; Ibid., Maltby to T e l ford, 28 November 1922; Ibid., v o l . 18, f i l e 336B, Maltby to Reid, 7 January 1925; YRGI, S e r i e s 3, v o l . 10, f i l e 12-19B. Statement re: Fur Production, Trapping Season 1938-39; Ibid., f i l e 12-20C, statement r e : Support tax c o l l e c t e d for year ending March 31, 1943 i n d i f f e r e n t d i s tricts. The above provide a breakdoun of number of furs. P r i c e s uere taken from Canada Year Book, 1919-1944.  The eagerness u i t h uhich the traders entered the market i s i n d i c a t i v e of general fur trade p r o s p e r i t y .  From 1920 to 1950, traders exported a  yearly average of $304,060 uorth of  p e l t s from the t e r r i t o r y .  fluctuated u i d e l y as the Yukon returns of  the i n t e r n a t i o n a l fur markets.  in 1927-28, 1944-45 and 1945-46.  1 2  1 2  Markets  varied according to the caprices  T o t a l s of over $600,000 uere attained At the opposite end,  the market bot-  For comparative purposes, Yukon gold production never f e l l belou $529,000 i n any one year, reaching as high as $3,205,000 i n 1942.  101  tomed at  a low  of $78,000  $123,000 set i n 1933.  i n 1920,  with a  dropped noticeably the  The trade peaked i n the  following f i v e years,  then r e -  gained previous form i n the 1939-1948 period.  Table 3 YUKON FUR RETURNS - 1919-1950 Number of P e l t s 1919-20 1920-21 1921-22 1922-23 1923-24 1924-25 1925-26 1926-27 1927-28 1928-29 1929-30 1930-31 1931-32 1932-33 1933-34 1934-35 1935-36 1936-37 1937-38 1938-39 1939-40 1940-41 1941-42 1942-43 1943-44 1944-45 1945-46 1946-47 1947-48 1948-49 1949-50 Source:  of  The fur trade economy operated l i k e most commodi-  ty markets, ranging e r r a t i c a l l y over the years. 1924-28 period,  secondary branchmark  Value of P e l t s ($)  55,354 16.125 69,796 46,198 50,070 36.616 35,767 25,991 64,375 35,736 108,632 61,832 57,679 52.282 43,803 41,309 42,768 50,308 67,655 77,475 80,617 70.953 66.700 52,897 78.005 87,292 107.252 58.777 131.227 151.969 153,574  323,467 78,189 203,402 199,522 347,079 309,549 320,803 382,261 610,348 484,919 295,492 145,224 132,268 146,055 122,999 230,074 276,946 347,558 295,857 267,721 288,292 373,399 398,132 338,035 467,188 669,217 677,495 373,176 230,117 143,810 199,086  K. Rae, P o l i t i c a l Economy of the Canadian North, 386-387.  102  While the  o v e r a l l market went  p r i c e of i n d i v i d u a l p e l t s . that supported a  through i t s  gyrations,  d i d the  Yukon trappers fortunately l i v e d i n a region  v a r i e t y of fur bearing animals  t i e s , the most important  so too  i n harvestable quanti-  of which were marten, beaver (uhen not p r o t e c t -  ed by government e d i c t ) , lynx, muskrat. and several species of fox. But even t h i s v a r i e t y d i d not t o t a l l y i n s u l a t e the local market from the vagaries of international demand.  Muskrat p r i c e s .  for instance.  ranged  from a lou of only $.53 i n 1931-32 to over $3.00 a p e l t i n 1946.  Among  the higher p r i c e d  furs,  the s i l v e r fox uas  changing demand.  u i t h the national market  p a r t i c u l a r l y vulnerable to p r i c e dropping  figure of $246 to s l i g h t l y over $12 t h i r t y years l a t e r .  from  a 1919  Seldom gradual  or easy to forecast, these f l u c t u a t i o n s originated largely i n the changing  trends of  high fashion.  1947-1950. p r i c e s f e l l  In one  p a r t i c u l a r l y traumatic  from 60% to 75% i n three years.  period.  (Table 4)  Table 4 FUR PRICES —  FIVE YEAR AVERAGES. 1920-1949  Beaver  Lynx  S i l v e r Fox  Marten  Mink  Muskrat  White Fox  1920- •24 1925- •29 1930- •34 1935- •39 1940- •44 1945- •49  17.81 23.85 13.12 11.35 26. 15 33.93  21.38 31.69 23.86 30.60 42.89 27.16  152.91 94.38 44. 17 27.73 23.76 19.37  24.47 24.72 14.57 22. 10 38.47 35.99  9.78 15. 11 9.15 11.05 12.12 20.19  1.56 1.49 .70 1.05 2.01 2.40  38. 12 41.47 22.98 13.75 22.80 38.47  Source:  Canada Year Book. 1920-1950.  Since the p r i c e s quoted here represent ue,  they i n d i c a t e  tendered  only i n a general  uay the amount of  for furs i n the Yukon River basin. 