The Results Of The Introduction Of The Commertial Fur Trade Into Canada

731 words - 3 pages

An essay describing the effects of the fur trade on the Native peoples of Canada Excellent.EssayThe trapping of beavers for their fur had always been an integral part of native culture. The introduction of the profit-seeking fur trade caused drastic changes in the native way of life. These changes ultimately concluded with the destruction of an enormous part of native culture. It can be said that, "The introduction of the commercial fur trade into the area now known as Canada, sounded the death knell for the native peoples culture."During the early years of European settlement of Canada, there was little interaction between the natives and the European settlers. The native peoples managed to maintain, for the most part, the same culture as they had enjoyed prior to colonization. However, this harmonious situation was doomed to disintegrate following the beginning of the fur trade in the late 17th century. The founding of the fur-tr ...view middle of the document...

Beavers suddenly became a commodity rather than a means of sustaining life. Also, the natives migratory patterns were altered by the fur trade. As the beaver was over hunted, they had to move in order to find new sources. This forced the natives to abandon their traditional living areas, where they had always been closely tied to nature and its seasons. The acceptance of capitalism was the beginning of the end of native culture in what is now known as Canada.The complete integration of capitalism into native culture assured its (native culture) destruction. As the fur trade grew, so too did the number of natives who were becoming dependent on it for their survival. They now required the money given by the fur traders in order to purchase the food and clothing they had formally harvested from nature. Fewer natives were devoted to the tasks which had previously defined their culture for generations. More and more natives abandoned their old methods of survival and depended on the fur business for their well being. When a people's culture depends on another for its survival, assimilation of the dependent is inevitable. Ultimately, the natives reached a point of almost utter and absolute dependency on the fur-trade. The fur-trade and its capitalistic principals became the new foundation of native culture. Before long, an Indian community without a Hudson's Bay trading post was doomed to the most atrocious social condition on the continent. The native's culture had been obliterated by the introduction of the fur trade and they became a people void of their own culture.There is no doubt the introduction of the fur trade into what is now known as Canada "...sounded the death knell for the native peoples culture." But, as fur went out of fashion in Europe and demand for fur dropped, the natives found themselves in a period of crisis. As the fur trade was no longer widely available, the native dependency shifted to the government. It has only been within the past few decades that native leadership has tried to break the perpetual cycle of dependency. Some native leaders see a return to the old customs of their ancestors as the best solution. However, with the almost complete erosion of their original culture, returning to it will be an extremely daunting task.


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