By Ken Coates
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Extra info for Best Left As Indians: Native-White Relations in the Yukon Territory, 1840-1973
The Indians clearly understood the Europeans' motives for trading furs and quickly realized the implications of competition for trading conditions. The first sign of the Indians' ability to use competitive trade to their advantage appeared in 1847, when Alexander Murray arrived to construct Fort Youcon. At that juncture, the only alternative to the HBC was a small, irregularly maintained Russian American Fur Company outpost at Nulato, some seven hundred miles downstream from the British establishment.
8 Wage rates in the mines reflected the differential treatment of non-Native and Native workers.
Many of the post Indians stopped or limited their trapping activities and assumed a new position as fur traders and provision hunters. 16 The existence of flourishing Native trading systems similarly interfered with the HBC'S planned expansion from the south. This second phase, led by Robert Campbell, was to push north along the Liard River and, if possible, cross into the watershed of the Colville. Campbell moved northwest in short, tentative steps, first establishing trading posts on Frances Lake and the upper Pelly River in 1839-40.
Best Left As Indians: Native-White Relations in the Yukon Territory, 1840-1973 by Ken Coates