From The Barren Lands

The Fur Trade, First Nations, and a Life in Northern Canada


The Fur Trade, First Nations, and a Life in Northern Canada


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This is a story about the fur trade and First Nations, and the development of northern Canada, seen and experienced not only through Leonard Flett’s eyes, but also through the eyes of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

The lives of Indigenous people in remote areas of northern Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the 1960s and 1970s are examined in detail. Flett’s successful career with both the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company provides an insight into the dying days of the fur trade and the rise of a new retail business tailored to First Nations.

“a remarkable point of view.” — Trevor Greyeyes, First Nations Voice 

“a promising personal memoir  … it’s [Flett’s] incidental descriptions of what it was like on those far-away and isolated trading posts of the legendary HBC that makes this book spring to life as an entertaining read.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“Solutions and newfound pride in the Canadian identity can be found by looking honestly and responding appropriately to the lessons of history.” — “Indigenous people are not the ‘ghosts of history’” by Len Flett & Nicole Letourneau in the Thompson Citizen



LEONARD FLETT was a Cree status member of the Big Trout Lake Ontario First Nation. Originally from Cumberland House, Saskatchewan and Shamattawa, Manitoba, he had an extensive 42-year background with the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company, retiring as vice-president in 2005. He was recognized by the Aboriginal community with the bestowal of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2002, by the province of Manitoba with the Order of Manitoba in 2012, and by Canada with the induction into the Order of Canada in 2004. He was also a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.

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Epub, ePub Indspire license, Mobi, paperback