Were girls ever voyageurs?

Were girls ever voyageurs? Did girls go on the fur brigades? (Ava, 9; Mackenzie, 12; Rissy, 13; Olivia, 13) To paddle in the fur brigades required immense upper body strength, so it was a rare woman who “manned” a voyageur canoe. Indian women were an integral element in the fur trade in other ways. Some manufactured birch bark canoes — both the massive Montreal canoes and the smaller North canoes more commonly used. Still others occasionally guided expeditions, interpreted or acted as peace negotiators. Many made pemmican (dried powdered bison meat with dried berries). A few women of European descent chose an adventurous role, with amazing pluck and determination. Marie-Anne (Gaboury) Lagimodière is considered the first white woman resident in the west. In 1806, Gaboury, age 25, married Jean-Baptiste Lagimodière, who worked in the fur trade for Hudson’s Bay Company in Rupert’s Land, (what western Canada was called then). She did not want a part-year relationship typical of voyageur families, so she traveled with her new husband from Montreal to where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet (near where Winnipeg is now). This was shockingly different from any other French-Canadian bride. They wintered with a group of Métis and her first child was born January 6, 1807. The following spring, the family moved to Saskatchewan, and remained there until 1811, living a semi-nomadic lifestyle among other French-Canadian trappers and their native wives. Marie-Anne accompanied her husband on trapping and buffalo hunting expeditions. Her second child was born on open prairie — shortly after her horse bolted towards a herd of buffalo. Another time she shot a large bear that had attacked one of their companions. Marie-Anne was the grandmother of Louis Riel. Because many Métis trace their ancestry through her, she is known as the “Grandmother of the Red River.” Sources: Dictionary of Canadian Biography: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gaboury_marie_anne_10E.html Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie-Anne_Gaboury Isabel Gunn, age 26, became a woman voyageur. Originally from the Orkney Islands, off northern Scotland, she arrived at Moose Factory (the southernmost post in the Hudson Bay) in August 1806. But she was wearing men’s clothing and called John Fubbister. It is possible she hoped to join a sweetheart — or her brother George who was working for Hudson’s Bay Company somewhere in Rupert’s Land. Having signed a 3-year contract as an HBC laborer (at the wage of £8 per year), she went to Fort Albany and was assigned with...
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