Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

Ancient Traders in Southern Manitoba

 Ancient Traders in Southern Manitoba-plaq0018

Installed 1989
41 Ash Street
Melita

Native peoples of Manitoba established and used wide-ranging trade networks thousands of years before the arrival of European fur traders. Bands and trading parties brought goods over immense distances for exchange at a trade fair or rendezvous. A wide variety of goods, including ornaments and ritual objects made of special seashells such as dentalium from the Pacific Ocean and conch from the Gulf of Mexico, were exchanged in this area. Obsidian (volcanic glass), which produces the sharpest cutting edge ever known, came from Wyoming. Copper from Lake Superior, Knife River Flint from North Dakota, and catlinite (red pipestone) from southern Minnesota were also traded. Artifacts made from these rare materials were valuable economically and their exchange promoted social and political ties among neighbouring populations.