Voyageur’s Blog

Ask a voyageur a question

Here’s a blog to answer your questions, like what was life like during the 1800s in French Canada? Like who could or couldn’t be a voyageur? How big the canoes were? What trade goods they carried? What different furs were worth? What they used for medicine? I’ll answer these and more in the “A Voyageur’s Life” blog. Click on the button below to ask your question or go to the “Contact” section of this site — I’ll find the answers.

One Great Read about Red Voyageur Sashes

The story of the signature piece of voyageur clothing is recounted in a children’s book, “The Red Sash” by Jean Pendziwol. Just as fun is that she’s a relative, and her son Colin is pictured on the cover of my first novel, “Waters Like the Sky.”

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Why Voyageurs Chose the Dash of a Red Sash

A red sash identified a voyageur — it added style to his otherwise plain clothing and it supported his body carrying 180 pounds of trade goods over a portage. The “arrowed sash” or ceinture fléschée, so named because of its chevron and zigzag designs, is mentioned in fur trade journals.

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Where in the world is André? Please give me a map.

Before roads, rivers and lakes were the routes for traveling. Voyageurs used waterways they learned from Natives to paddle, portaging when the rapids were too dangerous or the water too shallow. Canoeing from Montreal to the rendezvous took about 6 weeks to accomplish 1,100 miles, and for voyageurs headed to fur posts dotted across the interior, perhaps double that time to reach them.

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Cricket cuisine? Really?

The March-April 2018 issue of the Minnesota Conservation “Volunteer” magazine had a surprising article in “Crunch Goes the Cricket” — insects as a potential, sustainable and nutritious food source. They are packed with protein. (If only my starving voyageur characters...

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Nikki Rajala - Author No wonder Nikki Rajala writes about voyageurs—her French-Canadian ancestors paddled birch bark canoes on many fur trade brigades. One great-great wintered for 16 years in fur posts west of Lake Superior and threads of family stories infuse this book. On Girl Scout canoe expeditions as a teen, she explored Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park. Nikki loves rendezvous re-enactments, reading fur trade journals, visiting museums, tasting voyageur foods.



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