fur traders

     Saint Peter Rock Bend ALC students had an opportunity to learn about The French Voyageur and Minnesota's Fur Trade this morning at the Saint Peter Community Center!

     The presenter Mr. Arn Kind, a teacher with over 40 years experience, came in the costume of a French Voyageur, and taught students about Minnesota's first business; the Fur Trade. The French Voyageurs were among the first Europeans to explore and make maps of what would become Minnesota.  Mr. Kind used hands-on living history experiences where students role-played the parts of voyageurs and Dakota and Ojibwa Indians. Students learned how these early Europeans paddled heavy cargo-laden canoes through the vast interior of North America. They also learned how the French and the Dakota and Ojibwa Indians bartered with one another trading furs and a mixture of cloth (cotton or wool), beads, trinkets, mirrors, traps, knives, tomahawks, and trade rifles.

     One reason Mr. Kind's presentation makes the Fur Trade come alive for his audiences because of his realistic and colorful portrayal of a voyageur. Another reason is because of all the artifacts and trade goods he brings and displays for his audience to see. In order to display and use these artifacts in his presentation, he makes sure that everything he brings in has been made safe. Traps, knives, fire-locks, and other trade items are all dulled and modified so that they cannot cause injury. Mr. Kind, of course, does not bring any gunpowder or any other combustibles into the schools or libraries where he presents.

    Mr. Kind's presentation was a wonderful and unique way of learning about this colorful chapter from the early history of our state!