The World of Work: History of Work in Minnesota


Marriages between the French traders and Indian women spawned an inter-racial population known as the métis. These mixed, or métis, families gathered in communities. The daughters usually married métis men, or sometimes white traders. A few of the sons became farmers, some were hunters or guides, but most worked as fur traders.

By the early 1800s, some of the leading métis families had been in the trading business for more than three generations. They had close ties with other métis traders and Indian relatives. Their influence in fur trading was very strong. The largest of the métis communities was in the Red River Valley. [NL]

Fur Traders


Metis Family

Half-breed family on way to a trading post.

Artwork Minnesota Historical Society.
From Harpers New Monthly Magazine, June, 1879.


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