About Étienne Brûlé
Étienne Brûlé (c. 1592 – c. June 1633) was a French explorer and coureur des bois in Canada in the 17th century. A rugged outdoorsman, he took to the lifestyle of the First Nations and had a unique contribution to the geographical knowledge of New France. He departed from his home in Champigny-sur-Marne, southeast of Paris, France, at the young age of 16 and set sail for Québec, what was part of New France. Brûlé took opportunities not only to explore the many dangerous areas of the unknown wilderness, but as well as to learn the habits and customs of the indigenous peoples; the Hurons in particular. He was sent on many portages by Samuel de Champlain as well as sent to live among the Huron people. He scouted the rivers and forests and was a guide and interpreter for Champlain; but in 1629, he betrayed his friend and patron. Not long after his disloyalty to Samuel de Champlain, Brûlé was killed by the Bear tribe of Huron Indians.
From Encyclopaedia Brittanica:
Étienne Brulé was the first European to visit the area, in 1622. He was the forerunner of numerous missionaries, fur traders, and explorers (many seeking a water route to the Pacific Ocean) who helped pave the way for French control of Michigan. Although some of the region’s indigenous peoples and the newcomers initially engaged in skirmishes, these soon gave way to more amiable relationships. Many native individuals became fur trappers, trade middlemen, or guides, while others, particularly women, focused on providing food to the French settlements. In turn, the French provided knives, axes, guns, metal utensils and jewelry, glass beads, cloth, and alcohol. A number of formal alliances were made between tribal and French communities, as were many personal alliances. The latter were often cemented by marriage—the Algonquians, Huron, and French were all accustomed to using the institution as a means of joining extended families.