AS RECENTLY AS Canada's centennial year there was virtually nothing in print on Canada's north except narrative histories, of which Pierre Berton's Klondike Fever is a worthy example, and dozens of popular articles and books about "colourful" characters. Even now, most accounts published are stories of northern explorers, gold seekers, and frontiersmen issued to satisfy an apparently endless demand for thrilling tales from the high latitudes. 1 Certainly this approach to history attracts a wide audience, but it has left major questions of national and northern concern unanswered.
In the past fifteen years, however, a sizeable number of analytical studies of northern subjects have appeared. The first general history based on archival sources was Morris Zaslow The Opening of the Canadian North, 1870-1914. This volume and his subsequent Reading the Rocks: The Story of the Geological Survey of Canada emphasize the "opening" of the north by agents of southern expansionism -- the explorers, missionaries, police, civil servants, and traders who acted as harbingers of a new southern way of life. Also in this genre is Richard Diubaldo Stefansson and the Canadian Arctic as is, in many ways, this volume as well.
There are also many modern works on specific northern subjects, particularly in the field of Native history. Here narrative has been replaced by analysis, and old beliefs, such as the idea that Native people were the helpless victims of fur traders, have been challenged. 2 Nonetheless, new methodologies and interpretive approaches are still almost in their infancy in the study of the north.
What is true of the historiography of the north in general is true of the