Fur Trade Impact On Native Americans

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What was the impact of the expanding fur trade upon Native American life in the Northeast woodlands in both the short term and long term? From as early as the 1400s, trade played a role in providing profit, aid in discovering new land, and influencing conquest among the Spanish, Europeans, and Asians. In the years leading up to the early 18th century, the trading of fur (particularly beaver fur) impacted the North Americans both long term and short term, positively and negatively. In short terms, the fur trade would benefit the Native Americans by providing them with power and a higher standard of living. When the Europeans arrived, the Native Americans would hunt for beaver and in exchange for creating hats for the upper class, the Europeans would trade copper pots, clothing, firearms, and wampum, which would increase social prestige in their society. As their social prestige increased, a short-term Indian kin-based system was created where chiefs would hunt for their own survival and any extra goods would be distributed amongst the clan. The Iroquois Confederacy…show more content…
The demand for beaver fur was so high that the production of the beaver fur could not keep up and this eventually decreased their bargaining power. This also lessened the amount of food and nourishment to the clans which forced the Native Americans to become dependent on the Europeans for their goods. Because they could no longer fend on their own, they were very dependent that the American and Europeans would sign treaties that would strip the Native Americans from their land. This forcefully caused them to move west to preserve their culture and way of living from being lost in the European culture. In general, the fur trade helped the Native Americans short term but then affected them negatively, long
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