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Flora Ross and Her Struggle for Identity

and Independence in the Colonial West

by D.J. Richardson

In the summer of 1859, British and American troops faced each other down on a small island in the Pacific Northwest, each claiming sovereignty over the island in what has become known as the “Pig War” of San Juan Island. In the middle sat a Hudson’s Bay Company farm, where seventeen year-old Flora Ross, the Métis daughter of a prominent company family, nursed the dying wife of a farmworker. The American instigator of the standoff, Paul K. Hubbs, Jr., courted Flora throughout, and they were married as the two nations announced a joint occupation agreement. The marriage wasn’t a happy one, however, as Hubbs soon turned abusive and kept a mistress on a neighboring island. To escape, Flora had to overcome the lack of civil divorce laws in the colony of their marriage, the political power of her father-in-law in Washington Territory, and societal prejudices against a young Métis woman struggling to build a career as a nurse. 


Flora Ross was born at a time when Hudson's Bay Company trading forts were the only substantial colonial settlements. She came of age as the Fraser River Gold Rush flooded the colony with thirty thousand miners, bringing new prejudices. She was courted and married as the U.S. and Britain stood at the brink of war just yards from her doorstep. And she freed herself from a toxic marriage, and began life anew as the first divorced, single-mother, indigenous career woman the colony had seen, just as the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia were unifying in response to fears of U.S. annexation. Flora's coming of age story parallel's the future province's coming of age. Her family connections meant that her father figures were colonial founders with names like Tolmie, Cridge, Douglas, and Helmcken. And though her father's name opened doors that otherwise would have slammed shut because of her gender and indigenous background, her strength, her education, and her perseverance led her through life.


IN HER OWN FOOTSTEPS is written in novel form, but tells the true story of Flora Amelia Ross and her struggle for identity and independence, to the extent surviving documents permit. It is intended to be the first book of a trilogy of her life.

For more information about the life of Flora Ross, including a biography and articles, visit


For more information about author D.J. Richardson, visit


These are a few of the unsolicited reviews readers have left on our Facebook page and ads (reproduced with permission):


“Loved this book! Learned about the history of the area around Victoria and the struggles of being a woman who wanted to become a nurse and how being a Métis woman in that era affected her life. Very good read!”  S. Smith Kennedy


“Really enjoyed this book and yes did learn things that I didn't know about B.C. Definitely a book that I will keep in my library for a future reread.”  T. Legault


“I finished this in less than two days. It is an enjoyable & worthwhile read.”  J.L. Fisher





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Wondering what the book is like? Below is a link to an excerpt from Chapter 1 of In Her Own Footsteps



by Russell R. Hassler

Each of us is a product of programming, of learned and unconscious responses to ordinary moments in our day that can generate negative emotions and drain us of energy. Someone cuts us off in traffic and we respond with anger, a response that is learned and automatic. We worry about events that will never arise. We allow an off-hand criticism to reach our deepest insecurities. And all of it feeds negative emotions that fester in our minds. Many books will approach such issues by sharing a wisdom that can be quickly forgotten shortly after the book is put down. Odyssey: The Living Moment is not meant to simply be read and then placed on a shelf. It is a program to be followed, each day, for three weeks, in order to train your brain to automatically react to triggers of negative emotions with a response that generates a higher and more positive emotion.


Odyssey: The Living Moment is the product of Russell R. Hassler’s years of research and consulting work, and it describes The Odyssey Methodology that formed the basis of his practice, and his own life. Each chapter represents a day’s lesson and contains an exercise to be completed, with the goal of creating new habits that result in more positive automatic emotional responses. 

Russell R. Hassler lived The Odyssey Methodology. It was the journey he took throughout his own life before sharing it with others in a consulting practice in Sydney, Australia. Russell went through life with a curiosity to new ideas, a respect for wisdom from our past, and an openness to challenging accepted notions. Those same attitudes guided him through the final stage of his journey after he returned to the U.S. to complete the last rewrites of this book—a battle with a rare and incurable cancer. It was a fight that he faced with a combination of fierceness, optimism and wonder, and it was his wish that this book be allowed to reach others who might benefit from his work.

If you have purchased an ebook of Odyssey: The Living Moment, or would prefer to not write on the forms in the paperback version, you can download the forms at, where you can also see videos of Russell Hassler talking about the Odyssey method.    

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