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The Fur Trade 1670-1800s

The Fur Trade 1670-1800s. Fur Trade Map. Native Peoples of the Northwest. First Nations of the Northwest – Ojibwa Assiniboine Cree Chipewyan Inuit By 1800s – Aboriginal peoples had a long history of involvement in the fur trade as trappers, traders, or middlemen

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The Fur Trade 1670-1800s

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  1. The Fur Trade 1670-1800s

  2. Fur Trade Map

  3. Native Peoples of the Northwest • First Nations of the Northwest – • Ojibwa • Assiniboine • Cree • Chipewyan • Inuit • By 1800s – Aboriginal peoples had a long history of involvement in the fur trade as trappers, traders, or middlemen • Native peoples became so involved in the fur trade that it disrupted traditional ways of life • Clash of cultural values – Natives worked to provide for their families, not to make huge profits Euros exposed natives to diseases – such as smallpox, measles An outbreak of smallpox in 180-82 killed off much of the Chipewyan and Cree populations

  4. Hudson’s Bay Company 1670 – Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) founded 1670 – Royal Charter from King of England, Charles II, which gave it exclusive trading rights in Rupert’s Land – included all lands drained by rivers flowing into the Hudson Bay – 1/3 of the size of Canada Fur Trading Strategy – ‘Stay at the Bay’ Build trading of posts at the mouths of rivers emptying into Hudson Bay Beaver was most prized fur, HBC uses it as a form of currency

  5. Company Structure of HBC Rigid Hierarchy – Company Directors – ran the business from London, England Local bosses – called “Factors” – British Clerks and Labourers at post – British Everyone was a salaried employee, so only the owners of the company really shared in the profits HBC shipped furs directly to England every summer, and received its trade goods at the same time, as Jul – Sept. were the only ice-free months

  6. Northwest Company 1750s – French Canadian fur trade had moved deeper inland than HBC French new that the HBC’s policy of staying close to Hudson Bay occasionally made posts inaccessible The “Montrealers” expanded trading networks in the interior and continued to employ French Canadian traders 1783 – several companies merge to form NWC NWC established a major post at Fort William, at head of Lake Superior, where it was the main depot for furs traveling to Montreal and goods to inland distances to the HBC posts

  7. Company Structure of NWC Not as Rigid in Hierarchy – Montreal partners stayed in Montreal, bought trade goods from England, and arranged for the sale and shipment of fur pelts to England Hivernants (wintering partners) – remained in the Northwest and did the actual trading – were also partners in the company, so shared in the profits – Voyageurs were also employed – paddled canoes and carried cargo in both the Northwest and on the long lake journey from Fort William to Montreal

  8. The Northwest to 1860 • Metis – their way of life was based partly on Native traditions and partly on European traditions. • Native practices – • Hunted Bison • Made/traded pemmican • Artwork/needlecraft • Clothing of buffalo hides • Native languages • European Practices – • Seigneurial pattern of agriculture • Roman Catholic religion • Guns • Red River Carts • Spoke French • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O0LiGlvl04 Metis Buffalo Hunt

  9. Red River Settlement 1812 – Selkirk Settlers arrive in Northwest 1811 – 300 000 km became “Selkirk’s Grant” Metis had long settled the region (NWC) Selkirk settlers (HBC) from Scotland, were fresh off the boat and had no idea what was in store for them!!! Settlers make the long journey from Churchill to York Factory in winter – Arrive in Red River in 1812, much to the dismay of the Metis (though they did all they could to help those new settlers)

  10. Battle of Seven Oaks, 1816 1816 – A group of Metis led by Cuthbert Grant, raided HBC boats on the Assiniboine in response to the Pemmican Proclamation Metis much better prepared, better armed and trained militarily (Buffalo Hunt?) HBC traders and settlers regard Metis as inferior, because of their mixed ancestry A “skirmish” ensues between Metis and HBC employees at Seven Oaks – turned the simmering dispute between the HBC and NWC into a full scale conflict – Metis had won the day, but were seen as ruthless savages across Eastern Canada. Cuthbert Grant

  11. Merger of the HBC and the NWC 1820 – Both HBC and NWC in dire financial straits; Also, the 200 year-old fur trade was rapidly depleting its resource base. 1821 – HBC and NWC merge and retain HBC namesake Q. Why, if the share distribution seemed to favour NWC partners, did the HBC eventually wrestle control of the company away from the Montreal fur partners? 1821 – George Simpson, Governor of the HBC’s Northern Department until his death in 1860. His management style was ‘autocratic’ and he took a ‘hands on approach’.’ Thus, he was called the ‘Little Emperor.’

  12. Red River Settlement, 1860s Rising Tensions New arrivals to Red River were Protestant and members of the Orange Order, an anti-French, anti-Catholic movement. Q. Why would this lead to conflict with the Metis? Economic problems – crop failures, bison hunts less successful than in earlier years Canada Purchases Rupert’s Land Soon after confederation (1867), the Canadian government and the HBC began to negotiations for the sale of Rupert’s Land. The HBC did not consult those living in Red River. 1868 – government surveyors arrived in the Red River Valley; they assumed that the riverside farms of the Metis were not legally owned. By the 1860s, the fur trade and the influence of the HBC had declined. Yet, it was the arrival of new colonists – especially those from the Canadas – that had the greatest impact.

