19th Century, Business, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Transportation

Red River Oxcart Trade 1840 to 1850

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Métis families (formed by marriages between whites and Indians) take their furs from the Red River Valley to St. Paul in oxcarts. Long caravans of up to 200 carts travel from as far away as Winnipeg, Canada, making St. Paul one of the leading fur markets in the country from the 1840s to the 1860s.*

My first question, Lord, is who are the Metis people? Doing what any modern American would do when faced with something they haven’t encountered before I went straight to wikipedia, and found the following excerpt below.

“The Métis are the descendants of Indigenous Cree or Anishinaabe women who married French or Scottish fur traders during the early colonial period. They have a specific, unique culture. Most are found among the Michif-speaking peoples of the Red River region in modern ManitobaNorth Dakota, and Minnesota.[1] The Red River peoples are part of the same ethnic group as many of the Canadian Métis peoples. There is also a broader but limited use of the term to describe any people who descend from the united culture created by the intermarriage of various French and British fur traders and various Algonquian, Cree and other Native American groups intermarrying during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This use would exclude from Métis people-hood those whose ancestries became mixed between these different ethnic groups in other settings or more recently than about 1870.”

So now I have a place to begin my prayer; with at least an inkling of a back story of the Metis. God, I don’t really feel too prayerful tonight, but I’m willing to wait with You and see where it goes. Ok?

To begin, thank You that the Metis are Your people, and included in Your family. Thanks that You have watched over and led them for generations before their participation in the fur trade took place. Today I give your gratitude for the this era of the oxcart trail!

Next, I thank You that Metis marriages became an intersection between Scotch, Irish, French, Cree, Anishinaabe, and perhaps more nations of people! My late aunt, Ingrid Trobisch, an author and marriage counselor once told me, “Interracial marriages may be doubly difficult, but they are also doubly blessed.” I  commend  and honor these marriages that forged a new and unique culture from their culture of origin to You Good Father! Will you bless the Metis and all their future generations with the same forbearing spirit?

How interesting that, again, a people group becomes synonymous with a form of transportation: the Sami people of Finland the reindeer, the Arabs the horse, the Peruvians the llama, and the Metis the oxcart. All through history You have given us gifts and innovative thoughts that improve our lives. Thank You for these gifts. Will You bless those who rode these caravans, and continue to provide for their needs in the present and future? Will You cause us to pause as we drive I-94 west of Minneapolis, and remember who those who first blazed this road; the Metis?

Lord, I ponder what those in the future will think about us when the car is an antiquated beast. Will our interstates lead them somewhere, or will they cease to have purpose ? Will we be associated with our vehicles? In any case, I ask that You bless the future forms of transportation that may be discovered here in Minnesota, and that they would be inhabited by people who drive them to intersect with their neighbors as the Metis did.

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

 

 

 

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Faith, History, Prayer

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In 1819, the 5th Regiment of Infantry arrived at the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers to build the northwest link in this chain of forts and agencies. Here, where traffic could be controlled on two major rivers, Fort Snelling was completed in 1825.*

Lord, thank you for the establishment of order. Ft. Snelling was established to maintain order of our government. Thank you for the Fort’s benefits of regulating trade on the rivers, but forgive any offenses of overstepping its Constitutional bounds. May any injustices starting with the Fort be ended now by Jesus authority. Amen.

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

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19th Century, Exploration, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans

Snake River Fur Post 1804

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British fur trader John Sayer, a partner in the North West Company, leads a crew of 15 men up the Snake River. They build a fur post, trade with the Ojibwe over the winter, and leave in the spring with hundreds of furs.*

Jesus, thank you for the blessings of trade to Minnesota through this post. Will You forgive any offenses here through John Sayer, and redeem any future interactions with the Ojibwe? By Your authority, I want to bless the Ojibwe people at Snake River, their generations, and their dwellings! Lord help them fulfill the wonderful destiny You have in mind for them!

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

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18th Century, Economics, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans

North West Fur Co. 1784  

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Grand Portage on Lake Superior becomes the western headquarters of the new North West (fur) Company. From here the British dominate the North American fur trade until Americans arrive in the early 1800s.*

Father, I thank You for the blessing of work. It’s good to be productive and provide for our families. It’s a blessing to find joy in our job, whether simple or complex!

I don’t know what type of dominance the North West Fur company exercised in GrandPortage. However, I want to acknowledge how human it is to want control. Lord, forgive the offenses of N.W.F. Co. against You, and any other human parties involved! Father forgive any counter-judgments made by trappers supplying pelts to N.W. Fur.

We easily slip into judgments against our bosses and authority figures. Lord, forgive my attempts to control my own work life through the control of others! Will You wipe the slate clean?

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

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History, Prayer, Uncategorized

Grand Portage is established 1784

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Grand Portage on Lake Superior becomes the western headquarters of the new North West (fur) Company. From here the British dominate the North American fur trade until Americans arrive in the early 1800s.*

Grand Portage is both a place and a route. The route refers to an 8 1/2 mile portage that starts at the settlement and ends at the Pigeon River, above its waterfalls. Traveling from there through the many lakes along the Canadian Shield, a person could reach the Pacific or the Arctic Ocean without carrying a canoe much farther than the Grand Portage itself.

