Moderator: Celeste Pedri-Spade
Speakers: Waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy and Janelle Wawia
From an Indigenous perspective, the fur trade was not just a business. It was and is a way of life. Historically, Indigenous women were integral to the success of the fur trade. Their roles ranged from being trappers, tanners, artisans and traders to playing an active role in their communities, like deciding who could and couldn’t participate in the trade. Indigenous women were an essential part of this massive industry and, anecdotally, owned more than half of all trading posts in Canada, but society has often overlooked their contributions. This oversight is primarily due to colonization, which decimated Indigenous communities across North America. Today, Indigenous women are leading the revival of hide-tanning camps and the traditional roles they held and delegated in these spaces. This panel will discuss the traditional, experiential and academic themes related to Indigenous women and their leadership in the fur trade.