  13. Red River Resistance, 1869-70 • Louis Riel - Hero or Traitor? • 1869 – • Riel, 24, acknowledged as Metis leader • Responds to surveyors present on Metis land and forms National Metis Committee to support Metis rights at Red River • Riel and Metis, were not in fact ‘rebelling;’ in fact, they were not opposed to entering Confederation, so long as the rights of the Metis were protected • Riel sets up provisional government Louis Riel (centre) and provisional government ‘Should these miserable half-breeds not disband, they must be put down.’ - PM John Macdonald

  14. Red River Resistance, 1869-1870 1870 – Members of the ‘Canadian Party’ escape Fort Garry and had tried to free prisoners held by the Metis The Metis stopped them, capturing several members of the raiding party, including Thomas Scott. Scott, was a member of the Orange Order, he had a reputation for violence and was anti-Metis, believing white people were superior. He was abusive to his guards, physically too. Eventually, he was put on trial for treason, found guilty; and, by a majority vote, sentenced to death by firing squad. This action would have profound implications for the Metis and Louis Riel, even though many agreed that Scott’s behaviour was his downfall. Q. Why would Thomas Scott become Riel’s ‘cross to bear’? Thomas Scott

  15. Aftermath Macdonald sends force of 1200 militia (many of them members of the Orange Order) to Red River, under the command of Colonel Wolseley. Metis move westward, c. 1870s In no way was the militia to treat Riel or his followers as a legitimate government When the militia arrived, they found Riel had fled the area. He feared, with justification, that his life was in danger. Eventually, all members of the provisional government were granted an amnesty by the Canadian government – all except Louis Riel. Manitoba Act, 1870 Based on the Metis List of Rights – negotiated by Riel and the provisional government. The Act made French and English the official languages of Manitoba; and it provided for two education systems – one Protestant and one Roman Catholic. In addition, 566 580 hectares were put aside for the ‘children of the Metis’ as farmland, and the rights of the Metis to their existing land were protected. Yet, Manitoba was firmly under the control of Ottawa

  16. Louis Riel: Hero or Traitor? Louis Riel is a hero to many, a visionary, the fiery leader of a downtrodden people. To others he is a madman, a traitor, or a misguided zealot. Arguments for – “While we were young, at least in public schools, they produced a warped version of the facts and basically created Riel as a traitor. It is now recognized by the government that the lands here did belong to the Aboriginal people.” Leo Teillet, great grand-nephew of Riel Arguments against – Riel’s act of establishing a “provisional government” was simple rebellion. Without the legal force of a duly constituted government, the killing of Thomas Scott was illegal: It was murder. Editorial, Ottawa Citizen, 1998

  17. Metis Flee Westward • Manitoba Act, 1870 • At first seemed positive for the Metis • Troops PM Macdonald sent brutalized Metis • Land Issue • Scrip – piece of paper similar to money • Money Scrip – based on ¼ section of land • Land Scrip – entitled a person to exchange scrip for a homesteader’s quarter section land grant • ***Metis did not understand value of scrip and their traditional economy did not include money or deeds*** • Result – Many Metis left Manitoba in 1870s • Tried to re-create culture in areas that are today Saskatchewan, Alberta, USA

  18. Causes of Tensions in Northwest 1. Extinction of Bison At first, all went well for Metis, but by early 1870s, the bison were disappearing at an alarming rate. Why? Laws of St. Laurent – restricted Bison hunt in order to help conserve them 2. Mistreatment by HBC Metis paid poorly for services; some Metis were even arrested if they tried to strike for wages 3. Winter 1874-75 Because there were so few buffalo, there was little pemmican – many starved In spring 1875 – a group of non St. Laurent Metis began hunting before the official St. Laurent hunt had begun Metis leader during the 1870s – Gabriel Dumont

  19. Tensions in the Northwest 4. Whiskey Traders and North West Mounted Police (NWMP) Whiskey traders from American fur trade companies traded strong, cheap liquor to Native peoples of NW, which led to widespread alcoholism, malnutrition, disease and death. 1873 – NWMP created to better control North West (think: Manifest Destiny) They drove out the whiskey traders 5. Lack of Canadian government support As far as the government was concerned they were only interested in Metis and Aboriginal peoples, in so far as they could control their existence – where they lived, what they could do. As time would tell, the government said one thing and acted very differently, when it came to dealing with Aboriginal people.

  20. Treaty Process – Broken Promises 1870 – Canadian government began negotiating treaties (agreements to title/ownership of land) with Native peoples By Aug. 1871 – the Cree and Salteaux tribes of Manitoba had concluded Treaties 1 & 2 Native peoples, feeling they had no other option, signed away their homeland in exchange for reserved land and promises of farming assistance Over the next 6 years – patter repeated across the prairies – government made it a priority to have treaties terminate Native title to land to open it up for settlers to take up homesteads In return – government promised to help by donating equipment, tools, supplies and expertise so Natives could set up farms – but did not – it seemed government set up Natives to fail so they wouldn’t compete with white farmers Result – Natives were not able to successfully farm, and with no bison to make pemmican, their standard of living declined rapidly

  21. Indian Act of 1876 The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change. PM John Macdonald, 1887 1876 – Indian Act makes Natives ‘wards of the state’ Essentially, the government perceived Native peoples of being unable to govern themselves. The Act confirmed that Native peoples would be required to live on reserves only and Native children would have to attend residential schools. As soon as treaties were signed – NWMP would escort Natives to live on reserves.

  22. Northwest Test (Ch. 4 & 5) Section One: Matching – Personalities (10) Section Two: Multiple Choice (25) Section Three: Paragraph (5 x 2) Topics: Fur-trade (HBC & NWC) Aboriginal Issues (ie. Indian Act, Residential Schools, Reservations, Treaties) Selkirk Grant & Metis Red River Rebellion Riel & Thomas Scott NWMP & Cypress Hills Northwest Rebellion National Policy Building the CPR Pacific Scandal • Paragraph Section: • Native stereotypes in Canadian History • Louis Riel – Guilty or Innocent?

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