The Fur Trade Era: A Trade Game

Student will learn and categorize the many contributions that American Indian (specifically Anishinaabe) have made to all aspects of modern society during the fur trade era. Ojibwe Language will be integrated through basic vocabulary that was used during the trading era.

Materials Needed


Art Materials


Activity Process


All the students will play the roles of Ojibwe people and also French Voyageurs meeting to have a Rendezvous complete with simulated canoe arrival, French and Ojibwe songs, language exchange, trading of trade goods and pelts. All art projects throughout the year have been cultural and are all being kept to use for trade goods. Students watched a video of "The Voyageur" for an understanding of that time in history. We read "Birchbark House" by Louise Erdrich, for an Ojibwe perspective and "Broken Blade" by William Durbin for a French boy' perspective, prior to becoming a Voyageur.


We have introduced different Native art activities throughout the year, while building a background of material use, history of the art, internet resources, and various examples. examples of projects created as build-up to final project: (see other lesson plans to learn about many of these projects)


The time is 1754 at a Trading Post in the Great Lakes Region, off Lake Superior.There will be 6 groups with four students/group. In each group two students will be trader/voyageurs, and two will be Ojibwe people. Preparations for the game:

There are 12 role-playing scenarios to enact. Each of the 6 Indian scenarios have a good outcome and a difficult outcome from their year of hunting, gathering, and hand work. Voyageur will: set their trade goods on blankets or towels they bring from home.Each blanket will be trading a certain type of trading item from Europe. Pictures will be mounted on tag board and labeled with name of item, picture of item, and number of pelts to be traded for that good. Trading of voyageur goods can only continue as long as they have items to trade.Voyageur Trading Groups:


The activity will end with the Duluth Pack Blanket Relay race. It will be important that students get their own projects returned to them!


A successful reenactment will include staying in role, participation in the activities, use of French and Ojibwe language, the ability to make the trades needed according to your role play card. After the fur trade game students will peer assess each other by making sure they have had a fair trade.

Vocabulary Words


We will invite local newspaper to take pictures of the reenactment.

Grade Level

Primary Content Areas

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards

Social Studies