Document Type

Book Chapter


Writing about Arcadia (New France) in the first year of the eighteenth century, Sieur de Diereville comments on trade negotiation between the Frenchmen and the indigenous peoples: "When a Frenchman trades with them (the Ottawas) he takes into his services one of their Daughters, the one, presumably, who is most to his taste; he asks the Father for her, & under certain conditions, it is arranged; he promises to give the Father some blankets, a few shirts, a Musket, Powder,& Shot, Tobacco & Tools; they come to an agreement at last, & the exchange is made. The Girl, who is familiar with the Country, undertakes, on her part, to serve the Frenchman in every way, to dress his pelts, to sell his Merchandise for a specitied length of time; the bargain is faithfully carried out on both sides." The Girl figures in this trade between Frenchman and Father, as a form of currency. Her value is measured on the one hand by blankets, shirts, powder and shot, tobacco and tools, and on the other hand by her capacity to "serve the Frenchman in every way."