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Spring Speaker Series at Fort Clatsop
Published: 03/10/2018  Updated: 03/12/2018
Pacific Northwest Metis Migrations
Pacific Northwest Metis Migrations

Lewis & Clark National Historic Park will kick-off their spring "In their Footsteps" program at Fort Clatsop in Astoria, Oregon on Sunday, March 18.

Once a month, from September through May, visitors and locals are invited to attend "In Their Footsteps," a free series of lectures and presentations at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Fort Clatsop Visitor Center in Astoria, Oregon.

Robert Foxcurran will present From the Great Lakes to the Lower Columbia: French Canadians and Metissage on Our Evolving Frontier on March 18, 2018. This free speaker series event starts at 1pm in the Netul River Room at Fort Clatsop's Visitors Center.

This presentation discusses how Pacific Northwest history was heavily influenced by French-speaking people. The Lewis and Clark Expedition included George Drouillard, Toussaint Charbonneau, Francois Labiche, Jean Baptiste Lapage and Pierre Cruzatte in the permanent party that wintered at Fort Clatsop. More French Canadian engagés were employed on this voyage's earlier Missouri River segment. Later many French speakers came to the Pacific Northwest with the fur trade and Catholic missions. Today an abundance of French geographic names can be seen on Oregon and Washington maps. Robert Foxcurran's presentation will talk about some of this saga that is often overlooked as, "nations are created through the burial of inconvenient history."

Robert Foxcurran co-authored a 2016 book entitled Songs Upon the Rivers: The Buried History of the French-Speaking Canadiens and Métis from the Great Lakes and the Mississippi across to the Pacific. Foxcurran is a retired Boeing historian whose research interest includes the lesser-known demographics associated with the North American fur trade. His book, Songs Upon the Rivers, will be available for purchase and a book signing will follow at this event.

Other upcoming speakers and dates include:

April 15
Steven McClure - Lewis and Clark's Discovery of the Willamette River: Recent Findings of Their Secondary Mission

May 20
Judi Lampi - Ethnobotany Near the Mouth of the Columbia River

In Their Footsteps is sponsored by the Lewis & Clark National Park Association and all are welcome to join the conversation and be inspired by history, people and culture. For more information, call the park at (503) 861-2471, on-line at or check out Lewis and Clark National Historical Park on Facebook.

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