Associate Professor University of the Fraser Valley
The story of Metis courier de bois Joseph Dussault (born 1825) is one that connects two North American coasts, both east and west and the area that lies in between. As an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company and, “As an old hand in the fur economy”. (Barman, 2014), Dussault’s journey, from his early roots in Trois-Riviere, Quebec, took him across the continent to his final employ at Thompson River/Fort Kamloops (circa 1849) in the southern interior of what is now British Columbia. The documentation of Dussault’s career in the 19th century fur economy, as one born Native and as a Metis/Canadien of Indigenous and French ancestry, demonstrates the individual and self-defining nature of the Metis livelihood with its’ required elasticity as part of the continental fur economy. In fact, Dussault’s own occupational trajectory was really not surprising as the far flung nature of the fur trade starting off from Quebec, encompassed such breadth as to have taken in (for example) Sault St. Marie, Michigan and Fort Astoria (out east) and Fort Vancouver, Fort Langley, Fort Alexandria and Thompson River/Fort Kamloops in the far off Pacific Northwest; where Dussault eventually took himself.