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The Native Peoples and Champlain: Bartering

Bartering is an exchange of goods or services without using money. Europeans and Amerindians bartered.

Champlain and the Amerindians During a Bartering Session

Illustration by Francis Back Demonstrating Champlain and the Amerindians During a Bartering Session
Francis Back/Canadian Museum of Civilization/S94-13213

The Native tribes coveted fabrics, jewels, pots, knives and axes. The axes actually represented quite a step forward from their stone tools, which were quickly replaced by iron ones.

Pots Found in Southern Ontario

Pots Found in Southern Ontario, First Half of the 17th Century
Jean-Luc Pilon/Canadian Museum of Civilization

Knives Found in Ontario

Knives Found in Ontario. The One in the Middle is a Typical 17th Century French Clasp-Knife.
Jean-Luc Pilon/Canadian Museum of Civilization

French Axes Found in Ontario

French Axes Found in Ontario, First Half of the 17th Century
Jean-Luc Pilon/Canadian Museum of Civilization

The Europeans generally traded for furs. They even offered the Native Peoples brandy in order to get them.

Another form of bartering served the interests of the Europeans and the Native Peoples. The Native Peoples gave Champlain furs if he promised to lend them military support. In other words, in exchange for animal skins, Champlain had to fight the Iroquois.

Onondaga Town

Onondaga Town. Attack by the Hurons and Algonquins and the French Auxiliaries, 1615 [ca. 1632]
National Archives of Canada/C-5749/Detail

Message from the ancestors…

"Great warriors do not always fight but with wisdom, are peacemakers." Tribal Law No. 103 of the Eastern Algonquin

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