James Bird Jr | The Canadian Encyclopedia


James Bird Jr

James Bird Jr, "Jemmy Jock" or "Jimmy Jock," trader, interpreter, Indigenous leader (b in Rupert's Land c 1798; d in Montana 11 Dec 1892).

Son of a Hudson's Bay Company chief factor and a Cree woman, Bird was an HBC apprentice by about 11 and a clerk by 18. Sent southward in the 1820s by John Rowand to gain the Blackfoot, Blood and Peigan trade, he became accepted and respected by the Indigenous peoples. He aided the HBC and American Fur Co in their rivalry for the Plains trade, but each found his loyalty suspect. Bird's most historic role was as "a very intelligent interpreter" of the Blackfoot language in the signing of Treaty 7 (1877).