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Huron in the News

November 22, 2016

In advance of tonight’s public lecture with Daniel Laxer, “To Strengthen Peace”: Music & Dance in the Fur Trade, Dr. Laxer hit the airwaves today on CBC’s Ontario Morning, speaking about his research and helping spread the word about this talk. Take a listen at the link! The interview begins at 1:15 and ends around the 7 minute mark.

Dr. Laxer's lecture will explore the essential role music played in the 18th century fur trade in interactions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, extending from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean.

Fur traders lived closely with Indigenous communities for long periods of time, watching and sometimes participating in dances associated with religious societies or the calumet/peace-pipe. Dancing was the cultural medium through with Euro-American men courted Indigenous women, with the subsequent mixed-marriages forming the core of fur trade society. Within the trading posts, a hybrid Euro-American dance culture developed, with variations based on local Indigenous customs for group and solo step-dancing. Out of this milieu emerged Metis-style “jigging.” Music and dance were the primary ways various ethnic and linguistic groups coordinated “to strengthen peace.”