Women In the Fur Trade

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Aboriginal women had occupied an essential position in the fur trade of the North American region from its birth during the 17th and 18th centuries. Even though this is true, the role of women, especially those of the Native American society, has been ignored a great deal in the entire history of fur trade. Contrary to the belief that the whole fur trade activity was only male-dominated, it very much depended upon Native women and their participation and labor in order to ensure survival as well as economic success. This paper will attempt to illuminate how Native women played the role as important producers when it comes to fur trade of the American Plains and, of course, the Canadian region. This paper will also deal with the two important company's namely the North West and Hudson's Bay Company and tell how each functioned during the time of fur trade. The term “fur traders” is the term often used to described anyone who was interested in the traffic of furs. The traditional picture has been that of a male in buckskin shirt and a raccoon cap, dispensing alcohol and trinkets to gullible savages, in turn for the quality furs worth 10 times their value. As stated before, Aboriginal women played an essential role not only as bed partners, but in the fur trade industry as well. Without the help of their intelligent skills and diligent hard work ,the fur trade would not be such a success. The fur traders of this time married Aboriginal women. These women put in tons, and tons of work at the posts. They often went with their husbands on fur-trading trips and acted as guides. They were far from lazy individuals. They worked with their husbands and men in general to maneuver the canoes and they also helped to carry the heavy loads a... ... middle of paper ... ...ils and new directions: papers of the third North American Fur Trade Conference. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980. Kelm, Mary, and Lorna Townsend. In the days of our grandmothers: a reader in Aboriginal women's history in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006. Kirk, Sylvia. Many tender ties: women in fur-trade society, 1670-1870. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 19831980. Kugel, Rebecca, and Lucy Eldersveld Murphy. Native women's history in eastern North America before 1900: a guide to research and writing. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007. MacDougall, Brenda. One of the Family: Metis Culture in Nineteenth-Century Northwestern Saskatchewan. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2010. Smith, Susan. Rethinking the fur trade: cultures of exchange in an Atlantic world. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009.

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