Fur Traders

Trapping is a very important issue, which is connected
to many other larger issues. For instance, trapping lies at the
heart of the First Nation\'s distinct society issue. Before I talk
about the present, however, I would like to discuss whether
trapping should have been illegal when Canada was first
being settled in the 17th and 18th centuries. When the first
explorers came to the new world, it was regarded as a huge
slab of worthless rock standing between Europe and the
riches of the Orient. The only reason these explorers even
explored this continent was the hope of finding the
North-West passage, a route to the Orient. Fortunately,
while searching for this North-West passage, some of these
explorers stumbled onto a virtual magnet for settlement: The
Fur Trade. When people heard how pelts of all kinds could
be obtained so easily and sold for so much, the idea of not
settling in the new world was ridiculous. Suddenly settlers
came to this "slab of worthless rock" and tried to set up
permanent living there. Even after a few failed attempts the
draw of the fur trade was responsible for the settlement we
call New France. After the first steps toward a permanent
colony in the new world were made, the next steps came in
leaps and bounds. The French government was sending
everyone they could to settle in New France. Courieurs de
Bois, began coming to the colony to trap furs and sell them
back in France. France granted land to poor people that
were willing to risk the great voyage. The colony flourished,
and grew. It was the fur trade that was mostly responsible
for this colony. However, some think that by this point the
colony was large enough to illegalize fur trapping and still
remain a profitable colony for France. However, there is one
major reason that fur trading should have been allowed:
Relations with the Indians. Relations with the Indians were
shaky, at best. Some Indians befriended the French, and
some befriended the English. Some just gave their furs to the
highest bidder. The relationship with the Indians was more
than just a trade agreement. The wars of the Indians were
the wars of the French. Now, imagine what would happen if
one day, an Indian came to a Frenchman and offered him a
pelt. The Frenchman tells the Indian that not only will he not
buy it, but no Frenchman in New France will. Not only that,
trapping furs in the forests belonging to the French was not
allowed. The relationships with the Indians which had taken
so long to establish would be shattered in days. The Indians
would probably recognize the French as their enemies. Now
not only the enemies of the Indian "friends" of the French
would attack them, but also their "friends". Settlers would
again become afraid to come to New France because of the
fierce Indian attacks. The French colony in New France
would cease to exist. Therefore, I think trapping should have
been legal then. Now that I have talked about fur trapping
then, I\'ll talk about it now. Unfortunately, it is much more
complicated now. Animal rights activists have told us that it
is wrong to kill an animal for its fur. I strongly agree with this
opinion, especially since man-made fur is so accessible.
Unfortunately, there are people who feel they deserve real
fur if they can pay for it. Although I disagree with them, you
cannot just deny them the fur, because one way or another
they will arrange to get it. Even so, trapping (for fur) should
be illegal. If you want real fur, you should not kill wild
animals. You should go to a farm where animals are raised
for their fur. The problem of people wanting real fur is small
compared to other problems for and against the fur trade.
For instance, if we illegalize trapping, the First Nation\'s way
of life would be totally disrupted. Not letting the First Nation
trap is like taking away a large profession from us, for
instance law. What would all the lawyers do if suddenly
practising law was illegal? The First Nations, I believe,
should be allowed to continue trapping as long as it is under
limits. However, I believe that, after all, their ancestors had
such a successful relationship with the land that trapping
within limits should not be a problem. Another problem that
would arise if trapping is illegalized is that it is said that too
many predators (wolves, etc.) would roam the forests and
be dangerous to farms with livestock on them. It is said that
trapping keeps the populations of these predators low, so
they