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Le présent article avance que les Juifs et, dans une moindre mesure, les Libanais et autres commerçants arabes étaient devenus indispensables pour la modernisation du Nord canadien.
Ils ont contribué à mettre en place une « zone de contact » entre les marchands ambulants et les Dénés où le mélange des notions de crédit, d’argent comptant et de vente de marchandises ont donné aux trappeurs autochtones du Nord les moyens de négocier librement le passage à la modernité pendant l’entre-deux-guerres.
In late nineteenth century and especially in the interwar years, “free traders” took advantage of better transport systems to expand trade with Dene people in the Athabasca and Mackenzie Districts.
Well versed in fur grading and supported by credit in the expanding industrializing fur industry in the south, “itinerant” peddlers worked independently and often controversially alongside larger capitalized fur companies such as the Hudson’s Bay Company. This article suggests that Jews and, to a lesser extent, Lebanese and other Arabic traders became critical in the modernization of the Canadian North.
Cependant, vers la fin des années 1920, l’État, encouragé par les grandes entreprises dotées de capitaux permanents, a mis en oeuvre des politiques pour restreindre puis fermer cette zone de contact.
L’histoire de la vente ambulante soulève donc des questions sur l’histoire du capitalisme dans sa longue durée et du néo-colonialisme économique correspondant dans le Nord canadien et sur leur incidence sur les Premières Nations.
Free traders were closely connected to new forms of fur buying and processing that linked the north to the south through what Liza Piper has termed a “circuitry” transforming other northern resources.
 In this case, transportation improvements allowed itinerant traders to move into far reaches of the north and connect First Nations trappers more directly to industrialism, volatile commodity pricing in global markets, and modern retail consumerism.
 In such peripheral areas, Jewish entrepreneurs were not accidental new arrivals, nor were they inconsequential in the widening expansion of North American capitalism.
 Higher prices paid by free traders, often given in credit, also encouraged significant Dene debt accumulation.
But just how deleterious these changes were is little understood.
 Pratt understood such zones as a “spatial and temporal copresence of subjects previously separated,” where their encounter moved people in mixed cultural “interaction, interlocking understandings and practices, often within radically asymmetrical relations of power.”  Conceptualizing the meeting of people in such terms allows analysis to go beyond the simple binary of colonized and colonizer, and better understand barter and trade for its many linguistic and social meanings as a “transformational exchange,” to use John Lutz’s term.
 Although Pratt limited herself to the language of exploration, natural historical inquiry, and other European encounters figuring in discursive media and narratives, Jonathan Hsy, using Pratt’s concept, elaborated the contact zone to include the “more mundane interactions” of early European trading “environments,” where, in his case, medieval European multicultural and multilingual zones developed in commercial settings.