Surrey: Dragon Heart Enterprises, 2016 $39.95 / 9781365410536. The comprehensive World Health Organization's, Smallpox and its Eradication (Fenner et al., 1988), brings together a vast body of research on smallpox, and offers an excellent foundation for examining how the disease affected populations that, in some dimensions at least, were similar to the natives of the Hudson Bay basin. Though experts argue there was no documented evidence indicating it was used to purposely spread smallpox. This telling of the HBC starts in London, the epicentre of the British Empire. Reviewed by Courtney Kirk * In 1862, colonial officials, supported by merchants, surveyors, and road builders, concocted a get-rich-quick scheme to link the coast of B.C. About HBC Heritage. Her premise is that the HBC blankets were used by the Company to purposely spread smallpox among the native population. HBC has expanded into the U.S., controlling Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor stores. HBC Heritage is an internal department of Hudson’s Bay Company. For well over two centuries, the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket has been an iconic product in Canada and around the world. Responsibility and intentional spread allegations. But, research revealed alternative narratives. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Hudson's Bay Company served as a de facto public health agency across western Canada. Historian Philip Ranlet of Hunter College and author of a 2000 article on the smallpox blanket incident in Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, also casts doubt. 3, July 2012, pp. at Bella Coola to the gold fields of … "I found absolutely no evidence that the Hudson's Bay company ever purposely infected anybody with blankets and smallpox," said professor Paul Hackett from the University of Saskatchewan, who has researched the history of the Hudson Bay blanket. The Hudson’s Bay point blanked has the status of an icon in the history of modern Canada. For most Canadians, the Hudson's Bay blanket is a symbol of Canadian identity; a cherished emblem of the fur trade representing exploration, wilderness survival and the birth of a nation. Isaac said that the iconic point blanket continues to pop up in Indigenous art because “it’s emblematic of the trade histories … [and] the smallpox epidemic that happened in the early 1800s.” In her research, Isaac said she has found proof that Hudson’s Bay Blankets were used to spread smallpox. Chris Warren argues that the pandemic was no accident, but rather a … Another anecdote describes Chippewa and Sioux "near Hudson Bay" who contracted smallpox after they had attacked "white families" and stole "their clothes" in 1780 (Heagerty 1928:44-46). With Indigenous oral history portraying a darker past for the “iconic” Hudson’s Bay point blanket, the site, created with good intentions, is rather dissatisfying. This is neither a new claim, nor even new art. I do balk, however, when people insist that the relationship we have with HBC blankets in the west somehow means we are more colonized—an accusation I have heard on more than one occasion. Its design with the recognizable stripes can be found on many products including coats, scarves, coffee mugs and many others. Within a few years of its discovery, vaccination was instrumental in controlling smallpox epidemics among aboriginal people at remote trading posts of the Hudson's Bay Company. Unlike the HBC’s English and Scottish employees who had developed an existing immunity to the disease by adulthood, most … If you look up 'smallpox in hudson bay blankets' you'll see numerous articles discussing the 'complicated history' of the Hudson's Bay point blankets. According to the official company history, blankets had been taken to Hudson Bay as trade goods as far back as 1668. The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) was a joint-stock company with a presumptive monopoly over the region drained by all rivers and streams flowing into Hudson Bay – an area known as “Rupert’s Land” – and was the primary chronicler of the diffusion of the smallpox … Spending the winter there and trading furs with the Indigenous, the first cargo of fur left for England on Oct. 9, 1669. For the white Europeans, the Hudson’s Bay point blankets represented the fur trade and pioneering settlements of the vast Canadian wilderness. The Bay Blanket. As a white woman of settler origin, I understood the stripes of the Hudson’s Bay Blanket to be the epitome of “Canadian” iconography, representing ‘our place.’ I undertook to spin and weave a Hudson’s Bay Blanket. Like all things relating to Canadian history this story is complicated because it's a story consisting of many interconnected parts but what isn't complicated is the truth. In 2013, the company rebranded, embracing its four-century heritage with the name Hudson’s Bay and a new logo. Once they were laid on the floor, Lloyd smudged around the circumference of the blankets. Among its biggest challenges was combating the smallpox epidemics that periodically threatened the Aboriginal people of the region. Carefully, we began to smudge each and every blanket that we would be using over the next two days, spending particular time on the iconic Hudson’s Bay blanket we would use for the “smallpox blanket”, and the dark grey sheet that we would use for the “residential school blanket”. