Established by the American Fur Company, Fort Lewis was named after Meriwether Lewis and established trade with the Blackfoot Indians. To lure trade away from the nearby Hudson’s Bay Company, the traders at Fort Lewis relied on whiskey. It was an effective and highly profitable trade strategy, but in the end, only the intervention of Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton prevented the post from losing their license over such controversial tactics.
During the winter of 1846 and 1847, Father Point tried to teach the Indians at the fort with drawings and pictures. One of his students was so taken with them that he asked for and was given his own paint and brushes from the good priest.
The drawings he drew for the Father depicted his own observations, particularly how the white traders grew rich, and the Indians grew poor trading everything they had of value for liquor.
This set of contemporary prints by TC Albert, titled “The Other Fur Trade”, is based on those old drawings, and offers a rare and unflattering glimpse of life at a frontier trading post seen through Indian eyes.
Copy and images supplied by T.C. Albert.