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Grade 8-9
Subject All Social Studies
Resource type Activity
Duration 30-60 minutes

About This Resource

Alcohol was a part of the North American fur trade from the beginning, and many traders viewed it as a crucial ingredient in business success. For example, in 1764, a group of New York merchants petitioned the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations to change regulations banning fur traders from using alcohol in their commerce. They argued “when the vent of liquors is allow’d amongst them, it spurs them on to an unwaried application in hunting in order to supply the trading places with furs and skins in exchange for liquors.” But not everyone who engaged in the fur trade saw it that way. This excerpt from a memoir by a Moravian missionary living in 18th century America gives us a glimpse into the reasons one Aboriginal man chose to deal with traders who did not use alcohol in their negotiations.
Deal Maker or Deal Breaker