103  f i n a l and average market v a l money a c t u a l l y  With high costs for trans-  portation and  supplies combined u i t h  protect themselves  from  Yukon businessmen's  the vagaries of the f l u c t u a t i n g  obvious that the traders offered s u b s t a n t i a l l y louer a t t a i n a b l e i n southern markets. area's extreme uinter climate* consequence*  the Yukon  t i a l l y above the national average.  1 3  Several comments  the p r i c e s offered* furs.  for  as u e l l as  In  uould have been valued at substanUnfortunately*  no traders' records  a n a l y s i s of p r i c e s o f -  i n the records*  houever*  suggest  Johnson* noted from Carcross i n 1920  traders had bought 300 muskrats from  $1,000 and that the p r i c e subsequently  tional price  p r i c e s than those  the f i e r c e competition for the Indians'  Anglican missionary* Chas.  that tuo l o c a l  it is  offered a prime product.  extant uhich uould a l l o u for an  fered to n a t i v e s .  market*  At the same time and as a r e s u l t of the  many of the Yukon furs  are knoun to be  eagerness to  for muskrat p e l t s that  trapper John Johns  rose to $5 a p e l t .  year averaged only  $2.54.  The na14  Esti-  mates made by Corporal Thorntuaithe of the Royal Canadian Mounted P o l i c e of  the value of furs  c l o s e r to the mark.  traded i n the Porcupine Cross fox he  River area i n 1928 seem  l i s t e d at $40 s o l d n a t i o n a l l y for an  average of $75 and lynx estimated at $30 per s k i n brought around $ 4 7 .  13  Similarly.  i n 1930 muskrats  the wholesaler  bought near  20-25c each sold i n the southern markets for around 8 4 c .  Old Crou for 16  1 3  Dan Cadzou of Rampart House l e f t portions of an account book for 1907-1912 uhich reveal that trappers received s u b s t a n t i a l l y less than that paid i n southern markets. The source (YTA. Cadzou Papers. Account Book) i s very incomplete and u n r e l i a b l e . On Cazdou. see. T. Riggs, "Running the Alaska Boundary." Beaver* O u t f i t 276 (Sept. 1945), 40-43.  1 4  AC, C. F. Johnson f i l e 2, Johnson to Stringer, 7 A p r i l 1920.  1 3  NAB, v o l . 797, f i l e 6535, Maclean to Cory,  1 6  AC, Rampart House, Fort Yukon and Old Crou f i l e , 104  12 October 1928. McCullum to S t r i n g -  Estimating p r i c e s paid to the Indians for furs i s , i n r e a l i t y , t i l e task,  both due to the lack  importantly,  of systematic evidence and,  because most trade operated  Traders could manipulate trade goods,  the real value  Everyone a n t i c i p a t e d lower p r i c e s as  took a healthy  trappers' returns.  shippers and  fur,  evidence  fur trade offered a renumerative source  successful trappers, both uhite and The v a r i a b l e  cost of t h e i r  returns and the  u i n t e r ' s trapping led to vernacular, "jaubone". prominent feature of  nonetheless of income to  Indian.  high cost  of securing supplies  the extensive use of c r e d i t or, The granting of c r e d i t had,  although  for a  in the trade  of course,  the Yukon River fur trade from  of Hudson's Bay Company operations,  auctioneers  Acknowledging that the traders  segment of the value of each  suggests that the  of the  traders,  a l l expected t h e i r share of the returns.  even more  on a barter and c r e d i t system.  p r i c e s simply by increasing the  thus reducing  a fu-  been a  the e a r l i e s t  the p r a c t i s e extended  t l e beyond the Fort Youcon-Porcupine River c o r r i d o r .  years lit-  As traders fanned  out throughout the t e r r i t o r y during and a f t e r the Gold Rush, they adopted the p r a c t i s e of supplying a trapper in advance of payment. tem had as  many v a r i a n t s as i t had p r a c t i t i o n e r s ,  according to  market conditions and  Traders spared no  the level of  e f f o r t i n t h e i r attempts to t i e  per, p a r t i c u l a r l y those u i t h recognized s k i l l s , eral of the  larger firms,  er, 23 July 1 7  17  The  sys-  u i t h terms changing regional  competition.  the i n d i v i d u a l trap-  to a s i n g l e post.  e s p e c i a l l y Taylor and Drury  Ltd.,  Sev-  paid for  1930.  The topic i s covered i n HcCandless, "Yukon W i l d l i f e " , and A. Tanner, "The Structure of Fur Trade Relations". Both s u f f e r from the lack of useful records covering the Tuentieth Century fur trade.  