This article is adressed to Acadians of the United States, who perhaps will learn here of an unknown tale, one of great Acadian born voyageurs of the Canadian North-West. It has been the subject of 15 years of work on my behalf, ending by the publishing of a book in french, in 2016: Cadiens et voyageurs . Here are the key points of that tale.
– The first ‘cadian’ voyageurs, as far as my research is concerned, were some Doucet who had left Nova Scotia around 1720. Jean Doucet, a boatbuilder from the town of Quebec, was the pioneer of the group in 1737, going to a post of the Great Lakes to build small boats. Furthermore, according to his hiring contract, he would be a sailor up there. His cousins from Lake Saint-Pierre islands made voyages to Green Bay, Michigan, in the 1740s. See Chapter 1 of « Cadiens et voyageurs ».
– After the fall of New-France, a few Acadians from the Saint-Lawrence valley signed for making voyages to Michillimackinac. Worth of mention is the contract by Joseph Landry, a refugee from the Pembroke ship rebellion, whose father Pierre had settled around 1761 on the Saint-Ignace island (facing Sorel). But Pierre could not acquire land down there, as Acadians were considered rebels until the late 1760s. Young voyageur Joseph was hired as canoe steerman in 1772, indicating thereby his value at a rather young age, for such a key function. See chapter 2.
-From Yamachiche, Lake Saint-Pierre, was hired another ‘gouvernail’, i.e. steerman, aged 21 in 1779, also named Joseph Landry. He was on the frontier of the fur trade for at least 3 years, in Athabasca country. See chapter 3.
-The most outstanding ‘cadian’ voyageurs of all times are no doubt the two who accompanied sir Alexander Mackenzie in his famous explorations to the Arctic and Pacific oceans, in 1789 and 1793. Joseph Landry (another one…) and Charles Doucet were the only two voyageurs who made both expeditions with the great Scottish associate of the North West Co. They were nothing less that the best voyageurs of all times, but unfortunately this has not yet been recognized by historians. See chapter 4.
-And my book goes on for another 4 chapters of great stories.
I am seriously considering publishing an edition in english in 2018, depending on the interest shown in this web site and/or my Facebook page. For those able to read french rather easily. and would be satisfied to buy the french version of the book, they can do so through my boutique at Cadiens et voyageurs .