Canada's History

Trad­ing Post

Sur­gi­cal tools were sup­plied to HBC post man­agers in re­mote lo­ca­tions.

- Belgium · The Hudson's Bay Company

This as­sort­ment of sur­gi­cal im­ple­ments was part of a med­i­cal chest that was pro­vided to HBC post man­agers work­ing in re­mote lo­ca­tions where ac­cess to med­i­cal aid was not di­rectly avail­able. Some post man­agers may have had a lit­tle med­i­cal or first-aid train­ing, and it was rec­og­nized that their role was not to re­place a doc­tor; none­the­less, they could be called upon to pro­vide med­i­cal ser­vices. Re­view­ing a copy of the Hud­son’s Bay Com­pany Post Man­ager’s Med­i­cal Guide from 1953 re­veals that these items and an as­sort­ment of medicines were part of a stan­dard medicine chest — and that post man­agers were re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing and re­plac­ing the items. The guide pro­vides ba­sic in­for­ma­tion for treat­ing com­mon ail­ments, although the tools seen here sug­gest that mi­nor surg­eries, such as tooth ex­trac­tion, were not out­side the realm of a man­ager’s po­ten­tial du­ties. This par­tic­u­lar set was used dur­ing the 1970s in Nau­jaat (formerly called Repulse Bay) in what is now Nu­navut, but the tools them­selves date to the 1930s. — Amelia Fay, cu­ra­tor of the HBC Col­lec­tion at the Man­i­toba Mu­seum

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