105  t h e i r furs with tokens redeemable uas o c c a s i o n a l l y f i e r c e , and  1930's.  In 1928,  only at company stores.  Competition  p a r t i c u l a r l y in the halcyon, days of the 1920's for example,  s i x traders vied for the Porcupine  River trade, u i t h tuo establishments  at Rampart House, three at Old Crou  and a f i n a l one at LaPierre's House. to  be  i n excess of  trappers' b u s i n e s s .  $133,000,  fusal to h i s catch. p r i c e s up  justified  expecting  The competition  sought the best market  trader o f f e r e d acceptable  the vigourous b a t t l e traders eagerly  for the granted  in return to have right of re-  The natives, u e l l versed in for t h e i r furs.  p r i c e s and extended c r e d i t ,  count on a s i z e a b l e portion of the local t r a d e . ever,  estimated  had the r e l a t e d impact of f o r c i n g  (and commodity p r i c e s doun).  competitive trade,  returns that year,  Under such circumstances,  18  debt to any competent trapper,  fur  The  If a local  he could  likely  At the same time, hou-  1 9  natives w i l l i n g l y t r a v e l l e d considerable distances to a l t e r n a t i v e  markets i f the  traders in t h e i r home areas were  exhorbitant p r i c e s for goods. trade expanded g r e a t l y boat i n the  1920's,  perceived as demanding  This eagerness to search for competitive  following the introduction of  the motor pouered  thereby making traders even more  cognizant of the  need to respond quickly to changes i n market c o n d i t i o n s . Though far from  compliant  pauns i n the fur trade,  z a  the natives were  vulnerable to p r i c e  changes and to the p o t e n t i a l  uithdraual of c r e d i t .  The  became accustomed to a yearly  c y c l e uhich included  Indians quickly  the securing of supplies on c r e d i t in the f a l l and the repayment of debt  NAB,  1 8  *  9  v o l . 797,  NAB, v o l . 609, March 1925.  2° AC,  f i l e 6535, Maclean to Cory, 12 October  1928.  f i l e 2657, extracts from report of Constable  Morris f i l e ,  Morris to Stringer, 24 June 106  1928.  Young, 18  in the  winter or spring.  Any  sudden or unexpected a l t e r a t i o n  a v a i l a b i l i t y of c r e d i t , be i t for market or punitive reasons, verely upset the Dan  trappers' plans and prospects.  Cadzow, an ardent Anglican  who  saw  course).  responsibly  (according  A l t e r i n g the pattern of  21  such philosophical overtones. "The  Indians w i l l  have cut  obvious benefit  technology,  to the  Taylor  and Drury  as they conduct business  22  As Adrian Tanner  to s u i t  demonstrated in an  trading p r a c t i s e s , the granting of c r e d i t  varied markedly from monopoly to competitive of  lacked  me that 'they weren't running a benev-  the I n d i a n s ' . "  study of more recent  the market of  C. C. Brett of T e s l i n noted that  r e l i e f about Xmas.  themselves and as Hr. Drury t o l d  extensive  of c r e d i t to encourage na-  c r e d i t disbursement t y p i c a l l y  off their credit entirely,  olent s o c i e t y for  Rampart House trader  to h i s d e f i n i t i o n of  In 1914,  be in need of  would se-  h i s role extending far beyond h i s  basic economic function, used the withholding t i v e s to act  in the  Indians.  23  s i t u a t i o n s , with the  Improvements in  high p r i c e s and a c o n s i s t e n t l y  latter  transportation  large number of traders  ac-  t i v e in the f i e l d ensured that from the 1920's, the natives found c r e d i t generally a v a i l a b l e e i t h e r in t h e i r immediate  v i c i n i t y or within a rea-  sonable distance. The s t r u c t u r a l  o u t l i n e of the  the period from 1900 mention according competition  to 1950.  fur trade remained  Prices  to the q u a l i t y of  ensured an equitable  2 1  AC,  Cadzow f i l e ,  2 2  AC,  Brett f i l e ,  2 3  Tanner, 44-72.  varied on a yearly basis (not to  the f u r ) ,  return for  but a v a i l a b l e c r e d i t and  the fur trapper.  Cadzow to Stringer, 20 Harch  1917.  Brett to Stringer, 16 October  1914.  