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Module 3

Fur Traders and their Prey from the 17th to the 19th centuries: Why did Aboriginals participate in the fur trade?

Colin Coates

The fur trade involved an economic transaction where Aboriginal peoples exchanged animal pelts for European products. But it was much more than a simple transaction. There were many economic, social and political features involved in the fur trade, as well as environmental considerations. The module examines the significances that Aboriginal peoples ascribed to the fur trade and looks in particular at the ways in which the enterprise was much more than a mere economic exchange.

Primary sources:

  1. Text: Accounts of Montagnais (Innu) hunting from the Relations des Jésuites, Father Paul Le Jeune, 1634
  2. Text: Andrew Graham ‘Indian Trade at York Factory, 1769-1771’
  3. Map (detail): ‘A Map of the Inhabited Part of Canada from the French Surveys; with the Frontiers of New York and New England from the Large Survey by Claude Joseph Sauthier.’ (1777)
  4. Text: Translation of letter in Montagnais from René Pituabanu (c. 1785)
  5. Image : Letter written in Montagnais from René Pituabanu (c.1785)
  6. Text: ‘David Thompson’s Narrative’ (c. 1850)

Secondary sources:

  1. Bruce M. White. ‘The Trade Assortment: The Meanings of Merchandise in the Ojibwa Fur Trade’ in Sylvie Dépatie et al. (eds.) Vingt ans après Habitants et Marchands (1998)
  2. Shepard Krech III. ‘Beaver’ in The Ecological Indian: Myth and History (1999)

Introduction

List of Modules -- 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50