Proposal Title

SESSION 2.3: Jean-Baptiste Boucher dit Waccan and the Traces of Métis Ethnogenesis in British Columbia

Presentation Type

Individual paper

Location

IB 1010

Start Date

2-5-2019 1:45 PM

End Date

2-5-2019 1:45 PM

Abstract

Jean-Baptiste Boucher dit Waccan was a formidable force in northern and central British Columbia. He accompanied Simon Fraser in descending the river that now bear’s the latter’s name and was a pivotal employee for the later HBC serving as interpreter and occasional enforcer, feared and respected widely. His descendants include, among others, Margaret “Granny” Seymour who was in 1958 identified as a “French Indian” in the local press. This presentation will examine Boucher dit Waccan’s history and examine his life as an archetypal figure of the numerous fur trading employees living across what is now British Columbia. His children and grandchildren were identified in the 1881 census as “French Half-breed” and Margaret Seymour clearly spoke French as well as others notably former HBC employees such as Pierre Roy and Joseph Tappage. The latter was identified in the 1881 census as a “Red River Halfbreed born in BC.” The number of individuals in the Cariboo district identified directly and indirectly as being “French Halfbreed” hints to the existence of an embryonic historical Métis community in the region. This paper will thus probe this too often overlooked history to examine the role these Métis played in the history of the region and the province.

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May 2nd, 1:45 PM May 2nd, 1:45 PM

SESSION 2.3: Jean-Baptiste Boucher dit Waccan and the Traces of Métis Ethnogenesis in British Columbia

IB 1010

Jean-Baptiste Boucher dit Waccan was a formidable force in northern and central British Columbia. He accompanied Simon Fraser in descending the river that now bear’s the latter’s name and was a pivotal employee for the later HBC serving as interpreter and occasional enforcer, feared and respected widely. His descendants include, among others, Margaret “Granny” Seymour who was in 1958 identified as a “French Indian” in the local press. This presentation will examine Boucher dit Waccan’s history and examine his life as an archetypal figure of the numerous fur trading employees living across what is now British Columbia. His children and grandchildren were identified in the 1881 census as “French Half-breed” and Margaret Seymour clearly spoke French as well as others notably former HBC employees such as Pierre Roy and Joseph Tappage. The latter was identified in the 1881 census as a “Red River Halfbreed born in BC.” The number of individuals in the Cariboo district identified directly and indirectly as being “French Halfbreed” hints to the existence of an embryonic historical Métis community in the region. This paper will thus probe this too often overlooked history to examine the role these Métis played in the history of the region and the province.