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‘Little Hope of Much Trade This Year’: Merchant Capitalism and Community-making in the Late Eighteenth-Century Western Great Lakes Fur Trade

Author(s): Amelie Allard

Year: 2017

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Summary

While the North American Fur Trade has often been examined through economic lenses, scholarship from the 1980s onward has striven to demonstrate that this colonial phenomenon was more than mere trade and merchant capitalism: it also embodied a complex web of social relationships and practices that went beyond daily transactions. In this paper, I unpack the ways in which exchanges, of myriad shapes and forms, between Euro-Canadian fur traders and local Indigenous groups in the Western Great Lakes intersected socially and physically with other daily practices such as food procurement and mobility. Drawing from my research on the late eighteenth-century fur trade landscape of Minnesota and Wisconsin, I bring to light some of the ways in which Anishinaabeg and Dakota peoples (the two most powerful social formations of this area at the time) not only dictated the terms of their participation through trade and politics, but also controlled the movement of fur traders on their hunting grounds through a choice to share knowledge – or not. Lastly, I address the issue of accessing knowledge of Indigenous perceptions of this process through archaeological research, especially given the common mislabeling of post-Columbian Indigenous occupations as "fur trade posts" based on artifact assemblages.


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‘Little Hope of Much Trade This Year’: Merchant Capitalism and Community-making in the Late Eighteenth-Century Western Great Lakes Fur Trade. Amelie Allard. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431356)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15095

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America