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Gold Medal for Scholarly Research from the Governor General

Published on September 29, 2015


MEDIA RELEASE - Canada's History

September29, 201


Book Shows Influence of French Canadians on Pacific Northwest

A University of British Columbia professor is the winner of Canada’s top prize for academic history writing.

The 2015 Governor General's History Award for Scholarly Research (Sir John A. Macdonald Prize) will be awarded to Dr. Jean Barman for her book French Canadians, Furs, and IndigenousWomeninthe Making of the Pacific Northwest, published by UBC Press in 2014.

The book explains the influence that French Canadians and their indigenous partners had in the making of the Pacific Northwest during the 18th through the 21st centuries.

“When the Hudson’s Bay Company took over the Pacific Northwest fur trade from the Northwest Company of Montreal in 1821, the French Canadian employees stayed on mainly because of their relationships with indigenous women,” Barman explains. “Although England was inclined to give up the area to the United States when a boundary was decided in 1846, the Hudson’s Bay Company convinced England to keep today’s British Columbia because there was money to be made there. Were it not for these French Canadian employees, Canada would have no Pacific shoreline today.”

 Michel Duquet, Executive Director of the Canadian Historical Association says, “Jean Barman’s book, which highlights the crucial role of French-Canadians and their native partners in influencing England’s decision to retain B.C. in mid-19th century, reminds us that history is very much alive thanks to continuous new interpretations of the past based on the discovery and new questioning of sources.”

Barman will be presented a gold medal by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, at Rideau Hall on October 16.

The Sir John A. Macdonald prize has been awarded since 1977 to the non-fictin work of Canadian history published in the last year judged to have made the most significant contribution to an understanding of the Candian past. It was integrated into the Vice-Regal Awards program in 2010 as the Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research. It is presented by the Canadian Historical Association with support from Manulife Financial, and administered by Canada’s History Society.



For further information:

Barbara Czech Canada’s History Phone 204-832-3578


Michel Duquet Executive Director

Canadian Historical Association Phone: 613 233-7885


About Canada’s History

Canada’s History is a national charitable organization whose mission is to promote greater popular interest in Canadian history, principally through its publishing, education, and recognition programs. In addition to administering the Governor General’s History Awards and publishing Canada’sHistory magazine (formerly The Beaver) and Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids, Canada’s History produces a number of educational and online programs to encourage a Canada where people are deeply engaged in connecting with their shared past.

About Canadian Historical Association

Founded in 1922, the Canadian Historical Association/La Société historique du Canada is a bilingual not-for-profit and charitable association devoted to fostering the scholarly study and communication of history in Canada. It is the largest of its kind in the country.

The Association seeks to encourage the integration of historical knowledge and perspectives in both the scholarly and public spheres, to ensure the accessibility of historical resources, and to defend the rights and freedoms of professional and emerging historians in the pursuit of historical inquiry.

With members from across Canada and around the world, the CHA/SHC serves professional historians and is open to anyone with an interest in history.

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