Cooperation of Cultures

Abenakis from one of the French mission villages, circa 1750.

European explorers, traders, trappers, and missionaries who first interacted with native people frequently described cooperation through sharing and trading. Many native people offered their services as wilderness guides and acted as interpreters. They were quick to trade furs for the cloth, pots, axes, hatchets, beads, and other goods offered by the Europeans. Soon the native people adopted these materials and tools and became increasingly dependent on them.

Early colonial outposts on the frontier were set up, not just to protect settlers, but also to facilitate trade and peaceful cooperation. Natives were everyday participants in the daily activities in and around forts and trading posts. The French and British were quick to learn native ways and traveled by snowshoe and canoe. Early settlers also learned methods of clearing the land, how to grow corn and squash, and how to use fish for fertilizer from the natives. Unfortunately for the native people, cooperation was fleeting, as they soon understood that the British meant to settle English farmers on their homelands.

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