Perspectives on the Fur Trade

Discussion Questions

  1. Each reading in this chapter is taken from a fur trade journal. Yet each document is structured very differently. What accounts for these differences?
  2. The selections taken from Harmon’s journal focus specifically on his relationship with women. What might a journal look like if his wife had kept a similar document?
  3. We chose Luttig’s journal because it pointed to the activities of one specific Black fur trading family. What does this journal entry suggest about our ability to get at histories such as Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable’s? What tools do historians need to adequately account for lives such as his?
  4. Garry’s journal reflects the experiences of one of the highest ranking officials of the Hudson’s Bay Company. How might his class position have shaped his perception of his travels across the continent?
  5. We chose these readings to encourage you to think about the influence of gender, race, and class in the fur trade. In what ways might historians use each of these analytical frames to inform their understanding of the fur trade?