Digging into the Voyageurs’ World

Digging into the Voyageurs’ World

When I needed info on pensions for infirm canoemen, where could I find it? Luckily, a book by Carolyn Podruchny had just enough online to answer my question — and more. Her “Making the Voyageur World: Travelers and Traders in the North American Fur Trade” had much to...
Were girls ever voyageurs?

Were girls ever voyageurs?

Were girls ever voyageurs? Did girls go on the fur brigades? Amazingly, yes. If you figure in all the Native American women, there are countless thousands whose assistance was invaluable. If you’re talking European immigrants or Caucasians, a bare handful. To...
Roadkill can be beautiful?

Roadkill can be beautiful?

Roadkill can become a beautiful, valued pelt. Yes, it can. And here’s how one incident played out: After hitting a small beaver on the road with his car, my dad had it tanned as a “made beaver.” FYI: From the mid-1600s for a couple hundred years, a “made beaver”...
Dog sleds—voyageurs’ winter mode of travel

Dog sleds—voyageurs’ winter mode of travel

The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon just ended. The Iditarod is coming soon. And  I’m hooked. Those pictures of dogsleds careening around sharp snowy turns get me itching to try it. But jaw-dropping scared as well. How in the world do they handle those dogs?...
Help wanted: Voyageurs!

Help wanted: Voyageurs!

What’s a “voyageur”? Is it like a “voyager”? Voyageurs needed! Hardy men to paddle birch bark canoes from sunrise to sunset and haul heavy packs of trade goods or fur pelts over miserable portages. Even so, French-Canadian voyageurs were known for their...
Voyageurs had pensions?!

Voyageurs had pensions?!

Voyageurs had pensions?!  Who’d a thunk it? A while back I wrote a blog post about perusing a website listing info from 35,000 voyageur contracts. Near the bottom of some contracts I found this intriguing line: “s’oblige de contribuer d’ un par cent sur ses...

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