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Dorion, Marie (1790–05 September 1850), interpreter, was born into the Iowa tribe as Marie Aioe, or Marie L’Aguivoise; both versions of her maiden surname, variations on the word “Iowa,” appear in early nineteenth-century records of Oregon and Washington territories. Nothing is known of her life until she became the common-law wife of a half Sioux, half French-Canadian fur trader, Pierre Dorion, Jr., around 1806 in the vicinity of what is now Yankton, South Dakota. Pierre Dorion, Sr., had been an interpreter and a guide with the ...

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Fleete, Henry (1602–1661), English colonial merchant and Indian interpreter, was born in County Kent, England, the son of William Fleete, a lawyer and country squire, and Deborah Scott. Residing in America after 1621, Fleete is best known for pioneering the Potomac River beaver trade between the late 1620s and early 1630s and for guiding Lord Baltimore’s colonists to their first Maryland settlement in March 1634....

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Musgrove, Mary (1700–1766), interpreter and liaison between early Georgians and the native Indians, whose Creek name was Coosaponakeesa, was the daughter of an English trader and an Indian mother, although her exact parentage and birthplace are unknown. Her later claims of “royal” Indian kinship have been questioned, but she did have powerful connections and standing among the Creeks. Details of her childhood are sketchy; it is known, however, that she spent time in each culture and spoke both languages. As early as 1716–1717 she married trader John Musgrove and established a trading post on the Savannah River at Yamacraw Bluff. None of their children survived to adulthood, and John Musgrove died in 1735....

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Viele, Aernout Cornelissen (1640–1704), trader and linguist, was born in New Amsterdam, the largest town of the New Netherland colony, but baptized in Albany in 1640, the son of Cornelis Volkertszen Vielé, a tavernkeeper, and Maria du Trieux. Aernout Cornelissen grew to manhood in the atmosphere of public exchange of information that typified taverns on both sides of the Atlantic. Traders from the Dutch colony to the Five Nations frequented his father’s establishment, and perhaps from them Aernout developed what became a lifelong fascination with the culture and language of the Five Nations. At the age of twenty he signed a petition drawn up in 1659 by concerned traders who sought to suppress illicit trade and contacts of Europeans with Native Americans by calling for the interdiction of European trading in the Indian lands without prior approval of the Dutch colonial leaders....