In 1811 the American Pacific Fur Company recruited 12 Hawaiians to work as labourers (known as kanakas) in the Pacific Northwest, transporting them in the Tonquin. In 1812 the company hired another 26 islanders and King Kamehameha appointed Naukane to join the group and look after the interests of Hawaiian labourers.
Soon after Naukane arrived at Fort Astoria David Thompson of the Montreal-based North West Company also arrived. In July, 1811, Thompson and a group of Astorians began to journey up the Columbia River. The two parties traveled together until they reached the Columbia Gorge, after which Thompson went on ahead. Before parting ways there was an exchange of some of the workers.Thompson allowed his employee Michel Boulard to join the Pacific Fur Company in exchange for Naukane, who Thompson referred to as Coxe. Boulard was a 40 year old voyageur who had worked with Thompson off and on for the last 11 years. Boulard, although weaker with age, was useful to the Astorians for his great knowledge of geography and native affairs. In contrast, Naukane was valuable to Thompson for his great strength. Naukane traveled with Thompson as far as Spokane House. There he was left with Jaco Finlay while Thompson continued rapidly on. Soon Naukane was traveling east as well, crossing the continent to Fort William (today's Thunder Bay, Ontario) on Lake Superior. From there he traveled by water to Quebec. In 1812 the ship Isaac Todd took him to England. In 1813 he returned to the Pacific Northwest on the British warship HMS Racoon.