UBC Undergraduate Research

Fort Langley Cranberries and a San Francisco Market : A Transition in the Role of Natives from 1827 to 1858 Bethune, William


Early Canadian Native-newcomer relations and interactions are important for painting an accurate picture of the times. The changes that were made to Native lifeworlds are numerous. This paper discusses an example of one of these changes: a transitioning Native economic role in the context of the cranberry trade out of Fort Langley. It briefly examines the susceptibility of Native populations to Newcomer influence. The initial participation that they had in every step of resource trade processes is also touched upon in order to provide contrast to their newfound role. A narrative of the cranberry trade is used to to illustrate how shifting markets, a changing Newcomer presence, technological advancements, and Fort Langley as a centre of production for the cranberry trade affected the economic role of the Natives. The paper finds that the Native population was in transition from having close involvement in every or many steps of the resource trade process in a more localized economy to being a supply of labour for a new Newcomer economy. It demonstrates that changing economic scale and Native-newcomer economic dynamics were inextricably linked.

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