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Hudson's Bay Company served as a de facto public health agency across western Canada. Because Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples didn’t directly come up for me as I was growing up, it didn’t seem troubling to me, when I was barely in my twenties, to buy a vintage 1960s Hudson’s Bay blanket coat at a sale at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. Analysis and reassessment of the claim of 60 to 90% mortality rates, due to small pox. We dive into the history of The Hudson's Bay Company and unpack the very complicated story of the iconic striped blanket. An outbreak of smallpox in Sydney in 1789 killed thousands of Aborigines and weakened resistance to white settlement. Point blankets were the first thing that came to mind whenever my mother took me shopping at a Hudson’s Bay Company store. The Hudson’s Bay Company, or HBC, first began producing and selling their point blanket in 1779 in posts around Canada and very quickly, the durable, distinctive wool blankets became popular among the settlers and indigenous tribes of Canada. These warm blankets are as iconic as Mariah Carey's lip-syncing, but some people believe they were used to spread smallpox and decimate entire Indigenous communities. "In her video installation "The Blanket" (2011) that was a part of "Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years" (the largest international show of contemporary indigenous art ever held in North America), Belmore addresses the history of the Hudson’s Bay Company and THE BLANKETS THAT WERE DISTRIBUTED TO CARRY OUT A SMALLPOX EPIDEMIC that destroyed populations of aboriginal … #103 Tainted blankets, tainted history. Hudson’s Bay Company blankets have been implicated in the spread of smallpox to Native communities in the western plains during the late 18 th century. Among its biggest challenges was combating the smallpox epidemics that periodically threatened the Aboriginal people of the region. Hopkins locates a similar incident on "the Plains" in 1783 (1983:236, 246). 49, No. Survivors sometimes joined other ethnic groups. The striped blanket is still produced today in England by John Atkinson, a sub-brand of the A.W. At the time of writing, this author noted the Lord & Taylor website has posted that they are sold out of HBC point blankets. Smallpox changed power structures and alliances, as well as land use and occupancy. Matthew Cocking, William Tomison, and other Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) employees primarily sought to protect Omushkegowak (Swampy Crees) from smallpox (Variola) as it rapidly circulated throughout Western North America starting in 1779. How old is my Hudson Bay point blanket? The Eaglet was forced to turn back but the Nonsuch arrived in James Bay, the southern most portion of Hudson Bay, and Charles Fort was founded, named in honour of King Charles II. Given the history of the Hudson’s Bay Company in this, I certainly don’t disagree with that viewpoint. The first comprehensive vaccinations in the Canadian West were carried out by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). It can even start with the now-iconic Hudson’s Bay point blanket, something you’re bound to find in cottages and cabins across Canada. Hudson’s Bay Company employees started giving inoculations and teaching the technique to others after the two Prairie epidemics. Woven into every aspect of Canadian life for about 250 years, these blankets are associated with the turbulent history of the country. As result, the Plains Cree and Saulteaux pushed out its borders as others retreated during the epidemic. I have identified and dated some two-dozen styles of labels used by the Hudson's Bay Company since 1890. Some distinct cultural groups disappeared as almost all of their members died. Hainsworth Company. The Hudson Bay Company vaccination efforts were focused on populations that produced furs. I have also done a considerable amount of research on the dates of labels used on blankets made by many mills like Early's of Witney, Pendleton and Jacob's of Oregon, as well as for blankets marketed by retailers other than HBC, like the T. Eaton Company. 277-290. Several years ago, another artist created a very similar exhibit, rewriting history with exactly the same story, and brought it to the same art gallery. March 13th, 2017. REVIEW: The Smallpox War in Nuxalk Territory by Tom Swanky . Scholars typically attribute the spread of smallpox in spring of 1837 to the failure to quarantine the St. Peter. Mortality From Smallpox: The 1780s Epidemic in the Hudson's Bay Region Ann M. Carlos, Frank D. Lewis Explorations in Economic History, Vol. In 1780, a smallpox outbreak that ravaged much of the Western North America arrived on the Northern Great Plains. Hudson’s Bay Company retail stores were for many years known as The Bay. We are committed to the preservation, education, and promotion of Hudson’s Bay Company’s history and the ongoing care and maintenance of the Company’s historical HBC Corporate Art, Artifact, Image, and Reference Collections. Disturbing claims have accused British administrators in North America of using the Hudson’s Bay blanket to spread smallpox among the native tribes as the British Empire expanded further into Canada. The coat is beautiful with its bold stripes, practical in cold weather, and is an iconic emblem of Canadiana. Hudson’s Bay Company has commissioned these fine English-made woolen blankets since 1780, many becoming heirlooms that are passed on from one generation to the next. The English-made wool blanket — cream, with thick coloured stripes — harkens back to the 18th century, when it was the company’s most popular traded good. West were carried out by the Company to purposely spread smallpox centuries, the epicentre of the British.... 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