Northern Trader (New Edition)
The Last Days of the Fur Trade
ISBN: 978-0-88977-316-5
Year: 2014
Pages: 252
Binding: Paperback

Relive the romance of the fur trade.

With previously unpublished photographs, this new edition of Northern Trader is a vivid personal memoir and valuable primary account of the last days of the fur trade. Harold Kemp recounts the routines and rhythms of that long-lost way of life and paints a portrait of the north as a "vast region of infinite allure."

In palpable, often gripping prose, Kemp depicts life on the trail in all seasons: paddling and portaging freight canoes, using muzzle-loaders, running on snowshoes to break trails for dogs pulling toboggans, and making camp at the end of an exhausting day.

A gifted writer, Kemp creates distinctive portraits of those he encounters, including the Cree people among whom he lived, whose language he spoke, whose skills he admired, and whose customs he respected.


Publisher's Preface   VII

Foreword to the 2014 Edition   IX

Author's Introduction   XVII

Chapter One 1

"Freeze-Up Travel," 1911

Chapter Two 8

The Hudson's Bay Company; The Treaty Party, 1911; John H. Reid

Chapter Three 23

Crees and Chipewyans; Northern Missionaries; Andrée's Balloon; York Boat Travel

Chapter Four 41

Revillon Frères; Cumberland House; The "Indian" Life; Lac la Ronge; Epidemic

Chapter Five 70

North with the Family; of Eggs and Oranges; Ile à la Crosse

Chapter Six 79

Red Earth Post; A Primitive People; Birch Bark Canoes; A Double Wedding

Chapter Seven 89

Of Muzzle-loaders; The Cree Calendar; A Birth in the Family; A Brush with the Law

Chapter Eight 102

The Logjam; Indian Honesty; Farewell to Red Earth

Chapter Nine 110

Muskeg Travel; River Travel; Stanley Post; The Organist

Chapter Ten 124

An Ancient Church; Of Fish and Foxes; The "Haggling" Indian; Kitimakis; Winter Trading

Chapter Twelve 167

Summer Returns; Village Life; Elsie and her Patients

Chapter Thirteen 175

 Dangers of the Trail; Of Phobias and Strange Beliefs

Chapter Fourteen 187

A Holiday and Return; A New Look for an Old Church

Chapter Fifteen 197

Education, Devotion, and Veneration; Joe Visintin and R.D. Brooks

Chapter Sixteen 211

Winter Diversions; Timber Wolves and a Mad Dog; Autumn Fishing

Chapter Seventeen 225

We Leave the North; Montreal Lake Again; The Waskesiu River

Chapter Eighteen 234

1947; We Revisit Old Scenes; and Meet Old Friends

Chapter Nineteen 247

"Civilization" Reaches the North; L'Envoi

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Kemp, H. S. M. (Harold Stuart Miller), 1892-1982, author
          Northern trader : the last days of the fur trade / H.S.M.
Kemp. -- New edition.
Reprint of: Northern trader / H.S.M. Kemp. -- Toronto : Ryerson
          Press, ©1956.
Issued in print and electronic formats.
ISBN 978-0-88977-316-5 (pbk.).--ISBN 978-0-88977-328-8 (pdf).--
ISBN 978-0-88977-315-8 (html)
          1. Kemp, H. S. M. (Harold Stuart Miller), 1892-1982.  2. Fur
traders--Saskatchewan--Biography.  3. Fur trade--Saskatchewan. 
4. Saskatchewan--Social life and customs.  I. Title.
FC3522.1.K44A3 2014            971.24'02092             C2014-906061-0

H.S.M. Kemp

H. S. M. (Harold) Kemp was born in the U.K. in 1892 and came to the North-West Territories as a boy. At age sixteen he began working for the Hudson's Bay Company. Three years later he joined Revillon Freres, then the HBC's great rival. His Northern Trader is the only full-scale recollection of the fur trade we have by a "French Company" man.
"Any memoir is but a version of the truth, and this is a beautiful version."
SPG, Sask Books
The Creative Industries Transition Fund is made possible through funding that was provided to the Saskatchewan Arts Board by the Government of Saskatchewan through the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport.