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The Great Lakes Fur Trade

from History Live

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Join voyageurs and fur traders in the year 1804 as they travel to what is now Minnesota and trade goods with American Indians. Students examine Ojibwe life through historical paintings and artifacts from the fur trade and also discover how European fashion fueled global trade.

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About This Program


By Request: $120.00

$120.00 for schools outside of Minnesota
$75.00 for schools in the state of Minnesota, thanks to the MN Legacy Amendment


50 Minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 4, 5, 6

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference - H.323 (Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg, LifeSize, etc...)
Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Skype, iChat, Vidyo, Movi/Jabber, Blue Jeans, etc...)

Booking Information

History Live lessons must be requested 3 weeks prior to requested lesson date. Cancellations must be received 14 days before your lesson. Contact us if you need to reschedule.

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Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be received 14 days before your lesson. Contact us if you need to reschedule.

About This Provider

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History Live

St. Paul, MN
United States

History Live is a program of the Minnesota Historical Society, which designs and develops educational products for students nationwide. All of our award-winning programs and teacher supplementary materials are based on national academic standards.

Minnesota Historical Society

Program Details


1. Introduction of the fur trade, the North West Fur Company, and 1800’s fur trader John Sayer.
2. Students then role-play the trading process.
3. Students explore the process of traveling in canoes to the rendezvous, and learn about the Ojibwe American Indian tradition of following the resources available in each season.
4. We then discuss the European fashion of beaver fur hats and the system of global trade that supported it.
5. Concluding with a comparison of American Indian and European contributions to the Great Lakes Fur Trade.


Students will become familiar with the concept of global trade and the ways it has changed since the early 19th Century.

Students will analyze primary resources to compare displays of social status between 1800’s Europe and the United States today.

Students will examine many items traded during the fur trade, who traded them, and where they came from.

Students will discover the variety of people involved in the Great Lakes Fur Trade, the different roles they played, and the cultural exchange that resulted from their interaction.

Standards Alignment

National Standards


The Minnesota Historical Society designs and develops educational products for students nationwide.

State Standards