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Michel Dumont, Fur Trade Beaver (2020)

Michel Dumont, Fur Trade Beaver (2020)

Michel Dumont

Fur Trade Beaver  


Recovered floor tile (circa 1970s), vintage polyurethane taxidermy mold (circa 1980s), pine base  

12 x 12 x 29 inches (approx.) 



"I was recently asked by a scientist why I made Fur Trade Beaver. The simple answer is in 1992 a guest economist came to old Fort William to educate staff on the business of the fur trade. He spoke about the trade declining sharply over a particular decade because of a lack of a workforce, and then he carried on. Having been a history student at Lakehead University, and one of only four Indigenous staff in the room, I was appalled. I angrily pointed out, "you're talking about eight in ten adults dying from disease!" The social ramification of this genocide reverberated through the generations. He blithely said that the social aspect was not his focus and merely the numbers. I was shaken but glad the 40 staff in the room heard my comment. 


This is why I am creating this beaver. The symbols tell a story representing trade silver and finger-weaving of the ceinture flèchee worn by my French ancestors. An old favorite of fur trade silver was and is two otters kissing which is on the head of the amik (Ojibwe for beaver).  The traders also used symbols of vice like the card suits and alcohol to trade for furs. I would hasten to add that the silver crosses were also tools for assimilation." 


Michel Dumont, July 2024


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