NEW! Story Day Camp - August 12 - August 15


Voyageur Life

Class Details

3 Hours

4th Grade to Adult


What would it be like as a voyageur, and what was their role in the local fur trade?

Students will be assigned roles and become characters in an imaginary North West Company brigade in the year 1793. They will portage and paddle along Wolf Lake and set up an encampment. There they will learn some of the skills of the colorful voyageur, such as making gallette (fry bread) and tea, flint and steel fires, shaving a tent stake and practicing voyageur games. Upon returning, they will learn their own futures, along with the role of the fur trade in the exploration and settlement of Minnesota.

Lesson Plan


  1. The environment influences human actions; and humans both adapt to, and change, the environment.
  2. Historical inquiry is a process in which multiple sources and different kinds of historical evidence are analyzed to draw conclusions about how and why things happened in the past.
  3. The Fur Trade spanned 200 years in this area (1660-1840’s) and involved Native Americans, high-class gentlemen, middle-class businessmen, and lower-class voyageurs.
  4. Different cultures hold varying beliefs on environmental issues.
  5. The meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources changes over time.


  • Describe the role of voyageurs, gentlemen, and Native Americans during the fur trade era.
  • Demonstrate paddling and portaging, singing and joking, feasting and fighting.
  • Demonstrate the fire-starting technique using flint and steel.
  • Use a drawknife to fashion wood into a tent stake.
  • Evaluate and choose aspects of their preferred role in the fur trade era (voyageur, gentlemen, and Native American).