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We have studied the fur trade in the 18th century in Socials Studies 9. Our assignment
was to create a judges report. We have determined the fairness of the fur trade between the First
Nations and the Hudson's Bay Company. We exclusively examined the trade where one beaver
pelt was worth one point blanket. The First Nations people are represented by the plaintiff,
Douglas Keesic, and the defendant is the Hudson’s Bay Company. The four judges are Connor
Wood, Max Waterson, Arnold Ying and Quillan O’Neill. Connor Wood has formatted our report
and discussed the Geography criterion. Max Waterson has written the Supply criterion and the
Conclusion. Arnold Ying has examined the Knowledge criterion and explained our methodology.
Quillan O’Neill has written the Introduction and the Uses criterion.

The method we take to depend and decide the value of the product mainly contributes of
four different criterion, geography, supply, knowledge and uses. Geography covers the distance,
the terrain, the mode of transportation, and the climate needed to overcome in order to transport
the goods to the buyer. Knowledge concludes the education required in order to produce and
transport the product. Uses consists of usage, demand and quantity of the product. These four
categories contributes great portion of value of products. Supply goes over the materials, costs of
getting said materials and efficiency of production.
Evidence and Analysis

The geography is important for both the First Nations and the Europeans. They both
For the First Nations trappers that were trading the “Made Beaver” with York Factory’s Point
Blanket, it would take weeks for them to get Nelson River ( it is 82.6 km between Nelson River
and York Factory). The terrain for this journey is fairly easy to traverse by following the river.
The beavers would be found in the lodges, and then brutally bludgeon the beavers to death (but
don’t forget to ask for it’s permission).
The main modes of transportation for the First Nations are by foot or canoe if they bring
the canoe down the river have to carry it with the beaver furs or the whole beaver inside the
canoe. The trappers also have to bring the canoe back to the traders at York Factory.
The climate is the key part of the journey, in the winter time the trappers would need all the
equipment to survive; including the beavers that they were trading. In earlier years of the fur
trade the trappers used to wear the beaver pelts so the specific “Long hairs” would fall out. But
in later the European traders wanted the “Long hairs” to make the hats.
The European traders that were stationed at York Factory would spend all year waiting
for the First Nation trappers to bring the pelts in to trade. But the European traders actually had
to sail from ship docks in various countries (in Europe) all the way to Hudson’s Bay. The sail to
Hudson’s Bay was dangerous. This is because of the weather and ocean conditions that they
would encounter and depending on the time of year there could be many storms that the ships
would run into. This would make the seas very treacherous, and prolong the journey from seven
weeks to as long as four months. If the journey lasted longer than supplies on the boat, many
members of the crew, and passengers would starve to death ( up to 50%). Added to this was the
risk of getting disease. A disease that was feared was scurvy.

The transportation that the Europeans had to get to Hudson’s Bay was by boat, this is
because that is the only way to get to North America from Europe in the 1500’s was by ship
(sailing vessels). The Europeans had to deal with trying to adapt to Canada and its climate
compared to Europe. The winters in Canada were harsh, so the Point Blanket was great for
trading, and for the winter cold.
The geography for the journey for the Europeans is more difficult than the First Nations.
The Europeans had to overcome the difficulties of the sea and the illnesses like scurvy. It also
takes longer to sail from Europe to Hudson's Bay. The Europeans had paths to Canada, but the
ocean and wind can change when you sail to a new continent. Compare the facts and the
Europeans traders had more difficulties than the First Nations getting to Canada.
The difficulty of gathering and the amount of the materials will greatly affect the supply
of pelts and blankets and thus, changing the price of the products. The First Nations trappers
were tasked with the goal of hunting beavers and preparing the pelt. In order to do so they
created traps made with specific materials to make the traps work, like fresh aspen or poplar
twigs. The trappers must also go through the effort of breaking the river dams and draining the
ponds, giving them access to break into the homes of the beaver. Once killed, the First Nations
People must dispose of the beaver flesh, usually by eating it at feasts and gatherings and then
must remove the pelt. Then comes the curing process in order to keep the pelts fresh for the
journey ahead.
In order to make a point blanket the Hudson's Bay Company must collect wool from the
Cotswold Hills. The shepherds care for the sheep until ready to be sheared. They must wash the
sheep in the river and let them drip dry. Then the shepherds shear the fleece that is closest to the

skin. This fleece is given to workers who lay the fur out and bundle them into bales of wool. The
wool is taken and then woven by more workers into blankets. Weaving is hard physical work and
is done by men and is then taken to the loom by the women.When each blanket is finished, small
indigo stripes or “points” are sewn into the edge of each blanket to indicate its size and weight.
The Hudson’s Bay Company demands that the first nations people must deliver the pelts
to them at the HBC’s points of collection in order for the natives to receive their payment. Its up
to the natives to take the journey across lakes, rivers, mountains and flatlands, to receive their
payment. HBC initiated trades at their own posts and assumed that this was natives’ job to do.
The Made Beaver pelts in theory are not very hard to make. One must hunt the beaver,
skin it, eat it and finally wear it down. But in practice this can get very complex. The hunters put
time and consideration into these processes treating it as a ritual as opposed to a factory line.
Taking all these factors into consideration, I know that the Natives have the tougher job on their
end. Not only do they hunt the beavers in the long days and must carry and cure the pelts, but
they also treat the beaver as their brother and take in the extra time and effort in order to respect
and honour the dead brother. Even though the point blanket making is physically demanding it is
not as hard as beaver hunting. Not only do they farm these sheep but they also have a reliable
source of fleece. Compare that to the fact that the Natives have to look in new places and search
for more beavers and the natives have the tougher job.

