The fur trade could not have existed without the Indians,
who imposed their trading practices and commercial requirements on the
Europeans. To win the Indians as clients, the Europeans had to manufacture
goods of value to the Indian culture. Indians negotiated with merchants
from the various trading posts, from New England and from the
Hudson's Bay Company.
The merchants were all in strong competition with each other and, to
secure the assistance and cooperation of the Indians, they all offered
gifts to the Indians. Smoking the calumet (ceremonial pipe) and exchanging
before commencement of trade was an ancient Indian tradition. Europeans
had to submit to the custom as well, in order to maintain the fur
- Great Chief of the Iroquois
Warriors, by Grasset de Saint-Sauveur. The chief's capot,
manufactured in Montreal, was a gift greatly appreciated.
- Calumet (wood and lead),
- Brooches (silver), masonic type,
and "Louis XV" French medal.
- Measuring cup (copper), France,
- Powder horns.
- Scraper (wood and metal,
leather thong), Naskapi (Nain, Labrador).
- Axe (iron). Indians demanded
smaller axes because they were easier to carry and use during forest
expeditions and canoe travel.