Dark Storm Moving West

By (author) Barbara Belyea
Categories: History
Publisher: University of Calgary Press
Paperback : 9781552381823, 205 pages, September 2007

Table of contents

 

Acknowledgements
Dark Storm: An Introduction
Myth as Science: The Northwest Passage
David Thompson, HBC Surveyor
Decision at the Marias
Mapping West of the Bay
The Silent Past is Made to Speak
Outside the Circle
Notes
Sources
Index

Description

The fur trade was the impetus for much of the exploration and discovery of North America. Like rolling storm clouds, the expanding enterprise of the fur trade moved relentlessly west to explore the furthest reaches of the continent. From Hudson Bay, Lake Superior, and the Mississippi River, European and American explorers and traders followed a web of waterways north to the rich fur region of Lake Athabaska, farther north to the Arctic Ocean, and west to the Rocky Mountains and on to the Pacific Ocean.

The essays in Dark Storm Moving West trace three phases of westward exploration: naval and fur trade ventures on the Pacific coast; traders’ progress along interior rivers and lakes; and the transcontinental Lewis and Clark expedition, which used maps based on fur trade surveys. Barbara Belyea poses challenging questions about the rapid expansion, its effects on Native populations, European versus Native cartography, cultural definitions of space, and communication of traditions. Belyea also introduces Peter Fidler as an important documentary source for exploration studies during the fur trade expansion, incorporating into her own study Fidler’s journals, maps, and reports, most of which are previously unpublished.

Awards

  • Short-listed, Alberta Book Publishing Awards, Scholarly Book of the Year (Book Publishers Association of Alberta) 2008
  • Short-listed, BPAA Alberta Book Publishing Award - Scholarly Book of the Year 2008
  • Short-listed, Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize (Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska - Lincoln) 2007
  • Short-listed, CGPS Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize 2007

Reviews

 

Dark Storm Moving West forms an eddy of reflection on the practical, communicative, and philosophical challenges of understanding Euro—American exploration in western North America. Barbara Belyea eschews traditional narratives or grand theses in favour of dense rumination on particular episodes, personalities, and questions.

—Arn Keeling, Great Plains Quarterly

 

The culmination of Belyea?s long career thinking against the grain of how stories are told and arguments are constructed . . . Dark Storm Moving West is a valuable and challenging contribution to western Canadian historical and geographical study, engagingly written by a scholar with a keen mind for critique.

—Matt Dyce, BC Studies