The effects on the Native peoples from the introduction of the commertial fur trade into Canada

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, Undergraduate January 1996

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An essay describing the effects of the fur trade on the Native peoples of Canada Excellent.


The 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-trade guaranteed the permanent presence of Europeans in Canada and, as a result, assured the establishment of capitalism in the native way of life. Native culture had always treated nature as a means of survival and was highly respected amongst all native groups. No more was to be taken from nature, but what was essentially needed. Capitalism undermined the most basic and fundamental principles of native culture, encouraging the exploitation of nature for personal profit. Nevertheless, many natives were drawn to this new way of life because of the "luxuries" that were offered as its rewards. 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...