"He was neither a soldier nor a slave: he was under the control of no man":Kahnawake Mohawks in h...

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"He was neither a soldier nor a slave: he was under the control of no man":Kahnawake Mohawks in he Northwest Fur Trade, 1790-1850 Nicole St. Onge by Mind Map: "He was neither a soldier nor a slave: he was under the control of no man":Kahnawake Mohawks in he Northwest Fur Trade, 1790-1850 Nicole St. Onge



1.1.1. Primary sources give us a great deal of insight by providing first hand experiences, witness accounts, and other personal connections to events that happened long before anyone today could have experienced them. They allow for a better understanding of the past through those who lived through it. They can be found in library archives (both in person and digitally), or through publications from that time period. They often come in the forms of letters, maps, stories, journals, or newspapers and can be searched by looking through archive databases and narrowing search perimeters (such as entering dates or names). St. Onge uses a variety of them in her work to strengthen her argument and give further detail and evidence for her claims, all of which can be found in her footnotes. Here are a few (not all) of the primary sources she uses. . . Journal of Alexander Ross- Snake Country Expedition, 1824, Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society 14 (1913): 369. This source is written by a Scottish Fur Trader and author that worked for the American Pacific Fur Company, North West Company, and the Hudsons Bay Company. He wrote a variety of books during his year as a fur trader. (p.1) Desire Girouard, Le vieux Lachine et le Massacre du 5 Aout 1689 (Montreal, 1889). F.X. Garneau, Historie du Canada depuis sa decouverte jusqu'a 1840 (Quebec, 1856), 79. St. Onge uses this source to give context to the "massacres" in context of the 'savagery' of the Haudenosaune in New France. (p.2) Entry for Pierre Ounawayashon 1816-1821, Hudson's Bay Company Archives (HBCA), F.4/32 North West Company Ledger, 1811-1821. This source is a ledger book of Kahnawake Mohawk Pierre Owayiassan that reflects wage increases and other money sums to support St. Onges statements of high Mohawk salaries and pull factors.

1.2. All of these sources can be found easily by simply searching the name of the source. I commonly do this via the SFU Library website by copying and pasting the title and following the links to the source. If a primary source, you are often sent to a archival website that contains scans of all sorts of sources. If secondary, you will often be sent to the websites of Academic Journal Databases! This way you can access and read through the original source for both context and clarification.


1.3.1. Secondary sources are also an essential piece to all types of arguments, especially those in history. St. Onge uses a variety of secondary sources in combination with her secondary ones to strengthen her argument and provide background details, disprove other arguments made by historians, as well as various analysis of the time period. These are often of equal importance as they provide a modern day vision/explanation for events, peoples, and and changes that happened long ago through the eyes of various historians. These sources are much easier to find as there are a plethora available via library websites, bookshelves, and anywhere else you may find books as historians frequently write and publish their research findings on specific topics. Jacqueline C. Peterson, "Gathering at the River: The Metis People of the Northern Plains," in The Fur Trade in North Dakota, ed. Virginia L. Heindenreich (Bismark, 1990), 53. This source is is used to support her claims regarding pemmican trading in fur trade companies. Bruce McIntyre Watson, Lives Lived West of the Divide: A Biographical Dictionary of Fur Traders Working West of the Rockies, 1793-1858, 3 vols. (Kelowna, 2010), 918. St. Onge uses this source to discuss the killing of Tonetitogan, a head of the Iroquois that also worked for American traders, by Blackfeet Peoples. Again, used to give context to the event and ground her writing in evidence. Grabowski and St. Onge, "Montreal Iroquois Engages in the Western Fur Trade, 1800-1821," 40. Again, a historiographical discussion surrounding the Iroquois involvement in the fur trade. This source is used to reference the spread of fur trading into New Caledonia and other areas.


2.1. This source provides insight as to why Mohawk contributions were so highly valued by settlers (in comparison to that of French Canadians) by using primary sources to outline the traits of the 'Mohawk Warriors' as percieved and experienced by those present.To do so, St. Onge outlines what techniques were so desireable and why French-Canadians were not nearly as valuable.



2.3.1. This article reflects the value and essentialism of Mohawk and other Indigenous groups in Canadian Society during the fur trade. Instead of actively attempting to erase histories and undermine importance, St. Onge focusses on the integral component Indigenous Men as "canoe men, ruthless . . . trappers, . . . and. . . fearsome warrior reputation." (p.1)


2.4.1. This article re-writes the narrative that Native [sic] peoples tended to be hired since they accepted lower wages, thus being exploited for cheap labour. Instead, St. Onge argues and demonstrates that this was not the case as Indigenous People, for this article Mohawks, as they in fact were often making higher salaries in comparison to French Canadians due to the desire for dangerous work in rather undesirable locations. (P. 17)

3. THESIS: "Longstanding perceptions of Mohawks as men possessing superior skills as woodsmen and imbued with a fierce character informed the Montreal-area hiring practices of large fur trade concerns." (p. 3)


3.1.1. "Mohawk men commanded higher salaries due to an attractive set of skills they possessed that could be put to good use meeting the various special challenges faced in the interior by fur trade companies." (p.18) Trapping skills- steel traps and castoreum. (p.11)

3.1.2. "Fur trade companies were successful in their Mohawk hiring strategies. . . " (p.3) companies desire for specialized labour led to the creation of quite generous employment causes for Mohawks (p.3) High salaries, trapping skills, travelling to remote locations in the west (p.11) companies' needs coincided with Mohawk men's wishes for exciting, potentially dangerous and distant work that required warrior-like qualities (p.3-4)

3.1.3. "The sudden increase of Kahnawake men in the fur trade during this period points to not only an interest in the wage offered but also a willingness by Mohawks to knowingly face a higher risk of open conflict during the three-month round trip." (p.11) "The danger of violent clashes with competing canoe crews who followed the same waterways into the interior." (p.11)

3.1.4. "While land pressures and depleting hunting territories were strong push factors at the onset of the second fur trade war, pull factors also existed that induced Mohawks to participate in contractual salaried employment." (p.17) "Mohawk salaries and benefits remained equal or higher than those of their French Canadian counterparts." (p.18)

3.1.5. "The settlement history of the Montreal area in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries slowly precluded the successful pursuit of traditional activities by Mohawk men just as it opened new possibilites for these same men to achieve desired cultural and economic goals within the fur trade economy." (p.5) Pull factors for Mohawk men; promises of Lower Canada livres, coats, sweaters, pants, blankets, shoes, ownership of half his hunt's return (p.6) "Steersmen and foreman negotated salaries ranging from 600-750 LC livres." (p.11)

4. Chelyn Smith