Robert Foxcurran, Michel Bouchard, and Sebastien Mallett

Songs Upon the Rivers

The Buried History of the French-Speaking Canadiens and Metis From the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Across to the Pacific

Baraka Books 2016

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in French StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Native American StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in the American WestNew Books Network February 7, 2018 Stephen Hausmann

The story of the American West as it is often told typically involves Spanish, British, and American Empires struggling with Indigenous people for control...

The story of the American West as it is often told typically involves Spanish, British, and American Empires struggling with Indigenous people for control of the vast territory lands and riches from the Mississippi to the Pacific. After the seventeenth century, French colonists and French-speaking Metis are often relegated to the role of bit players in this tale. Songs Upon the Rivers: The Buried History of the French-Speaking Canadiens and Metis From the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Across to the Pacific (Baraka Books, 2016) reemphasizes the importance of the French imperial legacy and Metis influence in the Great Lakes region, on the northern plains, and in the far Pacific West. In doing so, this book challenges American and Canadian narratives about the west which too often tend toward racial and national binaries. By telling the stories of people who lived across ethnic and national boundaries, Robert Foxcurran, Michel Bouchard, and Sebastien Mallett show how historians can use the complications of the past to explode notions of perceived difference in the present day, and in doing so reveal important stories about the Trans-Mississippi West which have been buried for far too long.

Robert Foxcurran is an independent scholar and former historian for the Boeing Corporation, he can be reached at [email protected]; Michel Bouchard is a Professor of anthropology at the University of Northern British Columbia; Sebastien Malette is an Assistant Professor in the Law and Legal Studies Department at Carleton University.


Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

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