"She is Particularly Useful to Her Husband": Strategic Marriages Between Hudson's Bay Company Employees and Native Women at Fort Vancouver(2016)
This article has been adapted from An Ethnohistorical Overview of Groups with Ties to Fort Vancouver, by Douglas Deur, Ph.D.
When considering the tribal associations with Fort Vancouver during the period of Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) occupation (1824-1860), one of the most important but overlooked dimensions of this issue is the role of Native women at the fort. Records and journal accounts suggest that nearly all of the men working as officers and employees at the fort had families, and almost all of these families were of mixed ethnicity, with American Indian or Métis wives. Indeed, women made up almost half of the total population of the Fort at the apex of its operations and, if enumerated together with their children, this segment of the fort community appears to have comprised more than two-thirds of its population. Yet, despite their clear importance, the largely Native female population of the fort community was almost invisible in the official records of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Written information regarding this population is elusive, appearing only in reminiscences and diaries, certain church records, and a smattering of other documents. What follows is a summary of the role of interethnic marriages at Fort Vancouver as suggested by these sources.
Citation InformationDouglas Deur, 2016. "She is Particularly Useful to Her Husband": Strategic Marriages Between Hudson's Bay Company Employees and Native Women at Fort Vancouver. USDI National Park Service, Washington D.C.