107  i n t a c t throughout  The  pur-  s u i t of fur income,  bearing animals provided a reasonable,  but not without major v a r i a t i o n s  ized d i s t r e s s . integral  Natural c y c l e s in the  part of  the natives'  r e a d i l y accepted and  causing short term and  economy  trade, c r e d i t disbursements, and  the s t a b i l i t y  of the  and could  P r i c e f l u c t u a t i o n s and  market demand proved more d i f f i c u l t , but long-standing fur  local-  a v a i l a b i l i t y of game remained an  hunting-trapping  accommodated.  at times l u c r a t i v e  the traders' and  industry c a r r i e d both  be  changes in  experience  in the  trappers' f a i t h in  groups through  lean years.  Government regulations proved more d i f f i c u l t to accommodate, p r i n c i p a l l y because they functioned  l a r g e l y o b l i v i o u s to market conditions.  Host government intervention i n the fur trade came i n the form of port taxes 1920's and  targetted at 1930's.  the marketing  however,  end of  growing concern  the industry.  In the  over the depletion of re-  sources led the Yukon government to impose a s e r i e s of trapping tions in an attempt to r e b u i l d w i l d l i f e stocks. ment's  decision  to regulate  the  instance,  noticeable repercussions  economy.  The seasonal  harvesting for those  ex-  restric-  The t e r r i t o r i a l governof  game had.  in  each  involved i n the fur trade  c y c l e s of the Indians and  t h e i r white  counter-  parts involved the regular harvesting of species, depending on l o c a t i o n . Government moves to prevent the taking of a p a r t i c u l a r type of er disrupted routines  and schedules,  pers' a b i l i t y to repay t h e i r debts. come prospect were  throwing into  fur-bear-  question the trap-  S i m i l a r l y , traders faced the unwel-  of being unable to supply an eager external market.  several major  trapping closures  before  1950.  including  There beaver  (1918-1924, 1928-1931. 1946-49), marten (1924-26)2* and a s e r i e s of sea-  24 YRGI, Series 4, v o l . 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, v o l . 3. f i l e 12-5B, Gold  108  sonal closures concessionSf  r e l a t i n g to other  species.  such as allowing traders to  2 5  While  export  neu  regulations had been explained to trappers*  its  l e g i s l a t i o n u i t h some care.  r e s t r i c t i o n s without game.  The  prolonged  argument,  c i d i n g u i t h the  uas l i f t e d  little  t r a n s i t i o n someuhat by  prime trapping times.  in 1924.  Beaver.  the  for  planning and  imposing only  26  uere of  When the t o t a l closure on bea-  government imposed 15.  example,  a shortened  season  Since most trapping of beaver for  27  of government  regulations barring  non-Yukon Indians  hunting u i t h i n the t e r r i t o r y had a more d i r e c t impact. laus d i d not  the various  in the uinter months, t h i s p a r t i c u l a r r e s t r i c t i o n caused  inconvenience.  A series  the government enforced  u i t h the period set aside for harvesting often c o i n -  s t r e t c h i n g from January 1 to Hay market occurred  the  s u i t c h i n g t h e i r traps to other  greatest value uhen taken in mid-uinter. ver  short-term  furs caught before  Trappers t y p i c a l l y accepted  government eased the  seasonal closures,  granting  e x p l i c i t l y intend to exclude l i m i t e d knowledge on the  the  Indians.  from  The various game Rather.  poor  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. S e r i e s 3. v o l . 4. f i l e 12-7B. Proclamat i o n dated 1 Sept. 1928; YRGI, S e r i e s 3, v o l . 3, f i l e 12-5B. Cadzou to Gold Commissioner. 20 July 1924. 2 5  See, for example. YRGI, S e r i e s 3, v o l . 10, f i l e 12-19B, R. A. Gibson to G. A. J a c k e l l , 9 June 1941 uhich deals u i t h r e s t r i c t i o n s on the Old Crou muskrat season.  2 6  YRGI, Series 4, v o l . 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 t e r r i t o r y but traded in the Yukon received exemptions. Ibid., Isaac Taylor to Geo. Mackenzie, 10 July 1918, A f f a d a v i t by Wm. Drury, 24 Nov. 1919.  2 7  Since some fur bearers uere harvested for food, these r e s t r i c t i o n s had considerable impact. Game caught for sustenance generally escaped the regulations, YTA, T e s l i n Band C o l l e c t i o n , Hauksley to Dear S i r , 8 Nov. 1923. 