hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 18:05:21 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Women of Aspenland: Images from central Alberta See more of the Virtual Museum of Canada
English / FrançaisHomeThe ProjectSearchSitemapContactAbout UsEdukits

The Women
Social Landscape
The Region

Search for Aspenland Artifacts
 
Visit Alberta Source!
 
 
Heritage Community Foundation.


Intermarriage and Mixed Families

QuickLinks

 
Metis family from Southern Alberta, GlenbowThroughout the fur trade era in Western Canada it was common for fur traders to marry Aboriginal women. The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) and the North West Company (NWC) during the 18th and 19th century both employed numerous men, most of them from Europe and most of them single. Men who were not single were instructed to leave their wives and families at home because it was believed that "white" women would be an unnecessary burden on their fur trading husbands and, in turn, the companies. Fur trade life was harsh and demanding, living conditions at the forts were primitive, men were frequently away traveling and there was always the threat of conflict or attack by the native tribes; this was an environment seen as definitely unsuitable for European women (although there are cases of European women moving with their fur trading husbands to Canada). Aboriginal woman, on the other hand, grew up in this environment and were familiar with the methods of surviving it. Therefore, she became the ideal wife of the fur trader and an important part of fur trade society.

 

Sources:

  • Millar, Nancy.  Once Upon a Wedding.  Calgary: Bayeux Arts, 2000.
      

  • Van Kirk, Sylvia.  Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur Trade Society, 1670-1870.  Winnipeg: Watson & Dwyer Publishing, 1980.

 

  
Back
Top

Copyright © 2002 Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved


Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on women and Western settlement, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Communty Foundation All Rights Reserved