This essay, a revised version of the August 2015 talk, examines the story of two mixed-blood women, indigenous and Anglo American, who lived in the fur trade North American West. The essay examines a racial category, mixed blood or “half-breed” and considers the challenges for people who lived in and used that category in the nineteenth century. The essay illuminates the challenges of using different kinds of personal records to understand how these nineteenth-century women might have thought about identity, a word they never would have used.

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