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The Métis in Western Canada: O-Tee-Paym-Soo-Wuk

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The BeginningsThe People and Their CommunitiesCulture and Lifeways
Early Great Lake Métis Links

It would seem not many Métis reached the status of partner or commander of an expedition nor did they reach a particularly high status within the trading companies. However, a review of the NWC’s employee lists1 against a record of the history of the Canadiens of Michigan2 showed that in 1799 there were two partners from the Great lakes tribes: Charles Chaboillez, wintering partner in Lower Red River or Pembina, and Michel Cadotte, wintering partner south of Lake Superior. Chaboillez’s father and grandfather also participated in the fur trade in the Lake Superior area; his grandmother was the daughter of Jean Baptiste Chevalier; and his sister married Simon MacTavish in 1793. The Cadotte family has been well researched so there is a great deal known about them. Cadotte and his son worked with the NWC in southern Lake Superior area in 1799. Cadotte’s son-in-law became an important sector of the American Fur Company’s territory in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The Cadotte family, long an aristocracy in the Lake Superior trade was among the first to make the move toward the Americans. In 1818 Michel Cadotte employed two young Americans to act as front men for his operations in the north western Wisconsin. Truman and Lyman Warren, the sons of a revolutionary war soldier, eventually married Cadotte's daughters. They gradually earned the trust and support of not only Cadotte, but of the family's Chippewa kinsmen. In 1822, Cadotte and the Warrens entered the American Fur Company as traders in the Fond du Lac Department. Also entering the firm were another generation of the Cadotte clan, Michel, Jr. who signed on as an interpreter, and Jean Baptiste the III, who joined as a boatman assigned to the St. Croix outfit. [Louis Grignon to John Lawe, 10 January 1820, Wisconsin Historical Collections XX (1911) 146-7.]3

There were another eighteen men who served as clerks for the NWC in 1799 who also had family connections with the Great Lakes Métis. Clerks in the NWC were men who were trusted to distribute trading expeditions out to the hunters and trappers. It is not possible, without searching in depth on each individual, to say they were all definately Great Lakes Métis, but it certainly appears to be true.

Those men were:

  • Simon Réaume at Upper English River
  • Joseph Grenon at Fort Dauphin
  • Francois Nolin at Fort Dauphin
  • Nicholas Montour at Fort Dauphin
  • Baptiste Roy at Lower Fort des Prairies
  • Baptiste LaRose at Lower Fort des Prairies
  • Joseph Auger at Upper Red River
  • Jean Baptiste Desmarais at Lower Red River
  • Francois Delorme at Lower Red River
  • Antoine Desjarlais at Lower Red River
  • Francois Amiot at Lac Winnipeg
  • Jean Baptiste Chevalier at Nipigon
  • Jean Baptiste Pominville at Nipigon
  • Jean Baptiste Perrault at Pic on Lake Superior
  • Lemaire St. Germain [Lamoureux] at Michipicoten and the Bay
  • Baptiste St. Germain [Lamoureux] at Michipicoten
  • Charles Gauthier [La Verendrye] south of Lake Superior

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Liens Rapides

Early Great Lake Métis Links

Early Inland Trade

Métis During Competition

Warden of the Plains

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