Drawing from archaeological data collected from Réaume’s Leaf River Post (Minnesota) and fur traders’ journals, this article considers the ways in which mobility impacted the performance of masculine ideals within the colonial spaces of the western Great Lakes trading posts of the late eighteenth century. It is argued that in this overwhelmingly male environment, the gendering of daily practices such as foodways and use of space worked in complex, dynamic ways and at multiple levels along lines of rank, experience, and, to some extent, ethnicity. Differing masculine ideals and the impacts of a mobile lifeway on their performance are particularly evident in the differences between men of high and low ranks: where the former struggled to attain ideals of civility and respectability in the interior, mobility enabled the latter to value independence and physical prowess. The case of Joseph Réaume illustrates how a man occupying a middle position was able to navigate both ideals of masculinity.

You do not currently have access to this content.