Fur Trade Culture
The Tsilhqot’in were not unfamiliar with Europeans and their goods in 1864. The Tsilhqot’in first met European trading goods in the 1780s and 1790s when British and American ships first came to the Northwest Coast in search of the valuable sea otter pelts. They may have met Alexander Mackenzie, who traveled over the famous grease road on the northern fringe of their territory in 1793.
By 1808 the North West Company, a fur-trading enterprise out of Montreal, had stretched its supply lines westward, across the Rocky Mountains to establish posts in the Carrier (Dene) territory just to the north of the Tsilhqot’in and trade began face to face and through Carrier intermediaries.
In 1824, the North West Company merged with the Hudson’s Bay Company and took the new name. The fur trade fort established in 1821 at Alexandria on the Fraser River, just east of the Tsilhqot’in, became their major source for European goods. The Hudson’s Bay men looked greedily at the rich furs that were coming out of the Tsilhqot’in homeland and sought to build a fort in their midst. What did the Tsilhqot’in think about this arrangement?
Diaries, Journals or Reminiscences
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