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The Fur Trade Narrative at Its Source: The Creation of the Voyageur

Author(s): Amelie Allard

Year: 2014

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In North America, fur traders occupy a central place in the mythology of nation building, yet this image of the voyageur and coureurs des bois as an emblem of the fur trade and of something bigger, of nation, does not appear in a vacuum. By deconstructing particular narratives created by members of the fur trade community, this paper will explore some of the writings that set in motion the creation of a new stereotype of the voyageur that still captures the imagination. Very few authors, and even fewer archaeologists, have looked at such documentary sources for what they are: that is a specific form of history writing with its own system of knowledge production and representation, its own materiality, and particularly as a specific way to engage with the past, with memories, and with the indigenous Other. This paper will question the historical process and suggest ways in which fur trade journals and narratives have become part of mainstream nationalistic discourses in Canada and even parts of the United States.

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The Fur Trade Narrative at Its Source: The Creation of the Voyageur. Amelie Allard. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437082)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-54,04

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