109  to  the inadvertent closure of t r a d i t i o n a l hunting t e r r i t o r i e s .  kon Game Ordinance of  1927 required a payment of $100  The Yu-  from a l l persons  not resident i n the t e r r i t o r y i n return for a grant of hunting p r i v i l e g es.  2  9  The new regulations severely a f f e c t e d  cupine River  area.  Alaskan natives had  trade and avoid export t a x e s ?  2 9  and  i n the Peel River basin and  the Richardson Mountains.  o f f i c i a l s , p a r t i c u l a r l y 0. to  long entered the d i s t r i c t to  Indians from Fort McPherson c o n t i n -  ued t h e i r long-standard p r a c t i s e of hunting on the western slopes of  natives hunting i n the Por-  S.  Federal government  Finnie. urged the t e r r i t o r i a l government  remove the r e s t r i c t i o n on natives  from the North West T e r r i t o r i e s .  C i t i n g a l l e g a t i o n s of over-hunting by the Fort Yukon government was reluctant to comply.  3 0  McPherson Indians, the  They f i n a l l y gave i n and on  September 3. 1929. made the necessary r e v i s i o n s to the Game Ordinance. No s i m i l a r p r o v i s i o n s were forthcoming for the Alaskan natives, a t i o n applauded by the Canadian  Indians along the Porcupine.  r i l y to the d i r e c t threat they posed  31  a situ-  due prima-  to the economic v i a b i l i t y  of the  2 9  YRGI. S e r i e s 3. v o l . 4, f i l e 12-BA, Insp. Caulkin to P. Reid, 2 August 1926; i b i d . , f i l e 12-6B. Thornthwaite to Gold Commissioner. 31 January 1927.  2 9  DIA. v o l . 6761. f i l e 420-12. O.S. Finnie to G. J . MacLean. 28 Dec. 1928; YRGI, S e r i e s 3. v o l . 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, v o l . 6761, f i l e 420-12, Insp. Wood to Commissioner, RCMP, 5 August 1929. Further attempts to r e s t r i c t native harvesting across t e r r i t o r i a l or p r o v i n c i a l boundaries met s i m i l a r resistance, Ibid., Ralph Parsons, HBC Fur Trade Commissioner to Dr. H. W. McGill, 17 Dec. 1937.  3  ° YRGI, S e r i e s 3, v o l . 5, f i l e 12-8A, Maclean to Finnie, 6 Feb. 1929.  3 1  YRGI, S e r i e s 3, v o l . 7, f i l e 12-14B, G. A. J e c k e l l to J. er, 16 A p r i l 1935. 110  Lome Turn-  regional fur trade.32  To the south,  the  Yukon-British Columbia border  region posed s i m i l a r problems as residents from both j u r i s d i c t i o n s readi l y crossed the border to hunt or trade. ship between  Yukon Indian  However, an amicable  Agent John Hawksley  and h i s  relation-  S t i k i n e Agency  counterpart Harper Reed ensured that no government regulations prevented natives from hunting and l i v i n g where ever,  that  game l a w s .  33  the natives had to While  imposed and  regulated access  Through to the 1940's,  to  and  trade,  accommodations reached the fur  however,  e s s e n t i a l l y open p o l i c y ,  Both agreed,  observe a l l p r o v i n c i a l  not e x c l u s i v e l y t i e d to the fur  r e s t r i c t i v e measures government  they wished.  the  with a l l  resources  how-  territorial the various  by the  of the  Yukon  territory.  government continued to pursue an  residents and approved non-residents  able to compete equally for a v a i l a b l e fur bearing animals. The f i r s t proposals that the government f i n d some means of regulating i n d i v i d u a l accesB to w i l d l i f e came from native trappers.  Joe Squam, an  Indian " c h i e f " of dubious standing from T e s l i n requested in 1932 area he described as "my permanent personal that,  use.  that an  hunting and trapping ground" be granted for h i s 34  The government  as Yukon Comptroller G.  rejected h i s appeal  J e c k e l l phrased  greatly hamper the exploration and  it,  for fear  "such actions would  development of the mineral resources  32 DIA, v o l . 6761, f i l e 420-12, Thornthwaite to OC, RCHP, Dawson, 9 A p r i l 1929; YRGI, S e r i e s 3, v o l . 5, f i l e 12-8A, Gold Commissioner to O.S. Finnie, 3 January 1929. Eagle, Alaska natives, c l o s e l y related to those at Moosehide, were accorded more l i b e r t i e s . YRGI, Series 3, vol. 6, f i l e 10A, Hawksley to Gold Commissioner, 14