This article casts light on the gender of fur traders by tapping into new analysis of Albany and Canadian records from the colonial period. A surprising number of active, sometimes outspoken, female participants emerge. Exploring the underlying reasons for this phenomenon, the article discusses the unusual voice Haudenosaunee women had in governance. It then observes significant freedom of speech and action among their French and Dutch colonial neighbors. The article investigates the blending of those voices as colonial women colluded with the Haudenosaunee to seal bargains in the illicit fur trade. Each group benefited from its own traditions of trade and from officials' reluctance to alienate aboriginal allies. The article thus sheds light on the authoritative female voices that receive fresh affirmation in the most recent Haudenosaunee scholarship, as well as those of certain colonial women that surfaced during dealings with indigenous neighbors. The findings are noteworthy for those interested in Iroquoia, the fur trade, and transnational approaches to gender history.
Jan Noel; “Fertile with Fine Talk”: Ungoverned Tongues among Haudenosaunee Women and Their Neighbors. Ethnohistory 1 April 2010; 57 (2): 201–223. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-2009-061
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