Engagé

Indentured servitude French Canadians Frontier

From the 18th century, an engagé (French: [ɑ̃ɡaʒe]; also spelled engagee) was a French-Canadian man employed to canoe in the fur trade, usually as an indentured servant. He was expected to handle all transportation aspects of frontier river and lake travel: maintenance, loading and unloading, propelling, steering, portaging, camp set-up, navigation, interaction with Indigenous people, etc. The term was also applied to the men who staffed the pirogues on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Their role can be contrasted with the free, licensed voyageurs, the independent merchant coureurs des bois, as well as seafaring sailors. Engagé were people who were brought to New France by France to work there.

Can also refer to a person socially or politically engaged, especially in the arts and culture.