Meldrum Bay writer publishes newest book on fur trader history

Meldrum Bay writer Richard Lapointe has just released his new book, ‘Beaver Coats and Guns.’

MELDRUM BAY—Local writer Richard Lapointe has published his newest book ‘Beaver Coats and Guns: The Adventures of Raddison and Des Groseilliers.’

“The book is about Pierre Radisson, who is abducted and adopted by Iroquois raiders at the age of 16, trains as a warrior before finally escaping and embarking on adventures with his brother-in-law, Medard Chouart Des Groseilliers, that will change the course of Canadian adventure,” said Mr. Lapointe. “After moving to Montreal in 1974, I was listening to music on the radio that the early fur traders, called Voyageurs, sang as they paddled west. The music inspired me to write about the period.”

“I want my readers to know that there was a time in our history when the original peoples of this country and the French who first came here were on equal terms,” said Mr. Lapointe. “To meet the demand for felt hats in Europe, the French wanted the beaver pelts the Natives brought them. On the other hand, the Native people—because it made their lives easier—valued the iron implements the Europeans exchanged for their furs.”

“This economic independence was the reason relations between the French and the Natives of Canada were then by and large harmonious and I think there is something to be learned today from this knowledge,” said Mr. Lapointe.

“An entire chapter of my book is devoted to the passage of Radisson and Des Groseilliers through this area in the company of their Ojibway and Ottawa partners in 1659,” said Mr. Lapointe.

Mr. Lapointe explained, “I have had a lifelong interest in life in Canada’s wilderness. It began in Grade 2 when our teacher taught us how the Native peoples of Canada used to live on the land and took us to the Royal Ontario Museum to see their clothing and artifacts. I was also fascinated by the life of lumberjacks and bush pilots. All these influences are woven in my own mythology of Canada, which I have tried to express in my book.”

“The idea for ‘Beaver Coats and Guns’ came to me more than 40 years ago,” continued Mr. Lapointe. “However, I didn’t begin the final draft until the summer of 2015. I then worked on the book continuously until last November, when I submitted the manuscript for publication.”

Mr. Lapointe pointed out, “February 13-18 is First Nations Public Library Week. In recognition of this event I am going to make the e-book version of my book available for free on Amazon during the week.” His book is also available in paperback on Amazon.

Mr. Lapointe was born in  Toronto and first came to Manitoulin Island on a sailing trip in 1983. After spending many summers in McGregor Bay and in Meldrum Bay, he moved here in 2011. “After receiving a degree in mathematics from the University of Toronto I began working in the computer software field. Since my retirement in 2001 I have been focusing on my writing.”

‘Beaver Coats and Guns’ is available on paperback form on Amazon and also is available as an e-book (from the Kindle Book Store for $3.92 ($2.99 U.S.) on Amazon. Searching the title will take you to the page.

Mr. Lapointe’s first book was published in 2011. It is a romance novel set in Cuba.