"Runners of the woods" was an French-Canadian who traveled in New France and the interior of North. Early fur trade era this meant circumventing the normal channels by going deeper into the wilderness to trade. Later it involved trading without permission from the French authorities. They ventured into hostile Iroquois territory to trade various European items for furs, especially beaver pelts, and learned the trades and practices of the Native people who inhabited there.
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A misconception about mountain men was that they were loners,wandering the wilderness detached from the outside world.These men were there to make money.The fur trade was booming, & trapping could be very profitable for someone with the know-how & equipment.Beaver pelts, the most in demand,fetched as much as $6/lb.Trapping was not easy nor was it cheap.The initial investment in gear & supplies was more than most men could part with,leaving trappers one option: a fur trading co.
A coureur des bois (French pronunciation: [kuʁœʁ de bwa]) or coureur de bois (French pronunciation: [kuʁœʁ də bwa]), runners of the woods; plural: coureurs de bois) was an independent entrepreneurial French-Canadian woodsman who traveled in New France and the interior of North America. They ventured into the woods usually to trade various European items for furs, especially beaver pelts, and along the way, learned the trades and practices of the Native people who inhabited there.
1700s Iroquois Trade Silver Brooch : In North America, a pledge of friendship between Natives and Europeans was a solemn event and gifts were exchanged to express good will.
Fur Trade Canoe Hudson's Bay Company in Canada - Hudson's Bay Company Fur trade canoe Artist - Frances Anne Hopkins, artist, Montreal ca1860s
Rendezvous Trade Goods~Vermillion was a type of pigment & was widely prized by the Indians. Beads, brass rings & bracelets were imported EXCLUSEVELY for the Indian Trade. Knives, blankets, copper & tin kettles, lead, gunpowder & food were traded to both trappers & Indians. WHISKEY was a Very Popular Trade Item at Rendezvous, Traded by the FUR COMPANIES like Hudson Bay of course, the Trapper Lived for the Yearly Rendezvous, & would go out to do it again for next year!
Grandfather ~We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us. We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water, to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases, to the moon and stars, which have given to us their light when the sun was gone, to the sun, that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye. Lastly, to the Great Spirit, in Whom is embodied all goodness, and Who directs all things for the good of Her children. ~ Iroquois —