People and goods could reach Grand Portage, the place, from the East via the Great Lakes, from the South by the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers, and from the West by the Grand Portage route. That location had been a central meeting point for trade long before Europeans came looking for furs. Once the fur trade began, Grand Portage also became a port–the westernmost point where goods could be delivered from the east coast by ship.

It is hard for us to imagine in this present era why fur could be so sought after. For moderns, it is a luxury that is contentious and risky to wear despite its  beauty. Most of us don’t know that our world experienced a small “Ice Age” and these European explorers were driven to find furs, like native Minnesotans, because of their warmth.

Will you forgive any judgments of North West Company? We show loyalty to our beloved brands of outerwear like: Columbia, North Face, Filson, Orvis, L.L. Bean etc. We buy these brands because we are convinced they are the best for our purpose. Yet, we have hated those companies who saw the beaver and said, “This is the best source material for warmth, comfort, and style.” Will You forgive our arrogance towards a company that saw an opportunity, provided work to both Native and European Minnesotans, and created useful and beautiful items for trade?

This brings me to ponder that You created fur to shield Your beloved creatures: the mink, the beaver, and the fox to name a few. I am in awe of your artistry in these first “fur coats”?! This day I thank You for the meaning of fur: first to the animals, then to Native Americans, European explorers and traders, and finally to the state of Minnesota!

Not only did You create this astonishingly warm fur, but provided a waterway to it! Thanks that you revealed Grand Portage to Indians, who shared it with the French and English who further established this trade route and town! Will You forgive our conflicts over the fur trade? Will You forgive our grudges, past, present, and leave a blessing?

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

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18th Century, Catholic, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, Native Americans, Transference, war

Spanish Claims 1763  

Louis XV France

Louis XV France

Half of Minnesota passes to Spain when France gives up her trade west of the Mississippi. The exchange happens not because of activity in the Americas but as the result of a war in far away Europe.

No Spanish representatives are known to have visited the area after this trade and the Dakota and Ojibwe know nothing of it. Spain will return the land to France in 1800.*

Charles III of Spain

Charles III of Spain

Allow me to amplify this story? Louis XV had just lost the French and Indian War to Britain. This meant that Canada was claimed by England. Simultaneously, France was losing the Seven Years War on the Continent. He contacted his cousin, King Charles III of Spain, and secretly ceded his rights to all New France west of the Mississippi to Spain.

These facts are plain, Lord, but why would France yield such a massive stake in lucrative North America stretching from Louisiana through Minnesota? Was it pure politics and resentment of Britain? Was it born of familial ties between these men, or the bonds of the Catholic faith? It did bring an absence of war, but is absence of war the same as peace?

Lord, I don’t know how this transaction affected our state in this era. Help me see. It seems that Spain ruled with such a light touch that most Minnesotans were not aware of the change. Will You forgive any bondage or bitter roots created in this specific geographical territory because of the judgments held by Britain, France or Spain, Dakota or Ojibwe?

Whether these men were kind-hearted or connivers, that is Your judgment, but I acknowledge that we are no different today. We use or perhaps misuse whatever measure of authority or influence at our disposal when we feel our claims are threatened. We, like these two cousins, may secretively craft plans to block the advances of the opposing team to “keep it in the family.”

Will You teach us Your humility in our diplomacy? When we lose in life, may it not be doubled by the vow, “I will lose to anybody else, but not them.” Christ have mercy on us. May we become the generation that is content to be the humble, temporary tenants of Your land!

 

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

 

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18th Century, Catholic, Culture, Exploration, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Transportation

La Vérendrye & Grand Portage Trail 1731

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Using a map made on birch bark by Assiniboin guide Ochagach, Pierre La Vérendrye follows the Grand Portage trail from Lake Superior to Lake of the Woods. It is not a way to the western sea, as he has hoped, but fur traders will follow this trail for the next 100 years.*

Sometimes the easy way is the hard way. A portage is an overland pathway that avoids dangerous rapids or falls for those traveling by river. Ochagach likely thought that the “western sea” that La Verendrye sought was Lake Winnipeg. Regardless of his disappointment, La Verendrye and the voyageurs respected and appreciated the wisdom in taking this 8.5mile trail past the dangers of the Pigeon River.

We often balk at the delays of modern life, even though we have such incredible technologies that serve our whims and convenience. Will You make us like Ochagach, so that we can see the dangers of convenience in our lives? Will You make us like La Verendrye, that we may heed the warnings of our friends to not try to foolishly “shoot the rapids?”

Father, thanks that You lead us on our way. Thanks that You delight in sharing your mysteries with us. Bless the Assiniboin people, Ochagach, and P. La Verendrye for the gift of this trail. Thank you that these two men showed trust to each other! Thanks for the lessons of the portage!

**Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  Currently the timeline seems to be unavailable.

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