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Vancouver Heritage Fair
How an Animal Started a Revolution: The Beaver Wars
This project seeks to explore the history and beginnings of the Beaver Wars, the causes and consequences, the underlying events that sparked change, and the lasting impacts of the Wars.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
I learned that the Beaver Wars have been historically overlooked for later conflicts such as the War of 1812, even though the Iroquois Wars can be attributed to one of the earliest examples of battle between the Europeans and Indigenous peoples. As we try to navigate the consequences of climate change, global conflicts, and mistreatment of local Indigenous Peoples, we can use lessons learned from the Beaver Wars to help guide decisions on these topics. In a world where we are trying to incorporate more Indigenous stories into our education, I believe that these series of conflicts are a prime example.
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
In the past, there were over 10 beaver species native to North America. However, due to over-hunting during the Beaver Wars, these populations declined dramatically, to the point where the only remaining species today is the North American beaver (Castor canadensis). I think that this story can help more Canadians learn about the dangers of excessive fur hunting, and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
I would say that my life is much more stable than that of the people I studied in my project. They had to survive in hostile, conflict-filled environments, with loved ones often perishing daily. Indigenous residents needed to adapt to new, unknown European technologies such as firearms in short time-frames.