The inquiry question that I posed for study was, “How did Ochasteguin kick start Canadian economy?”. Before I delve into the fruits of my research, Ochasteguin was the chief of the Arendaenronnon nation of the Wendat Confederacy, the lesser of the two indigenous peoples who were controlling the trade along the St. Lawrence river.
As a leader of this trade route, Ochasteguin had access to the best trading opportunities in all of North America due to the plentiful amount of beavers that could be brought from farther inland. Ochasteguin and a few of his peoples met with the people of New France, and granted them control of the route in exchange for aid against the other, more dominant group, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. New France agreed to the offer, and marched into battle with Samuel du Champlain, their leader, armed with a musket like weapon called the Arquebus. The alliance, machinery, and fear factor proved to be too much for the opposing trade force, and it was thus dominated by the Wendat and New France alliance. This went hand-in-hand with the trend of beaver pelt hats in Europe which strengthened their profits greatly, and allowed the two groups to build their civilizations up with greater efficiency and dominance. As this event occurred many years ago, I have been unable to find any primary sources recounting this event, but secondary sources include a quick history of the Wendat peoples, the Canada: The Story of Us video, and a book by the name of Religion, Gender and Kinship in Colonial New France.
Cause and Consequence:
The reason for the economical success of the two peoples was due to the natives willingness to trade and work with the newcomers. They realized that the french colonists had much greater firepower, as well as armor. Seizing this opportunity, the Wendat propose access to the trade route in return for aiding them in their attempt to claim the southern section of the St. Lawrence. New France needed to show France that they could turn a profit, so Samuel agreed, thus winning both sides a great economical advantage over other, and for du Champlain, the very thing he needed to maintain his settlement in what is now Quebec. An unintended consequence of this interaction, was the extinction of the Wendat people which was caused by diseases such as tuberculosis which was brought over from Europe. these diseases are said to have wiped out 90-99% of the indigenous population as their immune systems were not capable of dealing with the infections.
The event may very well have seemed just and correct back then, but now it would seem as though the French gained a much larger amount of the profit. Back in their time, the events and trades were mostly dominated by the indigenous, as was this one, but the trade seems unfair from today’s viewpoint. The Wendat agreed to allow control of the route over to the New France colony in exchange for what they wanted, which was to control both sides of the trade route.
This worked out for both sides to begin with, as they both followed through on their promises, thus improving the French economy as well as the Wendat. An unintended consequence of this interaction was the spread of diseases which led the Wendat to be weakened, and defeated by the Iroquois in 1648-50.
Socials Studies Inquiry Process:
Due to Ochasteguin and the Wendat people’s deal with New France, the Canadian economical system gained an important piece in creating the economy that we have today by establishing and sharing a controlled trade route along the St. Lawrence river. Even after New France fell at the hands of the English, the route had gained the area economic stability that influenced the success of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Without his effort to control the trade route, Canadian economy could have very well been unstable and not worth it for the French to continue to fund the colonists, which could remove the french culture of Canada entirely.