The French and The Natives

fur_tradeThe early colonial French settlers and traders had the most unique relationship with the Native Americans.  The French made an effort to get along with the Native Americans, going as far as learning the native languages and customs.  What’s more, they didn’t attempt to change or convert them, or take their land.  They had a good relationship that benefitted both.  The Native Americans traded their furs to the French in exchange for goods such as weapons, horses and tools.  The French could then return to France to sell the furs for a lucrative profit.  The Native Americans shared their knowledge of the best hunting grounds for the prized furs of beaver, mink and otter; and considered the French as friends.  The French and Native Americans intermarried, and during conflicts and wars, the Native Americans often sided with the French.  As other European settlers arrived in North America, they sometimes consulted the French for advice regarding dealing with the natives, but none achieved the friendly relations that the French forged with the Native Americans.  Also, the French were documented as having communicated with the Melungeon people of the SWVA and NETN regions.  I’m going to talk more, a lot more, about the Melungeons later.

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