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Aboriginals and the Fur Trade - Essay Example

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The Canadian aboriginals were the native Indians living in North America and mostly involved in the fur trade with the Europeans.Before the aboriginals began trading with the Europeans in the 17th and 18th century, they had their own cultural system …
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Aboriginals and the Fur Trade
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Download file to see previous pages After mixing with the invaders an indigenous culture was created. The Canadian aboriginals survived mostly on the fur trade with the Europeans that enabled them to get iron tools like knives to facilitate hunting and household activities. The ‘made beaver’ was the principal used by the aboriginals in trading since they preferred to bargain over prices. Fur trade in Canada led to the establishment of the oldest industry, Hudson Bay industry, as well as economic exploration of Canada which, in a way, exposed the aboriginal’s way of life to the rest of the civilized world. Some interesting accounts have been written about the history of the aboriginals before 1900 which revolve around their way of life, culture, and even administration. Hearn Samuel, in his journey from Wales in Hudson’s bay to the Northern Ocean in search of copper, accompanies us throughout the journey concerning life of the aboriginals in 1769-1774. Samuel Hearne, born in 1745 and died in 1792, was an explorer and a naturalist. He undertook three journeys in search of copper and a North West passage. In 1969, his guides were aboriginal Indian home-guards. This journey through the Indians’ land with the participation of Indians as guides highlights some aspects of the Indians way of life. Aspects of Indians way of life: Hearn’s journey in the 18th century taught him a lot about adaptation. He had to adapt to the Indians way of life during his journeys in an experiential way. He learnt that travel was only possible by following buffalo’s migration routes and habits since they were the only source of food available. Hearn’s expedition takes us through various aspects of the aboriginal Indians life in North America, describing how they survived with their rudimentary knowledge and technology. The aboriginal Indians could learn the behavior of animals, for example, migration, and this enabled them to travel without fasting since they hunted animals like buffaloes, caribou and musk-oxen. Lack of fire made the aboriginal Indians' eating raw musk-oxen a habit, also adopted by Samuel Hearn in order to survive during the snow period when making fire was impossible.1 The Indians small canoes could only be used to cross rivers. This made them (and Hearn too) walk for long distances during their traveling. The Indians were very much used to such exercises. During the third journey when they found copper in July 1771, the Indians who were eager to join their waiting wives turned back. They increased their pace, and this made Herne, who was not accustomed to walking such long distances on foot, lose his toe nails. This is one amazing aspect of life that can be found among the aboriginal Indians: they were used to walking long distances and in harsh conditions. The aboriginal Indians who were traders in fur could undertake such juorneys in order to exchange their wares with others, and they had learnt the seasonal movements of animals which were their sources of food when traveling.2 The aboriginals' ability to survive inland, as highlighted by Hearn, was due to their knowledge of seasonal animal migrations, use of furs as clothing and their ability to withstand harsh conditions, for instance, fasting a lot or eating raw meat. The aboriginals' rudimentary technology and lack of canoes made trade impossible inland3. This made Samuel Hearn advise the London committee to introduce more posts, which were to involve the natives in an extended usage of canoes in order to be able to advance trade inland. The aboriginal Indians were very vital for the success of trade in Europe. Trade had suffered a lot in September 1873 after the arrest of Hearn. The reason for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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