The relationship of the Church Missionary Society and the Hudson's Bay Company in Rupert's Land, 1821 to 1860 with a case study of Stanley Mission under the direction of the Rev. Robert Hunt
Goossen, Norma Jaye
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The history of the Canadian North-West is traditionally an account of the clash of the fur trade and "civilization." As E. H. Oliver so dramatically stated the case: . . . Alexander Mackenzie was a dreamer. His dreams carried him far, to Arctic and Pacific, the full length of the River he himself named Disappointment but others named Mackenzie and across what were then the Stony Mountains. He had visions of a world-wide fur monopoly . . . Selkirk, too, was a man of visions . . . But Selkirk . . . was more interested in men than in beaver skins. The fur trade is depicted as a primitive, loosely structured economic system unhindered by elaborate legal or social structure, a system which depended upon the migratory hunting life of the Indian inhabitants. In contrast, "civilization" represented a sedentary population requiring a more highly diversified economy, and a relatively elaborate lega1 and social organization for the regulation and protection of mutually interdependent people. In examining the "inexorable" advance of civilization and the "inevitable" retreat of the fur trade, it is customary to emphasize the obvious conflict which occurred. Certainly conflict is an important characteristic of the development of the North-West. Into this traditional fur trade-civilization dichotomy both contemporaries and historians have placed their considerations of missionary activity in the North-West. Clearly missionaries, as active advocates of a Christian civilization, were an important part of the general development of a more complex society. More importantly, missionaries deliberately sought to civilize not only the European inhabitants but the aboriginal people of the fur trade empire. Because this posed a direct threat to the continuation of the fur hunter's way of life, it was feared by people with an economic interest in the trade...