North West Company Competes with Hudson's Bay on the Red River
Pembina, on the Red River of the North
The North West Company has gained an advantage over the Hudson’s Bay Company for control of the fur trade on the Red River of the North. Agent Alexander Henry has completed a fort just 300 feet from the river, thus opening up trade in the area.
Henry depends mostly upon Chippewa hunters and trappers from the forest around Red Lake and Leech Lake. These people of the woods seem willing to risk attack by the Dakota and Lakota in order to get European trade goods.
From Pembina, Alexander Henry’s trappers are able to get furs from the Red River and its tributaries. There are plenty of animals in the region because it is a war zone between the Ojibwa (Chippewa) and Dakota peoples, thus it has few permanent residents.
Henry and his men have built a fort with a high stockade, a stable, a blacksmith shop and a large storehouse for furs. Several whitewashed houses provide lodging for the North West Company employees. Agent Henry expects to meet some competition from the rival Hudson’s Bay Company.
By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton
Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.