At the Hearth of the Crossed Races
A French-Indian Community in Nineteenth-Century Oregon, 1812-1859
Despite the force of Oregon’s founding mythology, the Willamette Valley was not an empty Eden awaiting settlement by hardy American pioneers. Rather, it was, as Melinda Jetté explores in At the Hearth of the Crossed Races, one of the earliest sites of extensive intercultural contact in the Pacific Northwest. Jetté’s study focuses on the “hearth” of this contact: French Prairie, so named for the French-Indian families who resettled the homeland of the Ahantchuyuk Kalapuyans. Although these families sought a middle course in their relations with their various neighbors, their presence ultimately contributed to the Anglo-American colonization of the region.
Melinda Marie Jetté is a native Oregonian and a descendant of the French Canadian men and Native women who resettled French Prairie. She is an associate professor of history at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire
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