Relations on Southeastern Hudson Bay: An Illustrated History of Inuit, Cree, and Eurocanadian Interaction, 1740-1970
“Vanishing races” was how bureaucrats and academics in the south throughout most of the 20th century viewed the people of the north. The Inuit and Crees of the southeastern Hudson Bay coast would have been included in this category because important food resources such as beluga whales, caribou and beaver were depleted in the early part of the century. Despite this and the many other significant changes that took place in the wake of European contact, the Inuit and the Crees found ways to adapt. In fact, the first two decades of the 1900s were very prosperous years for both groups, as they were for the English and French companies whose fur trade posts quickly dotted the coastline. More recent government involvement in administration of the region and the entry of the military were further grave challenges to the way of life and wellbeing of the Inuit and Crees of southeast Hudson Bay.
A rich textual history in English followed by an extensive bilingual photo history in both English and Inuktitut syllabics, this account tracks the region’s “boom and bust” periods, beginning in the mid 1700s through to the start of the James Bay hydroelectric project of the 1970s that either isolated the Inuit and Cree peoples, one from the other, or brought them together in cooperative efforts. Referencing both oral histories and the records of the fur trade companies, churches and government, this book reveals how the Inuit lived over the last several centuries as they adapted to changed environmental and economic conditions as well as imposed government directives.
About the author
Toby Morantz is an ethnohistorian who has been researching the history of Native-Newcomer relations in eastern James Bay since the 1970s. Her studies are based on the extensive Hudson’s Bay Company archives and for the twentieth century, church and government documents, as well as oral accounts. She has published articles and books on this subject. The most recent book, The White Man’s Gonna Getcha. The Colonial Challenge to the Crees in Québec was awarded the Raymond Klibansky Prize by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences for the best English language work in the humanities in 2002-2003. Morantz is a retired member of the Department of Anthropology, McGill University.