How Beaver Trapping Affects Social Relations
Dr. Emily Wakild
My group is going to analyze the question “How did the Beaver fur trade throughout the 17th and 18th century affect how various social groups interacted with one another”? By analyzing the cause and effect of the mass beaver trapping it will allow our group to see how the 17-18th century culture influences values and ideologies during this time. A great example would be the interactions between the fur traders and Native American Tribes, as it was Natives who first started trapping the furs as a trading resource. For the types of evidence that our group will employ, we will be searching for various articles that express the fur trade during the 17th century, and also utilize articles that discuss the impact that a lack of beavers has on various areas. The history of beaver trappings is complex due to the fact that many historical fur trade articles include other animals in the statistics when presenting the amount of fur pelts collected at any given time. Of the sources that we found, we have found a variety of articles that describe the conditions of the Fur Trade and how it has impacted various people and economies across the globe at the time. One of the articles that we found showcases beaver pelt prices over the course of 50 years and showcases the economic impact of fur pelts. Another thing that our group has to be careful of is observing data, as most data during the 17th century is not well documented, and therefore the data could be exaggerated or completely wrong. The reason why the social groups are important is due to the status that beaver pelts had during the fur trading era; beaver fur was considered extremely high-class, and those who wore them were considered the top of society. Beaver fur trading has not only affected the beaver population, it has deeply impacted the environment itself, due to a keystone species slowly being eradicated by human hands. This information is important because the fur trade has had a lasting impact on a variety of ecosystems and by analyzing it, people will be able to see how it affected society and social relations overall.
O'Connor, Riley T.; Marcin, Zachary; and Wakild, Emily, "How Beaver Trapping Affects Social Relations" (2020). 2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase. 140.