canadian history

Topics: Fur trade, Native Americans in the United States, Gender role Pages: 3 (1239 words) Published: October 10, 2013


The article “Women in Between”: Indian Women in Fur Trade Society in Western Canada”, written by Sylvia Van Kirk presents the lives of Indian women in the fur trade. The article title Women in Between is correctly named as it focuses on explaining the role of Indian women in the fur trade and their ability to play an essential part in fur trade society. The article conveys both the positive and negative aspect of being an Indian woman in the fur trade as well as their reasons for marrying European fur traders. The article helps us more to understand the fur trade society by focusing on the motives and actions of Indian women in the fur trade which furthers our knowledge of Canadian history prior to confederation. Women in Between examines through multiple sources of traders observation, the life of an Indian women in the fur trade based on the accounts provided by men. Since it was noted in her article that Indian women, coming from a non-literate society, have not left us with any writings of their own views and their motive for being in the fur trade or deciding to leave. The only historical reference of the lives of women in the fur trade is written by men and mostly European men. Women in Between discusses the unique and complex interactions between the two racial groups, white and Indian and the important role that Indian women played in this interaction. The article makes the argument that Indian women had a preference for living with and marrying the white man. Sylvia also argued that traders perhaps did not treat these women well and that the treatment of these women was disgraceful. The article also points out that Indian women had many advantages from the fur trade and their position as women in between, and therefore they manipulated the situation to improve their lives.

It was widely accepted in both Indian and white cultures for a trader to take an Indian wife. In fact, it was not...
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