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More Than Just the Fur Trade

Maple Leaf This item is only available for Canadian orders.

Catalogue Number:  LM0017
Producer:  LeMay Media
Subject:  Canadian History, Canadian Social Studies, Canadian World Studies, First Nations Studies, History, Indigenous Issues, Indigenous Peoples, Social Studies
Language:  English
Grade Level:  3 - 5, 6 - 8
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2017
Running Time:  19:37
Closed Captions:  Yes

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More Than Just the Fur Trade:

A 20 minute video chronicling the role the fur trade played in the history of Canada.

The confluence of the Ottawa and Mattawa Rivers was an important strategic area for those who travelled this historic waterway. It was the main route to the western part of Canada for thousands of years. This passage was instrumental in the development of early Canada and the fur trade. It is where explorers like Samuel de Champlain and Étienne Brûlé rested before pushing onwards to the interior of Canada. In this area known as the “Meeting of the Waters,” First Nations people and French fur traders carved out a life. With the arrival of the explorers came the trappers. Beaver pelts were highly sought after. They were easily tradeable for goods needed to live in this area.

Students will learn about:

  • the importance of indigenous culture, language and spiritual beliefs
  • the interaction and first contact between First Nations and Europeans
  • the reasons that fuelled the fur trade in North America
  • the role of the Metis in the fur trade.
  • the life and the role of a voyageur.
  • the role of French explorers, Radisson and Groseilliers.
  • the role of the Northwest Company and the Hudson Bay Company and how their establishment changed the fur trade.
  • the importance and role of the birch back canoe (Montreal canoe/canoe du nord), one of Canada’s iconic symbols.
  • the importance of regulating the beaver population to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

In More Than Just the Fur Trade, students learn not only about the history of the fur trade in Canada, but also about the importance of language, culture, drumming, elders and regalia in the lives of indigenous peoples in Canada. Interviews with Mike Gauthier, member of Mattawa North Bay Algonquin's; historian Mike Whelan; and Trapper and Canoe Builder Roger Labelle provide interesting insight into indigenous lives drawing the connections between contemporary and traditional culture.

Filmmaker Bio: 

An award-winning Métis filmmaker, Matt LeMay is an innovator in the field of educational documentary film. He has channelled his passion for addressing social issues that impact First Nations and Métis communities into documentaries that showcase the power of Indigenous storytelling and the importance of protecting the natural environment.


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