The North American Voyageur Council (NAVC) is a nonprofit educational organization for individuals interested in various aspects of the fur trade era, whether researchers, reenactors and living historians, history buffs, or the curious and interested.
The North American fur trade formed the basis for exploration, trade, and, eventually, settlement of the continent from the earliest times. This trade affected not only the European traders and their Native customers, but their descendents both in Europe and what became the United States and Canada. This lucrative business also played a role in the destiny of world powers, especially England and France, as they waged world war, in part to contest for control of the New World and its fur-bearing riches.
All the while, these trade transactions were conducted by ordinary people for the most part unaware of, or at least unconcerned with, the larger picture. The voyageurs, "truck drivers" of the 18th century, hauled trade goods--kettles, axes, knives, cloth, needles, beads, and more--across miles of water and portages. Owners of the fur companies, their agents, partners, and clerks exchanged these trade goods for beaver and other furs which were sent to Europe to satisfy the demand of European fashion. Native peoples, some playing the role of "middle-man" to other Native bands, bartered for a new technology which made life easier. However, this commerce and inter-communication of peoples also had a "double edge" which brought not only transforming but also disintegrating influences of another culture.
The North American Voyageur Council invites you to join us in our exploration of this important, but often overlooked, part of our history as peoples of this continent.
Questions or comments about our website? Contact webmaster