FORT SMITH, NT, July 28, 2015 /CNW/ - Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today commemorated François Beaulieu II as a person of national historic significance. Mr. Carrie unveiled a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque at a special ceremony in Fort Smith.
One of the founding fathers of the Métis in the Northwest Territories, François Beaulieu remains a revered figure among the Métis people. As head of the Beaulieu family and as a Chipewyan-Métis trading chief, he is a notable example of Métis leadership.
Beaulieu's work, both for the fur trade companies and later as an independent trader, helped to establish economic and social links between the people of the Mackenzie River Basin and what, in his lifetime, would become the Dominion of Canada.
As our country nears its 150th birthday in 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to learn more about the major places, persons and events that have shaped their country's history. Canada's national historic designations enable us to experience our rich history and heritage in a special way and play a big part in the celebration of Canada 150.
- François Beaulieu bridged three phases of the fur trade: that of the late 18th century independent coureurs des bois, from whom he descended, through the years of the Hudson's Bay Company monopoly, to the late 19th century Métis free-traders.
- Beaulieu provided invaluable knowledge and support to Euro-Canadian exploration in the Western Subarctic and Arctic, specifically the first two Franklin expeditions. As interpreter and principal hunter for the Second Expedition in 1825, he ensured peaceful relations between the Dogrib and the Slavey as well as food provisions for the expedition's overwintering of 1825-26.
- Beaulieu's role as a champion of the Roman Catholic Church in the Athabasca and Mackenzie districts was a factor in its rapid establishment and strong influence in Métis society in the North.
"Our Government is pleased to commemorate the national historic significance of François Beaulieu II and recognize his remarkable contribution to the history of Canada. Beaulieu left an enduring legacy as a founding father and pre-eminent Métis leader in the Mackenzie River Basin."
Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment
Backgrounder: François Beaulieu II
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
SOURCE Parks Canada
For further information: Jonathan Lefebvre, Office of the Minister of the Environment, 819-997-1441; Mike Keizer, External Relations Manager, Southwest Northwest Territories Field Unit, Parks Canada, 867-872-7942; Media Relations, Parks Canada, 855-862-1812; www.twitter.com/parkscanada