Authors and Sources


Native Canada, ca 1820 (Volume I, Plate 69; Concise Plate 4)
CONRAD E. HEIDENREICH Department of Geography, York University
ROBERT GALOIS Department of Geography, University of British Columbia

We gratefully acknowledge permission to consult the HBC Archives, PAM, as well as the help of the archivists, especially Shirlee A. Smith; and also the staff in Special Collections, the Library, UBC.


Native Population, Economies and Movement, ca 1820 (Map)

Much of the HBC census material is complete for men, women, and children. In cases where only men were counted, a total population was extrapolated using population ratios derived from nearby groups living in a similar environment with a similar economy. Where later censuses had to be used for Native groups who were affected by epidemic diseases after 1821 (eg, Tlingit), the population totals were adjusted upward by one-third. Data for some of the Plains groups (eg, Blackfoot, Assiniboine) were originally given in numbers of tents. These were converted to population numbers on the basis of eight people per tent, as suggested by contemporary observers. It is impossible to determine how accurate the early censuses and estimates were.

Early 19th-century populations in the Cordillera are particularly difficult to establish. There were 11 HBC censuses of various areas, some overlapping, none surviving in original form. The copies that do survive, made in 1878 by one of H.H. Bancroft's researchers, usually do not indicate the date of the enumeration. Given these limitations it is no easy matter to resolve the contradictions arising between different, overlapping estimates. For example, there are five separate censuses of some or all of the Southern Kwakiutl but only one includes a date (summer 1838), and none indicates who was responsible for the compilation. Wilson Duff used this material and his own large knowledge of Native British Columbia to prepare the population map in The Indian History of British Columbia. We have been over the same ground, correcting some mistakes on Duff's map while following its general patterns. A comprehensive analysis of these censuses and other estimates of early-contact Native populations in the northern Cordillera remains to be done.

  • Great Britain, House of Commons. British North American Provinces. 'Copies of Extracts of Correspondence ... Respecting the Indians, 17 June, 1839.' In British Parliamentary Papers. Colonies, Canada, 12. Irish University Press, 1969
  • Great Britain, House of Commons. Indian Department, Canada. 'Copies or Extracts of Recent Correspondence Respecting ... Indian Departments in Canada, 2 June, 1856.' In British Parliamentary Papers. Colonies, Canada, 21. Irish University Press, 1970
  • Great Britain, Parliament. 'Aboriginal Tribes.' In Imperial Blue Books on Affairs Relating to Canada 5 (1834-6), paper 617: 1-229
  • Hind, N.Y. Explorations of the Interior of the Labrador Peninsula, the Country of the Montagnais and Nascniapee Indians. 2 vols. London: Longman, Green, 1863
  • Keating, W.H. Narrative of an Expedition to the Sources of St. Peter's River ... Performed in the Year 1823. Philadelphia: H.C. Carey and I. Lea, 1824
  • Mason, P.P., ed. Schookraft's Expedition to Lake Itasca. East Lansing: Michigan State University, 1958
  • New Brunswick, Journal of the House of Assembly. 6th Session, 12th General Assembly, pp xcii-cxvii. Fredericton, 1842
  • NAC, RG10, vol 708, Census Records, 1810-36; vol 747, Census Records, 1840-52
  • NMC. All maps by A. Arrowsmith and D. Thompson
  • PAM, HBC Archives. B/e: District Reports (Abitibi, B1/e/2, 1822-3 to York Factory, B239/e/3, 182) approximately covering the years 1818-25. B/2: various censuses compiled between 1815 and 1839. Maps: all maps drawn between 1815 and 1827
  • PANS. RG1, vol 431, Papers relating to Indians, 1832-6; vol. 432, Papers relating to Indians, 1842-3
  • Provincial Archives of British Columbia. Douglas papers, Second series, Microfilm 737A, pp 7-33; Transcript B/20/1853, pp 5-31. The originals are in the Bancroft Library, San Francisco.
  • Further Readings

  • Boas, F. The Central Eskimo. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, 6th Annual Report. Washington, 1888
  • Brice-Bennett, C., ed. Our Footprints Are Everywhere: Inuit Land Use and Occupancy in Labrador. Nain: Labrador Inuit Association, 1977
  • Duff, W. The Indian History of British Columbia. Vol l: The Impact of the White Man. Provincial Museum of Natural History and Anthropology, Memoir 5,1964. Victoria, 1965
  • Freeman, M.M.R., ed. Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project. 3 vols. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services, 1976
  • Handbook of North American Indians. Vol 6: Subarctic. Ed J. Helm. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1981
  • Handbook of North American Indians. Vol 15: Northeast. Ed B.G. Trigger. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1978
  • Hodge, F.W., ed. Handbook of Indians North of Mexico. 2 vols. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 30. Washington, 1907, 1910
  • Horr, D.A., ed. Coast Salish and Western Washington Indians. 5 vols. New York: Garland, 1974
  • Horr, D.A., Interior Salish and Eastern Washington Indians. 5 vols. New York: Garland, 1974
  • Howley, J.P. The Beothucks or Red Indians: The Aboriginal Inhabitants of Newfoundland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1915
  • Krause, A. The Tlingit Indians. Trans E. Gunther. 1st ed. 1885. Seattle: University of Washington, 1956
  • Tanner, V. 'Outlines of the Geography, Life and Customs of Newfoundland-Labrador.' Ada Geographica 8, no. 1 (1944): 1-907