Fur Trade Essay

1340 Words Oct 19th, 2007 6 Pages
Title: How the fur trade was a significant part of Canadian history, and the role of the native females during the fur-trade.

The fur trade was a significant part of Canadian history. With the founding of the Hudson's Bay and Northwest Company during the1670's, the fur trade managed growth and development all the way into Western Canada until 1870. The fur trade was unique, for it was the only industry that was based on an exchange of goods between two very different groups of people (namely, the Indians and the Europeans). Although most people think of the fur trade as being a male dominated industry, Indian women also played very important roles in the industry's development. However, the women's experiences differed in relation to
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(Barber, 43) When a Native married a fur trader, they felt safer and had more freedom, which would not have been tolerated in some Native Societies. For example, Thanadelthur, an aboriginal woman, was able to work herself into a position of special status by acting as a guide, interpreter, and peace negotiator for HBC Governor Knight (1816-17). (Barber, 43) The Natives saw their woman as strong and powerful people and believed they were made for labor; and one of them can carry, or haul, as mush as two men can do (Kirk (Western), 18). Europeans on the other hand did not see their wives back in Europe as strong workers. Thus, they were very shocked to see how productive the Native women were. For example, David Thompson from the HBC once sent one of his strongest men to go help a Native woman who was stuck in the snow with her sled. To his surprise, the man needed all of his strength to move the load that the woman was carrying.
Furthermore, most women also had the roles of simply a housewife, mother, daughter or worker. (Kirk (Western), 8) While living within a fur-trade post, most Native women liked their situation. They felt as if their lifestyle was more laid back, but at the same time, they had to sacrifice a substantial amount of personal autonomy, thus being required to adjust to the traders' patriarchal views on the order of a home and

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