When someone says the word "woman", what is the first thought that pops into your head? Maybe you"ll think of a wife, a housekeeper, or a mother. Or maybe you think of them as weak and useless. The women of the Fur Trade will most definitely prove you wrong.
Women played an enormous role in the fur trade. They were what made the fur trade possible. Without them, the fur trade would never have functioned. Although there was a handful of white women in the fur country, most fur traders married Native or Mixed-blood women. These relationships had a firm, practical foundation. When they married Native or Mixed-blood women, the ties between the fur traders and the Natives were strengthened. Marriage between the European men and the Native women could also help improve relationships between the European fur traders and the Natives. There were also tangible benefits to having a 'country wife." In the Fur Trade, women played many different roles such as setting up camp, acting as interpreters, peace negotiators, and guides. They dressed furs, made leather, cooked meals, gathered firewood, made moccasins, netted snowshoes, and many other things that were needed day to day for the Natives and the European Fur Traders. In doing this, the women kept the men from starving. .
Some of the most famous women in the fur trade are Thanadelthur, Madame Lamallice, Lady Calpo, and Ko-come-ne-pe-ca. All of these women played a very important role in the Fur Trade. Thanadelthur escaped captivity and sought refugee in an H.B.C fort. When she got inside, she took advantage of her position and acted as a guide and consultant to the Governor. She managed to establish a peaceful dialogue between the Cree and the Chipeawyan nations. This was important and influential in the trading between the Cree and the two fur trading companies.
Madame Lamallice, wife of the guid at Fort Wedderburn, was the posts only interpreter.