Tuesday, October 5, 2010

the grande rendezvous

Or something like that. We called it the "fur trade party".

Step 1

Come in costume. Some participants were representing the First Nations, others were voyageurs. We also had one native guide and one bourgeois shop keeper.

Step 2

The voyageurs and guide grabbed their packs and canoe (wagon) to do their trade route. Along the way they encountered rapids, lost a pack overboard, took wrong turns and had to portage.

They did finally find the village where the First Nations were patiently waiting to trade their furs for shiny goods. This village was particularly friendly and gave them a generous gift of pemmican and dried berries for the return trip.

On the journey back there was more bad luck. A raid by an unfriendly tribe resulted in the loss of several furs, most of the supplies and an injured voyageur. The last push back up the rapids was cold and tiring.

Step 3

All of the participants earned the right to trade goods. The store was stocked with basic items ahead of time and everyone came with items to trade. The number of trades was unlimited and numerous side deals were cut outside the confines of the post.

Step 4

No party or end of fur trade season celebration would be complete without food. A warm soup made from local ingredients (trademark recipe of the JEB club, original made by Ivy, Cassandra & Jessica) was complemented by hot bannock. The baked beans with pork, "pemmican" (beef jerky) and creamed corn may have had a more authentic vibe but were less popular on this particular day. A beautiful wooden box contained a wonderful variety of nuts and dried fruits. There is little historical precedent for apple and rhubarb pie to finish it off but it was appreciated anyway!

Step 5

A creative mother & daughter team brought a guitar and music along and taught us several French songs. The voyageurs often used songs to keep rhythm for paddling and also to pass the time.


Pearl said...

Amazingly educational activity but the write-up is priceless!

Tannis said...

Thank you, we sure had fun - a lot more than the voyageurs did anyway!