Jean Barman’s book on the history of French Canadians in British Columbia is the winner of the third annual Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia. The $1,000 prize, given by UBC Library and the Pacific BookWorld News Society, will be awarded at a June reception at UBC’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

The book, French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest, examines French Canadians during BC’s early fur trading and the connections made with indigenous women and families. Barman’s work recasts the history of British Columbia from a French Canadian perspective, exploring how the relationship between fur trappers and indigenous peoples has shaped the Pacific Northwest.

“Jean’s book offers a new perspective on the role of women and indigenous people in British Columbia’s history that is truly significant to scholarly literature,” says Ingrid Parent, UBC’s University Librarian. “Basil would be pleased to know that a UBC Press book has claimed this year’s honour.”

Barman’s book consults rare archival sources and considers both individual histories and the history of groups to illustrate the significance of the role of French Canadians in BC’s history. Between the 1790s and the 1840s, French Canadian fur trappers impacted BC history in several ways including driving the fur economy, becoming the first non-indigenous people in the area to farm and contributing to the division of the Pacific Northwest, resulting in Canada’s Pacific shoreline.

“The most meaningful part of the process of writing the book was uncovering French Canadians and the indigenous women with whom they made their lives as real people making real contributions to the history of British Columbia and to the Pacific Northwest more generally, just as their descendants do into the present day,” says Barman, who is a professor emeritus for the Faculty of Education at UBC. “I realized one day I had slighted French Canadians as a component of British Columbia’s history. They had been absent from my history of the province, The West beyond the West, for lack of others writing about them, and I wanted to know more.”Barman profile

Barman will be awarded the annual Book prize – sponsored by UBC Library and Pacific BookWorld News – on June 9, 2015 at a reception at UBC’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. 

Jean Barman has written several award winning books focused on the history of British Columbia, women and indigenous peoples. Barman is the recipient of the 2015 Sir John A. MacDonald Prize and the 2015 Governor General Award for Scholarly Research.

Two other finalists included Nancy J. Turner’s Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and the Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press) and editors ichard Beamish and Gordon Mcfarlane’s The Sea Among Us: the Amazing Strait of Georgia (Harbour Publishing, 2014). For full citations, see the Shortlist 2015.


About the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Book on British Columbia

The Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia was established in memory of Basil Stuart-Stubbs, a bibliophile, scholar and librarian who passed away in 2012. Stuart-Stubbs’s many accomplishments included serving as the University Librarian at UBC Library and as the Director of UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. Stuart-Stubbs had a leadership role in many national and regional library and publishing activities. During his exceptional career, he took particular interest in the production and distribution of Canadian books, and was associated with several initiatives beneficial to authors and their readers, and to Canadian publishing.


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