Summary: The Great Lakes fur trade spanned two centuries and thousands of miles, but the story of one particular family, the Cadottes, illuminates the history of trade and trapping while exploring under-researched stories of French-Ojibwe political, social, and economic relations. Multiple generations of Cadottes were involved in the trade, usually working as interpreters and peacemakers, as the region passed from French to British to American control. Focusing on the years 1760 to 1840—the heyday of the Great Lakes fur trade—Robert Silbernagel delves into the lives of the Cadottes, with particular emphasis on the Ojibwe–French Canadian Michel Cadotte and his Ojibwe wife, Equaysayway, who were traders and regional leaders on Madeline Island for nearly forty years. In The Cadottes: A Fur Trade Family on Lake Superior, Silbernagel deepens our understanding of this era with stories of resilient, remarkable people.
About the Author: Robert Silbernagel studied journalism at the University of Wisconsin and spent his newspaper career in Colorado. He writes a bimonthly column for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and has published on Aldo Leopold and Colorado history.