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Before any Europeans came to the shores of North America, Native Americans inhabited these lands. They fished the waters, harvested the earth, and hunted the game. Within the large continent, the Great Lakes region was especially abundant, and the Ojibwe tribe lived off the land surrounding Lake Superior and much of northern Minnesota, stretching into present-day Canada (Warren 126). The Ojibwe traded with other tribes “along the waterways of present-day Minnesota and across the Great Lakes for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in the mid-1600s” (“The Fur Trade''). However, with the introduction of European settlers, trade only increased. Ojibwe tribal members in Minnesota traded animal furs with the French, British, and eventually American traders in exchange for manufactured goods (Warren 125). The fur trade helped foster relationships between settlers and the Ojibwe, sometimes leading to interracial marriages. As time went on however, many settlers became greedy for wealth and land to the point where the Ojibwe and other Minnesotan tribes were mistreated, exploited, and assimilated. The fur trade began to decline and much Ojibwe land was stolen, but the legacy of the fur trade lives on. An important part of Ojibwe livelihood, the fur trade helped increase the Ojibwe peoples’ influence and Minnesota’s importance as a state; however, what was beneficial at first ultimately led to a decline in power, land, and cultural influence for the Ojibwe in the area.

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Library Research Prize for First Year Students - First Place Winner


Humanities III

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Dan Ritchie

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