A Very Remarkable Sickness: Epidemics in the Petit Nord, 1670 to 1846


315 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88755-659-0
DDC 614.4'2'0899707127




Reviewed by Marilyn Mardiros

Marilyn Mardiros is an associate professor of health sciences at the
University of Ottawa.


A Very Remarkable Sickness, the 14th book from the University of
Manitoba Studies in Native History, considers epidemiology in historical
and geographical contexts. A case study on the Petit Nord draws upon
substantive multidisciplinary research in exploring infectious disease
diffusion and subsequent outcomes. The focus on a delineated physical
area allows for an in-depth examination of the transmission of diseases
from the Old World, between European and Aboriginal populations, and
among Aboriginal groups (including inter- and intratribal spread).

The Hudson Bay Company caused significant changes in transport and
settlement patterns, thus contributing to the introduction and diffusion
of epidemics. Anthropological accounts and the journals of trappers,
clergy, traders, and explorers are among the resources used to develop
the history of epidemics and to provide insight into the relation
between epidemics and the social and cultural change experienced by
Aboriginal peoples of the Petit Nord.

Maps from each time period reported on assist in the visualization of
the diffusion of epidemics, while tables and diagrams summarize data on
the types of epidemics (whooping cough, smallpox, measles, scarlet
fever, chickenpox, mumps, TB, colds, influenza), the order of disease
introduction, affected populations, and other relevant epidemiological
information. This detailed and well-researched book is recommended for
all readers who are interested in the historical and epidemiological
factors that affect the health of Aboriginal peoples today.


Hackett, Paul., “A Very Remarkable Sickness: Epidemics in the Petit Nord, 1670 to 1846,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/10169.