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Beneath the Backbone of the WorldBlackfoot People and the North American Borderlands, 1720-1877$
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Ryan Hall

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469655154

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655154.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Strangers on the Land

Strangers on the Land

(p.37) Chapter Two Strangers on the Land
Beneath the Backbone of the World

Ryan Hall

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes the period from 1781 until 1806. Following a devastating smallpox epidemic in 1781, the Blackfoot established direct trade with non-Native people for the first time, circumventing middlemen who had been devastated by the disease. While many embraced the opportunities for trade, they also carefully structured their relationships with newcomers, repurposing regional traditions of peaceful exchange and ceremony for a new era. At the same time, they deliberately prevented British (Hudson’s Bay Company) and Canadian (North West Company) traders from expanding their trade into new regions, especially the intermountain West, thus securing crucial advantages over their western and southern neighbors. By 1806, Blackfoot people had become one of the most powerful and expansive Indigenous polities in North America.

Keywords:   Smallpox, Trade, Ceremony, Hudson’s Bay Company, North West Company

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