N-lkwkw-min: Remembering the Fur Trade in the Columbia River Plateau
Nation-Knapper, Stacy Jo
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation answers the question of how and why the history of the fur trade in the Columbia River Plateau is understood in the ways in which it is. It examines the construction of memory and commemorations of the fur trade era by different communities for their distinct purposes. The project methodologies include analyses of archival materials and publications created by fur traders and historians who were interested in their lives, and examination of historical monographs and their indexes and sources lists. Fur trade commemorations and public history events were scrutinized, as were newspapers for interviews with the historical actors driving public acts of memory and biographies of these individuals were examined. Artistic representations of the past in films, songs, comic books, advertisements, and greeting cards created are included in the analysis. Peoples understandings of the past are made in daily encounters of its representation, however seemingly trivial they may be. Indigenous Plateau peoples have created histories of the fur trade, and those histories have been largely ignored by settler historians and boosters, resulting in a historiography that has mostly omitted Indigenous voices that were present and speaking to those settlers creating fur trade histories. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, Plateau Indigenous peoples brought their histories into the same public forums where fur trade histories were heard in the region for non-Indigenous people to encounter. Examining the stories people told about the fur trade and why, this dissertation demonstrates that the history of the Columbia River Plateau fur trade has been and continues to be a tool used to further the social, political, and economic desires of its creators, who construct fur trade histories largely in their own image.