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Archaeological Perspectives on the French in the New World$
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Elizabeth M. Scott

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054391

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054391.001.0001

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“They Are Fit to Eat the Divel and Smoak His Mother”

“They Are Fit to Eat the Divel and Smoak His Mother”

Labor, Leisure, Tobacco Pipes, and Smoking Customs among French Canadian Voyageurs during the Fur Trade Era

(p.58) 3 “They Are Fit to Eat the Divel and Smoak His Mother”
Archaeological Perspectives on the French in the New World

Rob Mann

University Press of Florida

Smoking tobacco pipes was more than simply a leisure practice among labor class French Canadian voyageurs. Rather, smoking played an active role in the struggle over the terms and conditions of the fur trade workplace. White clay pipes were key material symbols of male French Canadian identity and were even celebrated in the voyaguer’s chansons—songs used to keep time as they paddled. Fur trade elites (the bourgeois), however, tended to link smoking with “laziness,” a powerful trope in capitalist discourse. This chapter examines the practice of smoking among the voyageurs and the role of clay pipes in mediating class tensions and reproducing French Canadian identity.

Keywords:   Voyageurs, Fur Trade, Tobacco Pipes, Smoking, Leisure, Labor, Class Tensions, Identity

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