Editor’s note: This week, RETROactive is pleased to share another post written by historical researcher Matt Hiltermann, on behalf of the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3. Matt recently wrote about the Métis of Rouleaville.
Written by: Matt Hiltermann
When Albertans hear the Lougheed name, they likely think of late premier Peter Lougheed. Others may may also be familiar with his grandfather, Sir James Alex Lougheed. Much less discussed, however, is the matriarch of the Lougheed family: Lady Isabella Clark Hardisty Lougheed.
To the extent that history has focused on rich, white men, this is unsurprising if disappointing. At the same time, Isabella was widely regarded as the driving force behind her husband. She and her Hardisty kin also formed the nucleus of the Lougheed family. All evidence seems to point to her being a binding force in both her family and the community at large. Who was this Métis matriarch, and how did she become the “First Lady of the Northwest?”
Isabella Hardisty was born around 1861 at Fort Resolution in what is now the Northwest Territories. Her father, William Lucas Hardisty, was one of only four Métis men to attain the rank of Chief Factor between 1851 and 1869. Her mother was Mary Anne Allen, a Métisse of obscure origins. Both of her parents’ families had intergenerational ties to the fur trade.Read more