Marie Rose Delorme Smith and
Isabella Clark Hardisty LougheedTwo Remarkable Metis Women’s Lives
During the Prairie West’s Transition
From the Fur Tradeby Doris Jeanne MacKinnon,
University of Alberta Press, Mar. 2018
2018. 556 pages. Paper. $40.00 CAD.
In Metis Pioneers, Doris Jeanne MacKinnon
compares the survival strategies of two Metis
women born during the fur trade—one from the
French-speaking free trade tradition and one
from the English-speaking Hudson’s Bay
Company tradition—who settled in southern
Alberta as the Canadian West transitioned
to as sedentary agricultural and industrial
MacKinnon provides rare insight into their lives,
demonstrating the contributions Metis women
made to to the building of the Prairie West.
This is a compelling tale of two women’s acts of
quiet resistance in the final days of the British Empire.
About the Author – Doris Jeanne MacKinnon
Doris Jeanne MacKinnon was born on a farm in
northeastern Alberta and attended school in the
historic town of St-Paul-des-Métis. She has a PhD
in Indigenous and post-Confederation Canadian
history. An independent researcher and post-
secondary instructor, she lives in Red Deer, Alberta.
Marie Rose Dorme Smith was born in the Red River colony in 1864 (in what is today Manitoba). Isbella Clark Hardisty Lougheed was born in 1861 to Metis parents. She spent most of her younger years in the Northern Mackenzie district (NWT/Upper Alberta). Because of her marriage to James Lougheed, she settled in Southern Alberta (Calgary). Both women, in public at least, attempted to subsume their Metis ethnicity into a larger European community.
The comparison of these women may, at the beginning, seem illogical because the first was of French Metis, and the second of Anglo Metis ancestry; but it is now agreed by scholars that Metis identity should not be narrowly defined. It was diverse but inclusive. With this modern understanding, both women qualify as Metis, in other words.
In the end, both women in this study felt the need to suppress or repackage the Metis identity and culture that had sustained both of their fur trade families (with whom they maintained ties) and that, in many ways, continued to sustain them.
– from the Introduction
Review by Dr. Wayne Holst
From the University of Alberta Press:
Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and helps to co-ordinate Adult Spiritual Development at St. David’s United Church in that city.