Presentation on theme: "Fur Trade In Minnesota Review of Mr. Beckmans Voyageur Presentation."— Presentation transcript:
Fur Trade In Minnesota Review of Mr. Beckmans Voyageur Presentation
Fur Trade time period The fur trade began because of mens fashions in Europe. Men were wearing top hats made of beaver fur. These hats cost the average worker 6 months of their wages, so only the rich purchased new beaver top hats. The main company in Minnesota was the Northwest company with its headquarters in Montreal. Grand Portage Minnesota was the meeting place each July.
Trade routes Because Minnesota has only 5 months of ice free water it was necessary to use a two voyageur system. Each April canoe men leave Montreal with canoes of trade goods and the North men leave their post in the interior with their canoes of furs. They each paddle and portage until they reach Grand Portage around July to exchange goods and furs for another year of trading.
The Upper Class The fur trader was the man in charge. He was called the Bourgeois by his workers. He risked his money in hopes of turning a large profit. He hired all the workers, bore the responsibility of the business by doing the actual trading. He needed to balance his gifts to the Native Americans with the goods used to barter for the furs. He also served as a doctor even though traders rarely had any medical skill. His assistant was known as a commis or clerk. The trader would have a clerk at each of his posts to keep accounts and carry on the trade there.
Working Class The North man is the experienced voyageur. He is an expert woodsman and canoeist. He is a laborer as well, building the fur post, carrying messages, delivering goods, encouraging the Native Americans to hunt, fixing canoes, and maintaining the post. He sees himself as superior to the canoe men. A capote is the type of coat he wears, made from a blanket. His hat is called a toque. After crossing into the Northwest he is allowed to wear a red feather in his hat and was refered to as a Norwesterfrom then on.
Working Class The canoe mens job is to paddle the canoes of goods from Montreal to Grand Portage and back. Where the river is too dangerous he must portage or carry the goods and canoes to safe water. To support his back and stomach muscles he wears a sash, a symbol of the voyageur. He paddles 16 to 18 hours a day and survives on 2 meals a day usually of peas and pork fat, hence the nick name,Pork Eater.
Native American Man The Native American mans main job is to hunt and gather the furs. His trapping skills and knowledge of the forest make him the best person for the job. He may also be the hunter for a fur post. This means he supplies the post with meat. Since there is not much in the way of preserving meat he needs to supply the post with fresh meat daily. He also may serve as a guide or interpreter.
Native American Woman The Native American woman has a very important role. She cleans and prepares the pelts. If she doesnt do a good job the fur is worthless. She also may be a guide, interpreter, cook, seamstress or canoe builder. She may marry a fur trader or clerk and become a more respected member of the community and have a better selection of goods. This also means everyone in her village will bring all the furs to her husbands post.
Native American Trade Goods The Native Americans brought furs of many kinds to trade, beaver being the most valuable. All other furs and goods were valued in beaver skins. Other furs brought in were fisher, otter, mink, bear, deer, fox, muskrat, badger, raccoon, rabbit and even skunk! Other items the Native American brought to trade were the meat from the animals, wild rice, gum gum and spruce roots for canoe repair, snow shoes, leather goods and canoes.
European Trade Goods European traders brought many things the Native Americans desired. Things such as, metal cookware, wool blankets, traps, metal axes, files, knives, silver jewelry, glass beads, cotton calico cloth, flint and steel, muskets, shot and powder. Some of the trade goods caused problems for the Native Americans such as, tobacco, and alcohol. Rum or high wines became as the expected way to seal the deal.
Types of Canoes There were 3 main sizes of canoes used in the fur trade. The smallest was called the Ojibway canoe. It was 10 to 12 feet long, paddled by 1 or 2 people and used on small lakes and rivers. The most common canoe was the North Canoe. It was 24 to 36 feet long and was used on larger lakes and rivers, had between 6 to 10 paddlers and could handle 3000 lbs. of cargo. The Montreal canoe was used on the Great Lakes. It was 36 to 48 ft long, carried 5000 lbs. of cargo. If empty it could have up to 20 people on board.
Paddles 3 sizes of paddles were used in fur trade canoes. All types were made from cedar. The bowman or avant was in charge of the canoe. He used a long paddle on average about 5 ft. In the back of the canoe was the steersman or governail who used a 7 ft. long paddle to steer the canoe. In the middle were the middle men ormilieux they used paddles as short as 3 ft. with 3 inch wide blades and took almost a stroke a second. The paddles were light weight and prized possessions.
The End of the Fur Trade By 1840 there were several factors that lead to end of the fur trade. Settlers were moving into Minnesota and forcing out the fur gathering Native Americans. Secondly there was some depletion in the number of fur bearing animals. Finally there was a change in fashion. Mens top hats were now being made of silk. Fur trading still continues today but not on the scale of the past.