In the hierarchical society of the fur trade companies, a
man's class was based upon his occupation within the Northwest Company or
the Hudson's Bay Company. The Métis mostly took on the work that
the French Canadian voyageurs had engaged in; they became canoemen,
boatmen, labourers around the posts, as well as interpreters, hunters and
Many mixed-blood children of Scots and English parentage,
especially the male offspring of officers, were sent to the East or to
Great Britain to be educated. They became clerks, factors and
sometimes high-ranking officers. Throughout the history of Fort
Dunvegan, only two mixed-bloods rose in the ranks. George Simpson
Jr. became a Chief Factor, and Albert Tate became a clerk; both were sons
of high ranking officers.
Reprinted from "A Sense of the
Peace," by Roberta Hursey with permission of the Spirit of the Peace
Museums Association and the author.