Knowledge is an important element required for both the making of beaver pelts and the
making of point blankets. Since the first nations lived with the beaver when their ancestors first
came to North America, they have substantial amount of knowledge about beaver and their
behaviors. The making of a beaver pelts consists of many methods, including luring and caching

the beaver, and preparing and preserving the beaver pelt. There are three different methods of
trapping a beaver: the deadfall trap, breaking the beaver dam or setting a net under the beaver’s
lodge. Not only do the first nations need to catch the beaver, they also have to prepare the beaver
pelt for the traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Preparing the beaver pelt requires more
knowledge than catching the beaver. In order to prepare a beaver pelt for trade, the first nations
need to know the skill of skinning, cleaning and curing. All three skills require knowledge of the
beaver’s body, the effective usage of tools and time management during the season.
The making of a point blanket requires many knowledgeable skills and the right
environment for the Europeans in order to breed and sheer sheeps. The Hudson Bay point
blanket is made from wools from the sheeps of Cotswold hill. Every group of sheeps are grown
under the care and supervise of the shepherd, a knowledgeable man that feed and raise the sheep
to produce the wool. Every shepherd have a very good understanding of the knowledge of the
sheep that they raise. Not only does the making of point blanket involves skilled shepherds, it
also involves wolven on a loom in the homes of blanket weaver of the town Whitney. the
weavers are required to know many skills and people that are capable of weaving blankets very
well. Knowledges are essential to weave the blanket, the weaver should know the method of
sewing, weaving and rolling.
The making of the beaver pelt involves skills that the Europeans do not know of and
probably will never learn of, it is an valuable piece of knowledge and education. However, the
education involved in the making of point blanket conducts greater knowledge and information
during the process. Even though, the first nations have to learn the beaver’s body and behaviors,
the education involved in the making of a beaver pelt is less substantial than the making of the

point blanket. Considering of all the education conducted, the knowledge required on the
products is in favor of the Hudson Bay Company.

The uses of the beaver pelt include the profits earned and the use in Europe. Once traded
to the Hudson's Bay Company, beaver pelts were manufactured into beaver hats of fine quality.
The beaver hat became a major fashion trend in the 18th century and was desirable by all
Europeans. The hat came in many designs, simple and elegant. It's versatility was a major factor
in its popularity as everyone from puritans to the wealthy wore the beaver hat. The beaver hat
soon became a social status symbol. It was so well regarded that etiquette was developed
surrounding its use. For example, it became conventional for a citizen of lower social status to
remove their hat in the presence of a more highly citizen. As this fashion item was a necessity,
the profits were colossal and all but guaranteed. The beaver pelt proved to be remarkably useful
for the Hudson's Bay Company as they obtained these profits.
The First Nations were less developed than the Europeans so the uses of point blankets
were naturally less luxurious. The Aboriginals used point blankets for clothing, warmth and
disguise. Before the point blanket was introduced to First Nations, tailoring small clothing pieces
was impractical. A fur would usually fall apart if cut into a small piece or pierced by a needle
multiple times. Point blankets were easy to cut and sew, which expanded the First Nations'
clothing repertoire. Once crafted into clothing, the point blankets were more durable than any
fur. Now First Nations could spend further time on hunting and recreation as they would not
need to continually replace clothing. The Aboriginals designed point blanket coats for the
warmth they provided during the cold winters of Canada. Point blanket coats were a beige colour
with stripes. They provided a superior disguise than many furs during the snow season, which

made hunting easier. Considering all these advantages point blankets became a practical clothing
and bedding material.
The uses of point blankets may seem less luxurious than beaver pelts, however the value
of the use is decided by the user. Among Aboriginals, the uses of a point blanket were quite
luxurious. The point blanket provided warmth and ease for the Aboriginals. However, Beaver
pelts greatly contributed to European economy and fashion. The economy was the life blood of
Europe and beaver pelts were given an important role for a period of time. The beaver pelt
became very valuable, in terms of use, for the Europeans. The uses of the products traded
between the Hudson's Bay Company and First Nations was in favour of the Hudson's Bay

Gathering all these points and ideas, we have come to an easy and straightforward
answer. Considering the fact that three of our four criterion pointed to the answer of it being in
favour of the Hudson's Bay Company. Although the Natives went through the trouble of hunting
and delivering what they thought of as their brother, the HBC was tasked with sailing to Canada,
teaching workers how to create the famous and multi purposed point blankets, all of which
favours the defendant’s side. The Hudson’s Bay Company created and distributed a product that
was harder to make and deliver and had many more uses. Compare that to the simple beaver
pelts that had very limited uses, it proved that the trades made between the HBC and the First
Nations people was in fact reasonable. Although the fur trade wasn't fair at times, Douglas
Keesic was not correct about his statements of “the fur trade not being a fair trade”.